The basketball world in the small quaint 88,200 populated Ludwigsburg where yummy Spatzle tastes even good for breakfast for some hasn´t had a real uproar since the 2006-2007 season where they were the second best team in the regular season and reached their last playoffs with a club of more or less lesser known players. Since then they have moved into a new bigger arena, but with many different coaches and ex NBA players were hanging out in no mans land and even worse where near the bottom at 16 and 17 the last two seasons. This season, the club has John Patrick again with a new hand picked roster, very talented players and the interesting duo of Grant And Harris, the General /Protégé Connection Trying To Lead The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg Into the 2014 Beko BBL Playoffs. Currently the club is fighting for the playoffs and the questions is where would the team be today without the services of Keaton Grant and CJ Harris. The club has been up and down the whole season never having more than a little three game winning streak, but the current position not only has to do with the mastermind coaching of 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Patrick, but the Grant and Harris pair. Grant is a 27 year old combo guard from Florida that played at Purdue with NBA players like Robbie Hummel and Jajuan Johnson and has vast experience having played in the D-league, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Greece. He is like Ulysses Grant who was the 18th American President and was a general in the American civil war. He is the commander of the Ludwigsburg offense having scored in double figures 18 times and had big games in the wins against Frankfurt, Artland and Tuebingen. Grant is still looking to fill his title case as so far he has only won a Big Ten tournament in 2009 with Purdue. His desire to get better and help Ludwigsburg to the playoffs is relentless. “I think my season is going well, but I can always rebound and defend better. I want that we win more games in the second half and I want to take my game to a new level. I want to be able to put myself to be a better player each day and just reach my fullest potential”, stressed Keaton Grant. CJ Harris on the other hand is a 23 year old 191 point guard from Winston-Salem, North Carolina that played at Wake Forest. He is like a basketball version of Neil Patrick Harris who was known as Being Tv´s Doogie Howser who had a genius intellect and was the youngest licensed doctor in the country at age 14 that couldn´t buy beer, but prescribe drugs. Harris may not be the total equivalent of what TV doctor Harris was as a doctor, but so far as a rookie, he has had a very strong season where at times his genius play on the court is superior to other players of his age. He has scored in double figures 12 times and had a stretch at the start of the season where he scored 20 or more points in three straight games against Frankfurt, Oldenburg and Ulm. Who could forget his 26 point shooting clinic in Frankfurt where he took over the second half like ex Skyliner Dashaun Wood in his former Frankfurt days and without his production his team wouldn´t have won. He has been in a little slump as of late, but those are always meant to be broken with hard work. His development as a rookie is credited to John Patrick. “I have learned that you have to play tough every night whether your playing the best or worst team in the league. Every team will come at you and you have to be ready. He takes no game for granted and he preaches good preparation for each game”, stressed CJ Harris. The American also has the praise of teammate Grant. “Harris has been our unsung hero player. He is shooting over 50% and just does his job each day”,added Keaton Grant. It will be interesting to see where the general Grant and kid basketball protégé Harris have the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg in May 2014.
This season John Patrick underwent a severe house cleaning getting rid of every player except German Tim Koch who has been a staple of the Ludwigsburg organization since 2007 having played in between for BSG Ludwigsburg and cooperation partner Kirchheim Knights. He has played 51 Beko BBL games for Ludwigsburg and is a force from behind the three point line. Patrick hauled in a good mix of nationalities of five Americans, a Japanesse, a player from Finland, Venezuela and players from Germany. The new roster is young, but he brought in Mario Stojic(4,8ppg, 1,6rpg, 1,4apg) who has much experience being a 33 year old 198 cm swingman born in Mannheim and has the Croatian citizenship as well. He has played nine seasons in the ACB(334 games) including two seasosn with Real Madrid. He won titles in Italy, Spain and Belgium. He played at the European championships 2007 and 2009 with Croatia. Currently Keaton Grant(13,8ppg, 3,6rpg, 1,4apg) is the top scorer of the team and is a 26 year old 193cm guard. He played at Purdue(NCAA) with top Beko BBl defensive specialist Chris Kramer, NBA player Carl Landry and ex Beko BBL top scorer David Teague. He has experience in the D-league, Czech Republic and Greece. He isn´t only an all around offensive player, but is a top defender. One of the great stories in the early part of the season is the development of Michael Stockton who is a 24 year old 185cm point guard. He has been in the shadow of his famous dad John Stockton his whole life and always had to play at lesser levels like with Westminster(NAIA) or the last two seasons with pro A team BG Karlsruhe. He played solidly in both places and some may have seen the arrival of Stockton as a PR gag for the team, but Stockton has showed that he is for real averaging very respectable stats in the Beko BBL. He has proved so far that that he can be a very good player at the Beko BBL level. He is an all around good point guard that can fill up the stats sheet and get the team running. He could be one of the big steals of the season for Patrick.
Shawn Huff(9,0ppg, 2,6rpg) is a 28 year old 198cm forward from Finland also with extensive important European experience. He played at Valparaiso (NCAA) from 2004-2008. He then played three seasons in the top Greek league and the last two seasons in Italy. He played very strong tournaments at the Euro 2011 and 2013. He is a guy that can score, but also another defensive minded player in the John Patrick style that he likes. CJ Harris(9,8ppg, 2,3rpg) is a 22 year old 191cm guard from North Carolina who is also a rookie and had a stellar career at Wake Forest playing 124 NCAA games as captain of the team. There he played with NBA player Al-Faroug Aminu and ex Ludwigsburg player David Weaver. As a senior at wake Forest he averaged 15.4ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 84.7%. This got him a date with the Denver Nuggets NBA summer league team where he posted solid stats of 7.2ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.2apg. he is a very good shooter and another typical good defender that will fit into the system of John Patrick.
John Patrick is reunited again with banger Robert Tomazek(3,6ppg, 2,4rpg) who is a 32 year old 205cm center that has the German and Polish citizenship. He started his career in Bremerhaven in 1998 and since then has seen the basketball map going to school in one of the most beautiful places in the States in Aspen, Colorado, playing at Texas Tech and playing in countries like France, Spain, Italy, Poland and the Ukraine. Two seasons ago he played under Patrick in Wurzburg. Last season he played for Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK): 28 games: 5.9ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 55.7%. He is a beast down low and won´t shy away from anyone and can get you points and rebounds. Patrick is also reunited with Adam Waleskowski who he coached in the 2010-2011 season in Goettingen. The ex Florida State player is a 30 year old 203cm forward from Ohio that is playing his ninth professional season and has played in countries like France, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Kosovo. Last season he played for the Duesseldorf Baskets (Germany-ProA): 24 games: 13.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 68.8%. Despite his nice resume, he hasn´t had much playing time so far with 5,6 minutes per game and 2,7ppg. He is a very strong offensive player that can hurt you in many ways and has an array of different shots on offense and can give the team energy with his play. Patrick Flomo82,0ppg, 2,0rpg) who is a 33 year old 203cm forward arrives back in the Beko BBL after playing the last two seasons in Duesseldorf. The ex Ohio university player had a successful stay in Bonn from 2006-2011 where he reached two Beko BBL finals and one cup final. Despite his age, he is still in top shape and will be a menace on the boards especially with his energetic play that also can spark the team in tough situations. Patrick also added Takumi Ishiaki who is a 29 year old 188cm point guard from Japan. He played with the Toshiba Brave Thunders (JBL) and came to Germany in 2011 and played two seasons with BV Chemnitz. Last season for Chemnitz, he played 30 games: 12.8ppg, 2.1rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 74.6%. Patrick doesn´t hesitate to switch around the roster during the season as he said farewell to Gregory Echenique and Tanner Smith, but added Koby Carl, Gary Mcghee and Amadi Mckenzie to help prepare for the playoff run. Coby Karl is a 30 year old 196cm guard form Wisconsin that is the son of legendary head coach George Karl. He has NBA experience having played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliars and Golden State Warriors. The Boise State alumunist played in Italy the last four years and knows the European game. He started the season for Grissin Bon Reggio Emila (Italy-SerieA): EuroChallenge: 4 games: 8.3ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg; SerieA: 8 games: 5.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 2FGP: 47.1%, 3FGP: 5.9%, FT: 57.9%. Gary Mcghee is a 25 year old 208cm forward/center that hails from Anderson, Indiana and is back in Germany after playing for Bayreuth last season. He started his basketball at Pittsburgh(NCAA) and was a rookie in Turkey. He started the season with BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA): ProA: 7 games: 6 points; Eurocup: 5 games: 1.8ppg, 1.8rpg, Amadi Mckenzie is a 27 year old 201cm forward from Atlanta, Georgia that played at Tennesse Tech from 2004-2008. He played his first five years in France and last season played for Boulazac Basket Dordogne (France-ProA) playing 20 games averaging 13.9ppg, Reb-5(7.0rpg), 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 59.3%, 3PT: 11.8%, FT: 65.8%. He started the season for SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk (Ukraine-Superleague): 4 games: 9.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg,
The Fraport Skyliners have nice memories of the last 15 games against Ludwigsburg having a 10-7 record. They have a 5-2 record in Frankfurt. One player who has fond memories of playing EnBW Ludwigsburg is ex Skyliner Derrick Allen who was the top scorer of Frankfurt in four f six games including a 37 point performance in a 96-87 win in 2008. In 2008-2009, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners split the season series 1-1 winning 68-64 at home getting 19 points from Aubrey Reese and losing the last game of the season 71-62 on the road getting 18 points from Derrick Allen. In 2010-2011 The Deutsche Bank Skyliners beat EnBW Ludwigsburg 74-67 in a low scoring affair. Frankfurt was led by Roger Powell with 16 points and six rebounds while current beko BBL top scorer Dashaun Wood chipped in with 13 points and eight assists. EnBW Ludwigsburg was led by Alex Harris with 18 points and ex Telekom Baskets Bonn center John Bowler was tough with 13 points and nine rebounds. In the last game of the season in Ludwigsburg, the Skyliners whipped EnBW Ludwigsburg 94-79 as ex NBA player Roger Powell had his best game as a Skyliner pouring in 28 points and Dashaun Wood added a double double with 19 points and 10 assists. In 2010-2011, the teams split the season series. The Fraport Skyliners played a horrible game in Ludwigsburg where nothing went their way losing 82-57, but won at home 76-72 as Jermario Davidson led the team with 21 points and Michael Thompson chipped in with 17 points. In the first game last season, the Fraport Skyliners stunk up the building losing 74-56. They only managed 23 points in the first half. Despite scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter, it was too late. Frankfurt was led by Quantez Robertson with 16 points and Johnathan Jones added 11 points.In the do or die game, the Fraport Skyliners came to play winning 77-72 as Frankfurt was led by Zach peacock with 20 points. Devin Gibson added 12 points and Konstantin Klein 11 points. Frankfurt lost the first game of the season 90-78 in Frankfurt as Keaton Grant and CJ Harris almost single-handedly as the ygot very hot erasing a 13 point Frankfurt lead in the second half. CJ Harris had 26 points and Keaton Grant 22 points. Frankfurt was led by Kevin Bright with 23 points as he connected for six three pointers while Jacob Burtschi and Konstantin Klein added 12 points a piece. Ludwigsburg destroyed Frankfurt on the boards 37-25
The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg rest in eighth place with a record of 12-10 while the Fraport Skyliners are still looking for their first victory in 2014 as they are riding a six game losing sreak as both teams meet Saturday March eighth. The team comes to Ludwigsburg coming off a five day training camp in Mallorca and it will be the second two week break that they have had in the last two months. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg have been solid in 2014 having a 5-3 record. They are coming off a bitter loss at MBC after having a big win at home against Alba Berlin 10 days ago. With the immense and bitter injury problems that Frankfurt has, Ludwigsburg if playing their normal solid game should exit their own living room with a win, but Frankfurt is often as dangerous as a wounded animal when they are the underdog. “It is never easy to win in Ludwigsburg. We will have two weeks to prepare and hope to get some of our injured players back. We have to execute well in order to have a chance in this game”, warned Dane Watts. If there is one guy that always fights to the end then it is Quantez Robertson who will be ready. The question will be if his teammates will be ready. “We have to prepare well and come out fighting and give our all”, warned Quantez Robertson.