In four of the last five seasons, the Telekom Baskets were fortunate and proud to have one of the top point guards in Europe and possibly a player that had the talent to have made the NBA, but just had missed that spec of extra luck to compete with the best in the world. I am talking about Hartford native Jared Jordan that has that touch of conservative Yankee senator in his looks, but is all business on the court as when he has the basketball in his hands then he is as creative and dominating as is Lionel Messi when he is starting one of his famous sprints to the goal with FC Barcelona. Jordan who is called Mr pass and could just about make any play he wanted to register that stat the assist being a no look pass, touch down pass, back door pass, behind the back or ally-op pass which for him was as programmed, perfect and easy as it is for a pizza baker to produce the freshest and most tastiest pie every night. Just watching the blind understanding of the Jared Jordan to Tony Gaffney combination on the alley-op will never be forgotten in Bonn. Last season the ex Marist star who led the NCAA in assists twice at 8,7 and 8,5 in his last two years at school rudely left Bonn for Bamberg in the second half of the season for that title hope, but instead was kicked out in the first round of the playoffs. This season Jordan is playing in the best basketball league in Europe in Spain for Gipuzkoa BC San Sebastian (Spain-Liga Endesa). The Telekom Baskets now are trying to forget the magical playmaking skills that Jordan gave them with the versatility point guard duo of Eugene Lawrence and Richard Mcconnell. One has to give German head coach Matthias Fischer a lot of credit and respect for first finding Lawrence at the end of last season for Jordan in a very critical phase and the American didn´t disappoint as he almost led the club past Oldenburg in a tough 5 game series and played 16 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-2(6.0apg), FGP: 39.4%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 75.6%. The club held the American and then seemed to make the next big steal hauling in Richard Mcconnell. Mcconnell is a point guard that averaged 6,1apg as a senior with St Marys and as a pro averaged 6,4apg in 50 games for the Frisco Texas Legends(D-League). Lawrence is more the playmaker with the more limited scoring ability, but has that physical body which Jordan didn´t have and can help him to easier buckets inside and drawing fouls, while Mcconnell can score and fill up the stat sheet with assists. This duo is by far the best point guard duo in the league and what Beko BBL manager can say my back up point guard Mcconnell almost made the Dallas Mavericks roster in 2013. In the first game, they combined for 12 points and 13 assists and in the second game for 21 points and 10 assists. Both guys have great court vision and can pass the ball while Mcconnell can also shoot at a high percentage from outside if needed as he demonstrated with Tezenis Verona (Italy-Lega2) 2 seasons ago shooting 42,2%. With Ryan Brooks and Benas Veikalas, Bonn is already stocked with the perfect two man punch at the shooting guard position. A third interesting dimension is added when Lawrence and Mcconnell are both on the court which will be like having two big creative heads on the court. It will be interesting to see how well these two Americans will fill the shoes of the departed Jared Jordan? Head coach Fischer made the best out of replacing the departed Jordan as the point guard position is even stronger now. Even the most faithful Bonn Jordan supporters might be thinking soon Jordan who when the Lawrence and Mcconnel show bring success and happiness on the court. “It is a lot of fun playing with both guys. We have two completely different point guards. Lawrence is the more physical player that likes the set play and will post up while Mcconnell likes the fast break play and likes to finish himself. Both are excellent pick and roll players and the opponents have a tough time adjusting because both are different type of players. Our pick and roll offense is stronger with two point guards like that and plays on offense are better identified”, stressed Telekom baskets Bonn guard Andrej Mangold.
The Beko BBL playoffs has been a usual occurrence for the Telekom Baskets like it is for Boston Red Sox David Ortiz racking in 30 home runs and 100 RBI´s each season as in the last 18 years the club missed the promised land in May only twice in 2005 and 2011. Since the unsatisfactory season in 2010-2011 where the team finished in 13th place, the club has reached the Beko BBL playoffs the last three seasons. After two seventh place finishes, head coach Michael Koch left and the team hauled in Matthias Fischer who had won titles in Austria and in 2012-2013 experienced a bitter season in Giessen where there were financial woes and he had to play with an almost all German roster in the second half of the season. However that didn´t shy Bonn from getting the coach and Fischer did a magnificent job last season leading the team to a fifth place finish and a tough 5 game series loss to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. The biggest victories was sweeping Oldenburg in the regular season and beating ratiopharm Ulm. The club showed a lot of moral and fighting spirit coming back twice to tie the playoff series with Oldenburg and had they won game three in Oldenburg which they lost in OT 72-71 then they would have been on to the next round the semi finals, but in basketball it isn´t over until the fat lady sings.
With the Beko BBL getting stronger and stronger each season, making predictions is difficult where a Beko BBL team will end up at the end of the season, but when looking at the current roster of the Telekom Baskets Bonn one has to utter the famous Arsenio Hall words “something that makes you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm” as to if Bonn can make the jump to the top 4 teams this season. It is expected that FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin will finish 1-2, but will Bamberg belong to the top 3? They have a very new roster and question marks as they aren´t a given top three team this season. If not, then that gives many teams like Oldenburg, Artland Ulm and Bonn the chance to claim those two spots. Bonn did a great job keeping that team chemistry from last season very much intact by keeping seven players. The two most important players that they kept were sharp shooter and Bonn fan favorite Benas Veikalas who can smile with the best of them and has been in the Telekom city since 2011 and last season the 31 year old played Eurocup: 10 games: 15.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT-3(96.4%); German League: 39 games: 13.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 84.2% and scorer and Mr energy Ryan Brooks. Brooks who has played for Giessen, Frankfurt and in Finland and last season for Bonn played Eurocup: 10 games: 9.9ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 73.1%; German League: 39 games: 14.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 84.0%. The team also held American Eugene Lawrence who knows the team philosophy and will take his strong playoff play into this season. The team also held 31 year old role player Steve Wachalski who gives the team energy from the bench and can hit the big shot and play when needed in chaos situations played six straight years in the German Regionaliga and two in the Pro B before getting a chance in the Beko BBL in 2010 with Bayreuth. Last season the German played Eurocup: 10 games: 3.7ppg; German League: 38 games: 3.8ppg, 1.7rpg. The club also held young 22 year old German Floran Koch and experienced 27 year old veteran Andrej Mangold who has been with the club since 2011 and is a superb back up point guard and the teams best defender that will give the opponents fits even long after the game is over when he is trying to enjoy his meal at Mcdonalds and can´t because he is involved with his thoughts on the plays that the German broke up. Last season Mangold played Eurocup: 9 games: 1.2ppg, 1.3rpg; German League: 39 games: 4.1ppg, 1.9rpg.
The club brought in very sold new players with Angelo Caloiaro who was the most efficient player in the Beko BBL last season. After a strong senior year at USF and solid rookie season in the Bulgarian league, the 25 year old San Jose native tore up the Beko BBL with MBC playing 34 games: 14.3ppg, Reb-3(6.8rpg), 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 76.6%. The team also brought in point guard Richard Mcconnell who is just oozing with break out potential in the Beko BBl, 32 year old big man Tadas Klimavicius who has much experience with six seasons at B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas and 78 Euroleague games and big man Tony Wroblicky who is a project coming from the NCAA from American (NCAA), but showed right away in his first game that he can adjust to the Beko BBL scoring 12 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in 13 minutes. The American is 22 years old and improved his scoring at American each season and as a senior played 32 games: 12.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, 1.9bpg, FGP: 58.6%, FT: 72.5%. The team also brought in basketball European traveler Dirk Madrich who with Bonn will be playing for his 11th professional team having had international experience in France with Strasbourg IG (France-ProA) in 2006-2007 playing ULEB Cup: 13 games: 4.1ppg, 2.8rpg; French League: 31 games: 4.5ppg, 2.7rpg. He had his second spring with Vechta last season at age 30 belonging to the top German players in the Beko BBL and played 34 games averaging 11.6ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 70.4% Last but not least the team also hauled in Valentin Blass who made the jump from the Bonn Regionaliga team. With the scoring punch that Bonn has, they should be able to average 78-82 points per game, but will need to play consistent defense and not be drawn into shoot outs. The club could make the jump into the top 4 teams simply because they have the chemistry and players from last season and have added the club with very good players that also have the individual class to decide games at the end. The club will have to improve on the boards as rebounding was their sore spot last season.
The Fraport Skyliners host the Telekom Baskets Bonn October 12th and are looking for their first win of the season after starting the season 0-3. In the last seven seasons, the Frankfurt Skyliners only have a 6-15 record. It doesn´t matter if Frankfurt played at the old gym or in the new arena in Bonn they have lost 12 games in a row there. The last time, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners won in Bonn, New England patriot Tom Brady had not sipped champagne yet as a third Super Bowl winner, Jurgen Klinsmann was still coach of the German national soccer team, Paul Potts was still selling cell phones and singing in front of the mirror and the terrifying Tsunami was only a few days old as Frankfurt won in Bonn on January 1st 2005 with a 79-67 win as Chris Williams exploded with 27 points and 16 rebounds. In the 2010-2011 season the Skyliners lost a tight 92-89 game shortly before the new year as Nic Wise took control in crunch time. The 20 point, eight rebound and seven assist performance didn´t help in the losing cause from Dashaun Wood. Frankfurt got revenge in the return date in the Ballsporthalle as they took apart Bonn 78-60 as Dashaun Wood led all scorers with 20 points and no Bonn player scored in double figures. In their first meeting in 2011-2012, the Telekom Baskets Bonn won 79-64 as Bonn was leading 41-34 at halftime and had a strong 22-12 third quarter that iced the cake for the win. Simonas Serapinas Led Bonn with 20 points, while the two ex Skyliners Justin Gray contributed 21 points and Jon Leuer 16 points. Frankfurt shot under 40% and were out rebounded badly. In the return game in Bonn, Frankfurt lost 81-62 not reaching the Beko BBL playoffs. The Skyliners had no method of stopping Chris Ensminger that had 24 points. Jermareo Davidosn added 18 points and Jimmy Mckinney had 13 points in his last game as a Skyliner. The Fraport Skyliners won the first game in 2012-2013 in Frankfurt 78-53 displaying the typical Katzurian defense and containing top point guard Jared Jordan to nine points and only two assists. Frankfurt was led by ex Skyliner Dion Dowell who had 17 points and Zach Peacock chipped in with 14 points. In the return game in Bonn, despite a 25 point, 11 rebound, five assist effort by Zach Peacock, Bonn won 81-75 as Benas Viekalis was hitting from everywhere except the bank of the Rhine river as he netted 22 points. Jamel Mcclean added 18 points. Last season the Fraport Skyliners lost both games as ex Skyliner Ryan Brooks scored a combined 40 points in both games leading Bonn to a 89-67 win in Frankfurt where he led all scorers with 19 points and Bonn dominated the boards and netted 13 three pointers. Frankfurt was led by Danilo Bathel with 17 games. In the return game in Bonn, the Fraport Skyliners stunk up the arena losing 74-54 as Brooks led all scorers again this time with 24 points while Barthel led Frankfurt with 17 points. Frankfurt were ice cold from outside netting just three three pointers, but dominated the boards 36-23.