With the second half of the Beko BBL in full swing, clubs are as motivated to reach the playoffs or to escape the unwanted cellar of the standings as the Harbaugh brothers were as earning bragging rights at the next Thanksgiving feast in front of family and friends, San Antonio Spur Tony Parker making it known in his lawsuit against a New York club that singer Chris Brown is a violent thug in reference to a bar brawl last year in New York city where the French man had part of his cornea injured by a flying piece of glass during a brawl between Brown´s posse and that off Drake´s group or Takeru Kobayashi having the ability to enhale a whole pizza in one minute at a Super Bowl party. Recently teams have been adding players to help bolster their roster for the stretch run. The Artland Dragons haven´t had much luck with position four players this season with guys like Dennis Horner, Andrew Drevo and Ryan Gomes coming and going, but now seem to have landed the perfect fix with golf fanatic Brad Buckman who has been integrated quickly and seems to have a blind understanding with baby Shaq Anthony King. The Fraport Skyliners are trying to get out of the damp swamp at the bottom of the standings and have added Americans Ryan Brooks and Laquan Prowell who added an extra spice to the offense with scoring support, three point excellence and defense spark. “Our offense hasn´t been this good in a while”; stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg have added two Americans with Eric Coleman and Lawrence Westbrook who prompt help beat BBC Bayreuth in their first game with their combined scoring in the last minute. The team seems to be going in an upward spiral with John Patrick at the helm with a two game winning streak. Another team that is hoping to jump from the bottom are the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig who have a talented roster on paper, but are currently in 17th place. The club recently stocked up with Lubus Barton who is a 32 year old 202cm forward form the Czech Republic that is a great athlete. Excellent shooter from various range, but can easily run in the traffic. Good ball handling skills and is very useful on defensive end, where he can get many rebounds. He played at Valparaiso(NCAA) where Chris Ensminger also played from 1998-2002. He turned professional in 2002 and has played in the top leagues since in the Italian Serie A and the last seven years in the ACB where he played two seasons for FC Barcelona. The question is how quickly he can get integrated and help Braunschweig? “Barton is a great player. I saw him play with the Czech Republic national team. I like his game. He is a stretch four that knows where the basket is. He is hardworking and fits well to the team as there is no alternative to Harding Nana. If he plays the three, he will create massive match up problems as he can move well. He reminds me a bit of a Jacob Burtschi. He will help Braunschweig. There is a reason he played for FC Barcelona, because of his skills”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss.
Last season, The New Yorker Braunschweig finished the season in seventh place with a record of 18-16. Their biggest wins were a road win in Oldenburg where it is never easy to exit with a victory and big wins at home against the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. They also suffered a bitter 72-71 loss at home against the Artland Dragons, a 70-69 win in Ludwigsburg and a total collapse in Tuebingen losing by 31 points.. Braunschweig is a team that could beat any team in the Beko BBL on a good day last season. “They had a very balanced team. They had a top center with Kyle Visser who has nice moves, two strong shooters with Nils Mittmann and Robert Kulawick, an allrounder with Mcelroy, a super point guard with Stephen Dennis who is quick and takes care of the ball and Rich Melzer who is a very aggressive rebounder”, stressed Ruben Spoden. After losing Nick Williams, the club did have a weakness. “They don´t have a real back up point guard. Dennis Schroeder is a big talent and I am happy that he can play so much, but he is still developing. The team hasn´t found their rhythm yet, but they will be a totally different team in the second half of the season”, stressed Ruben Spoden. “I think their strength was their guards. I think if their guards played well, then they were tough to beat. I think their weakness was depth down low. If Visser Or Melzer get in foul trouble then you can attack them down low on a more consistent basis”, warned John Bynum. The team has massive injury woes as Rich Melzer, Stephen Dennis and Lamarr Greer are all out with injuries. In the Beko BBL playoffs, The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig didn´t have a real chance against ratiopharm Ulm as they were swept 3-0. The Phantoms defense never got on track as they had no cure for the ratiopharm Ulm firepower as they gave up an average of 94 points in the three games.
This season, the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig signalized a new formel 7-6 and also practiced a team facelift as seven players departed and six new players came aboard. The first order of business was finding a new head coach with Kostas Flevarakis where maanger Oliver Braun didn´t waste much time getting him in the early summer. Flevarakis is agreek coach who has much experience having coached much in Greece and had also in Cyprus and led the Swedish national team as well. The Greek coach might not have had early supporters when he stressed that he had heard of Braunschweig only because of their soccer team, but honestly the German city is better known through Eintracht Braunschweig than its basketball team. The Greek coach is a guy that practices the Greek basketball school on the court, stresses team play, defense and has already shown that young German talented players like a Dennis Schroeder will get his minutes. The club was able to hold likeable Immanuel Mcelroy who still belongs to the top defenders in the league despite not getting any younger. The club also held German indentity figures captain Nils Mittman who will be playing his eighth season in Braunschweig and sharp shooter Robert Kulawick. The tallest player in the Beko BBL Nick Schneiders also remains as his resemblance to Dirk Nowitzki continues to dazzle folks and Dennis Schroeder also is on board. The club brought in 6 new player with five americans and one German. The new point guard is Miah Davis who is a point guard that has always played a role wherever he has player. Who could forget his season with Bonn in 2007-2008, where he helped charge the team to the Beko BBL finals. The team also brought in Thaddeus Mcfadden who lit up the scoreboards in the Czech Republic the last season, but is still looking for his trigger release in the Beko BBL. The biggest surprise has been Casey Mitchell who is a young player playing only his second professional season that has surprised some with his early season scoring punch. For the rebound work, the team have hauled in Nana Harding from Cameroun and Eric Boateng from Great Britan. Harding is an experienced forward that had too very good statistical seasons in Poland and Greece from 2010-2012. Boateng is a young center that also hasn´t reached his full potential yet and has the distinction of being the only current Beko BBl player that took part at the 2012 Olympics in London with England. With Erik Land, the team picked up a young German who also is looking for making his breakthrough in the Beko BBL. It will be interesting to see if he can get his minutes the way Schroeder will? The biggets strength of the team is their guard rotation of Davis, Mcfaadden, Schroeder, Mitchell and Mcelroy. The Phantoms have a lightening quick guard rotation that could present problems for teams that want to play the half court game. The team might not be the most talented, but it will be up to coach Flevarakis to build a special team chemistry and special flair within the team to possibly get some surprise wins this season. The team did bolster their inside game with the late arrival of Boateng, but still might need extra help in games where they have big man foul problems with every guy helping out under the boards. However in the last three months players have come and gone as they said farewell to Americans Casey Mitchell and Thaddeus Mcfadden and recently added Lubus Barton and Courtney Pigram
The Fraport Skyliners have had very very fond memories of The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig as they have a 14-1 record since March 11th, 2006 as Braunschweig won 81-76 then. They also haven´t lost at home since 2002 having won the last nine games in a row.The two most memorable games were from the 2008-2009 season. Who could forget the 68-58 win in the cup game which brought Frankfurt to the TOP 4 in Hamburg. That game displayed the best performance by guard Adam Emmenecker who came out of his shell and proved he has no nervous shooting hand as he left captain Pascal Roller on the bench as he had the hot hand leading the team with 13 points. However in the regular season game in Braunschweig, Roller got his revenge as he led the team to a 55-53 win as his last minute clutch jumper paved the way to the win. In 2009-2010, Frankfurt swept the series winning 81-77 as Frankfurt came from behind to win as Aubrey Reese poured in 21 points and prevailed at home 71-62 as Derrick Allen steered 18 points to the triumph. In teh first game this season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners pulled out a thrilling 94-91 win at home. Frankfurt fought back in the fourth quarter as they came back from being behind 90-87 and close out the game on a 7-0 run as Skyliner captain Pascal Roller hit a huge three pointer and Dashaun Wood a shot. Frankfurt did a fantastic job distributing the ball as seven players scored in double figures led by Pascal Roller and Kimmo Muurinen with 13 points a piece. Frankfurt dominated the boards 38-24. Last season, the Skyliners were 2-1and stretched their winning streak to 12 games as they won two memorable games winning 94-91 at home as they finished the game with a 7-0 run capped by a big three pointer by Pascal Roller. Seven players scored in double figures and nobody scored more than 13 points. In the return date in Braunschweig, Frankfurt pulled out a nail bitter 68-67 as Frankfurt was down 67-65 and Frankfurt won the game on their last possession as Dashaun Wood scored on a penetration and got the free throw to fall. Kimmo Muurinen led Frankfurt with 20 points. The Fraport Skyliners won the first meeting of the season in Braunschweig winning 76-70 as Jermareo Davidson added 26 points and Michael Thompson 22 points. The Fraport Skyliners won the second meeting in an excir´ting 81-80 win in OT as Dennis Schroeder had almost won the game in the regular time with big buckets in the lane at the end. However the Fraport Skyliners kept their cool in their living room winning. Michael Thompson led the Skyliners with 16 points and Tim Ohlbrecht steered 15 points and 11 rebounds to the win. In the first meeting this season, the Fraport Skyliners won a nail bitter 61-59 as ex Skyliner Ted Scott sealed the win with free throws and German Nils Mittman missed a three pointer to win the game.
The Fraport Skyliners travel to Braunschweig with a must win situation. With a loss, they will have two wins less than the Phantom and will slide deeper into the Beko BBL cellar. The Phantoms Braunschweig are coming off a big home win against TBB Trier where American Miah Davis won the game in the last seconds. The Fraport Skyliners are riding on a four game losing streak and didn´t play bad in Bayreuth, but couldn´t get a handle on securing offensive rebounds and were flooded by the opponent with big shots. Quantez Robertson has been the best Skyliner in the last weeks and after the loss in Bayreuth one could sense a little helplessness, but he is still focused about getting a win in Braunschweig. “We have to be even more aggressive eon offense and defense and let the game come to us and just have fun playing basketball”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte knows that the hour of truth has more than arrived. “We desperately need a success experience. We will work very hard in preparation for the game!, warned Marius Nolte.
The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig are led by 32 year old 193cm guard Immanuel Mcelroy who is playing his second season with the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig after successful years in Cologne and Berlin. He played at Cincinnati (NCAA) and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2001. He already made a name for himself winning titles with Rhein Energy Cologne His overall quickness, combined with his mental toughness, makes him well-suited as a defender in the attacking defense. He is very athletic, a 40-inch vertical jump and a bench press approaching 300 pounds, ability to break defenders down with his dribble and his explosiveness to the basket makes him an effective scorer. He also possesses good court vision and excellent ball-handling skills, giving him the ability to distribute the ball, particularly in the transition game. He is a natural leader who makes others around him better players. He also has very much experience having won three BBL cups and two BBL league titles. “If you want to slow down Mcelroy, you have to deny him the ball and give him the jump shot until he starts to make some”, warned Omari Westley. Mcelroy who has never been known as a good shooter has really improved his shooting the last few years. Mcelroy may not score 20 points every night, but he belongs to the top players in the BEKO BBL, because he can really do it all on the court and is also one of the top defenders in the league. The American played at Cologne from 2004-2008 before moving to Alba Berlin in early 2008 as the team had financial difficulties. With Cologne, he was Beko BBL champion in 2006 and won the beko BBL cup in 2005 and 2007. With Alba Berlin, he won the German championship in 2008 and cup in 2009. He is a four time beko BBL Allstar and has played 96 international club games. Last season for Braunschweig, he played 34 games: 8.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 74.2%. Miah Davis is a 31 year old 183cm point guard from Bremerton, Washington. He is a very quick guard. He is a good shooter, and has improved his three point shot. He is a combination guard who can play both positions. He is really playing hard and getting ready to fight. Miah has always been ready to play and excited about playing. He started his basketball career at Modesto JC (NJCAA), then played at Cal.St.-Stanislaus (NCAA2) before finishing his NCAA career at Pacific playing 60 NCAA games. He turned professional in 2004 playing for Roanoke Dazzle (NBDL). He then played two seasons in Poland for Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-EBL) before coming to Bonn in 2007-2008. In the last years, he has gained further experience in Poland, Cyprus and Belgium. Last season, he played for Stella Artois Leuven Bears (Belgium-D1): 36 games: 5.1ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 70.3%. He won two super cups in Cyprus.
Nana Harding is a 31 year old 203cm power forward that is playing his first season in Germany for Braunschweig. He started his basketball career at Virginia Tech (NCAA) in 2001 and finished at Delaware in 2006. As a senior he played 30 games: ScoreCAA-2(19.0ppg), RebCAA-1(10.9rpg), 1.7apg, 1.2spg, BlocksCAA-5(1.3bpg), FG: 46.9%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 64.1%: Finished career at Delaware ranked sixth in rebounds (784), eighth in scoring (1,345 points), eighth in blocks (92) and tied for first in double-doubles (40). Harding has had a consistent career in Europe having played four seasons in Poland and one in Spain and Greece. In five of six seasson where he was healthy, he was able to be a force in scoring and rebounds. Last season, he played for Ilysiakos Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): 22 games: 12.0ppg, Reb-3(7.5rpg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.4%. He has been a member of the Cameroonian National Team in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and played at the African Championships in Libya -09 (Semifinals): 9 games: 9.6ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 73.7%.
Eric Boateng is a 26 year old 208cm center that has the British/Ghana citizenship. He started his basketball career at Duke where he reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2006. He then finished his NCAA career at Arizona State from 2006-2010. He played a total of 118 NCAA games. He started his professional basketball career in 2010 for Idaho Stampede (D-League): 17 games: 5.2ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 46.1%, FT: 52.9%, in Feb.”11 moved to Austin Toros (D-League): 22 games: 4.9ppg, 4.9rpg. Last season, he played for DASH Peristeri GS Athens (Greece-A1, starting five), left in Jan.”12 because of injury: 7 games: 8.4ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 65.7%, FT: 46.4%. He has been a fixture in the British national team the last three years playing the Qualifications to European Championships 2011 -10: 4 games: 1.0ppg, 1.3rpg, European Championships in Lithuania -11: 4 games: 1.5ppg, 2.0rpg, and Olympic Games in London (United Kingdon) -12: 3 games: 4.0ppg, 2.7rpg. 31 year old 201cm German Nils Mittman is a 33 year old 201cm power forward that is playing his eighth season in Braunschweig after having played there from 1998-2001. He is the ultimate team player that will do anything to win. He played two years in Ulm, two years in Wurzburg and three seasons in Ludwigsburg. In 2010-2011 the team captain played 39 games: 3.2ppg, 1.7rpg. He has reached the beko BBL cup final twice in 2008 with EnBW Ludwigsburg and last season with Braunschweig. Last season, the captain played 34 games: 4.6ppg, 2.7rpg. 27 year old 191cm guard Robert Kulawick is playing his second season in Braunschweig after having played the last three years in Goettingen. He started his basketball career at TUS Lichterfelde in 2003 and also played for Alba Berlin from 2004-2006 playing 14 BBL games, three ULEB Cup games and winning the BBL cup in 2006. After playing with The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in 2006-2007, he crossed the boarder into Holland and played for Den Helder Seals playing 34 games averaging 7.9ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 84.6%. Already in 2008-2009, one could see the confidence of John Patrick in the German letting him average 10 minutes per game, and in 2009-2010 season he increased his minutes to 17 minutes. In 2010-2011 for BG Goettingen, he played EuroCup: 14 games: 7.5ppg, 2.1rpg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 37.0%; German League: 36 games: 5.4ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 30.0%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 78.6%. He has been a member of the German U-18 and U-20 teams the last years and if he keeps developing the way he does, then German National coach Dirk Bauermann will have to invite him to the German National team some day. Last season for Braunschweig, the German palyed 30 games: 4.1ppg, 1.8rpg. 28 year old 221cm German giant Nick Schneiders that was born in Bielefeld and grew up in Rietberg is playing his second season in Braunschweig. He has experience having played in the States for S.Carol.Upstate (NCAA2) from 2005-2008 and then transferring to USC Upstate (NCAA) and playing there from 2008-2010. In his senior year, he played 29 games: 12.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.0bpg, FGP: 46.3%, FT: 57.6%. He is known as the tallest player in the Beko BBL and last season played 33 games: 3.4ppg, 2.9rpgSchroeder is an 19 year old 186cm point guard that is very talented and recently played at the European Championships U18 in Wroclaw (Poland) -11: 8 games: 13.5ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-3(4.9apg), 2.0spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 63.6%. Last season, he played for the 27 games: 2.5ppg; played also at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 23 games: 19.0ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-1(6.5apg), 2.3spg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 75.7%. The team also got Erik Land who is a 25 year old 205cm forward from Bamberg. He started his basketball career at TSV Troester II Breitengussbach (Regionalliga) in 2005 where he played until 2010. He then got experience playing for Bamberg and last season for the Saar-Pfalz Braves (ProA) playing 24 games: 6.8ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 26.2%, FT: 71.2%