Sometimes luck as a basketball player can drastically change to the better like a severe downpour in Miami, Florida which clears up turning back to beautiful sunshine and more extended beach time, or on the Voice in the United States where Jackie Lee won her battle and Briana Cuoco the sister of Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco was already booking her flight home, but in a rapid instant got stolen from country star Blake Shelton meaning that her nine lives on the show continued as she joied the team of the Oklahoma native or the amazing 11 walk on wins last season of the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox who most likely had some fans heading to the parking lot in the ninth innings of games, just to be shattered of not staying on to the see the heroics hearing the call on WEEI radio. On could say that Frankie Sullivan has had a moment like this early in his rookie season. After a stellar four year career at Auburn, he was given a try-out by German team Fraport Skyliners, but didn´t pass the test. Any disappointment like this isn´t easy for a player, but he didn´t need to be sad long as he got a new job offer from Kouvot Kouvola (Finland-Korisliiga) in Finland. It might be culture shock for the American from Alabama going from a 600,000 city like Frankfurt to Kouvola that had only 87,000 inhabitants. He most likely even had more things happening at the 25,000 student university at Auburn than his new basketball home, but a job is a job and he was just happy to keep his basketball dream alive. “I’m was really blessed to have this Job. Didn’t want to go home at all. The basketball market is so tough and there are many jobless players at the moment”, stressed Frankie Sullivan.
Sullivan came to the Fraport Skyliners during training camp in August 2013 and didn´t have an easy task of having to take over the point guard duties as American Dawan Robinson was still on the sidelines getting ready for his return in mid September where he was able to take part in contact practices which would have been risky earlier for him coming back to soon. Sullivan didn´t get too much chance to display his basketball smorgasbord, but in an exhibition game against the Giessen 46ers, he chipped in with 10 points and at times showed his overall fine guard play helping out at all parts of the court. The American got a chance to play with other young German players like Stefan Ilzhoefer, Konstantin Klein, Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann and despite coming from Auburn where teammates weren´t older than 22 years already saw a healthy self confidence and experience factor that isn´t always seen with young players. “The team was really good to be young and the older guys really helped out a lot. Most of them had been playing professional for a few years now. They didn’t seem young to me”, smiled Frankie Sullivan. Despite his first steps into the professional water with the Fraport Skyliners, the club decided to go in another direction as it didn´t have to do so much with his skill level, but moreover that the Style of Sullivan didn´t fit into the concept of Gordon Herbert. “It always hurts when you get cut. I talked to the coach and he told me why I got cut. I respect the coach there and he really is a great man. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to have had a try-out for them. It really was a blessing to me. I think that they did what was best for the team. Want to thank them for the experience and great first time overseas”, commented Frankie Sullivan. The American might have had the splendid coaching staff of the Fraport Skyliners giving him encouraging words of wisdom, but there was a fourth type mentor form Philadelphia that had no problem giving advice during a time out. Sullivan feels very fortunate to have had a guy like Dawan Robinson giving him tips during his short stay in Frankfurt. “He was one of the players that really made me feel at home. The best tip/advice that he gave me was to always be a professional. Come to work on time and be ready to work when you get there. I learned the most off the court from him. Things like talks about the business side of being a pro. How not to take anything personal its all about business. He is a great guy and still checks on me from time to time”, added Frankie Sullivan.
Before coming to Frankfurt and playing at Auburn, he already made a name for himself averaging 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.6 assists as a senior for R.C. Hatch High School under coach Homer Davis in earning Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A Player of the Year honors in 2008. It was the Bobcats’ third straight state title in finishing 28-1 and their fifth in six years. He finished 6-year varsity career with more than 4,000 points, scored a Class 2A state tournament scoring record 51 points in the Alabama Class 2A title game, including 34 in the second half as R.C. Hatch defeated Barbour County 81-69. One could say that he was already a legend in high school, but when it came to making comparisons to St Marys success in Ohio and Lebron James, he remained stern and showed respect when it is needed. “St Marys and Lebron James´s team was unreal. We were well known in the state for basketball. Basketball in my town wasn’t just a game it was the way life”, warned Frankie Sullivan. He then moved to Auburn where he played from 2008-2013 playing a total of 134 NCAA games. What is interesting to note that despite showing his ability and success on the court, he was also a star in the class room coming to Auburn as a member of the honor society and graduated on December 12, 2011, with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. He was the first Tiger to graduate in three and a half years since Marquis Daniels, now of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, earned his degree in 2003. As a senior he played 32 games averaging 14.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 79.0%. Despite having his best stats as an Auburn Tiger, it was an up and down season for him as he started off the season averaging 17,9ppg, but then had a nasty slump only to finish at 14,5ppg and a loss against Texas A & M in his last game in the NCAA. Despite that ending, he wont leave Auburn forgotten as he was ranked first in Auburn history in games played (134), first in 3-point attempts (713), fourth in steals (190), fourth in 3-pointers made (228), fourth in free throws made (334), sixth in free throws attempted (431) and ninth in field goals attempted (1,268). One of the joys for the Alabama native was coming to Frankfurt to play together with ex Auburn teammate Quantez Robertson and one could see that Tez already had a special aura at Auburn. “Tez is one of the reasons why I even attended Auburn. I look up to him. One of if not the hardest workers I know in the game of basketball”, added Frankie Sullivan. He played with Robertson during the 2008-2009 season as he was a senior and Sullivan was a freshman and remembers one of those typical Tez hustle plays on the court. “The most amazing thing I ever seen him do was the game saving blocked shot against Florida in the SEC tournament my freshman year. The man blocked a three point shot for us to win the game. It was fun times”, said Frankie Sullivan. The shot of Quantez Robertson was never his strong suit, but it has improved in the Beko BBL in the last few years and Sullivan agrees. “His shot really has got better over the years all from hard work. He really is a Freak athlete”, warned Frankie Sullivan. Robertson has gotten the freak athlete name from many players, but getting to the NBA just on defense work is possible, but more like having to find a tiger in a long corn field in Alabama. “It doesn’t surprise me because the NBA is hard to get into. However I do think that he could play in the NBA and be a great defensive stopper for a lot of teams. The only thing that I think would be the problem is a scout talking about him not being able to score at his height. The crazy thing is he can score the basketball when he is aggressive. I really think if a team would pick him up they would be getting a steal”, warned Frankie Sullivan.
Sullivan started a new basketball life in Finland after departing Frankfurt playing for Kouvot Kouvola and came to a team that has had players like John Allen, David Bell, Wayne Bernard, Lamarr Greer and AJ Moye playing for them in the past. Despite the slow start by the team at 0-9 and the club struggling through the season with a record of 6-22 the experience had been great. “I loved it. The coach really knows the game. He taught me how to really utilize my talent to be successful. You can always get better at everything. I think once we just get that first win thing will get rolling for us”, stressed Frankie Sullivan. Even if the Finland-Korisliiga is weaker than the Beko BBL, it is never easy coming late to a team and having to be integrated into the team. Finland is also a great league for young and upcoming players to make a name for themselves and then move on to higher leagues as a Ricky Hickman did playing for Macabbi tel Aviv. Sullivan has had no problems having to adjust to the new league as he is averaged 19.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 45.3%, 3FGP: 32.6%, FT: 71.7%, He has scored in double figures in all nine games including two 30 point games and a 32 point effort. “First it’s God leading the way for me. Without him I wouldn’t even have been here. My coach is always showed me film, talking to me about making the team better, and I just love the game. My teammates made it easy for me by trusting in me. I’m a firm believer in if you put the hard work in everything else will take care of itself”, added Frankie Sullivan. He played on a team with three other Americans and the rest all Finish players. As a rookie, he took the reigns into his own hands and took responsibility as he was the leading scorer and at the top of other statistics on the team. In a way scoring is something that the American has always known to do, so why not as rookie in Finland. “Scoring the ball has always been something I have had pretty good success in. I wouldn’t say that I am the go to guy, but if that is the role I have to play I don’t mind. I just want to win. I just want to play a role in wining. When you win everyone looks good”, warned Frankie Sullivan. One thing was for sure that when it started getting uncomfortably cold in Finland, Sullivan was hanging out in the Sauna, but he still needed practice, because even if he was able to practice at the Titus Terme sauna at the Fraport Skyliners practice facility, he still needed to find his form in a Finish sauna. “ I tried the other day I might have stayed in there 5 minutes”, smiled Frankie Sullivan. His rookie journey didn´t end in Finland, but brought him back to Germany to Crailsheim where he is balled in the Pro A. It was a little surprising to see him leave a team where he was one of the top performers. “I had great stats but the team wasn’t winning. I’m guessing the team wanted change”, stressed Sullivan. Sullivan joined a team that had a 18-5 record and the second best team in the German Pro A behind 010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen. The American was glad to be playing for a winning team and for a coach that believed in his play. “It has been a great experience to be on such a talented team. My role was to come in the game and bring energy to the team. Coach Young had been very helpful to me in the first few weeks. He believed in in my strengths on the court and allowed me to play my game”, stressed Sullivan. After starting in Frankfurt via Kouvot, he came to Crailsheim a city with only 32,000 people living there and the smallest from each city he has played in his rookie season. However the third was to be the charm as the club was able to move up to the Beko BBL thanks to the support from the American. In 21 games he averaged 9.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.0apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 72.9%. He helped the team get by Gotha and especially against NBC came up big in game three and four supplying 21 and 17 points to get to the final. Crailsheim lost the Pro A final to BG Goettingen, but as the finalist automatically moved up to the Beko BBL. It might have been a long first rookie season for the Alabama native, but to finish it off by aiding Crailsheim reach the Beko BBL made the taste of the Crailsheim specialty Horaff pastry at the victory dinner so much sweeter. Unfortunately Crailsheim didn´t keep Frankie Sullivan, but with his experience as a rookie last season, he would be a great addition to any team even so late now in the preseason.