Ryan Brooks Haunts Ex Team Fraport Skyliners Leading The Telekom Baskets Bonn to 89-67 win

One neat thing about basketball are the instances when an ex player returns back to his old stomping ground with a new team. Sometimes the frequency of games each week where one meets a former player is as common as seeing a Danilo Barthel slam dunk with that forceful urge in his eyes to take off at any time in the zone, the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats losing and losing, but not the 2013-2014 Miami Heat back to back or seeing the famous Boston Red Sox beards as a costume this Halloween in the Boston area. Last week, the Fraport Skyliners toppled TBB Trier and battled Canadian national player Jermaine Bucknor who played in Frankfurt in 2010 and next week they welcome Anthony King who played in Frankfurt in the 2008-2009 season and since then has developed into a very solid Beko BBL center. Two days ago Frankfurt fought against the Telekom Baskets Bonn and ex Skyliner Ryan Brooks. Brooks is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Lower Merion, Pennslyvania that might only have played a few months in Frankfurt, but in this time left a very lasting impression playing 15 games and averaging 13.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 73.7%. A thing that will always stay entrenched in my mind was his eyes and how focused he was on the court as a cat ready to pounce on that weak and hapless mouse. Brooks is playing his fourth professional season and so far as had nothing to cheer about as he has played in Germany and Finland. At Temple, he played with NBA player Lavoy Allen and won two Atlantic 10 Tournaments, but so far in Europe is still looking for his first playoff berth as in Germany he has always battled at the end of the standings in Giessen, Finland and last season had to help Frankfurt on the last game day to stay in the league. He seems to have more luck this season as the Telekom Baskets Bonn are in second place with a 7-1 record and currently are fascinating the Beko BBL with an impressive seven game winning streak. Brooks has built a dangerous shooting duo with Benas Veikalis and is an important component of the success of new head coach Mathias Fischer. Brooks returned back into his old living room and gave his team the needed spark in the second quarter to give Bonn a lofty cushion lead at halftime with 12 second quarter points of his game high 19 leading his new team Telekom Baskets Bonn to the 89-67 win. “It was great to be back playing against the Skyliners. They are having a tough season, but have a good coaching staff and I hope they turn it around. At the same times it feels good to be playing for a winning team that keeps winning. It is a lot of fun playing for Bonn and I understand myself very well with my teammates on and off the court. I have a different type of role coming off the bench, but I want to be aggressive, hit my three pointers, mid distance shots and just give the team energy”, stressed Bonn guard Ryan Brooks. Brooks shot an incredible 88% from the field and would have gotten that gold star of approval for his forehead from any first grade teacher, but from Fraport Skyliners Jacob Burtschi his favorite word for excellent players. “Brooks is a stud. He did a great job against his old team and is just a great scorer who can become a top scorer in the league”, stressed Jacob Burtschi.Ex Boston Celtic Tony Gaffney always exemplifies amazing energy on the court, but also when describing the play of Brooks. “One could see that Brooks likes playing here. He scored like 15 points in 10 minutes. He works his butt off in practice and works hard to get open. He shows us in practice  each day how hard he works and it pays off in games. He is a flat out scorer”, stressed Boston native Tony Gaffney.

Ex Los Angeles Lakers Tony Gaffney had a whirlwind last two months as he started the pre season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and then got an invite by NBA team Memphis Grizzlies for a spot on the training camp roster. Gaffney was one of the last cuts that had to tangle with ex Fraport Skyliner Jon Leuer each day in practice who made the team. Gaffney had a clause in his contract that if he didn´t cling on to an NBA team that he would return to Bonn. After the big win in Frankfurt, Gaffney was all smiles as usual, but this time his face was lite up a bit more than usual and was happy to notice that not everyone thinks that he isn´t happy to be back in Bonn and that his short stay in Memphis will be very beneficial to Bonn. “So many have asked me are you disappointed to be back in Bonn and not be in the NBA. My answer to them is simple and that I am totally happy to be back in Bonn. Some of my best friends are in that locker room. We have  a great situation here and we have the chance to be very good. I had a very tough training camp in Memphis. It was really an advantage that the Grizzlies stress defense and that is something that our coach Fischer likes to do bringing defense to offense in our game and getting easy points on the fast break. I played with tough players like Conly, Gasol, Miller and Randolph and their play has rubbed off on me and made me a stronger player”, warned ex Umass player Tony Gaffney. Gaffney finished the game with 13 points and four rebounds including two three pointers, but his energy as always  which stands out on both ends of the court. “He is obviously a different player than Donatas Zavackas, but his athleticism and defensive work really helps us and he can fit onto any team”, stressed Jared Jordan. Gaffney did have a mega left handed stuff, but surprisingly there was no Jordan to Gaffney ally-op dunk. “We had an ally-op in Eurocup, but we are still working on our timing and they will come”, warned Jared Jordan. Teammate Ryan Brooks is also very excited to have a player liike Tony Gaffney on the team who can do so much on the court. “We were excited to have him at the start of the season and then he left and came back. We were winning without him and now have him which makes us so much better. He is  a great defender and makes so many mismatches on offense. He fits in well and knows some of the players from the last time he played here”, commented Ryan Brooks.

4,378 people were guests in the Fraport arena seeing the second hottest team in the Beko BBL, Telekom Baskets Bonn who entered the game with a six game winning streak having lost only the first game of the season against FC Bayern Munich. After a slow first five minutes where the Fraport Skyliners were feeding on the excitement of playing against one of the top teams in the league, found their rhythm in the second half of the first quarter and then later led by as much as 31 points and just cruised home to victory. “This was opposite to our game last season in Frankfurt where we never found a rhythm. Key to winning in Frankfurt was that we played good defense and got runs when we needed to. We then went on a run and just did a very good job hitting our open shots and making our three pointers”,added Jared Jordan. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game coming off a very spirited and big win in Trier where they were shorthanded at the point guard position as Germans Konstantin Klein and Max Merz had the bulk of the duty of leading the team on offense. Frankfurt reacted last week by getting two new Americans Ramon Galloway and Jarred Dubois to help at the guard position. They had only been in Frankfurt three days as there were some good signs, but overall they still have to get used to the players and plays and one couldn´t expect too much out of them. Frankfurt started well in the first quarter, but then lost focus and just had no remedy of putting a dent in the nasty Bonn ball movement that again and again produced open shots which were made more often than not. “We have to play well for 40 minutes and not just the first ten minutes. Our one on one defense wasn´t good in the second quarter and they took advantage of it and put the game away in the second half”, warned Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi.

In the first quarter, the Fraport Skyliners gave their marketing slogan ready for take off as they started strong sort of shocking the Telekom Baskets Bonn getting out to a 9-2 lead. Danilo Barthel got Frankfurt on the board first with a lay in over Gaffney and German Konstantin Klein then connected on a jumper for the 4-0 lead. American Jamel Mcclean then made his typical mid distance jumper with a dose of high rainbow. Barthel then dropped a three pointer and ex NBA player Andrew Rautins scored inside from the baseline for the 9-2 lead. Frankfurt kept on the offensive pressure as Johannes Voigtmann scored over Mcclean and Jacob Burtschi nailed a three pointer for the Frankfurt 15-5 advantage. Frankfurt was doing a good job getting their offensive flow going early and were practicing very aggressive defense forcing Bonn to four turovers. However, Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert had to sub and that is when the game changed as Bonn ended the first quarter with a 15-4 run to lead 20-19. Frankfurt lost some intensity on defense and left Lithuanian guard Benas Veikalis open twice as he hurt Frankfurt with two three pointers to cut the Frankfurt lead to 15-11. Voigtmann and Looby then traded buckets and Gaffney answered with a left handed lay in as Frankfurt led only 17-16. Brooks then gave Bonn their first lead with a three pointer 19-17. New Skyliner Jarred Bubois then made his first great play as a Skyliner by finding big man Aziz Ndiaye for the easy dunk. Jared Jordan then made one free throw as Bonn led 20-19 after one quarter. “We knew that they would be excited and come out with a lot of energy and just hit shots. It took us five minutes to react and bounce back”, stressed Jared Jordan. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 64% from the field and 67% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 25% from outside. Bonn ahd the six to four rebound edge, but four turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover.

In the first few minutes of the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners would stay on the heels of the Telekom Baskets Bonn, but it would be ex Skyliner Ryan Brooks that would help Bonn go on a run and the club would never look back. Brooks scored twice in the first minute as Bonn led 25-21. German Kevin Bright then burned Florian Koch in the corner with a high rainbow, but Koch came right back on the next Bonn possession scoring in the lane fetching the no look pass from ex Ludwigsburg guard terror David Mccray as Bonn led 27-24. Bonn then went on an 8-0 run which was fueled by an Andrew Rautins unsportsmanlike conduct and Veikalis hit free throws. Brooks then hit another three pointer and then read a pass well and entered the passing lane made a steal and went coast to coast for the two handed dunk as Bonn led 35-24. Scoring continued to be popular on the basketball court menu as both teams continued to score at ease even if Bonn did it more and better. After Barthel and Jordan traded baskets, it was then new Skyliner Ramon Galloway who reached the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 with LaSalle and shot over 40% in his last two seasons in college from outside made a beautiful floater and end one. It really doesn´t take long to get those Greg Jenkins comparisons going, because with the beard, Galloway looks like his little brother. Bonn only led 37-29, but Bonn finished the second quarter in cruise control going on a 13-6 run to lead 50-35 at the break. Some interesting things did happen in the last few minutes and the typical three pointer by Veikalis wasn´t one of them. With Bonn up 42-19, it was Barthel who made a thunderous dunk over Gaffney. It is always amazing with each new dunk by Barthel, it seems like he is getting farther away from the hoop and he must dream at night of his next dunks. “I think he must dream of dunks. His dunk was pretty good, even if it wasn´t body to body, it was pretty impressive”, smiled Jacob Burtschi. Barthel then hit a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed only 44-33. However who says you can only have a Brooks or Veikalis to up the teams three point percentage when one has a 216cm big man and 2011 NCAA champion Enosch Wolf who played with NBA player Kemba Walker takes those three pointers with confidence. Wolf nailed two back to back three pointers leading Bonn into halftime. Klein nailed a three pointer at the end, but Bonn led 50-35. Having this luxury of added three point danger could help Bonn later in the season in May. “I think I once hit five three pointers in an NBBL game, but this was the most since then. Having me and Gaffney be able to shoot really helps spread out the court and makes us so much more dangerous”, stressed Enosch Wolf. Great point guards like Jared Jordan love players like Brooks, because he knows how to get open. “It is huge having Brooks on the team. He gives us an athletic player that can handle the ball and make plays something we didn´t hav ein the past. He was a starter that moved to the bench. He is a team player that has accepted his role”,added Hartford native Jared Jordan. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 70% from the field and 67% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 23% from the three point line. Bonn had the 16-8 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Frankfurt had three turnovers.

In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners played well after giving up a Andrej Mangold three pointer getting six consecutive Bonn stops on offense, but really couldn´t get anything going on offense and then it became as it usually does the unforgettable third quarter as the team lost focus on defense and later their nerves resulting in three technical fouls. In the first few minutes of the third quarter, Johannes Voigtmann continued to own Mcclean scoring inside on the American and Klein and Rautins made free throws cutting the Bonn lead to 53-40. However Frankfurt then totally collapsed allowing Bonn to go on a 20-2 run to decide the game leading 73-24 after three quarters. Mangold started the run with an open three pointer as classic point guard Jordan found him parked in the corner. Tony Gaffney then found revenge for being dunked on even if it was over Ndiaye and not Barthel letting his left hand slam the ball through the rim. “It was a dribble hand off where I was able to turn the corner and get to the lane. I dunked over a shot blocker, but it was one of those games where there were many guys over the rim”, warned Tony Gaffney. Frankfurt then was careless on the defensive rebound allowing defensive specialist Kurt Lobby get a tip in after two missed free throws by Mangold. Brooks then made a runner as Bonn led 65-40.Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert then got a double technical foul which Veikalis used his 91% free throw percentage to his advantage making all four shots. Jacob Burtschi then got a technical foul for throwing the ball away and Veikalis nailed two more three throws. “We got stops at the start, but couldn´t execute on offense the way we wanted to. It was just one of those days where Rautins couldn´t find his rhythm and other guys didn´t step up”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. One can´t forget that Andrej Mangold made it hard for Rautins to get good shots. “We were very aggressive on defense contesting shots, we rebounded well and our big men down low made them take tough shots”, explained Jared Jordan. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 57% from the field and 57% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 37% from the field and 19% from the parking lot. Bonn led the rebound battle 29-19 and had eight turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners played their best basketball in the fourth quarter winning the quarter 26-16, but it was all too late as the Telekom Baskets Bonn had had too big of a lead. In the first few minutes of the fourth quarter each time Frankfurt tried to make a run, it was Enosh Wolf who denied them. Frankfurt went on a 6-0 run as Klein hit free throws, followed by a Bright jumper and Barthel lay in as Bonn led 73-49. Wolf then made a lay up driving hard to the hoop. Barthel then scored inside again as in the last weeks the Heidelberg native really has found his groove and is turning into a reliable Beko BBL consistent starter that fills up the stat sheet. Bonn continued to unleash their big men from downtown as Tony Gaffney hit somewhere between Fanuel Hall and the Prudential building as Bonn led 81-53. Bright and Brooks then traded baskets as Bonn led 83-56. Frankfurt then went on a mini 4-0 as the Frankfurt Germans picked up the bulk as Barthel muscled home two points after gathering in an offensive rebound and Klein then connected on a jumper. Gaffney and Burtschi traded three pointers as Bonn led 88-65. Voigtman closed out the game with a tip in as Frankfurt started a new losing streak. “Our focus is always attention to detail and defending well and not letting Rautins get going was big. We knew that they would be ready to go, but we scouted  well knowing their sets. We practiced hard and it came more easy in the game”, stressed Tony Gaffney. The Telekom baskets Bonn were led by Ryan Brooks with 19 points. Benas Veikalas added 18 points. Tony Gaffney contributed 13 points and Enosch Wolf 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by the big three D Deutschen Danilo Barthel with 17 points and seven rebounds while Konstantin Klein added 11 points and Johannes Voigtman 10 points. When a team like Bonn shoots 55% from the field and 59% from outside and Frankfurt shoots 42% from the field and 29% from outside, it will be difficult to win. Bonn outrebounded Frankfurt 36-27, but had 13 turnovers. The best stat for Frankfurt was its eight turnovers.

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