Anthony Jones Powers The Fraport Skyliners Past Toyota Alvark 78-58

A year ago, the Fraport Skyliners had a taste of NBA flair joining them with 2012 Milwaukee Bucks Draft Pick Jon Leuer with the always present mischeovous Ferris Bueller appearance  and former NBA player Jermario Davidson who was growing a special patent on his fade away jumper from the wing and the only thing missing form him last season was a rap performance standing on the rim, but this season the Fraport Skyliners have swapped NBA taste with try-out taste in the likes of Anthony Jones, Johnahon Jones and Alexander Franklin. In the first pre season exhibition game, the Fraport Skyliners met 2012 Japanese league champion Toyota Alvark at Basketball city and two familiar faces returned back to face off with Jeff Gibbs who was known as being the smallest center in the Beko BBL often terrorizing players 20 centimeters taller than him and always having that competitive smile dueling with the smilers like Immanuel Mcelroy and Michael Hakim Jordan for the widest one and head coach Don Beck who coached 9 years in Trier winning two cup titles and coaching five years in Oldenburg helping form Euroleague players like D or Fischer and Doron Perkins. The Fraport Skyliners who had to play without an injured Quantez Roberston who broke his left ring finger last week and are still seeking a center,  gave a solid effort at the training facility, but had very little competition with the Japanese champion Toyota Alvark. “This was the worst game we have played in two years. We shot the ball very bad tonight. I think that we were a bit tired and that it was the end of our Germany trip. I wasn´t satisfied with our energy level. We had an off day. We are really a better team than this”, stressed Toyota Alvark head coach Don Beck. The Fraport Skyliners dominated the game and played a solid defensive game in the traditional manner of MUli Katzurin showing a forceful full press defense. Johannes Herber played an exceptional game and was pleased that the team could finally get their exhibition schedule started. “It was the first game and we were all a bit tired, but it was good to play against another team. We were able to see how we function as a unit and see where each player can use their strength. Toyota Alvark wasn´t as competitive and we lost a little concentration at times. We had problems at the rebound, but all in all it was a good performance”, stressed Fraport Skyliner shooring guard Johannes Herber.

Fraport Skyliner fans also saw the return of Mr incredible Jeff Gibbs who played in the Beko BBL from 2006-2010 leading the league in rebounding three years in a row. He is starting his third season with Toyota Alvark and was happy to see some familiar faces. “It is always nice to come back to my second home Germany. It is also nice to see familiar faces like the my ex teammate the warrior Emeke Erege”, stressed Jeff Gibbs. Try-out player Alex Franklin was able to take some glimpses of how the 188cm center Ohio Native works under the basket. “Gibbs was a beast that was a presence down low and  really knew how to use his body well”, said ex Siena player Alexander Franklin. Gibbs showed that he is an expert of filling up the stat sheet finishing with 6 points, 13 boards, and three blocks and was a menace on the offensive glass hauling down seven offensive rebounds. Fraport Sklyiners captain Marius Nolte had his battles down low with him as well as in the past in the Beko BBL and was still amazed of his game. “He is 32, but it is still amazing how he grabs rebounds. We had good duels with Paderborn-Ulm. I am happy that he hasn´t lost his game, because he is a very nice guy”, commented Marius Nolte. Johannes Herber had the hot hand through out the game and the only thing missing was grabbing a lounge chair and watching Mr incredible Jeff Gibbs operate. “I was a bit surprised that he didn´t start, but he was still their best player. It is fascinating how he fishes in the rebounds. It is really fun to watch”, expressed Ex Alba Berlin player Johannes Herber.

Before the game commenced one could see how anxious the fans were for the game to start, but also the players. Johannes Herber powered home a thunderous dunk getting a smile from injured Quantez Robertson something he could show more in games this season. On the opposing side, Jeff Gibbs was getting ready and already had his focused game face on as if he was about to play in  a game seven and Skyliner legend Pascal Roller was walking around with his kids and a ball in one hand as if he was looking for some shorts and sneakers to come in off the bench. When the game did start, it was very lopsided as the Fraport Skyliners got off to a fast start leading 8-0. Toyota Alvark seemed surprised by the Skyliners physical play and rude full court press and couldn´t hit a shot off the side of the barn. The Fraport Skyliners quickly got their offensive engine revved as Marius Nolte scored inside twice and Anthony Jones getting a quick steal and getting an easy transition bucket. The Frankfurt defense continued to wreck havoc as they got another steal and Michigan native Johnathon Jones scored on the fast break. Frankfurt led 8-0. “We got off to a slow start didn´t bring the energy that we should of. They played tough full court press and our shots didn´t fall. They plan outworked us”, stated ex Otterbein player Jeff Gibbs.  Toyota Alvark finally got on the score board as it almost took them six minutes to get their first points as Takeuchi Kosuke hit a mid distance jumper. Johannes Herber hit a three pointer from the top of the key as the Skyliner offense was giving the best Japanese defense problems. Toyota Alvark was #1 in 9 of 11 Defensive categories in the JBL league last season. However even when the floor was filled with PRO B players, Toyota Alvark couldn´t really find an answer against the Skyliner pressure. Perhaps the prettiest bucket in the first quarter was a give and go between Young guns Konsatntin Klein and Johannes Vogtmann as Klein finished with an easy layup. Toyota Alvark hit two shots from down town in the last two minutes from Matsui Keijuro and Kumagai Takayuki. Konstan Klein showed his quickness with a lay up getting a pretty feed from Devin Gibson as the Fraport Skyliners led 18-10 after one quarter. “Frankfurt dominated and defended well. Frankfurt was very active and did a good job not letting Toyota Alvark get inside”, stressed ex ratiopharm Ulm player Emeke Erege.

The Fraport Skyliners got off to a quick start once again in the second quarter going on a 8-2 run to lead 26-12. Anthony Jones got hot making a fade away jumper and then showing his scoring instinct hitting a three pointer. However this quick run didn´t impress Toyota Alvark as they responded with their own 8-0 to cut the Skyliner lead to 26-20. Toyota Alvark finally got some points inside as Phillip Ricci scored over Nolte, three point specialist Okada Yusuke who shot 40% from the parking lot last season in the JBL league hit from down town, Arao Gaku hit a runner from the corner and Skyliner Alexander Franklin had some misfortune tipping in a ball into his own basket. The second quarter continued to be a quarter of runs as now it was time for the Fraport Skyliners to shine again as went into half time with a 11-2 run and leading very comfortably 37-22. In the past when the Fraport Skyliners needed rapid points to get out of a dilemma fast, it would be a Dashaun Wood two seasons ago or Jermario Davidson last season and against Toyota Alvark it was ex German national player Johannes Herber who showed his leadership qualities  making a three pointer and scoring inside. Herber also made free throws as did Anthony Jones. Alexander Franklin might only have produced two points, but it was a very beautiful play as he scored inside in traffic. “Frankfurt continued to execute while Toyota Alvark was hitting some three pointers, but still missed many easy lay ups. Frankfurt was focusing a lot on Jeff Gibbs and he also missed some easy baskets”, added Jeff Gibbs friend Emeke Erege. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 23% from outside as Toyota Alvark was shooting 20% from the field and 17% from outside. Toyota Alvark had the slim 24-23 rebound edge and six turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners had only three turnovers.

In the third quarter, The Fraport Skyliners were able to hold their lead, but in the latter half of the third quarter let Toyota Alvark back into the game. Muli Katzurin continued to experiment playing his whole bench especially the try out players and his PRO B wunder kinder. Toyota Alvark jumped on a mini 4-0 run cutting the Fraport Skyliners lead to 37-26 as Jeff Gibbs scored inside and Shonaka Takeki scored from the corner. Anthony Jones then showed some more brilliance scoring in bunches as he nailed a jumper in the corner and then read a Toyota Alvark pass and jumped in stealing the ball and going coast to coast for an  easy lay up. Herber then hit a jumper as the Fraport Skyliners led 44-26. Matsui Keijuro then hit a jumper. Gibbs then scored in his typical manner scooting inside for the position getting the ball under the basket making seemingly 1000 fakes and then hitting  a hook shot over the out stretched hand of Herber. Johannes Vogtmann then scored inside getting a super no look pass from Devin Gibson. The 19 year old 211cm center from the former East Germany played a spirited game scoring three points, getting nine rebounds and blocking Jeff Gibbs. “I liked the play of Vogtmann. He will develop if he continues to work hard”, stressed Jeff Gibbs. Gibbs showed his rebound power grabbing a rebound over Vogtmann who is 22 centimeters taller, but knows exactly who was the tallest player he surprised by shooting over. “I shot over Charles Shackleford. He was an ex NBA seven footer”, smiled Jeff Gibbs. After Takeki and Herber exchanged baskets, the Fraport Skyliners still led 49-33. Toyota Alvark closed out the third quarter strong trailing only 59-47. Deadly three point specialist Okada Yusuke hit two three pointers. Herber helped the Skyliners keep the cushion with a three pointer and steal where he was off to the races scoring a transition hoop. Konstatin Klein made the last basket as the buzzer sounded on a fast break play as the Fraport Skyliners led 59-47. “We finally played the way that we should and play our style which is our defensive intensity. We also picked up our shooting”, added Jeff Gibbs. “They came back because they are a good team and good teams make runs which we couldn´t counter”, said Fraport Skyliner forward Alexander Franklin.

Muli Katzurin must of found the encouraging words between quarters as the Fraport Skyliners jumped out on a 14-2 lead to decide the game as they led 73-49 in the fourth quarter. After Konstantin Klein hit a three pointer that got a lucky BCM  role, Phillip Ricci countered with a lay in. After a Vogtmann block on Gibbs, it was Anthony Jones who continued to fight for a contract setting the tone in the fourth quarter. He really showed how versatile he can be even though he is known for being able to hit from anywhere on the floor. He started with a clever pump fake in the corner and then dashing to the basket with a lay in which no Toyota Alvark big could pick up. He then timed a perfect ally-op pass to Danilo Barthel who shoveled the ball off the glass. Johnathon Jones then found some daylight from the wing and scoring on the penetration before it was Anthony Jones again scoring on a transition play as Johnathon Jones found him. “The Skyliners pushed it up an extra notch in the fourth quarter. Our intensity level wasn´t there.  They continued to knock down shots”, stressed Jeff Gibbs. Toyota Alvark would close out the game with a positive 9-5 run, but it was all too little too late. Danilo Barthel helped his stat line with a three pointer in the last minute as he finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes. “One could see that the first season of Danilo helped him and he gave us exactly what we needed tonight”, stressed Fraport Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. The Fraport Skyliners were never really challenged and were consistent on defense. “We kept the defensive intensity for 40 minutes. We also executed pretty well. This was a stepping stone for us, but we still have things to work on. It is the little things that we need to improve like rotations and we got hurt on the boards”, stressed Alexander Franklin.

The Fraport Skyliners were led by Anthony Jones with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. “He is a scorer and I wasn´t surprised how well he played. I hope that there is more to come from him”, added teammate Alexander Franklin. “Anthony Jones has that feel to score. He fits into our system and team”, added Marius Nolte. Johannes Herber added 21 points. Toyota Alvark were led by Kumagai Takayuki and Matsui Keijuro with 10 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners shot 44% from the field and 36% from the parking lot while Toyota Alvark had a rough shooting day with 33% from the field and 31% from the parking lot. The Fraport Skyliners edged Toyota Alvark on the boards 40-39 and had 14 turnovers while Toyota Alvark had 17 turnovers. It was only the first test, but captain Marius Nolte was pleased with the first result. 2It was good to play against other players. We usually have that internal competition with each other in practice. I feel that we are all working together. This win will give us a push for the next game”, added Marius Nolte.

 

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