Can Raoul Korner Lead The New Yorker Phantoms Back To The Beko BBL Playoffs?

There were many many long and hard winter nights in the Volkswagon arena in Braunschweig for basketball club New Yorker Phantoms between 2003 and 2009 where winning and breathing playoff air in May was about as difficult as fans starting to believe now that Chicago Bull Derrick Rose will ever play another healthy season in the NBA. With the arrival of 1995 Korac cup winner with Alba Berlin, head coach Sebastian Machkowski, the tide started to turn in Braunschweig as he got the right player mix and the club made three playoffs in a row and basketball actually started to become  a trend again in the city where Eintracht Braunschweig soccer has been an institution for years despite playing in lower divisions. Last season Machkowski fled to Oldenburg and prompt continued his magical touch of coaching leading his new team to the Beko BBL final, while new Phantom coach Kostas Flevarakis was unable to keep the playoff run of four consecutive years intact. The only thing that really was a news story last season in Braunschweig was German point guard Dennis Schroeder and his last season in Braunschweig. At times, Schroeder was more in the news then the basketball team as for some it was more interesting what was up and how he was helping his mom in her beauty salon then it was hearing about a thunderous Nick Schneiders dunk or national team story from Eric Boating from the 2012 Olympics in London. At times the biggest news story in Braunschweig besides Schroeder was how many and from what NBA city scouts were from as they were observing the talented young German. Ex Fraport Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin will have Schroeder in memory from two games, one from the 2011-2012 season where Schroeder then 18 almost beat Frankfurt at the end in Frankfurt had he not missed a free throw and his 13 point second quarter blast in six minutes where he hit two three pointer a pull up jumper and once ran around the Frankfurt half court at ease as if he was on the playground and the Skyliners were adults not being able to stop him and then  haitting a jumper over 210cm center Johannes Voigtmann as if it was the easiest thing. There really wasn´t so much to cheer about last season in Braunschweig besides the spectacular play by Schroeder and Braunschweig finally winning at home again after 7 loses in a row against Frankfurt in the Volkswagon arena. This season there is no Dennis Schroeder, but still as always the mean looking mascot phantom who can probably have an interesting sneering contest against Immanuel Mcelroy. This season the club will try it´s luck for a new birth in the Beko BBL playoffs in a league that gets more competitive each season. With new Austrian coach Raoul Korner, the team has a man with 16 years coaching experience. He has a respectable coaching resume having coached 12 years in Austria and winning 2 cups and one championship with 2 separate teams. He coached the last three years in Holland with Den Bosch where he won the championship in 2012 and cup in 2013 and was a 3 time allstar. He is a coach that is a strong believer of communication.The question is how well he can adapt to the strong Beko BBL that is a few gears above Austria and Holland.

After reaching the Beko BBL playoffs three years in a row with Sebastian Machowski, the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig weren´t able to make it four times in a row as new head coach Greek Kostas Flevarakis was unable to form a competitive team as guys came and went thus not being able to grow a suitable team chemistry and let the team grow as the season went on. Last season the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig were your typical team placed somewhere in no mans land in the standings that could beat the weaker teams, but couldn´t beat the playoff teams. The team finished in 13th place with a record of 14-20. The team had some talented Americans like Thaddeus Mcfadden and Casey Mitchell, but they had to pack their bags during the season. The club had many talented players, but that certain quality that was needed for the team to be more successful seemed to be lacking. Braunschweig manager Oliver Braun is a very ambitious person and is seeking to get back to the playoffs and with head coach Korner kept four important players with Immanuel Mcelroy, Harding Nana, Robert Kulawick and Erik Land. The team added nine new players and with the splendid promotion that Dennis Schroeder gave for the German youth program brought in four new young Germans to help for the future. The club have a good balance of shooters and inside presence, but a big factor for the success this season will be how well the bench can step up game in and game out and will there be a German player that makes the next jump and gets minutes? The most important player they kept was The  33 year old 193cm guard Immanuel Mcelroy who is playing his third 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 2009 Beko BBL scoring champion 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. Last season Mcelroy played  33 games averaging 9.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 81.0%

Harding Nana is a 32 year old 203cm power forward that is playing his second 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 season 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%.Last season Nana played 27 game averaging 10.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 60.0%. He is a versatile big man that can help out at the center position.  27 year old 191cm guard Robert Kulawick is playing his third season in Braunschweig after having played the 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%.  Last season he played 32 games: 4.8ppg, 1.3rpg. He lives off his shot which looks unorthodox, but deadly at times. Erik Land is a 23 year old 205cm center that is playing his second season with Braunschweig. Last season he played 22 games: 2.5ppg, 1.4rpg, played also at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB, starting five): 13 games: 11.3ppg, 6.6rpg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 74.1%. He started his basketball career in the Bamberg system and played a total of 14 Beko BBL games for Bamberg. He also played for Saar-Pfalz Braves (ProA) and is a player that is the back up to Visser and had brings nice moves and versatility to the big positions.

The biggest pick up was Isaiah Swann who returned back to Germany after playing in Ulm two seasons ago. Last season he played for Royal Hali Gaziantep Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing  24 games averaging 13.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 83.8%. Swann is a 28 year old 188cm combo guard from Maryland that has a hidden quality of being able to pass the ball very well as hiss coring is always seen as his biggest quality. He played at Florida State and has experience having played in Italy and Israel. When he played in Ulm he played 40 games: Score-3(15.8ppg), 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 85.5%. He is the head of the team and the club´s success will often depend how well he can put the ball in the net. Kyle visser returns back to Braunschweig for a third time. Visser is a 28 year old 211cm center rom Grand Rapids, Michigan that played with Chris Paul at wake Forest  reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2007. He played the first time in Braunschweig from 2007-2009 and then again in the from 2010-2012. Last season he played for JuveCaserta (Italy-SerieA): only pre-season, in Dec.’12 signed at Radnicki Kragujevac (Serbia-A League): Adriatic League: 10 games: 3.2ppg, 2.2rpg, Visser is the only true big man on the team and brings that gentleman style to the game and is respected for his solid consistent play. The club also brought in 25 year old 185cm point guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his fourth professional season. He played at Mercer(NCAA) and as a rookie had a try out with the Philadelphia 76ers. H eha splayed in countries like Bosnia, Ukraine and Hungry. Last season he played for : Kryvbasbasket-Lux Kryvyi Rih (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five); EuroChallenge: 5 games: 12.0ppg, left in Jan.’13: 25 games: 15.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 6.3apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 44.9%, 3FGP: 35.1%, FT: 68.0%, later that month moved to Szolnoki Olajbanyasz (Hungary-A Division): 21 games: 14.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 59.0%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 74.6%, 3.2rpg, 3.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 35.3%, 3PT: 41.7%; Adriatic League: 9 games: 12.6ppg, 2.1rpg, 3.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 84.8%. Even though Florence is the classic pass first point guard, he has let hiss coring do the talking and made the transition well to the Beko BBL.

The club also added Aaron Doornekamp who is a 28 year old 201cm forward from Odessa, Ontario, Canada. He is playing his first season in Germany after playing three years in Italy. He didn´t play last season and two seasons ago played for  Otto Caserta (Italy-SerieA): 31 games: 7.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.6spg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 85.4%. He played at  Carleton University (CIS) from 2004-2009 and played with Osvaldo Jeanty. He also has played for the Canadian national team and played against Germany and Dirk Nowitzki in a test game in 2006. He is a very versatile forward that presents mismatches at the three and four positions. Quick 27 year old 177cm Achmadschah Zazai is playing his first season for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig who has already played for 12 teams in his still young career. He started his basketball career at TUS Lichterfelde in 2003. From 2005-2011, he played for teams like SG FT/MTV Braunschweig, : BSG Ludwigsburg, Bremen Roosters, Horsens IC (Denmark), Telemotive Muenchen, Artland Dragons, TV Langen, USC Freiburg and  BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA). Last season for Giessen he played 27 games averaging 8.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT-1(55.8%), FT: 75.6%. He was a slow developer, but now is turning into a solid Beko BBl role player. He is a very good playmaker that possible has the biggest heart for a 177cm player.Maurice Pluskota is a 21 year old 208cm center that started his basketball career in the Bremerhaven system. He played five Beko BBL games for Bremerhaven and last season played for  Cuxhaven BasCats (ProA, starting five): 33 games: 4.6ppg, 4.5rpg.He is a robust player that now can develop under Liviu Calin who has been known for getting young kids going in the right direction. Dominique John son is a 21 year old 194cm forward that also started his basketball career in the Bremerhaven system where he played three Beko BBl games. Last season he played for  Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 24 games: 5.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 23.0%, FT: 64.9%, played also at SG Braunschweig 2 (2.Regionalliga). Lucas Gertz is a 23 year old 196cm forward that has been in the Braunschweig system since 2008. Last season he played for  Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (Germany-ProB, starting five): 20 games: 6.9ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 38.0%, 3FGP: 26.7%, FT: 72.0%. The team recently picked up Kenny Kadji to help bolster the team and bench. He is a  25 year old 211cm power forward from Cameroun that is a rookie. He started his basketball career in 2004 with the Pau Orthez junior team. He also attended the well known : IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL). He played two seasons at Florida(NCAA) playing 44 NCAA games and then went to Miami(NCAA) playing two strong seasons. As a senior played 36 games: 12.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 66.1%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Cleveland Cavaliers): 5 games: 5.6ppg, 4.6rpg

The Fraport Skyliners have had very very fond memories of The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig as they have a 14-2 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. In 2010-2011, 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. In 2011-2012 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 exciting 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 last 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. In the second game last season in Braunschweig, Braunschweig won 73-66 with the help of  a big second quarter by Dennis Schroeder who had 13 points and led the team with 18 points while Immanuel Mcelroy had 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Devin Gibson with 13 points and Johannes Voigtmann had 12 points. The new Yorker Phantoms come into the Fraport arena with a big 77-66 win against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, while the Fraport Skyliners are reeling off a bitter 87-75 loss in Weissenfels. Braunschweig is in 11th place with a record of 6-6, while Frankfurt sits in 10th place with an identical record. Braunschweig had big wins over Ulm and Hagen and lost some tight games and had they won could be even higher in the standings. Braunschweig is a team with a solid inside out game, but have a thin bench and more often than not need Isaiah Swann to be on his game for the team to win. MBC guard Josh Parker won a tight game in MBC against Braunschweig and knows what Frankfurt needs to do to start a new winning streak. “Frankfurt has to come out with a lot of energy, contain Isaiah Swann and play hard defense as a team and then will have good chances to win”, stressed Josh Parker.

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