Usually having family ties in professional sports is something that is about rare as not seeing a Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom headline in the media these days or someone daring to rip the current play of the Denver Broncos. Not seeing one of these headlines in the media does happen as does seeing some kind of family affiliated with a professional sports team. Possibly the most famous family is the manning family with ex great Archie as dad and sons Peyton and Eli that share three Superbowl rings among each other, or the Hasselbeck family with Don the papa who was a star tight end for the New England Patriots and sons Matt and Tim who were quarterbacks and to throw in some good humor, the Hansen brothers Jack, Jeff and Steve, the fictional wacky brother trio from the hilarious Paul Newman hockey movie Slap Shot. Back in the 2008-2009 BBL season, one had a family bunch on the Frankfurt Skyliners with ST Louis natives Jimmy Mckinney who was playing his third professional season and newcomer Lorenzo Gordon who was the cousin of Mckinney. Both guys were important components to that seasons playoff team losing to eventual first time BBL winner EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the quarterfinals as Lorenzo Gordon averaged 12.8ppg, 7.0rpg, FGP: 60.9%, FT: 52.5% while his cousin Mckinney had a season to forget as injuries plagued him as he was out for a few months. On thing these guys could do besides play basketball was sport those golden St Louis smiles as Gordon looked like the classical sunny boy, while Mckinney had that wide smile that was mezmorizing in its own sense. After Gordon departed in 2009 and played in other countries like Turkey and Russia, who would have thought that Gordon might return back to Germany and to the Frankfurt Skyliners. As the announcement was made that Gordon was returning, it excited many Skyliner fans and the anticipation of a reunion on October 13th in Frankfurt was appetizing as one could have seen the cousins go head to head for the first time ever in a Beko BBL game, but the stay and try-out of Gordon was cut short after a week as the Fraport Skyliners gave him his walking papers as fitness seemed an issue and he returned back to the States. With no reunion to happen, as usual the fans will be able to witness a Jimmy Mckinney in an opponents jersey and if he is on and hot with his shooting then maybe even that slick and suave smile after the game if Wurzburg are able to escape his ex living room with a victory in Sunday
After the Rise of the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg rookie campaign in 2011-2012 where the club reached the playoffs and kicked out Alba Berlin of the playoffs under the guidance of 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Patrick giving them an unwanted early summer vacation, the team came back last season with new head coach Marcel Schroeder with a solid roster and playoff ambitions, but were disappointed on the last game day missing the playoffs and ending on the 17th place with a record of 17-17. Wurzburg was the best defensive team in the league allowing only 2395 points practicing that unorthodox aggressive whirlwind defensive brought to life by ex head coach John Patrick. However even if they were able to get fast break points through their strong defense, they weren´t consistent enough in the set offense averaging only 71,5 points per game which was 17th in the whole league. Despite having some guys that could score, it simply wasn´t versatile enough to score consistently. One or the other shooter was missing from the roster as giving Jimmy mCkinney to save the day each game from outside was a little too much to ask for. The club also seemed to have ben effected by the injury bug a bit as the team had to fight roster changes all season long and never could find a rhythm all season long. The team celebrated some big wins against FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin, but then again also lost games that they should have won against teams like Trier, Mitteldeutscher BC and Bayreuth.
The club lost some key players like Dwayne Anderson and Alex King and supporting players like Mike Lenzly and Frank Robinson, but the good news is that they returned seven players with sharp shooter Jimmy Mckinney, the ex BG Goettingen trio of Jason Boone, Ben Jacobson and John Little, center Chris Mcnaughton and young Germans Maurice Stuckey and Maximillian Kleber. The club added a new supporting castoff Rickey Harris who returns back to Wurzburg after a season in Italy. He was added to help give Mckinney a companion at the three point line. Tweety Carter will run the point and Lamont Mack and Jamal Boykin will try to have fans forget the departure of Dwayne Anderson as they will mix up the wing and inside position. The club also added apair of Germans with ultimate role player Sebastian Betz and Ruben Spoden. This season the club will continue to practice their trade mark of hard, annoying aggressive defense that is to spark their offense and lead to easy points. How the club does in the set offense will be interesting how quickly the team gels and if for once they can go a longer stretch without irksome nagging injuries disrupting the building of the team chemistry. The ex BG Goettingen trio and Jimmy Mckinney will lead the team and it will be interesting to see if Carter, Mack and Boykin can fulfill expectations. With such a competitive league and all the outside factors, Wurzburg is a team that could slip into the Beko BBL playoffs or stagger around in no mans land in the standings.
The Fraport Skyliners have fond memories from the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg winning both games in the Wurzburg rookie season. The Fraport Skyliners squeaked out a 80-78 win at home as American Justin Gray won the game with a buzzer beater. Justin Gray led the Skyliners with 18 points while NBA player Jon Leuer chipped in with 17 points. Chris Kramer had 16 points while Ivan Elliot and Ricky Harris contributed 13 points each. In the return game in Wurzburg in early January, the fans witnessed a gruesome hard fought battle in the trenches as no team wanted to give the other teams any gifts as Frankfurt prevailed 56-51. Frankfurt was led by Quantez Robertson with 12 points, Devin Gibson added 11 points and Jermario Davidson produced 10 points. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were led by Ben Jacobson with 15 points. Last season both teams split the season series 1-1 as both games combined were decided by not more than seven points. Last season the Fraport Skyliners lost round two of the battle of the trenches after winning round one in Wurzburg last season at home last December 59-55. Frankfurt only mustered 21 points in the first half, but had a strong fourth quarter scoring 21 points. The club was sparked by Zach Peacock with 18 points and Quantez Robertson added 12 points, nine rebounds and five steals to the win. Wurzburg was led by Dwayne Anderson with 11 points and Jason Boone had 10 points. In the return game in Wurzburg, The Fraport Skyliners squeaked out a 60-57 win as defense and loud fans dominated the game. Frankfurt was led by Zach peacock with 18 points and Quantez Robertson added 12 points. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were led by John Little with 15 points, Dwayne Anderson had 11 points and Jason Boone steered 10 point.
The Fraport Skyliners return home with a huge win under their belts in Bremerhaven showing much, courage, fight and heart winning without starting point guard dawan Robinson and losing the services of Quantez Robertson early. Last season they lost in Frankfurt against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and have revenge on their minds. The Fraport Skyliners will need to stay calm and just exhibit the type of offensive game they showed in Bremerhaven to foil the always annoying aggressive defense of Wurzburg. With Robertson out for three months, the team will need to have viable support from other players to come out with a win. Wurzburg have started on a losing note and come into Frankfurt with an unpleasing 0-3 record. Two games were very close that they could of won losing by four points to MBC and losing a 81-80 heartbreaker against Ulm, but their untypical lax defense where they have averaged letting up 84 points per game is uncharachteristic. Of course the season is still young and players and system are still getting a feel for each other, but defense is surely a topic that Marcel Schroeder will feature in the days before the game. Sometimes things can be so easy to analyse when you look back at the last game success. “We will have to defend well, rotate well, rebound and move the ball well. Just play the way we did in the last 25 minutes in Bremerhaven”, stressed Jacob Burtschi.
The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg are led by ex Missouri(NCAA) player Jimmy Mckinney who is a 30 year old 192cm shooting guard that is playing his second season with Wurzburg. Last season he played 22 games: 11.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 39.0%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 82.4%; EuroCup: 6 games: 11.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 35.3%. He was hit once again with a nasty injury that sidelined him. He will be their number one shooting option again. Jason Boone returns back to Wurzburg for a third season and is a 28 year old 200cm center and last season played 34 games: 10.1ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP-2(68.9%), FT: 51.3%; EuroCup: 6 games: 6.8ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 63.0%, FT: 70.0%. He played at New York U. (NCAA3) and is one oft he rare players making the jump from Regionaliga Lok bernau tot he Beko BBL Goettingen in 2007. He is like a tank parked in the zone and plays with heart and hits most everything he touches into the basket. John Little also is back for a third year tour of duty and is a 29 year old 182cm point guard that is known firsthand for his pitbull defense. He got naame playing with Goettingen and won the Eurochallenge in 2001. Last season for Wurzburg he played 25 games: 6.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 71.9%; EuroCup: 5 games: 7.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 50.0%. Who could forget how he stole the show from point guard Dashaun Wood during the 2012 playoffs where he played like an MVP against Alba Berlin. The last member of the ex Goettingen three amigos is Ben Jacobson who is also back for athird season in Wurzburg and is a 30 year old 190cm point guard that played with John Little at N.Iowa(NCAA). It wasn´t his bets of seasons as he also fought against injuries playing 13 games: 6.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 25.0%, 3PT: 19.6%, FT: 68.0%; EuroCup: 6 games: 5.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 21.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 45.5%,. It will be interesting to see how well he comes back after his tough shoulder injury.
German Chris Mcnaughton is also back in Wurzburg for a second season. He is a 30 year old 211cm center that likes to play with his abck to the basket. He has the American citizenship and has ahd experience playing in the NCAA at Bucknell and played many years in Spain winning the Spanish LEB Silver with Faymasa Paaalencia in 2009. He also played with Goettingen, Oldenburg and Bremerhaven. Last season for Wurzburg he played 24 games: 6.0ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 54.0%, FT: 63.8%; EuroCup: 2 games: 1.0ppg, 1.5rpg. The captain is a versatile player that as always will be the perfect example of a team player. Maurice Stuckey returns for a second season. He is a 23 year old 190cm point guard that started his basketball career with BG Leitershofen . He played two years in the Ehingen system and played in the Bamberg organization. Last season for Wurzburg he played 34 games: 3.9ppg, 1.1rpg; EuroCup: 6 games: 4.8ppg. Who could forget his 19 point effort against Phoenix Hagen last season. His biggest strength is his quickness which he incorporated perfectly on both ends of the floor on defense and penetration. Maximillian Kleber is a 21 year old 107cm power forward that missed the entire last season and has only played 26 Beko BBl games for Wurzburg two seasons ago. He is a huge German talent where everyone is looking for him to break out. He is a very versatile big mna that can shoot form the mid distance and from outside.
The club added 26 year old 180cm point guard Tweeny Carter who hails from New Orleans and is playing his fourth professional and first in Germany. He played at Baylor reaching the Elite 8 in 2010. He has vast basketball experience already in Europe having played in Latvia, Israel and Croatia. Last season he played for KK Cibona VIP Zagreb (Croatia-A1); EuroCup: 5 games: 4.2ppg; Czech Rep. NBL: 29 games: 12.0ppg, left in Nov.’12: Adriatic League: 8 games: 8.5ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 37.9%, 3FGP: 42.9%, FT: 76.9%; Eurocup: 3 games: 3.0ppg, 2.3apg, in Dec.’12 moved to CEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL, starting five): VTB League: 10 games: 8.7ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 75.0%, 2.9rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 74.3%, 1.6rpg, 2.2apg. He once scored 74 points in a high school game where the opponent only scored 71 points. He is a scoring point guard that has leadership skills. Lamont Mack is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Chicago that is playing his fifth and first professional season in Germany. He played at Charlotte(NCAA) and has European basketball experience in Greece and Bulgaria where he won the cup in 2012 with Lukoil Academik Sofia. Last season he played for Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Italy-SerieA): 30 games: 10.1ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 75.6%. Schroeder got a very solid forward with Mack in that he can do the dirty work inside as well as hit the three pointer. Jamal Boykin is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Los Angeles that is playing his fourth professional season. He played two years at basketball powerhouse Duke playing 29 NCAA games and then transferred to California playing a total of 93 NCAA games. Germany will be his fifth country as a professional after playing in Turkey, Cyprus, Japan and last season played for : GasTerra Flames Groningen (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 41 games: 12.7ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT-3(45.3%), FT: 84.5%. Ricky Harris is a 26 year old 187cm guard from Baltimore that is playing his fourth professional season. He played at Massachusetts (NCAA) together with NBA player Tony Gaffney and turned professional in 2010. He played in countries like Lithuvania and the Ukraine and last season played for Biancoblu Basket Bologna (Italy-Lega2): 28 games: 13.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 77.3%. Hiss coring output will be vital for the success of Wurzburg this season. The team added Sebastian Betz who is a 28 year old 198cm forward that had a long career in Ulm from 2007-2013. He played in the Bamberg organization as a youngster and last season for Ulm played : 23 games: 4.1ppg, 2.3rpg; EuroCup: 13 games: 3.6ppg, 2.0rpg. His game starts on defense where he has a huge heart and never lets down his aggressive guard and can hit big three pointers off the bench. His 192 Beko BBL games will help Wurzburg in key situations when he is inserted from the bench. Ruben Spoden is a 24 year old 202 cm forward from Frankfurt that started his basketball career with Eintracht Frankfurt. He then played for TV Langen and Erdgas Ehingen. He played the last three season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, but never played more than 55 Beko BBL games. He is a very versatile power forwatd that doesn´t shy to shoot from the mid distance or from outside. He is ready to make the next step in Wurzburg and showed in pre season that he can play getting solid minutes, but the question is will he get minutes during the regular season?