For a long stretch despite having a sound winning streak, the Fraport Skyliners weren´t playing their best basketball as usually when one wins it is a combination of offense and defense bringing you to the promised land and getting lauded, but instead head coach Gordon Herbert preached that the club hadn´t developed further in the last weeks. However that all changed last weekend as the Fraport Skyliners met Germany´s most famous sports brand FC Bayern Munich and won in spectacular fashion as Jordan Michael Theodore who has that Chicago Bulls flavor in his name so why shouldn´t he be able to play great as he crawled out of his funk in the second half scoring 21 of his game high 22 points and 14 of the last 17 Skyliner points to savior the pretty win. Not to forget to add the Fraport Skyliner´s new good luck charm 2010 Eurochallenge winner with BG Goettingen and good friend of John Little Jason Boone who can make an arena turn heads when he makes an entrance with his movie star smile and noticeable physic and he cheered the team to the victory behind the Frankfurt bench. Little had made the call bringing the New York native to the game as this trip was shorter than last season when Boone flew in twice form Turkey to help Little and Ludwigsburg defeat top teams Bamberg and Alba Berlin. Three days later without Boone, the Fraport Skyliners won their seventh game in a row finally showing that offensive production the way all knew they were capable of, but had been hiding for weeks as they dismantled FC Porto 89-81. Except for four minutes in the fourth quarter where they let up a bit allowing a 16-4 run, the club played an outstanding offensive game as Quantez “The Franchise” Robertson took charge leading the team to victory with 25 points as his three pointer was hot. The Fraport Skyliners wanted to continue their winning streak and move it to 8 games and after Theodore and Robertson combined for 47 points in the last two games, they now had to compete against the defending Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg and had to do it without the aura and luck of Jason Boone who was on the court against his ex team BG Goettingen, but got 45 points combined from Aaron “Mr 7am practice player” Doornekamp and Danilo “White men can jump” Barthel as they escaped a close 88-86 victory as they allowed Bamberg to comeback despite 36 points from Brad Wanamaker. Ex Frankfurt Skyliner assistant coach Simon Cote took in the game after celebrating a big win against Trier the day before with German Pro A team Hebeisen White Wings Hanau and was thrilled about the win of his ex team and the coaching of Gordon Herbert. “This was a tremendous win for Frankfurt. Their defense is very very good. Wanamaker made some big plays at the end, but a win is a win. Frankfurt played very hard and Herbert is really so underrated and a great coach”, smiled Simon Cote. New York native Jordan Theodore was the last out of the locker room to go out and celebrate with the fans and had two huge ice packs on his knees, but whatever pain he had, he was able to replace it with a big smile and well-chosen words about the amazing team that he is proud to be a part of. “I love being a Skyliner. I have fit in from day one. I enjoy my teammates very much. It wasn´t easy as we had to battle injuries, but we all like to play together and want to win. For me this success is no surprise. This team is very good and reached the Eurochallenge Final 4 last year. I just wanted to fit in and am very happy that I can help the team win games”, warned ex Seton hall guard Jordan Theodore. The Brose Baskets Bamberg have only lost twice in the Beko BBL and it was too teams from Hessen with Giessen and Frankfurt. They didn´t want to take the Euroleague schedule as an excuse for the loss. “We can´t complain about the Euroleague schedule and need to come out focused. They played with a lot of energy and had more than we did. They executed very well and hit the big shots”, expressed ex Kentucky(NCAA) forward Darius Miller.
Only 4,720 basketball fans wanted to witness the 2015 Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg in the Fraport arena and quickly witnessed the quick start by the Fraport Skyliners as they cruised out on a 7-2 lead despite Bamberg getting on the board first as ex Boston College forward Patrick Heckmann snuck inside and was fed perfectly from ex Pittsburgh(NCAA) guard Brad Wanamaker. This didn´t ruffle the classic feathers of Frankfurt as they reeled off 7 straight points as it was Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp who quickly got going and brought his usual Canadian offensive aggressiveness to a new level in that it just seemed more powerful than usual as he was mixing it up inside with the taller guys like Italian Nicolo Melli getting a tip in as his grittiness was exemplary and made a lay in in the low post as Melli had no chance. This play really sparked Frankfurt early and gave the team a healthy rhythm and put them mentally in the perfect frame of mind that kept them focused for the most part until near the end of the game. “Doornekamp is a really good player and brings that special toughness that no other players brings. He has that Canadian ice hockey grittiness. He won´t force up shots, but wait to get that good shot. He could be our number one scoring option if he really wanted to. He is always in the gym. I call him the old man”, laughed Jordan Theodore. After Wanamaker made his presence felt with his first three pointer of the game cutting the Frankfurt advantage to 7-5, it was Danilo Barthel who must have had some of that early Doornekamp energy rub off of on him as he found his stroke making a trey which was equalized by ex TV Langen forward Patrick Heckmann as Frankfurt still led 13-8. However Frankfurt was dominating the paint as Bamberg were helpless as Barthel scored back to back once getting fed by Johannes Voigtmann back door and the other time on transition from Quantez Robertson as Bamberg trailed 18-8. Miller then hit a huge three cutting the Frankfurt lead to 18-11, but the Frankfurt offense was flowing as Voigtmann scored on his bread and butter the mid distance jumper from 20 feet out as it felt like he was all alone in his grazing pasture with no disturbances as Frankfurt led 22-11. However if anyone says basketball isn´t a game of runs is a liar as Bamberg didn´t end the first quarter a helpless wreck from Freak city but finished it out on a strong 11-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 26-22. In the run Bamberg was helped by getting to the free throw line as Greece national player Nikolais Zisis, ex Alba Berlin center Yassin Idbihi and Brad Wannamaker scored and German national player Daniel Theis hit a three pointer. “Frankfurt came out strong in the first minutes wanting to set a statement. Bamberg stayed in the game because they made three pointers and got to the free throw line. The first quarter had its few runs and whoever had that last run would win the game”, warned ex TV Langen forward Martnis Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 64% from the field and 67% from outside while the Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 63% from the field and 80% from outside. Frankfurt had the 5-2 rebound edge and three turnovers while Bamberg had five turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Brose Baskets Bamberg took advantage of the Fraport Skyliners losing some focus and reclaimed the lead, but Frankfurt was benefited at the end of the second quarter with a double technical foul awarded to Bamberg head coach Andrea Trinchieri. The Fraport Skyliners got on the board first as Doornekamp used his new level aggressiveness again scoring inside with ease as he was winning mis-matches due to his ice hockey toughness. Bamberg continued to keep pace with Frankfurt being able to execute as Brad Wanamaker made a runner running over Barthel and ex Iowa(NCAA) center Gabriel Olaseni made a lay in as Wanamaker fed him the perfect no look pass as Frankfurt led 31-26. Now it was the Doornekamp and Wanamaker show as they went back and forth as the Canadian hit a jumper and the Philadelphia native scored inside. Both guys then dropped free throws, but Frankfurt still had their nose ahead 35-29. They then took a back seat as Bamberg went on a 9-2 run to regrab the lead back 38-37 as Latvian national player Janis Strelnieks took matters into his own hands in a manner like a Wanamaker does scoring in bunches as he rattled off six unanswered points with a trey and lay in and Zisis also hit from downtown. Frankfurt had had a few bad possessions which resulted in turnovers. However Frankfurt found a good time to end the second quarter going on a run and being benefited by a double technical at the end. 2015 German university silver medalist Konstantin Klein got Frankfurt going hitting a three pointer and retaining the lead at 40-38. Frankfurt finally found that calm offensive flow again and got easy baskets as Barthel scored inside getting a quick pass and waiting until the Bamberg big men were on the ceiling and then making two free throws as Frankfurt led 44-38. Wanamaker was being lethal again on offense making a tear drop to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 44-40. Then came the Trinchieri double technical and Barthel added on to his stats with four free throws as Bamberg went into the break trailing 48-40. “Wanamaker is a big guard and did a good job getting his team involved. He can do it all and knows when to score or find his teammates. Frankfurt had early foul trouble and couldn´t defend as aggressively. That double technical hurt Bamberg. Once you get a technical you should sit down, but their coach kept mouthing off and got ejected”, added South Carolina native Martinis Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 43% from the three point line while the Brose Baskets Bamberg were shooting 55% from the field and 60% from the three point line. Frankfurt led the rebound duel 15-7 and had seven turnovers while Bamberg had eight turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners were able to extend their lead to as much as 14 points, but the Brose Baskets Bamberg were always in striking distance just waiting for the perfect opportunity. Bamberg powered out on a fast 6-3 run as Strelnieks made a lay in on the first Bamberg possession and followed with a pull up jumper. Wanamaker then used his quick hands and agility stealing the ball from the hands of Theodore at center court and racing home for the lay in as Bamberg trailed only 51-46. However a big strength of the Fraport Skyliners on this day was that whenever Bamberg did get closer, Frankfurt had the ability to execute well again on offense and keep their distance. Frankfurt then went on a 7-0 lightening run extending their lead to 58-46. In the run the Frankfurt offense was fueled by three players as Robertson nailed a big three pointer, Voigtmann connected on another mid distance jumper and Theodore made a tough lay in over the 211cm center Olaseni. Bamberg then were hit with their fifth team foul midway through the third quarter and Frankfurt continued to have a nice 10 plus point lead as Voigtmann got aggressive on the offensive glass with a tip in dunk and Theodore made a pull up jumper as Frankfurt led 63-49. Bamberg closed out the third quarter with a 13-6 run to trail 69-62 after 30 minutes. The Bamberg power forwards Daniel Theis and ex NBA player Elias Harris combined for seven points getting to the free throw line. Strelnieks also helped in the run with a step back jumper. Frankfurt used the foul limit getting four free throws from Klein and two from Doornekamp. Wanamaker closed out the third quarter breaking the ankles of ex George Mason center Mike Morrison doing a slick cross over and making the lay in with Phily authority. “We took the double technical momentum into halftime and came out and took the momentum. I got the team going and key again was defense that let us keep the good lead”, expressed Jordan Theodore.
One might have thought that both teams would clamp down on defense in the fourth quarter a few notches and limit the offense, but instead Frankfurt got some instant offense early and then watched as Brad Wanamaker went into his own microwave mode and as they made untimely turnovers almost allowing Bamberg a miracle in the last seconds. The Fraport Skyliners started off the fourth quarter going on a 11-3 run to lead 80-65 as they were fortified by two Doornekamp three pointers and one from John Little. Without Wanamaker Bamberg would have crawled home with shame with a 20 plus point loss, but instead the American showed why he belongs to the top 5 players in the Beko BBL as he almost single-handedly won the game for them. “Wanamaker pretty much did what I did last weekend against FC Bayern Munich. He is a Philly guy that just wants to win always. He is the best on the team and knows that he needs to take control in a situation like this”, expressed Jordan Theodore. Wanamaker got mad and started his own offensive arsenal and offensive wrecking crew making a one hand dunk as German Max Merz just got out of the way like a shy school boy trying to avoid being spanked by the teacher as Bamberg trailed 82-71. Then Wanamaker took a short break as Zisis nailed a trey in the face of Klein as Frankfurt still led 82-75 with three minutes remaining. Despite Frankfurt getting solid production from Barthel and Robertson from the free throw line, Wanamaker continued to be a man playing on a playground with disillusioned kids as he did what he wanted nailing a tear drop, then a trey and then two free throws as all of a sudden Bamberg was back in striking distance 85-80. After a Robertson turnover, it was Wanamaker again hitting another open three pointer as Frankfurt led 85-83. Robertson then made only one free throw as Frankfurt led 86-83. With 15,5 seconds to play, Frankfurt didn´t foul, but Wanamaker showed his unselfishness finding the wide open sharp shooter Lucca Staiger who once scored 106 points in a youth game with Urspring as shooting comes as natural to him as a bored lazy cow grazing on a pasture could of sent his team into OT, but missed. Klein then made two more free throws as Frankfurt led 88-83. With a few seconds left Bamberg had another possession and it was Wanamaker again hitting his fourth and last three pointer of the night as Bamberg trailed 88-86. With 1,6 seconds to play Frankfurt was able to inbounds the ball and stay foul free closing out a tough two point win which should have been much easier than what the final result showed. “It was tough watching at the end after I had fouled out. We had bad turnovers at the end, but free throws sealed the win for us. I feel that we won the game already in the first just showing we were ready. At the end we just wanted it more than Bamberg did. I think I just played bad defense for fouling out, but I won´t be in foul trouble again”, warned Jordan Theodore. “It isn´t easy having had five games in 10 days and being the team to beat everywhere we go. I got hot in the fourth as the team kept feeding me. They were more aggressive than we were”, added Brad Wanamaker. “It was hard for Frankfurt at the end as key players had fouled out. Wanamaker made big shots and Frankfurt had untimely turnovers, but they stayed tough and pulled out the win”, stated Simon Cote.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Danilo Barthel with 23 points. Aaron Doornekamp added 22 points. Johannes Voigtmann contributed 12 points, Konstantin Kein 11 points and Quantez Robertson had 10 points. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were led by Brad Wanamaker with 36 points. Janis Strelnieks added 12 points and Daniel Theis and Nikolaos had 10 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners shot 46% from the field and 39% from outside while the Brose Baskets Bamberg shot 52% from the field and 43% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 29-23 and had 14 turnovers and Bamberg 15. With two opening loses in Oldenburg and Bremerhaven where they could of won the game on the last possession, the Fraport Skyliners could be 10-0 had they won those games. Theodore didn´t have his best game scoring seven points, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 19 minutes, but after the game he suddenly was confronted in the catacombs by serious fan traffic as he jokingly would have preferred nasty traffic in the paint than being lost within the hoard of people exiting the VIP lounge and heading out of the arena. And he spoke like a basketball professor after the win lauding the inside game and sharing that same attitude as Gordon Herbert in that the club can never be content with their game. “Our biggest strength tonight was our inside presence. Barthel and Doornekamp were big in the first half. They rebounded and scored over big guys at will. We also as a team did a good job finishing in traffic and made free throws. Like I said after the Munich win it doesn´t feel like a long winning streak. We aren´t satisfied and have set big goals and want to fulfill them. We have done a good job taking the words of coach and not dwelling on the last win long and just moving on. We forget the last win and just move on and stay concentrated for the next one”, warned Jordan Theodore.