Even if looking forward is more benefiical than always looking back and being glued into the past, Skyliner fans often look back to the 2003-2005 seasons where the team had their most success and won the Beko BBL title with head coach Gordon Herbert and a year later reached the final with Murat Didin. One of the pivotal players in that success was slick and slinky like Chris Williams who weaved in and around defenders in the zone as if he was gumby in disguise trying to elude the blockheads. It has been almost 10 years since the Alabama native was practicing in the BCM gym for many one of the best training facilities in Europe. In his last season in the Beko BBL, Williams played against his ex Virginia(NCAA) teammate Adam Hall who then played for BS|Energy Braunschweig. Both guys played together as teammates in the very tough ACC conference where Williams was in the top in scoring and rebounding each season while Adam Hall who like Williams were about the same height had to live a bit in his shadow. Since that season, both guys have played all over the world with Williams playing for 11 clubs the last being Foolad Mahan Esfahan (Iran-Superleague) in 2013, while Hall has been with 13 teams and has made a name of himself in the Belgium league, in five of the last six seasons with one year playing in Finland. It has been 12 years since they left Virgina having been teammates for four years and 10 years since they battled in the Beko BBL and for Hall hearing the name Williams just got him away from the post game questions for a bit and got him reminiscing about the good old days with his friend from Birmingham. Even after the tough94-68 test game loss in Frankfurt, Adam Hall´s eyes lit up when he heard the name Chris Williams and the words „Chris is my man“ sprouted out of his mouth. „I have great memories with Chris Williams. I remember in college, I was playing the 2/3 and he was playing the 3/4. We both played in Germany in the 2004-2005 season and I was still a 2/3 and Frankfurt had moved him to the four. He was one of the top players in the ACC that had future NBA players like Elton Brand, Steve Francis and Shane Battier. The fact that Chris didn´t get drafted is still shocking today. He dominated the German league then and to see how the skill level is now in Germany, you have to give him a lot of credit to how he was able to dominate then against the bigger players“, stressed Basic Fit Brussel forward Adam Hall.
For 40 minutes on Suday, American Adam Hall didn´t have Chris Williams on his mind, but was trying to help his team Basic Fit Brussel get by the Fraport Skyliners in their last pre season game. It wasn´t the Fraport Skyliners dictating the game in the first two minutes, but it was the Danilo Barthel show as the 207cm German hit two threes, gobbled down rebounds and forced turnovers which Bruessel had on their first three possessions. Frankfurt found their rhythm quickly and American rookie Sean Armand who had a tough game Monday against Leuven got off to a good start making a left handed lay up and German Konstantin Klein made a pretty floater as Frankfurt led 10-3. The Fraport Skyliners continued to pour it on on offense as they were displaying contribution from many different players. Johannes Voigtmann scored inside, Canadian Aaron Doornekamp dropped a three pointer and athletic big man spark plug Mike Morrison scored on his bread and butter twice on the put back and dunk as Brussel was trailing quickly 21-9. The Frankfurt offense was functioning like clock work and just made a lot of fun to observe as ball movement with team work and finding the open man and making shots seemed as easy as a first grader getting a red star placed on its forehead for good school work. Doornekamp who looks like he has a twin brother in Danilo Barthel when the back of their heads from behind are seen hit a three pointer while Quantez Robertson made a steal and scored and then connected on a last second three pointer as the Fraport Skyliners dominating display of fire power ended the first quarter with the commanding 32-14 lead. „Frankfurt was talking a lot on defense and forcing them to bad shots. Barthel got them on fast start and their chemistry was really down. I liked Tez the most in the first quarter“, added TV Langen forward Martins Woody.
The Fraport Skyliners were unable to hold their dominating form from the first quarter as Brussels broke away and went on a 15-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 34-29. American Jason Wasburn who played at Utah(NCAA) got Brussel going with a pull up jumper, American Donald Sims who played at Appalachian St. (NCAA) got steaming as Frankfurt had no remedy how to slow him down as he scored four buckets showing his inside out game very ripe for a point guard as he scored inside twice and nailed two three pointers. The Fraport Skyliners were able to get their lead up again as they finally scored buckets again. Morrison scored inside as pass efficient Aaron Doornekamp mad e the quick pass. Barthel then nailed a high rianbow three pointer and on the next set, Klein found the 2014 NBA Summer Legaue player for the back door bucket as Frankfurt led comfortbaly again47-34 thanks to an 8-2 run. Robertson took both teams into half time with an aggressive penetration to the hoop finishing with his left hand as Frankfurt led 49-35. „Frankfurt lost concentration in the first five minutes getting sloppy turn overs and Brussel picked up the intensity. The Belgium team also did a good job switching up their defense confusing Frankfurt. Frankfurt did get intensity back in the last three minutes“, stressed Martins Woody.
In the third quarter, The Fraport Skyliners kept the lead, but allowed another Brussels run at the end as inconsistent was their middle name. Sims kept being a thorn in the side of Frankfurt as he could score almost at any time and always then when his team didn´t have anyone else who could provide spark. He hit another two three pointers as Frankfurt led only 53-44. However even with their inconsistency, Frankfurt had more weapons on the day and broke out with a 12-3 run to extend their lead to 65-49. Armand found his range hitting a three pointer and jumper, Johannes Voigtman scored twice getting a feed from Barthel all alone in the lane for the two handed dunk and then dropped a rare three pointer and Klein used his speed going coast to coast for the easy bucket. Armand still wasn´t happy after the win of his own game, but was content. „I had a meeting with coach today and he told me I am a scorer that can shoot and penetrate, but at times pass to much. I shot better than last game and I can continue to build on this and my defense“, said Sean Armand. Basketball is a game of runs and the game can change so fast which Brussel showed shaving off eight points of the Frankfurt lead going on a 8-2 run to trail only 67-57 after three quarters. Aleksandar Lichodzijewski started the run with a lay in and Travis Mckie who played at Wake Forest (NCAA) nailed a three pointer over Armand and then hit three free throws to end the third quarter. „The Skyliners picked up their intensity, but ir dropped down at the end. The biggest problem of Frankfurt was their inconsistency as they were up and down. Frankfurt had a 16 point lead and then let them cut it down to 10 points. They were unable to build on their lead. You can let teams come back like that“, warned Martins Woody.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners went back to their offensive basketball and easily won the fourth quarter 27-11 and game as they were able to prep one last time before the home opener on Friday. The ball movement was working again as well as the extra pass as Klein and Robertson hit three pointers as Frankfurt extended their lead to 75-61. Voigtman was still hungry for scoring as he scored consecutive buckets as Brussel trailed 80-63. Sean Armand continued to improve his stat sheet hitting two three pointers and Super Tez continued to be his aggressive self scoring inside getting steals and getting to the free throw line. All in all it was a good ending to the pre season for Frankfurt as they stayed undefeated. „In the first half our offense dictated our defense while in the second half our defense led to our offense and we started playing better. Our biggest strength was our communication in the second half“, stressed Sean Armand. „This was the toughest game that we had this pre season. Both teams had their runs, but the diffference was that Frankfurt extended their lead in the fourth quarter. Frankfurt was so aggressive from start to end on defense. The starters were aggressive then came the subs that were aggressive and it kept going back and forth. They will wear down many teams. We took this as a good experience and will try to learn from it“, stated Adam Hall.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 20 points. Quantez Robertson added 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Sean Armand contributed 15 points and Mike Morrison, Aaron Doornekamp and Danilo Barthel chipped in with 11 points a piece. Basic Fit Brussel were led by Donald Sims with 25 points and Alexsandar Lichodzijewski added 15 points. It was a very successful pres eason fort he Fraport Skyliners, but the team shouldn´t rate it too high and just remain on the ground. „It is nice that we were undefeated, but we can still learn from wins. We can´t get ahead of ourselves and just take each game at a time. We are ready to play on Friday“, warned Sean Armand. Basic Fit Brussel already played Phoenix Hagen twice in the pre season and Adam Hall knows how Frankfurt will win. „Phoenix Hagen doesn´t have the prototypical team. Frankfurt can match them and have the size advantage. Frankfurt can hurt them inside and I would imagine that is what they will do“, warned Adam Hall.