For the most hardcore BG Goettingen fan having Khalid El Amin back on the roster must have been an early Christmas gift for their temporary dismal season, but one thing will never change for them is being able to see ex players and coaches back in the Beko BBL. Especially in Ludwigsburg, it must be a treat being able to see guys like John Patrick, Jason Boone and Chris Mcnaughton strutting their skills all over the court weekend after weekend, but this season another ex player has joined an already very full ex BG Goettingen reunion with Roderick Trice that one could shyly ask where is Chris Oliver. Well Oliver hasn´t belonged to those guys that has stayed faithful to the Beko BBL or his old BG Goettingen teammates as he has been mainly in countries like France and this season is balling in Japan. Roderick or as he is called Rocky Trice is a 31 year old 185 cm shooting guard who may be 31 years old, but doesn´t have to be afraid to be called an old head by the 10 year younger players since the club is stacked with many veteran players with 31 year old point guard Mustafer Shakur, 33 year old Chris Mcnaughton and Adam Waleskowski, 31 year old Shawn Huff and 30 year old Jason Boone. Trice who hails from Swainsboro, Georgia feels right at home with all the other experienced players around him which is a big factor for the team success. This is the ninth professional season for the American and after turning his back on the Beko BBL the last three years and playing in Poland, returns back to an even more competitive and fast growing league and isn´t slowing down with age. After winning the NIT tournament with South Carolina(NCAA) in 2005 and 2006, the American is still searching for his first professional title. He has been a bit unlucky as he left BG Goettingen in 2009 a year before Patrick and co won the Eurochallenge moving to Ulm and left in 2012 right as that club was developing and moved to Poland where he was an allstar in 2014 and reached the Super Cup final in 2015 with WKS Slask Wroclaw (Poland-TBL). Now Trice is back in the Beko BBL and as hungry as ever a she has joined an ever developing Ludwigsburg team under John Patrick and this could be the season where Ludwigsburg win a title with their best chances in the cup where it takes only 2 wins on a weekend where everything has to be clicking. This season Trice is on a very talented Ludwigsburg roster with 12 guys that can lead the team in scoring, but the American who grew up idolizing Penny Hardaway is holding his own and has been a consistent supporter this season scoring in double figures six times in the Beko BBL and five times in Eurocup. He was a big factor in the two Eurocup wins against Alba Berlin and Enei Brindisi netting 16 points in each game. He is fourth in scoring, second in rebounds and first in assists and steals in the Beko BBL. Especially his defense continues to be his bread and butter. He led the German Pro A in steals with Cuxhaven as a rookie in 2008 and then led the Beko BBL in steals with BG Goettingen and ratiopharm Ulm in 2009 and 2010. Everything is clicking for Ludwigsburg at the moment and on Sunday it will be the battle of Rockey Vs Tez to see who digested their Christmas dinner best, but don´t tell Tez that he will be Mr T in this classic showdown in Frankfurt.
Ever since head coach John Patrick came at the start of 2013 to the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, he has turned an up and down organization around into a annual playoff team. He saved the club in 2013 keeping the team in the Beko BBL showing his fire man rescue abilities and in the last two seasons helped the team reach the palyoffs. Both seasons Patrick led Ludwigsburg to an 8th place finish, but they did exit the playoffs in the quarterfinals losing to FC Bayern Munich two seasons ago winning one game and last season the team was swept by the Brose Baskets Bamberg, but played them very tight losing to them by an average point difference of 7 per game and lost one game in OT. Perhaps not too much was missing except maybe that major top of the line player with a Brad Wanamaker as just about nothing went wrong last season when Bamberg had him on the court. They had big wins last season against Alba Berlin and Bamberg in the regular season and held Bamberg to only 68 points on average in their regular season series. Last season despite having a very talented and deep roster relied too much on a few key players in important moments instead of having that luxury of having more options and giving that surprise effect to the opponent. This season they held on to 4 players from last season and added 8 new players. After two very strong seasons, perhaps this could be the year where they make a big upset in the playoffs, but that has to be achieved in a 5 game playoff series. The team has started the season very strong being in third place with a record of 9-3 as Patrick has been able to get a good team chemistry going early despite building a new team again. Despite having more shooting weapons than last season, the team is only shooting 29% from the parking lot. They are a very strong and aggressive rebounding team, but their team defense of allowing 77 points a game in the Beko BBL is still very far from where Patrick would like to see it. An early season strength has been their ability to stay together in crucial moments and come out victorious as they beat Bremerhaven and Braunschweig in OT and won tight games against Bayreuth and Ulm by two points a piece. They have totally excelled in Eurocup play with a 7-3 record advancing to the next round having big wins against Alba Berlin, Le Mans and sweeping Italian team Enei Brindisi. They really have stepped up their defense in Eurocup action allowing 73ppg and have very good chances to go far in the competition. If the club stays healthy then it could be good for some major surprises in the cup and playoffs. With 6 guys 30 or older, that special experience could just be what Patrick needs for bringing a title to Ludwigsburg. On Sunday Ludwigsburg visit the Fraport Skyliners as this will be another big game for the 2004 Beko BBL champion for the cup places. Both teams are reeling off loses as Frankfurt lost in Bayreuth 82-69 while Ludwigsburg lost to Bamberg in their living room 77-62. This will be a very physical intensive game as the Fraport Skyliners will have to contend with the Bully Brothers Jon Brockman and Jason Boone and their deep roster while Ludwigsburg will have to overcome the strong Frankfurt defense at home and find a rhythm instead of being all over the court with no real path as Giessen found out a week ago.
The club held on to Shawn Huff from Finland who is a 30 year old 198cm forward defense specialist, but that can just as easily give you 20 points on any given night. After closing out his senior season at Valpariso(NCAA) shooting 47,9% in 2008, he shot over 40% from downtown 3 seasons in a row in Italy, but last season with Ludwigsburg shot his highest since then with 43,5%. Last summer he was one of key Finish national team player at Euro 2015 playing 6 games: 8.5ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 81.8%. The team also kept veteran Adam Waleskowski who is a 33 year old 203cm forward from Ohio playing his 11th professional season, eighth in Germany and third with Ludwigsburg. The ex Flordia State(NCAA) standout played in countries like France, Cyprus and Slovakia and in Germany with Ehingen, BG Goettingen and Duesseldorf. He has the perfect inside out game that any coach would yearn for. The most important player kept was ex NBA player Jon Brockman who is a 28 year old 201cm forward from Snohomish, Washington that played 150 NBA games for Sacramento, Milwaukee and Houston. The ex Washington(NCAA) standout averaged double double stats in his last two seasons and was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. Last season for Ludwigbsurg he played 31 games: 12.2ppg, Reb-1(9.8rpg), 1.4apg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 71.3%. His big strength is his rebounding as the paint area is his living room in any arena, but the mid distance shot and put back belong to his arsenal as well. The team also kept Chris Mcnaughton who is a 33 year old 211cm center that started his basketball career at TSV Troester Breitengrussbach and played at Bucknell(NCAA) from 2003-2007 winning the Patriot league twice. He palyed his first two professional seasons in Spain the Leb Gold and silver leagues and won the title with Faymasa Palencia. He has been in Germany since 2009 playing with teams like BG Goettingen, Oldenburg, Bremerhaven and Wurzburg. He won the Eurochallenge with BG Goettingen and is a player that typical solid big man that can score and rebound.
Besides bringing in Rockey Trice, John Patrick was also reunited with Jason Boone who he also coached in Goettingen and Wurzburg. Boone is a 30 year old 200cm center that is one of the few players in Germany having gone form the Regionaliga with Lok Bernau directly to the Beko BBL with BG Goettingen and won the Eurochallenge in 2010. The New York native also played with Wurzburg and last season played for Torku Konyaspor (Turkey-TBL): 14 games: 6.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2FGP: 60.7%, FT: 46.2%, in Mar.’15 moved to SO Maritime Boulogne (France-ProA) playing 12 games: 9.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 63.6%, FT: 51.4%. He loves to bang, dunk and block before having a nice post game dinner after the win. The biggest pick up was 30 year old 192cm point guard Mustafa Shakur who hails from Arizona and played at Arizona (NCAA). He has been a professional since 2007 and played 22 NBA games for the Washington Wizards in the 2010-2011 season. He has mostly been in Europe in countries like Poland, Spain, Italy, Greece and Lithuania, but also spent 2 seasons in the D-League. He is an excellent ball handler, shooter and passer and brings a strong work ethic and outstanding leadership skills to the team. He has never won a professional title and is craving for one. Tekele Cotton was also brought in who is a 22 year old 190cm guard from Smyrna, Georgia and played at Wichita St. (NCAA) reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 and Final 4 in 2013. He is a very athletic player that brings it on the floor on defense every night. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 9.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 70.5%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Oklahoma City Thunder): 4 games: 3.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.0spg.
The club also hauled in Royce O Neal who is a 22 year old 198cm forward from Texas that is also a rookie. He played at Denver(NCAA) and then moved to Baylor (NCAA) and as a senior played 33 games: 10.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 3.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 77.3%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Boston Celtics): 3 games: 3.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3spg and in Las Vegas (Boston Celtics): 5 games: 3.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 38.9%. He is a very versatile player that demonstrated his strong outside shooting at Baylor and is a solid contributor on defense. Instead of adding another American, Patrick went an untypical route getting Spaniard Alvaro Munoz who is a 25 year old 197cm forward that also shares the German citizenship. He is a great player, with winning mentality. Gives his best shooting from outside, but he’s also enough athletic to drive inside to finish. Last season he played for Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Liga Endesa), in pre-season moved to Union Financiera Baloncesto Oviedo (LEB Gold): 28 games: 12.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 69.6%. In 2010, he won the Bronze at the European Championships U20 in Croatia playing 9 games: 9.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 81.8%. In 2011-2012 he got valuable experience with Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (ACB): EuroChallenge: 15 games: 5.1ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 76.5%; Spanish League: 21 games: 3.5ppg, 1.4rpg. The club also brought in Brad Loesing who is a 26 year old 182cm point guard from Cincinnati, Ohio playing his fourth professional season after playing in Hungary and Holland. The ex Wofford (NCAA) player who won the SoCon Tournament in 2010 and 2011 last season played for BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA, starting five): 38 games: 10.9ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT-3(88.9%). The team also brought back David Mccray who played with Ludwigsburg from 2007-2012 playing a total of 137 Beko BBL games. He then played two seasons with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and last season for the Artland Dragons (BBL): 32 games: 4.3ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.0apg; Eurocup: 8 games: 3.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.8apg. He is an aggressive defender that prides his game on annoying his man for 40 minutes, has a tough drive to stop and is like an assistant coach on the court.
The Fraport Skyliners have nice memories of the last 16 games against Ludwigsburg having a 11-9 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. In the 2013-2014 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. Last season the two teams split the season series winning at home. Ludwigsburg won at home 88-75 as Frankfurt had problems containing ex NBA player DJ Kennedy who supplied 24 points. Kerron Johnson had 14 points and Adam Waleskowski had 13 points. Frankfurt was led by Justin Cobbs with 27 points and Johannes Voigtmann had 14 points. In the return game in Frankfurt, the home team won 79-68 as Aaron Doornekamp had 28 points and Quantez Robertson had 17 points. Ludwigsburg was led by Kerron Johnson and John Little with 11 points a piece.