Besides enjoying the amazing, captivating and loud atmosphere in the Franken arena in Bayreuth, some fans might have been looking forward to seeing Gary Mcghee slamming home a put back and making comparisons to Jermareo Davidson and the similarity of their hair styles, observing the hustle of American Joe Trapani with the looks of actor Chris O´ Donnel as both visited Boston College to get their education, watching the perfect grace of Kevin Hamilton slipping his teammates crisp passes for points or trying to predict how many dunks a Jason Cain will have. However one match up that might get less interest, but no doubt is of big interest is the guard play of two young and upcoming Germans Simon Schmitz and Konstantin Klein. Schmitz has continued to develop nicely with BBC Bayreuth and the big trust and extended minutes from head coach Marco Van Den Berg surely has helped his self confidence. Schmitz who has a young brother Aaron that plays in the PRO B for the Dragons Rhondorf is averaging 18,3 minutes per game and 6,2ppg, 1,2rpg and 1,1apg. He has scored in double figures six times including a season high 15 points in a huge 90-65 home win against Alba Berlin. If you had asked Konstantin Klein of the Fraport Skyliners before the season what his chances were of getting playing time for the team, he would of said, hoping to get some minutes, but nobody ever expected that he would be averaging 14 minutes per game and logged 34 minutes in Oldenburg. His best game was a 10 point performance in a loss in Berlin. Klein plays a tough defense that really annoys offensive minded players and has a penetrating self confidence seldom seen for his age and he just keeps battling and firing up shots even if the first few don´t fall. „He always gives 100% and tries to bring a lot of intensity into the game with his defense. I played against him last summer with the A2 and I knew what he can do. It shows that when young German players get confidence form the coach that they can make a step forward. I am a bit surprised by his rise, but I am happy for him”, stressed Simon Schmitz. BBC Bayreuth lost the first encounter in Frankfurt 76-59 and Schmitz played very solid with 12 points in 21 minutes while Klein had 0 points in 12 minutes and was looking for revenge as he finished with six points in 11.45 minutes helping BBC Bayreuth get past the Fraport Skyliners 75-69 as Konstantin Klein played little with 5.45 minutes netting two points and one steal. “This was an interesting duel where one has to say the advantage goes to Klein on defense. I have liked the development of Klein this season. He is a player that has those typical German virtues that always gives everything on the court. He is like a Duracell battery that never gets tired and plays with heart and defends like a tiger. It is always nice to watch these duels and then put a resume at the end to see who was better. It is important to keep a perspective as to what guys have a chance to become a national player in the future”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss. After the loss Skyliner German big man Johannes Voigtmann reflected on this German guard duel. “Both have similar games and both are good shooters, but Schmitz has more experience. Klein has shown this season that he has confidence to hit big shots something that Schmitz is doing on a consistent rate. That is something that Klein should strive to be able to do in the future”, stressed Johannes Voigtmann.
A week ago it was a Robin Benzing and Steffan Hamann that sealed the fate of the Fraport Skyliners with their play and this week it was Beckham Wyrick who is your typical strong role player that does so much on the court, but most likely could get even more recognition for their fine play. Wyrick finished the game with 14 points and six rebounds shooting 67% from the field and one could give him a new nickname changing his Becks to Mr big shot not meaning that he things the world of himself, but that he makes the important shots. For Wyrick who has played in Leverkusen, Bamberg and Munich it seemed like just another typical day at the basketball office for him. “I have always been a role player in my career, but I have more of a role on offense with BBC Bayreuth. I just work hard in practice taking shots which gives me the confidence to make them in games”, warned Cincinnati native Beckham Wyrick. Wyrick hit big shots all throughout the game, but not more important than in the fourth quarter where he nailed two always then when Frankfurt was a few points behind. Wyrick has earned the respect of his opponents since years. “Wyrick has so much self confidence in his shot. He does all the small things on the court and hustles to the rebound. He is a player that every team wants to have”, stressed Johannes Voigtmann. After the win, Wyrick was giving an interview for local Bayreuth TV and next to him was BBC Bayreuth head coach Marco Van Den Berg who was waiting his turn. One could see the sparkle in the eyes of the dutch man head coach when mentioning Wyrick. “He has a great character. Whenever you need to win, Wyrick does it with character and not talent. He hit big shots and neutralized Quantez Robertson from being effective from winning the 50/50 balls”, expressed BBC Bayreuth head coach Marco Van Den Berg,
When your way down in the bottom of the standings like the Fraport Skyliners are then the only thing that counts is winning. Even when the team is playing well, it is no excuse for losing. The Fraport Skyliners left Bayreuth with their fourth loss in a row and thanks to a win from the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig, the 2004 Beko BBL champion slipped to 17th place in the standings. With head coach Muli Katzurin back from a week in Israel and both ex LTi Giessen 46er Americans Laquan Prowell and Ryan Brooks integrated more into the team, they were unable to successfully make a comeback in crunch time despite fighting until the end, but falling short. “BBC Bayreuth capitalized on our mistakes. We were in a hole quick and were unable to come back. We had problems getting into our offense and didn´t shoot well. Whenever we made mistakes, they took advantage of it and scored on offense”, added ex Eisbaeren Bremerhaven forward Zach Peacock. BBC Bayreuth were trying to recover off a bitter loss in Ludwigsburg and quickly got going and set the pace of the game and kept a cool head in crunch time making the right plays and hitting the big shots winning their fourth game in a row at home. “We knew that it would be a tough game and that it would be a fight. Frankfurt had outhustled us in Frankfurt. We just wanted to bounce back and we had much energy this time. We got off to a quick start and we fed off the atmosphere and our fans. We hit big shots, caused turnovers and played good defesne forcing them to tough shots which gave us the win”, commented ex Artland Dragon Bryan Bailey.
BBC Bayreuth got off to a quick start leading 4-0 as ex Alba Berlin guard Nicolai Simon scored with a jumper and a lay up. BBC Bayreuth didn´t waste anytime getting a rhythm and getting their set offense running taking quick shots and getting the crowd going. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t waste much time matching their intensity early as the two ex Giessen players Ryan Brooks scored inside and Laquan Prowell stuffed home an ally-op pass from Robertson as the game was tied at 4-4. BBC Bayreuth kept their intensity cooking going on a 6-0 run to lead 11-4. Simon scored his seventh consecutive point, Wyrick hit a fade away jumper and Kevin Hamilton scored on the fast break due to a Simon steal. BBC Bayreuth kept the lead, but the Fraport Skyliners stayed on the heels of BBC Bayreuth as Prowell and Brooks continued to hit cutting the BBC Bayreuth lead to 14-10. Wyrick then hit a jumper over the outstretched hand of Tez as Frankfurt trailed 17-10. Joe Trapani who had had a strong game in the loss in Frankfurt with 16 points and 10 rebounds had two big blocks in the first quarter to help in the BBC Bayreuth charge. The Fraport Skyliners kept their best for last closing out the first quarter with a 8-2 run to trail only 19-18. Devin Gibson made his best play of the game spinning into the zone and closing with a no look pass to Danilo Barthel who made a hard dunk. Robertson then made a steal and went coast to coast for an easy bucket and then went baseline making a perfect pass in traffic to the cutting Marius Nolte who made an easy basket. “The game was even at this point. BBC Bayreuth had a good start, but Frankfurt was able to break their rhythm and get into the game. No team had an advantage after 10 minutes”, explained basketball expert Steven Clauss.
The second quarter continued to be very even, but BBC Bayreuth had the better start in the second frame going on a 4-0 run to lead 24-18. Jason Cain stayed awake catching a Peter Zeis airball and making the lay in with one second on the shot clock and ex Braunschwieg guard Kevin Hamilton connected on a three pointer. The Fraport Skyliners continued not to let BBC Bayreuth get away staying in the game with a Peacock dunk and Dawan Robinson lay in to cut the BBC Bayreuth lead to 27-23. Hamilton known for his classic first pass play found Trapani inside with a no look pass for an easy bucket as BBC Bayreuth led 31-25. The Fraport Skyliners then scored nine unanswered points in a row taking their first lead of the game 34-31. Frankfurt took advantage of BBC Bayreuth mistakes and getting some easy buckets on transition. Brooks started the run with a pull up jumper, Robinson scored on the fast break, Prowell nailed a three pointer and Robinson scored again in traffic in the lane. That was the last run of the quarter as BBC Bayreuth went into halftime with a 9-2 run to lead 40-36. Bailey hit a free throw, Hamilton scored inside and Bailey hit a three pointer. “Bayreuth wasn´t doing anything special, but had the lead because of the many offensive turnovers that they had got. Frankfurt was only shooting 13% from outside and had too many turnovers which helped bBC Bayreuth have the lead”, added Steven Clauss. BBC Bayreuth was shooting 44% from the field and 33% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 13% from the three point line. BBC Bayreuth had the 15-11 rebound edge and seven turnovers and Frankfurt had nine turnovers.
In the third quarter, BBC Bayreuth held the lead as the Fraport Skyliners were playing catch up and using much energy. Joe Trapani started the third quarter with a three point over Prowell. Robinson then scored on the penetration which he does effectively, but Nicolai Simon answered with a penetration lay up as no help defense was anywhere to be seen as Frankfurt trailed 45-39. BBC Bayreuth continued to get too many offensive rebounds and second chances as Frankfurt was simply too soft on the boards. After a Trapani lay in, Prowell and Robinson got to the foul line cutting the BBC Bayreuth lead to 49-44. BBC Bayreuth had a special knack on this night always when Frankfurt got closer to hit big shots as Bailey scooped up an offensive rebound and getting a put back for the 51-44 lead. Prowell and Mcghee then traded baskets as BBC Bayreuth still led 53-46. After a Wyrick jumper, Brooks dropped a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed only 55-50. Simon Schmitz then hit a typical BBC Bayreuth big shot on this night over Gibson leading 58-50. Frankfurt then shortly before the end of the third quarter cruised out on a 5-0 run to trail only 58-55. Robertson spun to the hoop changing the ball from his left to right hand for the easy bucket and Brooks snuck inside. Bailey closed out the third quarter with free throws as BBC Bayreuth led 60-55. “The offensive rebounds were giving BBC Bayreuth the lead. They were getting many extra shots and the Frankfurt defense wasn´t stable enough”, stressed Steven Clauss.
Kevin Hamilton hit a big three pointer for the 63-57 lead in the fourth quarter. The Fraport Skyliners continued to battle back as Zach Peacock who had suffered three quick fouls in the first half started to slowly get heated up as he made a nifty reverse lay up as Frankfurt trailed only 63-61. BBC Bayreuth did let the Skyliner comeback rattle their game as as they broke out on an 8-2 run to lead 71-63. Wyrick and Schmitz hit big shots and it seemed like that had sealed the win for BBC Bayreuth, but the Fraport Skyliners had one last gasp of energy going on a 6-0 run to cut the BBC Bayreuth lead to 71-69 with on eminute to go. Peacock started the mini run with a step back jumper, Prowell then scored inside and Robinson also scored inside. With time running out it was Beckham Wyrick once again that had the hot hand burying a jumper from the corner over Robertson for the 73-69 lead. “I made a pump fake on Tez, had open look and made the shot. Tez is a great defender. He went for the block which gave me the open shot”, stressed Beckham Wyrick. “I was too far in playing help. They made a quick swing out and I had to close it out. Coach had told us in practice to stay on ground, but I jumped. He made a good move and hit the shot. Wyrick is a tough player that always works hard on offense and defense. You always need to match his intensity”, warned Quantez Robertson. Bailey closed out the game with free throws. “The best team won today. The Fraport Skyliners were unable to stop BBC Bayreuth from getting offensive rebounds and had too many turnovers”, added Steven Clauss.
BBC Bayreuth was led by Bryan Bailey with 15 points. Beckham Wyrick added 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kevin Hamilton contributed 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. Joe Trapani produced 10 points and five rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Ryan Brooks with 15 points. Dawan Robinson added 14 points. Laquan Prowell contributed 13 points and Zach Peacock 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot solid form the field at 49%, but were miserable from the parking lot with 15% while BBC Bayreuth shot 41% from the field and 38% from the parking lot. It was one of the worst rebounding efforts of the season as BBC Bayreuth won the rebound duel 39-23. The Fraport Skyliners only have four days before a do or die game in Braunschweig and not much time to prepare. “We rebounded very bad in many phases of the game. We defended well and I thought that we took good shots and were able to execute and got on the fast break”, stressed Johannes Voigtman. Despite playing better offense in the last two games with the new Americans Prowell and Brooks, it is no secret that the teams till has to score more points to win tight ball games. The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig host the Fraport Skyliners on Feburary 13th.