Some professional athletes get so stuck in the hearts of fans that one could never expect there to ever be any animosity, but what happens when that so cherished player departs and comes back to haunt its ex team? Then that love affair can turn as quickly as Paris Hilton can proclaim that she is one of the best dj´s in the world into a hate affair. Boston sportscaster legend Bob Lobel loved to say in his broadcasts “why don´t we get players like that” always then when an ex Boston player came back to haunt his ex Boston team. Some examples around the globe are English player Frank Lampard scoring against his ex team Chelsea with Manchester United. Swede striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving across town from Inter Milan to AC Milan and causing terror with goals or Dutch international striker Robin Van Persie scoring with Manchester United against his old team Arsenal with whom he scored 96 times for. Even the Fraport Skyliners have not been shielded from former players spooking them as American Philadelphia native Ryan Brooks demonstrated last season. After a solid season with Frankfurt in 2012-2013, the former Temple player fled up the Rhine river to the Telekom Baskets Bonn and led them twice to victory last season. In the first game on the road in Frankfurt, Brooks led all scorers with 19 points leading his team to a 89-67 victory and in the return game in Bonn, he scolded his ex team leading all scorers again with 24 points as Frankfurt was thrashed 74-54 and lost for the 12 straight time in Bonn. Sometimes three is a charm and the Fraport Skyliners were hoping for some revenge against Ryan Brooks and were motivated to win in their own living room after losing their first two games at home against Phoenix Hagen and ratiopharm Ulm and Frankfurt had three is a charm winning in marvelous fashion 84-71 while Brooks and Bonn didn´t have a magical third win in a row. After having big games against Frankfurt last season, Brooks ended the day with only four points on 2/10 shooting in 26 minutes and one could sense the disappointment from the Philadelphia native, but a trip back to his old working ground to see some of his ex teammates is always nice. “It is always nice to play against Frankfurt. I felt I was too passive and wasn´t aggressive enough. We have to do a better job getting stops and our strength is running and we didn´t do that. The three Germans Klein, Barthel and Voigtman have come a long way. Klaus Perwass does a good job with them and one sees that they are more and more comfortable on the court”, warned ex Giessen 46er Ryan Brooks. Quantez Robertson had had enough of the brilliant Brooks play from last season and was as forceful with his words as his defense during the game. “There was no way that Brooks would beat us a third time in a row. We did a great job limiting his touches and contesting his shots”, smiled Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners entered with a 0-3 record and were reeling off a bitter loss in Munich where they played an amazing first half leading by 14 points, but totally losing control in the first few minutes of the third quarter allowing the 2014 Beko BBL champion to march back and match their lead and then take control of the game and win. Frankfurt also lost winnable games against Phoenix Hagen and ratiopharm Ulm and were likely the best 0-3 team ever that the league had seen. However the Fraport Skyliners took control at the start of the game and never looked back dominating for 40 minutes and getting a much needed win. After the game Fraport Skyliner point guard Richard Williams was relieved about the win and credits the Munich game as a game where the club was able to build positively from and got them prepared for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. “This was a very important win for us and good for our moral. Our play in Munich gave us confidence to play well against Bonn. The only difference to the loss in Munich was that today we did a lot better job playing with the lead and our poise was excellent. Our biggest strength was our ability to share the ball and even if a situation got ugly, we had trust in each other which carried through the game”, expressed San Diego native Richard Williams. Fraport Skyliner guard Sean Armand who continues to grow better and better into his role was thrilled about getting his first professional win. “After starting 0-3 it would have been easy to hang our heads, but we kept our heads up and fought hard. The first three games were winnable, but everyone can compete in this league and if you don´t play right then you can lose. We had so much more intensity from the start than in the other games and we shared the ball very well”, warned Sean Armand. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were reeling off a home loss against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin and only had 48 hours to recuperate and started the game flat and never really found their rhythm and had to fight out of a hole that seemed to get larger with every ensuing quarter. Bonn had problems with the Frankfurt defense and even after the game was over, ex Dirk Madrich teammate in Vechta Richard Williams was playfully heckling the big man who was trying to find the fitting words for the hard defeat. “We had a bad start and just made many bad decisions. We gave up way to many fast break baskets. We came into the game knowing that Frankfurt can shoot from outside and they punished us. If you are down by 15 points in the BBL then it is very difficult to come back. We continue to have big problems to get the ball inside. We have experienced guys who can perform inside, but we need the ball. The only positive thing today was the good support of the fans”, stressed Bonn center Dirk Madrich.
The Fraport Skyliners had Quantez Robertson again after he had missed the Munich game and started the game as if they had completely erased the surprising 0-3 start by rocking the Telekom Baskets Bonn with a scorching 16-1 run that may even have left the most daunting skeptical Skyliner with a slight smile as everything was working and Bonn head coach Matthias Fischer was wondering why me, why me? Sean Armand started the run sprinting past the slow Bonn transition defense as Klein fed him for the easy layup. Johannes Voigtmann then made a perfect lob pass ally-op to Danilo Barthel for the tap in and 4-0 Frankfurt advantage. Then the Fraport Skyliners totally annihilated Bonn from outside as it went bang, bang, bang, bang four times as Armand hit twice and Konstantin Klein nailed two three pointers in a row. The Fraport Skyliners were as hot as the San Diego sun in July when Richard Williams is training at midday. Frankfurt were playing nothing like a 0-3 team and were equally aggressive on offense and defense. Frankfurt always was pressuring the ball as no Bonn player had any breathing room. Ex St Mary´s standout Richard Mcconnell scored the first Bonn field goal to cut the Frankfurt lead to 17-3. Bonn started to have a bit more luck on offense going on a 6-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 19-9 as Florian Koch and Mcconnell scored inside. However that burst of Bonn brilliance was quickly trampled on by Frankfurt that ended the first quarter on a 7-0 run and led 26-9 after one quarter. Williams found American Mike Morrison for the thrashing dunk, Quantez Robertson made a steal fed Koivisto who got the ball back to Tez for the ally-op tip in and Williams nailed a three pointer. “Frankfurt was playing with a high intensity and were hitting their open shots. Armand got the Frankfurt offense going with his shooting and Klein as well. Frankfurt just was doing a great job finding each other”, stressed TV Lich guard Jermale Jones.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued their dominance on offense and the only Bonn player that kept them in the game was Richard Mcconnell. The strong first quarter of Frankfurt heightened their confidence as players got fancy as well making difficult shots as Williams showed tip toeing by two defenders at the free throw line and then finishing over Brooks. However the Telekom Baskets Bonn are a talented team and their 11-4 run which they produced somehow was hidden by the big Frankfurt lead as they still trailed 33-20. In the run from Bonn, they shared the ball well as Dirk Madrich scored on a put back, Angelo Caloiaro made a reverse layup as Eugene Lawrence found him back door, Mcconnell nailed a three pointer, Brooks snuck inside for a layup in traffic and Tadas Klimavicius who has played 78 Euroleague games made a tip in as Frankfurt only led 33-20. However despite this stronger phase from Bonn, it didn´t unrattle the Fraport Skyliners who continued to play steady set play offense and never let Bonn get the lead to under 10 points. Mcconnell kept setting the pace for Bonn as he dropped two three pointers cutting the Frankfurt lead to 39-27. Down the stretch, Frankfurt continued to get solid support from everyone as Robertson scored inside, Williams hit a pull up jumper and Barthel had a strong phase getting three buckets with an offensive rebound and put back running hook shot and lay in on the fast break. Brooks closed out the second quarter making a lightening quick burst into the passing lane like he remembered seeing from ex teammate Quantez Robertson two seasons ago finishing with a two handed dunk, but the Fraport Skyliners still led 49-34 at halftime. “Bonn finally found their rhythm and settled into a groove. However Frankfurt was still in control and making a push. Mcconnell kept Bonn in the game with big shots”, added American from TV Lich Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 61% from the field and 50% from outside while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 38% from the field and 27% from outside. Frankfurt was leading the rebound battle 21-16 and had five turnovers while Bonn had six turnovers.
The third quarter hasn´t always been the best quarter for the Fraport Skyliners in the past and in Munich they gave up a 14 lead on a 14-0 Munich run, but Frankfurt had no recurring nightmare of past negativity, but came out with a blistering 14-5 run to extend their lead to 63-39. Frankfurt continued to find many different ways to score on offense. Armand scored seven points in the run with an off balance shot, lay in on the fast break and a three pointer. Barthel also scored as Frankfurt demonstrated again that they love the extra pass as Klein found Voigtmann near the post and he quickly found Barthel cutting insice for the lay in. It isn´t easy always keeping focus as mental lapses do arise especially when you have a big lead as Frankfurt allowed Bonn on a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 63-45. In the Bonn run, they got buckets inside from Lawrence and Caloiaro. Frankfurt ended the third quarter with the momentum again going on a 5-2 run to lead 68-47. Aaron Doornekamp hit a jumper and Mikko Koivisto nailed a three pointer. “We saw what had happened in Munich in the third quarter to Frankfurt, but they did a good job holding up against us well continuing to defend well and we just couldn´t execute on offense”, added Bonn German Dirk Madrich. “Even if you get a run, then you might still be down 10 points which still makes the comeback difficult”, warned Richard Mcconnell. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 47% from the three point line while the Telkom Baskets Bonn were shooting 34% from the field and 20% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 30-23 rebound edge, but 10 turnovers while Bonn had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners continued to control the game and even a 13-5 Bonn run at the end couldn´t threaten the Frankfurt big lead. Mike Morrison started the fourth quarter with a left handed hook shot where Klimavicius was still looking for his jock strap a half hour after the loss in the parking lot. Bonn fan favorite Benas Veikalas then made his first field goal of the night getting a back door pass from Klimavicius. Veikalas finished with two points which is as difficult to believe as it was Brooks finishing with only four points. Frankfurt continued to get buckets from everyone as Doornekamp made a jumper and Williams made a turn around jumper in traffic. Barthel scored from the free throw line and made a lay in as Frankfurt led 77-56. With time running out, the Telekom Baskets Bonn made one last gasp and run of 14-5 to cut the Frankfurt lead to 82-70. In the run, Bonn started to hit from outside as Regionaliga to BBL player Steve Wachalski nailed two three pointers and Madrich also connected from the parking lot. However that was it for Bonn as Doornekamp closed the door on the opponent on the games last field goal notching a lay in getting a back door feed from Voigtmann ending the game 84-71. “It really doesn´t matter what level you are at be it in the NCAA or the NBA, teams will always have lapses with big leads. We didn´t execute well on some plays, but that is a part of the game. The better teams won´t have lapses like that”, warned Iona alumnist Sean Armand.” Our run at the end was simply too little too late. We tried to show some resistance, but the game was already decided. We had used so much energy coming back. It is hard to come back with sucha a big deficit in the BBL”, said Ryan Brooks.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Sean Armand with 17 points. Danilo Barthel added 14 points. Konstantin Klein had 10 points and shared the lead in rebounds and assists with seven and five. Richard Williams added 10 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Richard Mcconnell with 22 points. Angelo Caloiaro and Steve Wachalski chipped in with 10 points a piece. Frankfurt finished the game with the kind of shooting percentages you usually see in the NBA shooting 58% from the field and 44% from the parking lot while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 39% from the field and 31% from the parking lot. Frankfurt won the rebounding duel 37-29, but had 14 turnovers while Bonn had 12 turnovers. Not only the lack of hitting shots consistently is on the to do list for Mathias Fischer, but also to get an inside presence alive. “A lack of getting the ball inside has to do with Eugene Lawrence and myself. We have to do a better job, but I think that getting the ball inside doesn´t always have to do with getting our big men the ball. We have some big wings that can get the job done and get to the free throw line as well. We can´t be one dimensional, but be more versatile in our inside play”, warned Richard Mcconnell. After giving up an average of 87 points in the first three games, the Fraport Skyliners seem to be on a good way on the defensive end giving up only 71 points to Bonn. “There are still things that we can improve, but our rotations, clogging the lane and closing out worked well. You could see that we were all on the same page on defense”, warned Sean Armand. The Fraport Skyliners next play in Bremerhaven October 19th.