In the small quaint town of Weissenfels of 40,000 getting lost is about as difficult as NBA superstar Derrick Rose not getting hurt the last years on the court, but if MBC guard Josh Parker did get lost after a trip to the local Mcdonalds and stumbled into the woods and heard the howl of a wolf, he probably wouldn´t be in danger because despite the predator being one of the most ferocious animals in the forest hated by cattle ranchers and feared by humans and other animals, the fury beast has a suave side as studies have found that when wolves get separated from a pack member a howl demonstrates affection or in the case of the Chicago native Josh Parker possibly some extra basketball love because no matter where you are in the vicinity of Weissenfels, the wolves love their basketball and especially a player like Parker who has shown that he can play at the Beko BBL level. He is one of the few players in the last years that has successfully made the jump from the German pro B to the Beko BBl as he has followed guys like Tuebingen guard Josh Young or last season ex MBC forward Devin Uskoski who has taken his talent on to Japan this season. Last season the American native who loves the game of Derrick Rose because he can score and at the same time get his players involved dominated the German Pro B like no other player in the last years averaging 28.5ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-2(7.1apg), 2.2spg, He had 20 point games, 30 point games and 40 point games and was already sought after the winter break by MBC, but decided to remain in Leverkusen and continue to work on his game which at the end of the season earned him various Eurobasket.com awards. So far this season he has scored in double figures eight times. He showed in the Pro B that he can rack up those assists the way a Chris Paul can while still scoring well, but now in the Beko BBL, he is seeing more abstract defense formations and is only averaging 1,8apg, but still sees his passing as underestimated. “. People say I can shoot, handle the ball or score but doesn’t notice my passing right away. I take pride in passing the ball as I continue to grow as a player I would like for that to be noticed more also”, stressed Josh Parker. Despite the fact that his assists are down, he is happy with his development and understands that getting an assist isn´t as easy as getting those dimes in the Pro B. “It’s really been an adjustment playing at a high level that the BBL brings and has really helped me to continue to work harder to compete at this level. My coaches and teammates have really helped make my transition a lot easier. Trusting me and showing me different things that they experienced to know that will help at this level which has been great. When you talk about a league like the BBL it’s strong both offensively and defensively. Yes the guards are bigger and talented defensively for me on trying to get a good pass to my teammate but the shots we do get are shots that will be difficult to make because the BBL is strong in team defense. It’s been an adjustment for my entire team, but as season progresses it’s gotten better”, warned Josh Parker. If it was any consolation for the Fraport Skyliners who wanted revenge in Weissenfels for being swept last season against the Mitteldeutscher BC, Josh Parker lost once to Frankfurt last season to their farm team, so he also was looking for some revenge as it was just another game to prove himself as a player and he led all scorers with 19 points as he did all damage in the first half scoring all his 19 points including fascinating the home crowd with his lightening quick release nailing five three pointers. With the arrival of American Marcus Hatten who won the NIT with St Johns in 2003, Parker has less pressure to have to score and can go all out at the shooting guard position. “Josh has developed well. He had some problems at the start of the season as point guard, but now he has a better role and continues to score and is even more effective. The rapid development that he has made is something that you don’t see each day from a German division three player”, stressed Mitteldeutscher BC head coach Silvano Poropat. After the win, the Chicago native was soft spoken and one may have thought he was only 15 with the youthful voice. Even though he has scored 19 points or more five times this season, one could sense that this was his biggest game of the season because of the importance of the win and how well the team played. “This was like a break out game for me. My coach told to play free, take my shots and get everyone else involved. I have to give credit to my team for my game”, commented Derrick Rose friend Josh Parker.
Josh Parker might have led the Mitteldeutscher BC in scoring, but the club had much support on this night getting the needed support from many players like Malte Schwarz who had 14 points was drilling three pointers at ease and just doing what comes natural to him, American Marcus Hatten had his break out game doing a superb job leading the team at the point guard position finishing with 15 points and 10 assists and just penetrated at leisure always finding a way to score, draw fouls or find the open man and last but not least American/Italian stallion Angelo Caloiaro who came to life in the second half and scored 11 of his 13 points and just broke the back of the Fraport Skyliners in their attempt to come back. Caloiaro who hails from San Jose, California and played at USF(NCAA) has had no problems adjusting to the Beko BBL after coming from the lower league Bulgaria. Caloiaro finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block filling up the stat sheet like Richie Williams does for SC Rasta Vechta this season. Caloiaro gave MBC that needed energy and punch on offense and defense in the second half that just paralysed the Fraport Skyliners and got the home crowd fans howling as if they were following a mating call of the real live wolves in the woods. Josh Parker who already showed that amazing humbleness last season where he refused to admit that he was a man playing with kids in the German Pro B where he led the league in scoring with 28ppg and 7apg and had the utmost respect and thankfulness for the play of Caloiaro and Hatten. “Angelo is the type of player any player or coach would want on his team! For us he has been the glue that keeps this team strong and I as his teammate am impressed by his play and how he comes up big when his team needs it.. Hatten came up big and played so hard. Hatten led the team and his experience not only has helped the team, but me with my new role”, added Josh Parker. “Every player and team want a guy like Caloiaro on their team. He has a great eye for his teammates and showed why he is one of our best players”, stated Martin Geissler.
The Mitteldeutscher BC came into the game in 14th place and the only high point this season was their positive home record of 3-2. The fans had experienced three very tight games in Weissenfels beating Wurzburg, Vechta and Braunschweig by a combined point total of only nine points. The Mitteldeutscher BC has to win their home games and they showed again how dangerous they can be when they play in front of their own home crowd. They found their rhythm in the first quarter and played an all around super game for 40 minutes never allowing the Fraport Skyliners to find a groove and when Frankfurt cut the lead to eight points in the third quarter, they then shifted up to sixth gear and totally destroyed the Fraport Skyliners 39-19 to make a somewhat comfortable lead into a bitter debacle for the Fraport Skyliners. Mitteldeutscher BC manager Martin Geissler had a small smile on his face after the win and had very strong words to the performance of his team. “We have not played this well on offense and defense for 40 minutes this season. We found the balance to how we can really play. Josh Parker did a great job at the position two and Marcus Hatten did a great job leading the team. It was a great team performance”, stressed Martin Geissler. The Fraport Skyliners came into the game riding on a three game winning streak and seemed to be the up and coming basketball team in the Beko BBL, but their play in MBC was like night and day compared to the previous games and at times looked very frightening how they were able to play so uninspired at times especially on the defensive end. The Fraport Skyliners started well playing very versatile making the game fast, getting into their sets, but then all of a sudden they missed easy lay ups and from then on nothing worked anymore as it almost seemed more like a mental thing than mechanics. The Fraport Skyliners fought, but just couldn´t get back into the game and totally lost steam in the fourth quarter as the Mitteldeutscher BC were feeling it on offense and just shot out the lights making it into a blowout. “We missed some easy shots at the start and lost our rhythm. We continued to fight back, but MBC just kept making shots. We weren´t able to take care of the ball and once again had too many turnovers”, stated Los Angeles, California native Jarred Dubois.
It also didn´t help the Fraport Skyliners that the injured list got even longer as Germans Konstantin Klein and Kevin Bright were added to the already injured players Marius Nolte, Quantez Robertson and Stefan Illzhoefer. The Mitteldeutscher BC were without American Michael Cuffee and German Oliver Clay. The Fraport Skyliners started off hot going on a 4-0 run as Jarred Dubois took responsibility right off the bat with a spin move and lay in and German Johannes Voigtmann connected on a mid distance jumper. However the Mitteldeutscher BC found their rhythm going on a 17-2 run to lead 17-6. Josh Parker hit his first three pointer, Croatian Hrvoje Kovacevic who was aggressive whenever he had the ball drove inside with a nifty around his back dribble and scored. Dubois then scored again inside cutting the MBC lead to 7-6. Parker and Kovacevic then hit back to back three pointers as MBC led 13-6. Frankfurt missed some easy lay ups and got costly turnovers which seemed to put a dent into their confidence while the high intensity of MBC just couldn´t be matched by Frankfurt. Djordje Pantalic scored inside, Parker hit another jumper and Kovacevic hit an off balance shot as MBC led 19-7. Andrew Rautins then dropped a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed 19-10. MBC then closed out the first quarter with a 4-0 run as Caloiaro scored inside on a back door pass from Parker and Parker hit a runner as the Mitteldeutscher BC led 23-10 after one quarter. “We found our rhythm after one or two minutes. The start reminded me of the Braunschweig game where they couldn´t get used to the atmosphere and that was the same with Frankfurt. Parker had a big first quarter. He is still a long way from being a very good BBL player, but he still needs more experience at this level. His teammates set him up with good passes”, stressed MBC manager Martin Geissler. The Mitteldeutscher BC was hooting 56% from the field and 43% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 29% from the field and 17% from outside. Frankfurt had the 9-8 rebound edge, but five turnovers while MBC had only one turnover.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners would claw their way back into the game, but it was Josh Parker that made a tight game back to a plus ten lead for the Mitteldeutscher BC in the last two minutes. Andrew Rautins started off the scoring in the second quarter ripping a catch and pop jumper through the net as MBC led 23-12. Then it was Croatin Kovacevic who kept making the lane unstable with his dribbling and penetration scoring with his left hand. Then came the up and down play of Skyliner rookie Aziz Ndiaye who showed glimpses of that zone Senegalnator play scoring consecutive hoops, but then also missed three free throws as Frankfurt trailed 25-16. Ex Phoenix Hagen guard Malte Schwarz who dropped seven three pointers against SC Rasta Vechta annoyed Frankfurt all night long hitting big shots at moments where it seemed like Frankfurt would make a run as the Mitteldeutscher BC led 29-16. Frankfurt then showed one their best spurt of the game going on a 9-0 run to cut the MBC lead to 29-25. Dubois started the run with a crisp pull up jumper, Danilo Barthel then made an easy layup as he got a perfect pass from Voigtmann and Jacob Burtschi finished the run with a pair of free throws and a three pointer. Each team has a player that can explode at any time and score in bunches and that is what Josh Parker did scoring eight unanswered points with a lay in where he demonstrated his very lethal ball handling coupled with quickness getting to the hole and then hitting two three pointers as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 37-25. “Josh Parker really lifted us at the end, but we were lucky that Rautins and Burtschi weren´t playing their best, but one always have to be careful with them, because they can turn a game around at any time”, warned MBC manager Martin Geissler. The Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 48% from the field and 38% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 34% from the field and 20% from the three point line. MBC had the 18-17 rebound edge and seven turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners got on the board first in the third quarter as Johannes Voigtmann scored inside getting the extra pass from Danilo Barthel as MBC led 37-27. Marcus Hatten then continued his scoring which has been his staple his whole career leading the Israel league and Eurocup season in 2006 in scoring hitting a three pointer and Voigtmann then made a turn around shot as MBC still led 40-29. Frankfurt just were unable to get some consistency in their defense time in and time out allowing MBC to go on little runs which handicapped their comeback. Caloiaro got hot in the second half scoring inside and Hatten took advantage of a weak lob pass inside by Frankfurt getting picked off and the American scored on the layup. Latvian national player Martins Meiers hit free throws as Frankfurt trailed 47-29. Frankfurt made another push going on a 11-1 run to cut the MBC lead to 48-40. This was the best phase of Andrew Rautins who found Ndiaye for a lay up and hit a three pointer and scored inside. Ndiaye also made a spectacular block inside on Parker and Rautins stripped the ball from Sasa Leutloff leading to two easy points. It seemed like Frankfurt now finally was going to make that much needed run, but it was the timely shooting of Malte Schwarz again who was a nasty thorn in the side of Frankfurt as he hit a three pointer. This was the start of an unacceptable 9-0 run by MBC which in a way sealed the win for them as they led 57-40 after three quarters. Parker then scored inside and Caloiaro made free throws and made a steal and went coast to coast for an easy bucket. “Frankfurt kept fighting back and they made their run and with Rautins you never know what he will do since he can hit three or four shots in a row. We played very hard defense at the end and had more intensity”, stressed Josh Parker. The Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 43% from the field and 33% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 23% from the parking lot. MBC had the 28-25 rebound edge and ten turnovers while Frankfurt had 16 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners had their necks broken with that last run of MBC in the third quarter and couldn´t withstand the continued aggressive offense as MBC poured in 30 points in the fourth quarter to easily cruise back into their wolf den ready for a five course meal. The Mitteldeutscher BC started the fourth quarter with a mini 4-0 run as Schwartz hit a jumper and Pantalic a baby hook shot. Ramon Galloway who had been extremely all game long hit an off balance shot and Dubois a shot inside as Frankfurt trailed 61-44. However MBC was just too strong on offense and kept pouring it on as Schwarz connected on another three pointer and Pantalic was left alone inside as Caloiaro fed him with a no look pass as MBC led 66-44. Max Merz then shot an airball that Burtschi caught and scored and Merz then found Barthel for the easy dunk, but this didn´t help much as Hatten hit two more three pointers as MBC led 72-48. MBC then went on a 9-2 run to lead 81-50. Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordin Herbert speculated that this game couldn´t be saved anymore as he inserted little used German license players Johannes Richter and Jan Novak. In the run, MBC got more support from Caloiaro with a dunk and lay in and another three pointer from Schwarz and a dunk from Meiers. Hatten scored back to back buckets and Dubois helped his stats with free throws and a lay in and even little used German Walter Simon got into the scoring as he hit a jumper as MBC won easily 87-57. “The air was out for Frankfurt. Hatten helped us win the game by more with his scoring steals and drawing offensive fouls. We did a good job today not letting Frankfurt develop self confidence in the game”, stressed Martin Geissler. “MBC did what they wanted to do. We didn´t do a good enough job on defense as they hit open shots. We didn´t do a good job communicating and just didn´t follow the game plan”, said Jarred Dubois. The Mitteldeutscher BC was led by Josh parker with 19 points. Marcus Hatten had 15 points and 10 assists. Malte Schwarz contributed 14 points and Angelo Caloiaro chipped in with 13 points and Djordje Pantelic had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jarred Dubois with 14 points and Andrew Rautins had 12 points. MBC shot 48% from the field and 39% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 42% from the field and 21% from outside. MBC dominated the boards 39-30 and had only 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had 21 turnovers. “Our biggest strength tonight was our defense and rebounding. We played with much energy and our fans helped us and we just fought until the end”, warned Josh Parker.