When you think about the most famous NBA twin towers, the state of Texas comes to mind right away and I am thinking about the cities Houston or San Antonio, where the two tall duo´s of Ralph Samson and Akeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets and David Robinson and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs who all have long dangling arms that for many NBA defenders felt like they were being bombarded by nasty and annoying octopuses all night long on the glass. Of course these NBA legends of Hall of Famers and future of famers aren´t worthy of being compared to, but if you walk down the long and after loses unseemingly endless hall way between the Fraport Skyliners locker room and mesh area where you are greeted with clapping after big wins when each player walks in, you are transformed into a magical world between Frankfurt and airport as the Frankfurt skyline by night is plastered on the wall and sometimes by request one can witness a flashing light over the picture of the skyline giving one a sense of being on the runway at Frankfurt airport courtesy of the airport operating firm Fraport. So it is fitting when the Fraport Skyliner hulking youths Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann exit the locker room that suddenly two extra twin towers have arisen to brighten up an already sparkling Frankfurt Skyline. Sometimes this Skyliner twin tower duo are joined by point guard Konstantin Klein as they march down the catacombs in the Fraport arena as their point guard side kick the same way that John Lucas was in the 80s in Houston and Avery Johnson was in the 90s in San Antonio. Barthel and Voigtmann may only be at the start of their career, but in a careful sense one could name them the Fraport Skyliners own version of The twin towers as they continue to develop more and more and gain extensive respect and also will be teammates for the first time at the 2015 Beko BBL Allstar games playing for the national team.
Danilo Barthel will be taking part in his second Allstar game while his teammate Johannes Voigtmann will be making his debut in Ulm. When you look at each Beko BBL roster, you mostly find a big forward and center, but not each team has the luxury of this height advantage especially a Phoenix Hagen where a Keith Ramsey is the tallest player at 205cm. For example in the last years top teams like the EWE Baskets Oldenburg had a type of twin towers with German Chris Mcnaughton and Serb Luka Bogdanovic or Bamberg back in 2008 having future NBA player Tim Ohlbrecht and ex NBA player Alexander Johnson roaming the zone area or more recently in Freak City as Chris Fleming had a brutal inside presence of twin tower capacity with Germans Tibor Pleiss and Philipp Neumann. However but where does that description with the twin towers fit best other than in Frankfurt that has the only real American style of Skyline in Germany whereas in Bamberg and Oldenburg the cow pastures are only a blink away. Barthel and Voigtmann are the only twin towers duo in this years competition that are coming from the same team. Both Germans are more than worthy of their nomination and despite the up and down of the Fraport Skyliners this season, both guys have continued to develop in their own right as in the first 10 Beko BBL games they carried a team that was still searching for their identity and had massive injury woes while in the last eight Beko BBL games and three Eurochallenge games as Beko BBL rookie Justin Cobbs came on board helped lead the team to a 10-2 record and grow further with the calm and stable floor general play of the American. A prime example of their dominance was the twin towers combining for 38 points and 17 rebounds against cellar team Crailsheim Merlins. Their dominating inside presence right of the bat laid the foundation for the Fraport Skyliners getting their offense going and never giving up the lead and getting the comfortable 88-71 victory even if it didn´t always seem so easy. “Barthel and Voigtmann both played very well and were aggressive on both ends of the court. I know how good they are since I see them play each day in practice”, smiled St Petersburg Florida native Mike Morrison. “We did a good job leading the team today. I had some easy baskets early which helped me get into the game better. Joe had 12 rebounds and did a good job down low. We worked well together and when we are both present then we make space for the others”, stated Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel. “The German big men led their team today. They are athletic, physical and skillful and played great”, added ex Giessen 46er Jannik Freese. “I am looking forward to my second allstar game. I hope that I will get some minutes on the court with Joe. We will see what happens”, stressed Danilo Barthel.
Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann have been teammates now for two and a half years and they have continued to develop each season and have improved in their stats each season. Only this season Barthel has been down a bit with his scoring average to last season as he is still looking to find his consistency which he had last season. Barthel has scored in double figures eight times this season including a 22 point effort against Braunschweig while Voigtmann has scored in double figures nine times including two 18 point efforts against Bayreuth and Bamberg. Both guys also have been major contributors and forces in the Eurochallenge play as they have been in the shadow of Americans Justin Cobb and Sean Armand slightly, but been very consistent as combined they have scored in double figures in nine of 12 games. Especially Voigtmann has been a giant force as he is averaging 13,5ppg, 7,5rpg and 2,2apg. Voigtmann did a great job holding his own against more experienced big men like John Tofi and Christoph Maraker in Eurochallenger play. With the versatile play of Voigtmann, he seems to be all over the court, but still has the finesse to get to the board whenever possible and is showing immense physicality something that has definitely grown with time. His biggest strength seems to be his passing as he belongs to the top passing big men in the league no matter who you ask the German gets a thumbs up if its from Adam Waleskowski, Pro B player Jermale Jones or his own teammate Danilo Barthel. The game IQ of him is amazing and it is scary to wonder where his passing qualities could be in 3-4 years. The mid distance is his bread butter, but his put back work has also improved. Barthel on the other had come into the season with a lot of expectations and had some problems reaching them. After a good start where he scored in double figures in three of his first four games, he then had a lull in the next four games where he was forcing a lot and was 0/6 from downtown. He then scored in double figures against Bamberg and The Walter Tigers Tuebingen, but still had problems with his three pointer going 1/5 in those two games. However since the arrival of Justin Cobbs and the game against the Mitteldeutscher BC in Leipzig he has been like reborn from outside shooting 10/13. He is shooting overall 46% from downtown now in the Beko BBL and 41% in Eurochallenge play. His brute physical play inside also is paying dividends in his game even if he seems to be getting a few more elbows thrown his way. He isn´t unstoppable down low, but he is a very annoying player to stop and if he doesn´t score he more than often will draw the foul. Both guys also have picked up their defense in the last month as the twin towers torment opponents inside with their body wall. Barthel sparkled in a hard fought loss in Berlin with three blocks while Voigtmann was a monster on defense against BG Goettingen swatting away four balls. The duo twin towers continue to understand each other blindly on the court and it will be exciting how they will continue to develop this season as well as in the next years. “I think that we both have developed individually in the first months this season. We help each other on and off the court”, stressed Danilo Barthel. “We have been together now two and half years, practice each day together, haven´t been injured and just know what each other guy does on the court. We have a good flow on the court, compliment each other well with my passing and his athletic ability. We also can get on each other and scream, but after two minutes all is good again”, added Johannes Voigtmann. The blind understanding that the twin towers have is something that everyone can see. “They are very good players that obviously spend much time together off the court and talk about where the other likes to catch the ball or where to shoot it. The good communication that they have results in their good play on the court”, added Jermel Jones. If Jones will continue to ball in Germany the next years is unknown, but his interest in the Fraport Skyliners is evident as he is almost at every home game when Lich isn´t playing and he will continue to follow the twin towers as he sees a big future in them. “I think that they will continue to get better. They bring the same intensity in every game. They are so big and their hands are so active. I see them having a good career in the national team. They are young and just have to battle for their places in the team”, warned Jermel Jones. Even if Konstantin Klein has the Avery Johnson type of part with the Skyliners German version of the twin towers, he has seen them operate from a different perspective the last weeks as he has been injured and been watching from the bench. “They find each other well on the court and have a great understanding of the game. It is a lot of fun watching them get better each game”, said Berlin native Konstantin Klein. It will be an interesting second half of the season for the Twin Towers starting in Ulm this weekend at the Allstar game. Continuing to help the Fraport Skyliners reach their goal playoffs, possible new horizons coming in Eurochallenge action and just getting better each day adding more self confidence to both Germans with each new success will help them when they most likely will take part at the German national team training camp this summer battling for spots in preparation for Euro 2015. This weekend the Frankfurt German Twin Towers Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann will be looking to spread some flair to skyscraper less Ulm at the 2015 BEKO BBL allstar game