It seems that with every passing unspectacular season, the lust to have a winning formula again with the combination of shear desperation of getting back to the Beko BBL playoffs is getting greater and greater each season for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Since leaving the BBL in the 90s and moping around in the Regionaliga via the second Bundesliga, the club finally returned back to the big show in 2002. After finishing their first two seasons in 12th and 14th place, the club had three very successful seasons finishing in eighth, sixth and second place. In the 2006-2007 season, they were one of the big surprises in the league and belonged to the best teams that season. However since 2007, the club has been buried in no mans land in the Beko BBL and last season were only saved by a wild card otherwise they would have been back in the second Bundesliga. Ever since the glory days of Silvano Poropat in 2006-2007, the club has changed their head coaches increasingly the way Tom Brady lost his receivers last season and this season has to mold rookie receivers into guys who won´t drop the ball. In this time, the club has had the services of Rick Stafford, Tolga Ongorin, Marcus Jochum and Steven Key. None of these coaches garnered the franchise better than a ninth place finish. Last January, the club was at the bottom of the Beko BBL standings as winning had become as difficult for the Stuttgart neighbor as it is for Boston Redsox player Mike Napoli from cutting off his ZZ Top looking beard. The club removed Steven Key and inserted John Patrick as a type of a fireman to rescue the team. It is never easy to come in blind in a season, and he helped the team get some wins, but we wasn´t able to save the team from having to declare a wild card. The team got the wild card and kept John Patrick.It really doesn´t matter where Patrick has been, if it was in Japan with Toyota Alvark, with BG Goettingen or the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg, he was able to build winning teams and with the case of BG Goettingen make successful teams out of low budgets and sending unknown rookie players on to bigger and better teams after letting them develop in Goettingen. So last season for a change Patrick now was able to form his own team and it blended it nicely with players that had youth, experience and special desire that helped the club reach the playoffs and give FC Bayern Munich a good run for the money in the playoffs. It is obvious that the club wants to nurture and build a winning tradition with titles and playoff appearances in the future and what the better man to have at the helm than Mr Patrick. Already last season Patrick put together a very strong roster and brought that NBA flair to the small schwaben pueblo Ludwigsburg with Michael Stockton and Coby Karl. This season is no different as these two Americans remained and Patrick also brought big man Jon Brockman on board who has his own fear the beard and probably could scare Shaq at a weak moment when he hasn´t had his daily dose of Big Mac´s. A fourth player that has NBA air is DJ Kennedy who played two NBA games as a rookie for the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the other players it will never get boring on road trips as Karl can babble on for hours about his legendary dad George who has seen it all in the NBA while Stockton can praise and beam about his younger brother David who currently is a rookie in the D-league with Reno and if he keeps up his current assist beast mode might get a call up from the NBA and also debate who looks more like his dad him or his brother. Coupled with break out star Kerron Johnson and solid veterans like John Little, Adam Waleskowski, Shawn Huff, Chris Mcnaughton and Patrick Flomo, this should be a team that should be wrecking havoc each weekend, but currently have only won four games and at the end of the Beko BBL standings. The question is when will this team break out of their funk. Patrick may not have had the injuries that the Fraport Skyliners had, but maybe he should give Gordon Herbert a call and ask for some tips about who they were able to go on a winning streak? One thing is for sure, Herbert won´t send him Justin Cobbs as he has been a huge reason for the turnaround, but Patrick doesn´t need reinforcements, but just wins.
Last season the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg slipped into the playoffs finishing the season with a record of 16-17 and having the undesirable moment of meeting the might FC Bayern Munich. During the season their biggest wins were against Alba Berlin, ratiopharm Ulm, Artland and Bonn. The club gave up 80 or more points 14 times and scored 80 or more points 16 times. It was just a season of ups and downs which are prevalent in the season of any team, but overall just were inconsistent as they were unable to gather more than one four game winning streak all season long. The club had fluctuations in their roster all season long as players came and went and that team chemistry which was solid always had new challenges to prove itself. Ludwigsburg played with a lot of heart against FC Bayern Munich in the playoffs losing 3-1. Their best game was the big 85-83 win at home in game two, but other than that, the club lost by an average of 26 points per game in the other three games and just might have ran out of gas and been overpowered by the experience and depth of the troops of Svetislav Pesic.
It is always key to keep not all, but a healthy majority of players intact and that is what John Patrick did and has been known of doing especially when one looks back to his Gottingen days where he had the three amigos of Jason Boone, Ben Jacobsen and John Little on board for years which led to the clubs only title in 2010 with the Eurochallenge win. Patrick kept six players and added seven new players. German Tim Koch has been on the team the longest and Patrick also held on to BBL veterans Adam Waleskowski and Patrick Flomo as well as second year BBL man Michael Stockton and Coby Karl and defense specialist Shawn Huff. The club added interesting new players like American Kerron Johnson who had his break out game in his debut with 38 points against Bonn, ex NBA player and inside beast Jon Brockman, defense specialist and man to man pest John Little who played under Patrick in Goettingen and Wurzburg, veteran center Chris Mcnaughton who is playing for his fifth Beko BBL team in six years, young German/American Travis Warech and recently the team got valuable experience with Folaran Campbell that played in Bonn and Argentina and DJ Kennedy who belongs to the NBA air group who played with the Cavs and was on the pre season roster with Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks. Last season Ludwigsburg was a team that knew and was able to score from the guard position with Harris, Grant and Carl and this season Patrick has more options from the forward and center position. With Brockman on board the club has a consistent bruiser that can score and rebound and with Campbell and Kennedy there is more depth at the forward position. Despite all this talent and depth, the club has been struggling and playing way under their potential. The club has been up and down and in a span of six games were 3-3 always winning a game and then losing the next game in this span. The club also could have won five games more and now have 9 wins and be sitting in the 4-5 area in the standings as they have lost five games by six or less points. The crunch time has been a sore point for the team that will need to be corrected if the club wants to reach a second consecutive playoffs. Patrick also has preached that he wants his defense stronger this season is still looking for improvement as his team has let up 80 or more points in nine of the first 14 games. Recently they have been in a hole having lost four of five games and have averaged only 70 points. Patrick definitely will have basketball and his team Ludwigsburg on his mind between meals and opening presents.
When looking closer at the Ludwigsburg roster, John Patrick held on to Coby Karl who is a 30 year old 196cm guard form Wisconsin that is the son of legendary head coach George Karl and is playing his second season in Ludwigsburg. 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%. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 23 games: 12.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 82.8%. Karl is an all rounder that fills up the stat sheet and just gives his coach something to smile about after each game. of Michael Stockton is a 25 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 two seasons with pro A team BG Karlsruhe before making the jump to Ludwigsburg. 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. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 37 games: 11.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 78.0%. Shawn Huff is a 29 year old 198cm forward from Finland also with extensive important European experience that is playing his second season in Ludwigsburg. 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. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 37 games: 10.1ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 67.6%.
. Patrick is also reunited with Adam Waleskowski for a second straight season 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 tenth 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%. 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. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 26 games: 7.8ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 73.5%. Patrick Flomo is a 34 year old 203cm forward is back in the Beko BBL for a second straight season after playing 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. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 35 games: 3.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.1bpg.
The team added seven new players including Kerron Johnson. Johnson is a 24 year old 185cm point guard from Huntsville, Alabama that is playing his second professional season. He is an exciting floor general with a winning background. Last season as a rookie he played for the New Zealand Breakers (Australia-NBL) playing 28 games: 12.6ppg, 2.8rpg, Assists-5(4.3apg), Steals-5(1.2spg), FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 59.8%. He started his basketball career at Belmont (NCAA) playing a total of 133 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games: 14.2ppg, 3.1rpg, 4.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 29.5%, FT: 77.8%. He won the A-Sun tournament twice and was the MVP in 2012. Jon Brockman is a 27 year old 201cm power forward from Snohomish, Washington that is playing his sixth professional season. He is a true workman, comes to play on every possession and is willing to do all the dirty work and he has a very strong body with a low center of gravity that allows him to clear space. On the O glass is where his greatest traits come to the forefront, his relentless approach and great anticipation allow him to grab rebounds that are even out of his initial rebounding zone. He played at Washington(NCAA) from 2005-2009 playing a total of 131 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games: 14.9ppg, 11.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 52.6%, FT: 64.0%. In 2009 he was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. He played in the NBA from 2009-2012 playing for Sacramento and Milwaukee playing a total of 150 NBA games. He played in France the last two seasons and last season for ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA, starting five): 33 games: 6.9ppg, Reb-4(7.6rpg), FGP: 57.8%, FT: 64.4%; Eurocup: 9 games: 8.8ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 60.0%, FT: 86.7%. The team also added Folarin Campbell who is a 28 year old 192cm guard that is playing his seventh professional season and third in Germany. He also has played in countries like Italy and Latvia. Last season he played for Enel Brindisi (Italy-SerieA) playing 33 games: 9.2ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 73.2%. He is a big guard with great scoring skills. He played stably at the point his last year of college, but can easily spend time in the 2 and 3 positions, thanks to athletic skills and size. He played at George Mason from 2004-2008 and played a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games: 15.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 73.3%: Finished career at George Mason ranked fourth all-time in assists (392), fifth in three-point field goals attempted (489), sixth in three-point field goals made (163) and eighth in scoring (1,545 points). Is the only player in school history with 1,500 points, 450 rebounds, 350 assists, 150 3-pointers, 100 steals and 50 blocks.
The team also hauled in DJ Kennedy that is a 25 year old 198cm swing man from Pittsburgh that is playing his fourth professional season. He started this season at Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB): VTB United League: 4 games: 19.3ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.3apg; Eurocup: 3 games: 16.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.7spg. He played at St.John’s (NCAA) from 2007-2011playing a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games: 10.4ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 77.8%. In his first two seasons he spent time in the D-league and played two NBA games for Cleveland and was cut by Memphis to start the 2012-2013 season. Last season he played for Dallas Mavericks (NBA), released in Oct.’13, later that month signed at BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA): Eurocup: 4 games: 11.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.3apg; French ProA: 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0spg, left in Dec.’13, in Jan.’14 moved to Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB), later that month agreed terms with Hapoel Holon (Israel-Winner League, starting five): 19 games: 12.1ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 72.6%. The team also added John Little who is b a 29 year old 182cm point guard that is known firsthand for his pit bull defense. He got name playing with Goettingen and won the Eurochallenge in 2010. He started his basketball career at N.Iowa (NCAA) in 2002 and played a total of 122 NCAA games until 2006. As a senior there he played 32 games: 7.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 69.8% He played three seasons for BG Goettingen and Wurzburg. Who could forget how he stole the show from point guard Dashaun Wood during the 2012 playoffs where he played like an MVP against Alba Berlin. Last season for Wurzburg he played 33 games: 5.7ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 69.2%. German Chris Mcnaughton is a 30 year old 211cm center that likes to play with his back to the basket and is playing his first season in Ludwigsburg. He has the American citizenship and has had experience playing in the NCAA at Bucknell and played many years in Spain winning the Spanish LEB Silver with Faymasa Palencia in 2009. He also played with Goettingen, Oldenburg and Bremerhaven. Last season for Wurzburg he played 34 games: 8.1ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 58.5%, FT: 64.9%. Travis Warech is a 23 year old 190cm guard from New Jersey that is playing his second professional season. Last season he played for BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA): 29 games: 10.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 74.2%. He started his basketball career in 2009 for St.Michael’s (NCAA2) where he played until 2012. As a senior he played for Ithaca (NCAA3) playing 25 games: 16.1ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3Pts: 34.0%, FT: 65.6%
The Fraport Skyliners have nice memories of the last 16 games against Ludwigsburg having a 10-8 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 2011-2012, 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 of the 2012-2013 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. Last season Frankfurt was swept losing 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.In the return game, Ludwigsburg won 77-76 as Frankfurt let another game of many in the second half of the season slip away as Coby Karl took a dive and Adam Waleskowski made a put back and winning free throw. Waleskowski led Ludwigsburg with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Coby Karl poured in 17 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 15 points while Dane Watts added 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners travel to Ludwigsburg on December 30th for the last game in 2014.