When checking out who has been named to the illustrious who´s who crowd of the for American standards small 37,000 populated Ossining which lies on the beautiful Hudson river a tad south of Croton Bay is about 35 kilometers from Manhatten in New York one stumbles across people like author John Cheever, guitarist Sonny Sharrock or more known names at least in the sports and entertainment world like American marathon record holder Khalid Khannouchi or the wonderful talented late actor Peter Falk who will always be remembered as the nosy, but hard working detective Columbo who never met a case he couldn´t solve. However when all is said and done one day, the name Ken Horton could be added to that list as he is a professional basketball player that has had a very successful basketball career until now having played in countries like France, Cyprus, Mexico, Australia and Finland in only his first three years and now in his fourth season is playing in the German Beko BBL for medi Bayreuth. He won his first title last season with the Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) and has the amazing and most respected distinction of having had career scoring double figures consistency since starting at Cent.Conn.St. (NCAA) in 2007. That is a phenomenal achievement in that he did it 4 years in college, at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 10.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.0apg, FGP-1(100%: 5-5), 1.0spg and the list goes on and on. As a rookie in 2012 he started with SO Maritime Boulogne (France-ProB): 16 games: 12.5ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 62.5%, 3FGP: 25.8%, FT: 75.9%, in Mar.’13 moved to Forex Time Apollon (Cyprus-Division A): 2 games: 12.0ppg, 9.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.5spg, Huracanes de Tampico (Mexico-LNBP): 16 games: 17.1ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 59.1%, 3FGP: 24.1%, FT: 87.0%, Ballarat Miners (Australia-SEABL, starting five): 18 games: 19.6ppg, 11.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.8spg, Blocks-2(9.7bpg), FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 39.9%, and Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga, starting five): 55 games: 16.2ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 86.8%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 17.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 76.3%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 87.5%. Just reading these stats makes one get goose bumps as the American has really proven that wherever he has been he has been able to adapt to any obstacles and been able to get a hang of the team´s system, style and level in that country as if it had always been second nature to him. His unbelievable streak of double figure scoring average is continuing this season in Germany with medi Bayreuth where he is currently averaging 12,7ppg and 5,1rpg and is second in scoring and first in rebounds on a team stocked with much talent like ex NBA player Travis Leslie, experienced American veteran Jeff Xavier who made a name in Spain and talented American point guard Jake Odum. It takes a lot of work to be so consistent, but he gets help form his teammates. “It’s really simple. Putting yourself in the right position at the right times. I’m a quick thinker and I think I see things very well on the court. I. Can’t take ally the credit though every year I play I have guards that are able to find me and get me the looks. It’s a real mixture of both just having a great feel of where you are and getting the easiest basket possible, and also having guards to help put you in those situations to score. It’s worked for me since before I went to central all the way until now”, expressed Ken Horton. So far the American has been a very important piece for the team as it still is trying to find themselves after a lackluster4-8 start that has them resting in no mans land at position 13. Horton can play the positions 3-5 and is a player that can do a bit of everything. “I see myself as a very versatile player. I’d say my biggest strength on the court is shooting and running the floor, but I’m willing to do whatever the team needs to win games. So far this season the New York native has scored in double figures eight times and most valuable with his 20/14 masterpiece in the 82-77 win against MBC or his 25 point game in the big 77-64 win against the Telekom Baskets Bonn where his 4 steals were also instrumental in the win. Even if being able to score on a consistent rate is as normal for him as it is for Jared Jordan to average double figure assists, there is nothing better or more soothing than winning that first title. “Winning the championship in Finland this past season is the best feeling that I’ve had on the basketball court. I’ve been playing all my life and I have won many individual awards but never had the opportunity to win a championship which is the ultimate goal every season. I know how hard it is to win one especially at the pro level so I am extremely blessed to have won one in just my third season”, stressed Ken Horton. Even if the chances are very slim for medi Bayreuth to win a title this season, just reaching the playoffs would be like winning a title in the Bavarian city, but for that to happen the club will need to get even more from all players and perhaps even an increase in stats from the American from Ossining, NewYork who could start a new consistency trend with simply getting more of a green light and reaching the 20,0ppg something he has never achieved yet in his basketball career.
Since returning back to the Beko BBL in 2010, the Bayreuth club has never finished better than 13th in 2012. In the last three seasons the club finished in 15th, 14th and last season in 16th place. The club always has very good talent, but the mix and team chemistry just haven´t meshed during the course of the season for the team to be more successful in the standings. The club doesn´t have the highest budget, but Michael Koch has done a good job finding talented new players the last seasons for the money they could spend and it was no different this season. These season the club made a massive house cleaning keeping no one and gaining seven Americans, one Canadian and three Germans. The club has had to battle injuries and the leaving of young German Enosch Wolf. They picked up experienced Jeff Xavier who is a 30 year old guard that played at Providence (NCAA) and played six seasons in the Spanish Leb Gold and can lead a team but is injured. Last season he played for Autocid Ford Burgos (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 28 games averaging 12.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.5apg, Steals-2(2.0spg), FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 82.2%. The club also got ex NBA player Travis Leslie who is a 25 year old guard and also is injured. He is a 25 year old that played at Georgia(NCAA) and 10 games in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers and in the D-league and France. Last season he played for Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL): 43 games: 7.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 77.6%; Eurocup: 13 games: 7.8ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 72.7%.
The club also picked up experienced Ken Horton who is a consistent scorer and rebounder and rookie Kendall Gray who is a 23 year old 208cm center from Dover, Delaware thatplayed at Delaware State and is injured also. As a senior there he played Delaware St. (NCAA, starting five): 34 games: 11.7ppg, Reb-2(11.8rpg), 1.0apg, 2.8bpg, FGP: 55.4%, FT: 63.4%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Detroit Pistons): 3 games: 0.7ppg, 1.7rpg. Jake Odum is a 24 year old 193cm guard from Terre Haute who played at Indiana State and as a rookie for PAOK Thessaloniki where he played 33 games: 8.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 77.6%; Eurocup: 16 games: 7.0ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 83.8%. Andrew Naymick who came for the injured Gray is a 30 year old 209cm center from Muskegon, Michigan and brings much experience having played at Michigan State and won 3 titles in the Czech Republic and a cup in Poland. Last season he played for Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) playing 29 games: 7.1ppg, 5.9rpg, Blocks-1(2.0bpg), FGP: 54.2%, FT: 56.8%. John Flowers who recently came for injuries and has been the top scorer in the last weeks and is a 26 year old 200cm forward from Waldorf; Maryland and played for West Virginia(NCAA) reaching the NCAA final 4 and Sweet 16 and won the Big East tournament and in Japan and the last 3 seasons in France. Last season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA) playing 29 games: 12.4ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 74.5%. Canadian Daniel Mullings is a 24 year old 188cm guard who played at N.Mexico(NCAA) and won the WAC Tournamen each season there and as a senior played 22 games averaging 12.4ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.7apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 70.5%. Last summer he won a silver at the Pan American games in 2015. The team got German veteran national player Bastian Doreth who is a 26 year old 189cm point guard that played for Bamberg, FC Bayern Munich, TBB Trier and the Artland Dragons (BBL) and last season played 34 games averaging 3.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.0apg; Eurocup: 10 games: 4.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.1apg and consistent three point shooter Steven Wachalski who is a 32 year old 202cm forward that played six seasons of Regionaliga and two years of Pro B ball before reaching the Beko BBL in 2010 with Bayreuth. He also palyed for MBC and the last two seasons with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and last season played 39 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.4rpg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 70.7%; Eurocup: 10 games: 5.7ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 30.8%, 3PT: 45.5% returns for s second tour of duty and Malte Ziegenhagen who played at Northwood, FL (NAIA) last season after starting his basketball career at Alba Berlin 2 and then played at Tulane(NCAA) and Hawaii-Pacific (NCAA2).
So far this season the club has battled injuries and won only four games and lost nine games and rest in 14th place at the moment. The club at times is a riddle in that they have beat one playoff type team with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and teams they should have beat like MBC and Tuebingen, but then lost very badly to a team like Phoenix Hagen 100-60 or Braunschweig 98-58. However one does notice it has potential when they lost very close games to Ludwigsburg with 77-75 and to Oldenburg 87-82. Koch got many athletic players to help fortify an aggressive defense that would lead to many transition buckets, but so far the team is giving up an average of 83 points a rate that has to leave Koch shrugging his shoulders. The team has the athletic ability and talent to be a very good defensive team, but effort has been lacking. Injuries have put a dent into a on paper type playoff candidate and in the second half the team like in so many years in the past will be playing to stay in the league. The Fraport Skyliners enter the game with a big win in the Hessen derby against Giessen where their offense was somewhere lost between Frankfurt and Sodertalje while their they continue to play super defense being one of the top defensive teams in the league. Medi Bayreuth are reeling off a bitter 73-70 loss in Crailsheim and want to be able to talk about a win against powerful Frankfurt at Christmas dinner. If Frankfurt can find their rhythm back on offense then they should be able to execute against a Bayreuth defense that allows 83 points per game while Bayreuth has to find a way to crack the consistent Frankfurt defense. Scouting and game preparation will be vital for how well Bayreuth can play while Jordan Theodore will meet ex teammate John Flowers again as they will play for bragging rights.
The Fraport Skyliners have split the season series from 2010-2013, got swept in the 2013-2014 series and last season split again. In 2010-2011, they won at home 83-75 getting 26 points from Dashaun Wood, but losing on the road 86-79 despite 29 points form Wood. In 2011-2012, they lost at home 79-71 despite 27 points form Tim Ohlbrecht, but won in Bayreuth 90-57 getting 22 points from Jimmy Mckinney. In their first meeting in the 2012-2013 season, the Fraport Skyliners won 76-59 as they were led by Ted Scott and Danilo Barthel with 15 points a piece. In the return game in Bayreuth, the Fraport Skyliners lost 75-69 in a game that was tight in the last few minutes as Beckham Wyrick hit some big three pointers. Frankfurt was led by Ryan Brooks with 15 points and Dawan Robinson with 14 points. In the 2013-2014 season the Fraport Skyliners lost the Bayreuth home opener 74-67 as they didn´t have the nerves in crunch time and got beat from Beckham Wyrick´s big shots. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Dawan Robinson with 19 points and 11 from Andrew Rautins while medi Bayreuth was led by Brian Qvale with 19 points and Ronald Burrell chipped in with 17 points. In the return game in Frankfurt, Bayreuth won again 72-64. Medi Bayreuth was led by Kyle Weems with 15 points and Ronald Burrell added 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Ramon Galloway with 17 points and Danilo Barthel added 15 points. Last season the Fraport Skyliners lost in Bayreuth 67-58 and were led by Trevon Hughes with 29 points while Frankfurt was led by Johannes Voigtmann with 18 points. In Frankfurt, medi Bayreuth lost a heartbreaker 90-89 as Frankfurt was led by Sean Armand with 19 points and Johannes Voigtmann and Justin Cobbs added 15 points a piece while medi Bayreuth was led by Je Kel Foster with 28 points and Javon Mccrea added 18 points.