The Artland Dragons Don´t Need A Shaq When They Have Baby King Shaq


Every season, there are always certain players that arrive in the Beko BBL where fans get as excited as a little boy does entering Harrods in London in the toy department seeing a life size doll of Mickey Mouse, Tom Brady still does after winning big games in the NFL playoffs or 2012 Dream teamer Anthony Davis possibly getting reved up about pepping up his unibrow with the team colors of the New Orleanes Hornets. Especially in the 2013 season, the Beko BBL was spiced up with an extra abundance of ex NBA players in the league like Brose Baskets Bamberg forward Bostjan Nachbar who hit the Fraport Skyliners in Bamberg with three quick three pointers in the first quarter before Ted Scott could was even able to grab into his holster and use his quick release snipper qualities, Lawrence Roberts who played two seasons in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies and already as a rookie could battle with guys like Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and even look up to Pau Gasol and inquire where Elvis Pressley´s house is for sightseeing purposes. The Beko BBL also got a late treat before Christmas getting another ex NBA player to their roster with Ryan Gomes. If it hadn´t been already enough NBA luxury this season getting talented ex New Jersey Nets forward Dennis Horner, they were able to get the American. Gomes is from Cape Verde and is a 30 year old 201cm forward from Waterbury, Connecticut with biggest thrill is sports earning the Billy Finn Award as the top player in Waterbury. He has added range to his outside shooting and bulked up his frame. The result is a quick, agile player who runs the court extremely well, and can defend and rebound inside, even being a little undersized.He played at Providence from 2001-2005 and tore up the NCAA in his senior year playing  31 games: 21.6ppg, 8.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3Pts: 38%. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2005 where he played until 2007. He then played three years for the Minnesota Timberlakes and the last two seasons for the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite playing seven years in the NBA and amassing 481 games his claim to fame is being shipped to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett in 2007 and the rest is history. So far in eight games he is averaging 12,8ppg and hauls down 5,9rpg and dished out 1,8apg. He hasn´t shown his total package yet, but that is understandable. Basketball expert Steven Clauss had his doubts about Gomes and had this to say shortly before it was made official that he had returned back to the States“ Gomez is new to Europe coming straight form the NBA and it is never easy to adjust as it is a new world in Europe. He still needs to adjust, but should he adjust, then that could change the play of the Artland Dragons”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss. All eyes in the Fraport arena could have been on Gomes if he had still been on the team, but it is also a joy to watch 2013 Beko BBL allstar three point winner Demond Mallet flash his winner style even if he has never played a minute in the NBA. Without ex NBA player Ryan Gomes as well as without athletic flyer Bryce Taylor and 7 time German champion Guido Gruinheid, they were able to beat the Fraport Skyliners 62-58. The Fraport Skyliners were looking to break their one game losing streak, but played a miserable first half, and got better in the second half and made a comeback in the fourth, but to no avail. “In the first half, we played like chickens with their heads cutoff. In the second half, we played with more heart, energy and determination. In the fourth quarter we were carried by Quantez Robertson and Zach peacock that played very aggressive. However at the end like always, we started to come back to late”, stressed American point guard Dawan Robinson. The Artland Dragons that have been underachieving as if they were related to the Los Angeles Lakers were riding a three game losing streak, but in Frankfurt came together like a team and played solid for 40 minutes. “Even if we are missing guys, we still have a very deep roster that will compensate losses. We had a very good first half where Anthony King and Brad Buckman carried us. It was an overall very good team performance”, stressed Dragon guard Bryce Taylor.

The game marked the return of two ex Skyliners with Brad Buckmann and Anthony King. Buckman who comes from Austin, Texas and can witness bats flying around in the city if bored had played shortly for Frankfurt back in the 2010-2011 season, but was the odd man out when then coach Gordon Herbert chose to pick Joe Dabbert over him for the rest of the season. Buckmann left the team and had two strong seasons in Turkey averaging 19ppg and 9rpg for Antayla and last season 13ppg and 7rpg with Bursa. He was relaxed and carefree after destroying his ex team with 14 points and 13 rebounds and still had nice to say despite the circumstances of how he had left. “It was cool to be back. It had been over two years ago when I had played here and I remembered the great fans and atmosphere here. I was excited to play against my ex team and wanted to play well after how I ahd left the team, but honestly I never held a grudge against the Skyliners. It is a business and they picked Joe Dabbert. I went on to have good seasons in Turkey. It was a blessing in disguise. It was amazing to see how well Buckman and King were able to harmonize in just 72 hours since the arrival of the Texas native. “Buckman is a smart player. He knows how to move without the ball and to get to the rebound. He just doesn´t need much time to get used to a system no matter what it is. He played very well with King”, stated ex Bonn player Bryce Taylor. “The system in Spain didn´t fit me, but the system of Koch does. I am more of a four and not really to post up. I just know where to be on the court. I am 29 years old and just know the rules well”, added Brad Buckmann. “Artland didn´t need a Gomez. Buckmann was great and they found a great replacement with him”, warned Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein.

Anthony King played for the Skyliners in the 2008-2009 season under Murat Didin as a rookie and then played two very strong seasons in the lower league in Cyprus and was able to polish his game being rewarded with a late season pick up by a first division Greek season. For InterCollege Etha Engomis he played  EuroChallenge: 8 games: 17.0ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-1(2.0bpg), FGP: 53.6%, FT: 76.2%; Cyprus League: 16 games: 14.3ppg, Reb-2(10.0rpg), 1.1apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP: 54.1%, 3PT-3(50.0%), FT: 76.8%; German head coach Stefan Koch became aware of that and hauled him to Artland for the 2011-2012 season. Last season he averaged 9,9ppg and 5,9rpg and has continued to develop well. King returned back to Frankfurt and just dominated in the first half picking off rebounds like apples in an orchard and finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. A few years ago there were rumors that Demond Mallet was trying to get his cousin NBA legend Shaq to play a few games in Belgium, but that never materialized on account of an injury. If Mallet ever had ideas to do that again, he should just look at Anthony King who is playing like a mini Shaq. “King was very tough down low. It is great watching him, because he doesn´t sit in the post waiting to get the ball, but works to get it. He gave Peacock a hard time. He plays with so much energy and we feed off each other. He is like a mini Shaq for us”, stressed Brad Buckmann. King who is a soft spoken American lets his play speak for him, but after the big win, he spent some time reflecting on Frankfurt and his game. “I think I have developed well. I don’t like to look at my rookie season. It was tough and some things really messed me up. It went as far that I almost didn´t come back to Europe. I am thankful for coach Klaus Perwas. He has seen my development and he has seen me improve my inside game. Klaus is a good guy and I value his opinion. I wish I was a mini Shaq. I am no 7.1 300 pound player, but just try my best in each game. Buckman and I really harmonize well. We both go to the glass hard and it is a real motivation to see when he goes as hard to the glass like I do. We really used the mismatches to our advantage today”, stressed Anthony King.

If there was one real noticeable thing in the pre game warm ups then it was the gum chewing of 2008 ULEB cup winner Demond Mallet who can chew gum with the best of them except for maybe Kenny Frease who is in a league of his own on the cow pastures. The Fraport Skyliners had been on a six day team building training camp in Tenerifa and it was hoped that they would find a quick answer on the court, but instead witnessed the Artland Dragons race out to a 10-0 lead. King scored twice inside, Buckmann grabbed an offensive rebound and made a put back while little used German Acha Njei who played for the injured Bryce Taylor dropped a three pointer. The Artland Dragons found their rhythm quick on offense and Anthony King and Brad Buckmann were a two man wrecking crew on the boards and making points. The Fraport Skyliners had a tough time getting into rhythm. Frankfurt also had some real bad luck as a few shots rolled around the toilet bowl as if the basket was clogged up. It took Frankfurt almost six minutes to score their first points as it was Quantez Robertsons coring hard on the penetration. He also would be the first Skyliner to score in each quarter. The crashing the boards continued for the Artland Dragons as King and Buckman hauled down two offensive rebounds and secured putbacks. Danilo Barthel and Robertson hit shots to make the 18-8 disadvantage after one quarter not look so bad. “The Artland Dragons attacked from the start and were playing very good defense forcing the Skyliners to turnovers and limiting them to one shot. King also was playing. When Frankfurt was trapping or double teaming him, he seemed to have problems though”, stressed Fraport Skyliner junior Taylor Brown. The Artland Dragons were shooting 64% from the two point range, and 25% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 20% from the two point range and 29% from outside. The rebounding was crucial as Artland dominated the boards 13-3. Both teams had four turnovers a piece.

In the second quarter, the Artland Dragons continued to dominate the game going on a 8-3 run to extend their lead to 28-11. The Artland big men continued to do what they wanted to inside as Serb Petar Popovic scored a tough hook shot over Johannes Voigtman, King hit a pull up jumper and 2011 French cup winner Marquez Haynes made a off balance shot. Frankfurt continued to be disorganized on offense with two air balls from Robinson and Dowell and King pulled out his Shaq face blocking Quantez Robertson twice. German guard Konstantin Klein stopped the Artland run with a big three pointer. Klein finished with six points and two rebounds in 22 minutes and was one of the better Skyliner players of the day after Tez and Peacock. “Klein had a good game. No matter what the score is, he always comes in and gives energy. Even if he misses a shot, he doesn´t drop his head, but continues to shoot. He has the right attitude”, stressed Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. King then hit a brutal turn around shot over Peacock and Dowell and Popovic ended the second quarter with a mid distance jumper from the wing as the Artland Dragons led 35-16 at the break. “Frankfurt played better at the start of the second quarter, but then seemed to unfold again at the end. We simply weren´t making shots and it seemed like some guys were not in their normal rhythm. I know how good this team can be in practice, but I didn´t see that in the first half. Their defense was good. They did a good job on pick and role and trappings and when they doubled in the post, Artland had problems. But you can´t win games when your outrebounded 22-13”, stressed Atlanta native Taylor Brown. The Artland Dragons were shooting 52% from the field and 20% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 23% from the field and 27% form the three point line. Artland had the 22-13 rebound advantage and 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had 11 turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners were quickly back on the court after the halftime talk von Muli katzurin and it seemed to do wonders in the first few minutes as they jumped out on a 7-2 run to cut the Artland Dragon lead to 37-23. Robertson started the run with a lay up with a hard penetration to the hole and Peacock followed with a lay in. The run was interrupted with a King lay in fed nicely from Buckman and quiet Ted Scott dropped a bomb from outside. However the Fraport Skyliners were unable to build on this run as the Dragons stormed back on a 7-0 run to extend their lead again to 44-23. Johannes Strasser hit a three pointer, Buckman finished a crushing dunk after King found him open in traffic and King then hit a jumper. Frankfurt then went on a 6-0 run all benefited by free throws as Robertson made five points. Frankfurt was playing more aggressive defense, but weren´t rewarded on offense as they  continued to miss shots and had the tendency to play a bit too much one on one and disregarding being more calm in their sets. Popovic scored on a hook shot over Scott and Mallet hit free throws to close out the third quarter as the Artland Dragons still led comfortably 48-29. The Artland Dragons were shooting 70% from the two point range and only 19% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 21% from the field and 22% from the parking lot. Artland still led the rebound duel 32-23, but had 15 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners made their run and got out fats going on a 8-1 run to cut the Artland lead to 49-37. The Fraport arena after being quieter than usual in the first three quarters slowly came to life. Robertson started the run with a carbon copy penetration to the hoop like to start the third quarter. Super Tez then got an offensive rebound and put back. Peacock then played pick and roll with Gibson for an easy lay up and Tez scored again. Frankfurt was playing their Katzurian style of aggressive defense where each player was helping and surprising the Dragons on countless occasions and for once the offense was clicking. However Artland was strong enough still on offense to keep their lead up as King made a mid distance jumper and Klein nailed a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed 51-40. Buckman and Peacock exchanged buckets as Artland still led 53-42. Artland then had an extra burst of energy going on a mini 5-0 run to extend their lead to 58-42. Buckman connected on a put back and little used Ben Spoeler scored inside. Devin Gibson and Peacock then scored back to back to cut the Dragon lead to 58-49. Mallet then found Buckman that flew to the hoop like a blond Austin bat making his third dunk of the day. The Fraport Skyliners then made their last run as a hot Peacock scored a jumper and then made a nifty reverse layup making a free throw to cut the Artland lead to 60-55. After a Strasser free throw, Robertson who eclipsed his best scoring game of 20 points against Alba Berlin hit a big three pointer with four second remaining as Frankfurt trailed only 61-58. However Strasser closed out the game with a free throw 62-58. “Frankfurt struggled shooting and we knew that it wouldn´t lastTez and Peacock got hot at the end with big shots. I was getting a little nervous at the end”, expressed Bryce Taylor. “We didn´t have enough juice in the tank. We had used so much energy on offense and defense throughout the game”, added Quantez Robertson.

The Artland Dragons were led by Anthony King with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Brad Buckman added 14 points and 13 rebounds. Johannes Strasser contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 23 points and 14 rebounds. “I was very aggressive today and just took what the defense gave me”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Zach Peacock added 19 points and two rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners continue to have woes on offense and shot only 34% from the field and 26% from outside. Why the offense is so inconsistent remains a mystery. “Our offense works in practice, but as soon as we play games it doesn´t. We show that we can score with 29 points in the fourth quarter, but we have to be more consistent”, explained Konstantin Klein. The defense continues to be a bright spot while the rebounding continues to be a nasty thorn in their side that probably won´t be removed in Munich either. “Artland have great inside players. Buckman is wide, King shut down Peacock and Popovic makes those hook shots. We have to work harder on rebounding. Our defense was very good especially in the fourth quarter. That is how we have to always play not just in one quarter”, added Konstantin Klein.

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