The Fraport Skyliners meet Russian team Enisey in the semifinals on Friday and come into the tournament with a lot of self-confidence riding a nine game winning streak from the Beko BBL.Their latest coup was a dandy 80-64 masterpiece against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin on the road which was their first win in Berlin in the last four tries dating back to game 4 of the Beko BBL 2010-2011 playoffs when Frankfurt won 83-74. “. It was a win we needed. I’m overly satisfied with my team. We grew together all season and we’re ready to take what’s ours”, stressed Fraport Skyliners guard Jordan Theodore. In the Fiba Europe Cup, they were the best team, but needed three games to dispose of Israeli team Maccabi Rishon as they let game 2 slip away on the road in OT 88-84. In a do or die game three in Frankfurt, the Fraport Skyliners found to their old self again winning 91-75 as they were led by Mr Canada Phillip Scrub with 20 points and six guys scored in double figures. The team displayed their classical Skyliner basketball which is a mix of amazing ball movement coupled with the great pass outweighing the good pass and great defense something the team has prided their game on as they are the top defensive team in the Beko BBL and Fiba Europe Cup allowing the least points of 65 in each category. The Fraport Skyliners are led by the basketball conductor Jordan Theodore as well as the German twin towers Johannes Voigtmann(11,4ppg, 5,7rpg, 2,3apg) and Danilo Bathel(8,8ppg, 4,7rpg, 1,9apg), Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp(9,6ppg, 4,8rpg, 2,2apg), and freak athlete Quantez Robertson11,6ppg, 4,0rpg, 2,8apg). The club has a very solid bench where any guy can step up at any time in a game and make big plays and shots like Mr Canada Phillip Scrubb(14,0ppg, 2,4rpg, 2,3apg), Konstantin Klein(7,3ppg, 1,6rpg, 2,3apg), the minister of defense John Little(5,2ppg, 2,4rpg, 1,1apg) and big Mike Morrison(8,2ppg, 4,2rpg) and the judge Johannes Richter(2,6ppg, 2,8rpg who head coach Gordon Herbert calls his best offensive rebounder.
Enisey play in the highly competitive VTB league and currently have a 11-19 record and resting in 11th place. They come into the semi-final clash riding a bitter 3 game losing streak in the VTB league and last weekend lost a high scoring affair against Khimky 95-85 and have given up an average of 91 points in the last two games. In the Fiba Europe Cup, the Russian team that comes from the city of Krasnoyarsk 5 time zones away had a 10-7 record and also like the Fraport Skyliners needed to go the distance against Croatian team Cibona 82-78 in the quarterfinals and were led by ex NBA player DJ Kennedy who poured in 23 points. During the regular season, Enisey lost both meetings against Chalon 96-77 and 98-88 a team that they could face if they reach the final. They did a good job when it counted most in the knock out phase winning nail bitters in crunch time against Turk Telekom and Cibona. They are a very good offensive team as they average 83 points per game eighth best in the Fiba Europe Cup and are a very potent rebounding team averaging 37,9 per game for third best in the competition, but lack discipline on the defense end allowing 83 points per game in the competition. One could say their motto is let the boys shoot from outside and we´ll have Delroy and DJ crashing the boards as the team attempts 31 shots from downtown per game, but hit only 31%. The club is led by American forward and Jordan Theodore friend Delroy James(15,6ppg, 8,0rpg, 2,6apg) who was a standout at Rhode Island(NCAA) and played the last three seasons in Italy. “I’ve known Delroy for a long time. Grew up playing against each other in NYC. Great guy who takes the game very serious”, added Jordan Theodore. Ex NBA player DJ Kennedy(15,1ppg, 8,0rpg, 3,9apg) who played at ST Johns(NCAA) and 2 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA). Tony Taylor(12,2ppg, 2,8rpg, 3,4apg) played at George Washington (NCAA) and the last two seasons with PGE Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-TBL) and will battle against Theodore at the point guard position. Tim Ohlbrecht(10,7ppg, 5,4rpg) who played 3 games in the NBA with the Houston Rockets will meet his old team Frankfurt whom he played with in the 2011-2012 season before departing for the States. From the bench the club has talented Russians like Artem Yakovenko(6,1ppg, 3,6rpg) who is a 27 year old 205cm forward/center who reached the VTB final in 2012 with Unics Kazan and 2010 Eurochallenge final with BC Nizhny Novgorod. More experience comes from the bench with Russian Alexey Vzdykhalkin(6,3ppg, 1,8rpg, 1,1apg) who is a 30 year old 192cm guard that faced Frankfurt last season in the Eurochallenge with Avtodor Saratov, 28 year old 185cm guard Pavel Sergeev(3,4ppg, 1,1rpg, 1,9apg) who played two seasons with Unics Kazan winning the Russian cup in 2014 and played in all three Eurochallenge games against Frankfurt last season and hit some big shots in the do or die 85-80 loss in Frankfurt getting nine points in 11 minutes with three three pointers. 22 year old 193cm guard Denis Zakharov(8,2ppg, 1,5rpg, 1,5apg) who came from Dynamo Moscow and last summer helped Russia to a bronze at the University games and 31 year old 196cm Russian Andrey Komarovskiy who is playing his seventh season with Enisey and won the 2005 U-20 European title and gives the team shooting touch from the bench.
Both the Fraport Skyliners and Enisey go face to face having won do or die games in the Fiba Europe Cup quarterfinals and have another one game win or go home without a title affair as this will be a good old fashioned battle between two very talented teams. The game pits the competition´s best defense with Frankfurt against the competition´s third best offense. A big key for the team winning will be who´s strength is actually more potent and who can utilize it best. “The key will be defense. We know that they are very talented and have really good offensive players. It won’t be easy but nothing worth fighting for is easy to take”, warned Jordan Theodore. When combining offense and defense, Frankfurt has the advantage while Enisey is the better rebounding team and Frankfurt will have to be super aggressive on the boards and have the guards help out. The tandem of Kennedy and James averaging 16 rebounds combined per game, plus the length of Tim Ohlbrecht and banger Yakovenko bringing energy from the bench, Frankfurt will have to be awake all night long. With a guy like Voigtmann spreading the floor and all over the place, German national player Danilo Barthel will have to play a big role under the basket doing the dirty work. Frankfurt has the edge at the point guard position with Theodore over Taylor, but Enisey has more experience and a deeper bench. The loss of Aaron Doornekamp should he not be fit as according to head coach Godon Herbert his chances of seeing action are at 50-50 percent will always hurt, but this season Frankfurt has done a super job of having everyone step up when guys went down. The X-factor for Frankfurt will be Phillip Scrubb. Enisey doesn´t have a player of his caliber coming from the bench as it is hard to believe that he is a rookie as he has been a big lift for Frankfurt since his arrival in January. The key could be a tight zone with bumping and being awake on the glass for the Fraport Skyliners. The Fraport Skyliners have the better all around game and when they play Skyliner basketball showcasing their nasty aggressive defense combined with their exceptional ball movement on offense, they are difficult to beat. Enisey will go up against a wall and experience bumping like they never saw before when they are on offense and Gordon Herbert and co will be back in a final again for the first time since 2010.