Sometimes a basketball player leaves a team after one season possibly because he got a better contract offer, didn´t really like the area or organization of his ex team, or might just want a change of scenery and catch a glimpse of a new style on the court and experience a new exciting culture in a new country. In the last years, the Beko BBL has experienced some players who have returned back to a team for a second time. Ex NBA player Casey Jacobsen helped Bamberg win the 2007 Beko BBL title their first in their history, but then returned to the NBA and and then the German capital Berlin, but after only one season gave up the German capital, its history and possibly the yummy Doner and Curry wurst and returned back to the country life style of Bamberg. American Barry Stewart started his Beko BBL career in Trier, but fled t Giessen after only one season, but returned back to the relaxing Mosel city Trier this season. It could be speculated why Stewart might return back to Trier, but Giessen that is known as a university city is lifeless at night where Giessen players in the past have chosen to drive 65 kilometers south to experience the night life in Frankfurt as Giessen has little to offer. In Trier, Stewart continues to flourish under 1993 NCAA champion with North Carolinna head coach Henrik Rodl. Rodl has been known not only being able to develop young German players, but also American players and Stewart might also have missed the beautiful landscape and Porta Niagra. Another player that has returned back to a team for a second time is Mark Dorris. Dorris is a 188cm 27 year old guard from Cincinnati, Ohio and could easily fill the Us Bank arena if it was made public that Quantez Robertson and him would duel in a slam dunk contest. Dorris played at Marshall and then started his professional basketball career in the German PRO A with Cuxhaven where he dominated the league. In 2010, he played in the Beko BBL for Phoenix Hagen having a strong season, but last season fled to Ludwigsburg for a likely pay raise, but decided to return back to Hagen this season even if it took longer than usual arriving in mid November 2012. There isn´t too much to see in Hagen except for the home base of the German basketball federation, but Dorris must have had some reason for returning even if winters can be very grey and dark making one feel very far away from home. Maybe he was missing the unique coaching duo of laid back German head coach Ingo Feyer and comedic and jovial assistant coach Steven Wriedt. Phoenix Hagen has another talented roster this season, but after a big win at home against Giessen in the home opener have lost lost and lost too many teams. At times they forget to defend and were missing that winner type of player with experience and never die attitude which Dorris possesses. Dorris could be the difference between falling down to the second league or remaining in the Beko BBL. The most underrated trait of Dorris on the court could lead the team in the right direction. “People don´t see my will to win on the stat sheet. It is the only thing that matters to me and at the end of the night if we win”, warned Mark Dorris.
Phoenix Hagen entered the German top league in 2009-2010 and Phoenix Hagen finished the year in 16th place just staying in the BEKO BBL by 0ne point as they had a record of 9-25. The two biggest problems of the team was a lack of defense and a thin rotation. If the club had not gotten Michael hakim Jordan in the stretch run, then the club might be visiting towns like Kirchheim, Cuxhaven and Kaiserslautern in the PRO A. The club started solid with a 2-2record beating Giessen and Ratiopharm Ulm, but then went 1-8 and landing in the BEKO BBL cellar. The team lost by more than 20 points five times and the Artland Dragons poured in over 100 points. The club then reacted bringing in Jordan and the team prompt went on a three game winning streak beating TBB Trier, The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and sweeping the season series at home against Giessen where Jordan was the hero with a game winning shot. However then as if Jordan had turned invisible, the team went on a 10 game losing streak. They finished the season with a 3-6 record beating Duesseldorf, EnBW Ludwigsburg and Paderborn, but were never able to beat a playoff team.
In their second season in the Beko BBL, the club improved vastly finishing in 11th place with a 15-19 record. Phoenix Hagen started the season very well winning four of their first six games scoring 107 points against the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven, but then getting hit for 103 points the next weekend against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. The team was averaging 83 points in the first month a game in comparison to scoring only 72 points last season. Their up and down style can be a hazard to at times. “The way Phoenix Hagen plays, it can be a hit or miss. They are capable of going minutes scoring in buckets and then also minutes without getting buckets”, warned John Bynum. “We are an undersized team on the blocks. We just have to get back to defending like we been practicing for the last few months. Its on everyone to be accountable on that end because its more about heart than ability!, added Quentin Pryor. However since the strong start, Phoenix Hagen hit a slump losing nine of the next 10 games and were under 500 since the lightening start with a record of 9-15. Some people were whispering playoffs in the first weeks, but that dream was quickly doused. However they finished the season strong with a 6-4 record beating teams like ratiopharm Ulm and the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. That the club could score was no surprise, but their biggest problem was their defense. Even if they were able to put up 80-85 points, they still lost by more points. In games where Phoenix Hagen scored 80 points or more and still lost happened 12 times. They gave up 80 or more points 24 times. Why did the team give up so many points on a consistent rate? “I think once again it had to do with there interior defense. They play at a fast pace and they are a team of runs, but even so they have the guards that can play defense, but if you made them play defense I dont think it was a high priority on their list”, added John Bynum. Teams also have hurt them much under the boards. “I think in the inside because I think the only down low defender is Eddie Seward and without him I think they struggle. They can put points up but he does so many little things for them”, warned John Bynum.
In 2010-2011, Phoenix Hagen were forced to do a sort of house cleaning simply because guys like Jacob Burtschi, Mark Dorris and Quentin Pryor were to expensive to hold. With costs on making more seating capacity possible in their old arena Ischeland arena, the team had hug expenses which didn´t help for the player budget for last season. It also isn´t easy when players see Hagen as a town where they can make a name for themselves and then get better offers from other teams the next season. Eight players left the club including scoring guard David Bell as well as young German talents Andreas Buchert and Malte Schwarz. Important was that the team was able to hold three important players with experienced German Bernd Kruel, versatile inside out player Zygimantas Jonusas and inside beast Edward Seward. The club knew that money was scarce, so they had a lot of home work to do that summer in getting the best possible players for the cheapest price. The team returned two ex Beko BBL players with Brandon Brooks who got his feet wet with the Eisbaeren playing a solid rookie season under Doug Spradley learning the ropes from starting point guard Louis Campbell and Marc Carter who had played in Duesseldorf and on any night can light up scoreboards in the Beko BBL with the best of them. The team also brought in Tristan Blackwood who made a name for himself in Holland, second year man Jordan Hasquet who is there to help under the boards and veteran Jason Crowe who was playing his 13th professional season and Germany was the 11th country where he had played. Crowe left the team earlier in the season. The team then picked up Davin White who brings experience to the point guard position at 30 years old and 186cm. The team had ex Tuebingen player Patrick Sparks earlier, but released him as he couldn´t find his rhythm White who played preseason for the Phoenix Suns years ago had shown in his first 7 games that he can play point guard averaging 16,4ppg and 5,4apg. He had shown that he can score in the weaker Mexican league where he averaged 28,0ppg recently for Mineros de Cananea (Mexico-CIBACOPA):
Last season wasn´t been pretty for Phoenix Hagen as they showed glimpses of brilliance, but then again played horrible basketball finishing the season in 15th place with a record of 11-23. They had a 3-7 record as the two teams met for the first time in December and defense continued to be a problem as they allowed an average of 93 points in the first ten games. It seems to be the norm for years for Phoenix Hagen, that the team is content just to outscore their opponents with defense being out on the back burner. Hagen seemed to have a major focus on the offensive end and not so much on the defensive end. “There isn´t much help side and their pick and role defense isn´t great either. If their quick shots don´t fall, it can lead to easy fast break points for the opponent. Due to their athleticism, they should be able to get more steals”, warned Tiger guard Josh Young last season. Ingo Freyer prides offense and that is something that works most of the time for the team. “They were an extremely dangerous offensive team. They had so many weapons. They were great in transition and very good on one on one. Their biggest strength was their three point shooting, offensive rebounding and speeding up the game. You had to watch Carter and Jonusas very much”, warned Josh Young. Since the loss to Frankfurt in December, nothing had really gone right as the team had a good span around Christmas winning three in a row including against the always tough s.Oliver baskets Wurzburg, but since then had a 2-12 record until their return visit to Frankfurt which they lost. They ended the season with a strong 3-0 record including their biggest win of the season beating the LTi Giessen 46ers at home on the last game day to stay in the beko BBL. Their other biggest win was against Alba Berlin which they have beaten twice in a row at home in the last two seasons.
AS is so often the case, Phoenix Hagen made a house cleaning as 11 players went and eight new players came. The team had more budget this season than last and did the best that they could despite the circumstances. The biggest heartache was losing Zgyimantas Jonusas who smelt the euro´s in Italy going to Juve Caserta. The club was able to hold German dinosaur Bernd Kruel that is palying his 16th season there and scoring point guard David White that can also pull a Dashaun Wood when the shooting isn´t on and focus on the playmaking. Oliver Herkelmann brought in a mix of experience, young guns from the NCAA and two familiar faces to round out a competitive roster. Two smart moves was bringing back David Bell for a second tour of duty as he can shoot out the lights in any arena and fan favourite Mark Dorris who had an unspectacular season in Ludwigsburg and comes back with a lot of ambition and his fantastic play. Another big signing was versatile Adam Hess who recently got the German citizenship. Hess is a team player that will need to help the team in scoring. Larry Gordon was brought in to give scoring nd rebounding aid. The American had a strong season in Austria and is ready to make the next step. Two risky transactions were bringing in Abe Lodwick and Dino Gregory, but both have proved that they can play in the Beko BBL. Lodwick has been consistent and preforms his role well from the bench while Gregory has shown his defensive eagerness and talent in the early going. Young German Ole Wendt was also hauled in and promised to receive minutes to help further his development. The strength of Phoenix Hagen as always will be their offense. They are a team that loves to score and also practice that run and gun game. Weakness are their defense as when they can´t score a lot of points then they have problems to score. They have given up 80 or more points in six of the first ten games. A weakness also could be their rebounding as they have no dominant big man. After 10 games, their rebounding has been more than solid as they have averaged 36 rebounds per game, but 196cm forward Larry Gordon is their top rebounder. They need help from each player on the boards in each game.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners swept the season series in 2009-2010 with Phoenix Hagen stomping all over them in Hagen 93-64 as Derrick Allen led all scorers with 22 points, Aubrey Resse chipped in with 18 points and Grayson Moyer had one of his best games as a Skyliner with 15 points and five assists. In the return game in Frankfurt, Phoenix Hagen lost 89-76. Skyliner captain Pascal Roller led Frankfurt with 18 points and five assists and Derrick Allen produced 17 points. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners outrebounded Phoenix Hagen 66-49 in both games. Last season, the Skyliners also won the season series with a 90-85 win as Jermaine Bucknor led the team with 19 points and six rebounds and 92-53 romp at home getting 24 points and eight rebounds from Roger Powell and only six points and seven assists from Dashaun Wood. In the first game this season, the Fraport Skyliners romped Phoenix Hagen 83-65 as fans saw the last Beko BBL game of Jon Leuer who erupted for 27 points and Jimmy Mckinney had 21 points. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners stomped all over Phoenix Hagen 92-47. Five players scored in double figures as the team was led by Devin Gibson with 16 points. The do or die games continue for the Fraport Skyliners as they try to improve form the basement 17th place. With the way the team has been playing in the last weeks, it is apparent that they are a lot better than their 17th place reflects. They have held Ulm, Wurzburg and Oldenburg to an average 60 points in the last games, but won only one of those games. Their offense remains to be their biggest road block in winning games. Just like last season it is their defense that has to carry them. “Frankfurt did a super job holding us to 63 points. If they can defend like that and be physical than that will be their way to beating Hagen. They have the speed to keep up with them”, stressed 2004 Detroit Pistons draft pick Rickey Paulding. Phoenix Hagen has been very up and down this season. After starting losing four of their first six games, they have a 3-3 record in the last six games. Defense continues to be their biggest flaw as they have given up more than a 100 points three times averaging 86 so far this season. If Frankfurt has a somewhat decent day at the offensive office and defend the way they know how then they have good chances to win, but then again one never knows what to expect next from their offense especially if a scorer like Ted Scott is out of the line up.
Phoenix Hagen is led by 30 year old 186cm point guard Davin Gibson who is playing his second season in Hagen. The Phoenix, Arizona native played at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (NJCAA) before transferring to Cal.St.-Northridge (NCAA) in 2003 and playing there until 2005. In his senior year he played 31 games: 12.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.3apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3FGP: 38%. He played in the ABA and D-league briefly and also gained European experience in Serbia, but he has gotten most of his experience in Mexico. There he made a name for himself with his scoring. Last season he played for Halcones UV Xalapa (Mexico-LNBP, starting five): 39 games: 12.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 71.3%, in Mar.’12 moved to Phoenix Hagen (Germany-BBL, starting five): 11 games: 17.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 5.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 44.7%, FT: 75.4%. David Bell is a 31 year old 186cm guard from Oakland, California that is playing his second season for Phoenix Hagen. He is a A 1/2 guard who simply assaults any game he plays. He is an outstanding 3 pt. shooter, can penetrate and dish with the best. Offensively can carry a team, also is a top defender. He played at Montana(NCAA) and in his senior year played Montana (NCAA) 30 games: 17.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 83.6%. He started his professional basketball career in 2003 and played in Switzerland, Finland and France before spending the last years in the D-league. In 2010-2011, he played for Phoenix Hagen (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 31 games: Score-3(16.5ppg), 2.2rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 78.1%. Last season he played for GasTerra Flames Groningen (Holland-Eredivisie): EuroCup: 6 games: 15.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 88.2%; Dutch League: 36 games: 13.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT-3(84.3%).
Larry Gordon is a 25 year old 196cm forward that is playing his first season for Phoenix Hagen. He played at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2005-2009. He turned professional in 2009 and played for Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 36 games: 14.0ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 75.8%. He played for ECE Bulls Kapfenberg (Austria-A Bundesliga) the last two seasons and last season played 38 games: 14.7ppg, Reb-3(8.4rpg), 1.8apg, FGP-3(65.2%), 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 77.1%. Gordon is the leading rebounder on the team despite his only 196cm frame and he fits well into the style of Ingo Freyer. “I think it fits perfectly, I love the concept coach is teaching us. I love the fast break and to score easy buckets off of it. That kind of pace to the game is great and it makes us more of a threat. My rebounding ability is perfect for this team, we have a lot of talented rebounders and Im just going to add on to that with my strong rebounding”, stressed Larry Gordon. RE bounding has always been a strength in his game. “I cant really explain it, its just something that is embedded into my game. Its a lot of heart and relentless effort to get the rebound that makes me so good at it. When the ball goes up you will always see me near the rim no matter what. That is just what I do”, added Larry Gordon. Abe Lodwick is a 24 year old 201cm swingman from Bend, Oregon that withstood a try out with Phoenix Hagen and has solidified a position on the roster. He played at Washington State from 2007-2012 including with Euroleague player Taylor Rochestie. In hiss enior year, he played Washington St. (NCAA): 21 games: 5.2ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 23.5%, 3PT: 45.1%, FT: 66.7%. It isn´t only his offense that he wants people to remember this season in the Beko BBL. “My defense is something I take a lot of pride in. It bothers me when my man scores and I think it is invaluable to have players who lock up on defense. I know Phoenix Hagen likes to run and shoot, so I am hoping my defense will stand-out at times and help us”, stressed Abe Lodwick.
Adam Hess started his third tour of duty for the Artland Dragons last, but this season moved to Phoenix Hagen. The trend the last years has always shown that Hess can´t stay away for more than two years from Artland as He played the first time with the Dragons in 2006 and the second time in 2008 and the third in 2011-2012. Hess is a 31 year old 201cm forward from Michigan. He is a quick forward with not so great athletic skills, but very effective at the scoring department. He’s a tough player, however, and knows how to battle inside for a rebound and he defends well and has a great attitude. He played at William & Mary and also has gained experience playing in Italy, Czech Republic, France and Spain. In the Czech republic he won the league title twice with Nymburk and the Czech Rep. League All-Star Game -05 (3-Points Shootount Winner) in 2006. In 20092010, he played for C.B. Tarragona 2016 (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 34 games: 14.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 88.1%. He had much success in the Czech Republic winning the league title in 2005 and 2006 and showing his shooting ability winning the 2005 Allstar game three point shooting contest. Last season for the Artland Dragons he played EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 3.0ppg, 1.5rpg; EuroChallenge: 11 games: 10.2ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 51.3%, FT: 84.6%; German League: 39 games: 6.2ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 86.5%. 36 year old 210 cm center Bernd Kruel has played most of his career in Hagen starting with Brandt in 1993, but leaving in January 2004 as the team folded. He got rewarded by winning a BBL title with the Opel Skyliners. After playing some years in Frankfurt and Bonn, he came back to Hagen in 2008-2009 helping the team get back into the BEKO BBL. He may not be the youngest anymore, but he will bang with anyone and can still play at a very high level. In 2009-2010 he played 32 games averaging 7.4ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 69.0%.His quickness, leaping ability, shot selection and rebounding are his main strength. He is a good athlete, can shoot, can dribble and plays inside and outside. He played in the BEKO BBL Allstar game in 2000, reached the BEKO BBL Cup final in 2002 and 2004 and was a BEKO BBL finalist in 2005 and 2008 with The Telekom Baskets Bonn. Last season, he played 33 games: 6.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 59.3%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 75.6%.
Dino Gregory is a 23 year old 200cm forward from Baltimore, Maryland that is playing hiss econd professional season. He played at Maryland(NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 107 NCAA games. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 9.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 76.4%. Last season he was a rookie playing for Sundsvall Dragons (Sweden-Basketligan, starting five): 40 games: 13.2ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg, Blocks-1(1.5bpg), FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 73.0%. . Mark Dorris is a 27 year old 188 cm guard that returned back to Hagen after playing last season for EnBW Ludwigsburg.. He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and visited Princeton high school. He then attended St. Catharine College for a year before transfering to Marshall where he played from 2005-2008. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 39.1%, 3Pts: 34.3%, FT: 75.9%.For Cuxhaven, he played 29 games: 18.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.7apg, Steals-3(2.3spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 77.3%. In 2010-2011 for Phoenix Hagen, he was invited to the Beko BBL Allstar game and for Hagen played 34 games: 15.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 24.4%, FT: 72.8%. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 33 games: 9.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.9apg, Steals-4(1.4spg), FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 84.5%. The team also brought in 20 year old 190cm point guard Ole Wendt that was born in Kiel, Germany. He started his basketball career in 2007 for Itzehoe Eagles (Regionalliga). He then played for Paderborn Baskets II (Germany-2.Regionalliga) and Benslips Baskets Salzkotten. He played for the Webmoebel Baskets Paderborn (ProA) the last two seasons and last season played 32 games: 6.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 24.5%, FT: 69.0%. He recently played at the European Championships U20 in Slovenia -12: 6 games: 2.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.3apg. The team also brought bulk under the basket with Bjorn SChoo who is a 31 year old 213cm center that is playing his first season with Phoenix Hagen. He has a lot of experience having played in the NCAA for Northern St. (NCAA2), Greece, France and Hagen is his seventh station in Germany. He played for USC Heidelberg (ProA) the last two years and last season played 25 games: 8.8ppg, 6.2rpg, FGP: 55.8%, FT: 81.8%