They may be six years apart, share a different skin color and one hails from Oregon while the other from Illinois, but one that future NBA legend in the making and current Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love and BIS Baskets forward Marcus Smallwood have in common is that they are rare basketball specimens that have their energy tank turned full throttle to beast mode every time they are on the court and have a knack for getting double doubles the way a Manuel Neuer of FC Bayern Munich does keeping his net clean in games. Both players are averaging double double stats as Love is making 17 and 10 while Smallwood is making 17 and 14 currently. Granted the German Pro B is very far away in comparison to the skill level of the NBA, but what Smallwood has achieved stats wise in Germany since 2008 in the German Pro A and Pro B has been magnificent and just pure consistent. It doesn´t matter where the American has played who can be thankful to Ron Hicks who told him to get back to playing after the American had returned back to Chicago in 2006 and worked doing job recruitment. If it hadn´t been for Hicks, Smallwood would never have come back to Germany to teams like Kasierslautern, Cuxhaven, Kirchheim, MBC, Vechta or Speyer. He was able to average double double stats for four teams with Cuxhaven, Kichheim, Vechta and Speyer last season. Despite being listed at 198cm, Smallwood always tells people that he is 201cm with shoes on, and has a knack to getting to the ball at the rim. One of the reasons why he is such a great rebounder for his height is because his dad believed he could average a double double in college and his son did as a junior at Northern Illinois in 2002-2003 and he took that mindset into his professional basketball career. Smallwood faced the Fraport Sklyiners Juniors only once last season losing a 69-67 nail bitter in Speyer and was in the BCM for the first time. The Kevin Love of the German Pro B made his debut in Frankfurt and lost a 75-73 heartbreaker as it was a game that nobody deserved to lose. Smallwood finished with 17 points and nine rebounds and was a bit off of Kevin Love monster stats, but still had enough energy at the end to serve me a smile about the comparison to the future NBA legend. “There will always be the best scorer, rebounder and defender on the court. I like to rebound and score and rebound and it was always something I wanted to do well and am happy I have been able to. If you aren´t a seven footer and can score at least what you can do is rebound”, stressed Illinois native Marcus Smallwood. Even if Smallwood has only helped bring two victories in the nine games that he has been with Speyer, the club is still very content that they have him. “He is a beast down low and just gets rebounds and will step out and hit shots. We always need him on the floor to be successful. He did many little things on the floor today and played a key role for us being close to winning”, stressed Virginia native and teammate DJ Woodmore. Frankfurt top scorer Jules Adoko might have made a nice move on Smallwood late in the game to help secure the win, but he had the utmost respect for the 32 year old. “Smallwood was aggressive on both ends of the court. He played with a lot of energy and was a great competitor”, added Jules Adodo. “We knew that he was averaging six offensive rebounds a game. We had problems with him early, but as the game went on, I thought we did a better job controlling him”, added 2015 NBBL allstar Armin Musovic.
The Fraport Skyliners entered the game in eighth place in the Pro B south standings and a record of 6-8 and were coming off a loss in Weissenhorn and had lost six of their last seven games. They had a slow start and were playing catch up basketball for most of the evening.” It was a hard fought game for 40 minutes. We knew that if we wanted to come out with a win that we had to win the rebound battle and we improved at the end and that was the deciding factor. The strong fourth quarter of Jules Akodo brought us the win home”, stressed Armin Musovic. “I thought that we played great team defense and fought on the boards. Our bigs did a great job on their bigs. On offense we had good ball movement that often led to easy baskets”, added Jules Akodo. The BIS Baskets Speyer entered the game in 11th place with a record of 4-10 and were coming off a massive blow out loss at home against TV Langen 91-63 where Martinis Woody had Kevin Love stats of 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while Marcus Smallwood had a unlucky shooting day as he was 3/17 from the field. The Bis Baskets Speyer played very well for 38 minutes, but were unable to close out the game. “It was all about composure. Frankfurt has very talented players and many guys practice with the BBL team. When you play against talented guys like that you need composure for 40 minutes, but weren´t mentally tough at the end”, warned Marcus Smallwood.
TV Langen had had a big victory the day before 87-84 against BG Karlsruhe and American Martinis Woody and German Benedikt Nikolay were on hand to watch the action in the BCM. Both teams got off hot hitting three pointers as Marcus Smallwood and Kevin Bright connected. New Fraport Sklyiner Andrew Bock made his debut as he played the last three years at Pacific(NCAA). After Bock and Smallwood hit free throws, it was Kyle Fossman that gave Frankfurt its first advantage at 8-7 hitting a three pointer. However that burst of Canadian lightening from outside didn´t impress the BIS Baskets Speyer as they reeled off a crushing 14-2 run to take the 23-10 lead. Speyer slowly found their rhythm and were hitting shots, getting out on transition and doing a superb job getting to the free throw line. DJ Woodmore who played at Virginia Wesleyan connected on a few field goals gaining eight points in the run as Frankfurt was unable to cage his aggressiveness. German Alexander Kuhn also drew fouls sinking four free throws and Martin Rittingner connected on a jumper. Frankfurt didn´t allow anymore damage as they closed out the first quarter with a 5-0 run. In the run, Tim Oldenburg hit a mid distance jumper as did Andrew Bock. The BIS Baskets Speyer led 23-15 after one quarter. “I thought that we started off very well. Smallwood and Woodmore played with a lot of intensity and we had good ball movement. We had a good week of practice and it showed in the first quarter”, expressed injured BIS Baskets Speyer forward Khobi Williamson. The BIS Baskets Speyer were shooting 33% from the field and 38% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 29% from the field and 33% from outside. The rebound battled was tied at 12-12 while Frankfurt had seven turnovers and the BIS Baskets Speyer zero turnovers.
In the second quarter, the BIS Baskets Speyer held the lead, but couldn´t shake off the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they continued to camp out on their door step just waiting for that chance to sneak through the door and regain the lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors started off the second quarter with a bang going on a 5-0 run as Tim Oldenburg demonstrated his intensity getting a baby hook shot to fall and Andrew Bock connected on a three pointer as Frankfurt cut the Speyer lead to 23-20. However Marcus Ware stopped the comeback with two quick buckets as Frankfurt trailed 28-22. Frankfurt continued to take advantage of the cracks in the defense and found daylight as Akodo and Musovic penetrated and scored as Speyer led 30-26. Speyer not only got solid contribution from the Americans, but also from their German players as Benjamin Kaufhold scored who has been with Speyer since 2007 and played two seasons with ex NBA and current Bamberg forward Ellias Harris. Little used German Christoph Flachs used the confidence of head coach Carl Mbassa sinking a clutch three pointer as Frankfurt trailed 38-34. Kyle Fossman then answered with a huge three pointer as Frankfurt cut the Speyer lead to 38-34. Down the stretch both clubs got some steals and coast to coast buckets from Rittinger and Akodo, but Frankfurt still trailed 41-39 at halftime. “We didn´t come to terms as well with their pressure and had careless turnovers. We played a lot out ourselves. They got easy buckets and screen and roles gave us problems”, stressed BIS Baskets Speyer American Khobi Williamson. The BIS Baskets Speryer were shooting 38% from the field and 33% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 40% from the three point line. The BIS Baskets Speyer had the slim 21-20 rebound edge, but only eight turnovers while Frankfurt had 13 turnovers.
In the third quarter, the game remained tight as no team could break away from the other team. The Fraport Skyliners regained the lead again as Kevin Bright hit a difficult step back three pointer for the 42-41 lead. However Frankfurt had no time to enjoy the long awaited lead as the BIS Baskets Speyer struck back going on a furious 7-0 run to lead 48-42. Rittinger hit a jumper and Smallwood connected on his bread and butter the offensive rebound and put back and then nailed a three pointer. Frankfurt thought what Speyer can do so can we as they had the right answer returning back on a 8-2 run to dead lock the game at 50-50. Fossman snuck inside for two quick points and Armin Musovic did the most damage dropping two consecutive three pointers as the momentum now was with the home team. After Woodmore and Nolte traded buckets, it was Smallwood that gave Speyer the lead back with one free throw, but Fraport Sklyiner Junior Nikolaj Vuckovic struck a timely three pointer as Frankfurt led again 54-53. However the BIS Baskets Speyer always had an answer as 24 year old sharp shooter Martin Rittinger who played Regionaliga last season for SG Heidelberg-Kirchheim gave Speyer the lead back 56-54. Akodo then struck back with a slick left handed lay in to tie the game at 56-56. The BIS Baskets Speyer closed out the third quarter strong going on a 8-2 run to lead 63-58 after three quarters. It was the German boys Sebastian Heck who scored twice inside and Benjamin Kaufhold that were the spark plugs scoring. “We were unable to take their talented shooters out of their comfort zone. We were unable to get stops and they got the momentum back early in the third quarter”, added Marcus Smallwood. The BIS Baskets Speyer were shooting 40% from the field and 33% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 43% from the field and 39% from the parking lot. Speyer had the 33-27 rebound edge and 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had 14 turnovers.
The fourth quarter was a real fight that any team could of won. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t let the five point Speyer lead confuse them as they jumped out on their opponent going on a 6-0 run to regain the lead 64-63. It was Jules Akodo that turned into a lethal scoring point guard as he nailed an open jumper and then scored in traffic. 17 year old 2015 NBBL allstar Niklas Kiel hit a runner. Frankfurt did a tremendous job denying the three Speyer Americans Smallwood, Ware and Woodmore too limited points as Speyer had to rely on their Germans as it was Alexander Kuhn who played four German Pro A games in the 2011-2012 season for USC Heidelberg making a three pointer and giving Speyer the 66-64 advantage. Then it was Jules Akodo again making a clutch shot connecting from downtown as Frankfurt regained the lead 67-66. Frankfurt kept their nose in front getting free throws from Kiel and Fossman scored as Frankfurt led 71-68. The BIS Baskets Speyer made one last run as Kuhn scored inside and after a Kiel miss, it was Kuhn again that came up big hitting a three pointer as Speyer led 73-71. Frankfurt kept their nerves as Akodo snuck inside from the baseline, waited until Marcus Ware was in the air and then made the lay up as Smallwood was to late on the help as the game was tied 73-73. Akodo was the spark plug that motored Frankfurt to the win even if it wasn´t the game winning bucket. “Smallwood closed out on me, but I was able to use my quickness to get around him. I just wanted to be aggressive and read the defense. I knew that Speyer likes to jump a lot so I just penetrated and took shots the best way I could”, stressed Jules Akodo. “Akodo was our spark plug that brought us forward in the tight game”, added Armin Musovic. “Akodo had the chances to make big time plays and did. Many guys remain hesistant, but he had the mind set to right plays. He was hard to stop”, added Marcus Smallwood. After Frankfurt got a stop it was Kyle Fossman who found the hole and scored the game winner as he once did before against Rhondorf in triple overtime. The BiS Baskets Speyer had 15 seconds left to take the game in overtime or win it with a three pointer. With two seconds left, German Benjamin Kaufhold tripped and lost the ball as Niklas Kiel got possession ending the game. “We tried to defend the three point line. It looked like he slipped. I feel the game ended fair. The refs had a hard job in this game”, added Jules Akodo. “There was some contact on the last play. You can´t blame the ref, because we had our chances. It was a tough ending and we fought hard. Akodo stepped up at the end and stepped up. Frankfurt made shots when they had to”, stressed DJ Woodmore. “We can´t complain about losing the game on that last play. We should have had stops earlier in the game and we could of taken care of the game earlier”, added Marcus Smallwood. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Jules Akodo with 16 points. Kyle Foossman contributed 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Armin Musovic chipped in with 10 points. The BIS Baskets Speyer were led by Marcus Smallwood with 17 points and nine rebounds. DJ Woodmore added 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Alexander Kuhn had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 47% from the field and 36% from outside while the BIS Baskets Speyer shot 36% from the field and 31% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 39-37, but had 20 turnovers while Speyer had 14 turnovers.