Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp and Mr Canada Phillip Scrub are very special players something Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert felt very early. These two amazing humble players could form their own special group and if they were real cheeky and off their rockers could name it “We produce titles the way cows do milk so don´t mess with us”, but since they are true professionals and born team players, they would not only never even dare to be so rude towards their teammates or even be capable to dream up such a bizarre name for a group. However one thing doesn´t lie, these two complete players that on the court think like brothers know how to win titles as between them won 8 CIS championships with Charleton as Scrubb made his nickname Mr Canada and for many the greatest college player ever to play in Canada won 5 while the elder statesman Doornekamp won three. When looking at their teammates on the team, there are very few that have won anything besides John Little who won the 2010 Eurochallenge with BG Goettingen as most players like the German big 3 of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein are still searching for their first professional team title, while Jordan Theodore is so hungry for that first taste of champagne that he might be liable to do anything to get that chip even part with his favorite sneakers while guys like Florida native Mike Morrison is still without a title in his fourth full season and Quantez Robertson the identity figure and Mr franchise who is in his seventh season with the Fraport Skyliners and has run up down the floor like no other player in the Beko BBL isn´t getting any younger could put a stamp on getting his number next to Skyliner legend Pascal Roller in the Fraport arena when his playing days are over with a win. Not to forget head coach Gordon Herbert who last was close to winning a title with Frankfurt in 2010 when he lost a bitter game 5 against the Brose Baskets Bamberg. The hunger and thirst for finally getting a title back to Frankfurt which last happened in 2004 as the curse of the bambino was still alive with the Boston Red Sox from 1918 to 2004 before finally winning another World Series in October as they had been without a title for 86 years. 12 years since having won their last championship may be nothing compared to what Boston Red Sox fans went through, but if you look in the hardcore fans eyes and players, you can sense one phrase keeping their thoughts preoccupied day in and day out and that is “It´s time for club title 3”!
In the Fiba Europe Cup, The Fraport Skyliners 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. Coming into the Fiba Europe Cup Final 4, 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.
Italian team Varese who is a 10 time Italian Serie A winner currently is in ninth place of the Serie A with a record of 14-15. In the Fiba Europe Cup, the club that is coached by Paolo Moretti who did a great job bringing Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia into the Serie A in 2014 and now is looking for his biggest success as a coach and the clubs sixth international title as they won five Champions cup´s in the 70´s. In the Fiba Europe cup, the Italian Serie A team had a 13-6 record as it took the team a while to get going in the competition as they started off with a 4-4 record, but then found themselves finishing strong with a 9-2 record. The club has guys coming and going the whole season which made it difficult to form a healthy team chemistry, but they figured it out in the second half of the season. They showed that when the pressure got tough, that they had nerves of steels winning two game three do or die games against Turkish team Royal Hali Gaziantep and Belgium squad Antwerpen. The club averages 82,1ppg which is 9th in the competition and give 77ppg which is 17th. Their big strength is their three Americans Maliik Wayns, Chris Wright and Brandon Davies that are vicious one on one players, but at the same time also know when the team has the need for team basketball. The club is led by 24 year old 208cm center Brandon Davies(15,7ppg, 7,6rpg, 1,5apg) who played at BYU(NCAA) and 71 NBA games with the Philadelphia 76ers and seven games with the Brooklyn Nets. 24 year old 185cm point guard Maalik Wayns(13,8ppg, 2,7rpg, 3,6apg played at Villanova(NCAA) and played 21 games with the Philadelphia 76ers and eight games with the Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Wright(14,6ppg, 4,6rpg, 4,6apg) is a 26 year old 185 cm point guard that played at Georgetown(NCAA) and played three NBA games with the Dallas Mavericks and has experience in Europe in France, Italy and Israel. Kristjan Kangur came in the season from Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) and is a 33 year old 201cm Latvian forward that has the most versatile experience on the team. He played early in his career in Germany with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and in France and five years in Italy and won two Serie A titles with Siena and Milan. Rihards Kuksiks is a 27 year old 197cm forward from Latvia that also has a lot of experience having played at Arizona State, at the 2011 and 2013 European championships with Latvia and two seasons in the Spanish Endesa league with Valenca and Lagun Aro Gipuzkoa BC. The club also has solid role players with Italians Daniele Cavaliero, Giancarlo Ferrero, and Luca Campani.
The Fraport Skyliners came into the Fiba Europe Cup final grinding out an ugly 59-56 win against Russian team Enisey. They never really found a rhythm on offense until the fourth quarter where they started to show shades of that offensive harmony that has helped carry them through the season. Frankfurt as always stuck to their principles and played top notch defense, but that is as typical for this club as it is for rain to fall from the skies when it is needed. The two instruamental players were Johannes Voigtmann who had 16 points and seven rebounds and scored the first five points of the fourth quarter that got Frankfurt rolling and Jordan Theodore who as always filled up the stat sheet scoring 12 points and dishing out seven dimes and getting five steals. Varese on the other hand won a shoot out against home team Chalon 91-82 and never lost their nerves as they were down, but won the game in the second half finding their potent offense again outscoring the French team 43-29 and cruising to the win. The team was led by Brandon Davies and Maalik Wayns with 17 points apiece while Chris Wright showed his genuine mix of scoring and playmaking finishing with 12 points and nine assists. The team also got valuable production from Luca Campani from the bench with 15 points. The team shot an astounding 55% from the field and 47% from the parking lot so Frankfurt will have to have their A game on defense. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup final should be a great final should the Fraport Skyliners have better luck with the Molten Basketball something they didn´t come to terms with against Enisey since they never play with it. Varese on the other hand had no difficulty letting their offense do the talking and getting them to the final. These are two teams that play team basketball, but the Fraport Skyliners to more of a degree. Key for Varese will be to find a healthy offensive rhythm early and not get frustrated early by the aggressive Frankfurt defense. Varese don´t always come to defend and will need to, because there is no way that Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert will allow his team to display an ugly offensive presentation like against Enisey twice in a row. Key for Frankfurt as always is to play Skyliners basketball with their fierce defense which sparks their transition game and offense where their ball movement has been compared to the San Antonio Spurs. If Frankfurt can get into the heads of their guards Chris Wright and Maalik Wayns quickly, then that should be half the rent to the win. Varese have the slight point guard edge with Wayns and Wright over Theodore and Klein, but in the biggest game of his life, Theodore will give that extra to get his team over the hump. Once again the x-factor will be Phillip Scrubb coming from the bench as he supplied the knock out punch in the fourth quarter with two huge three pointers and like Enisey, Varese could only dream having a guy of his skill level coming from the bench. The Fraport Skyliners also have the edge inside and have the deeper bench which could become the biggest factor in the second half. If Frankfurt can play their typical strong defensive game somewhat controlling Wayns and Wright and really crowding and bumping Brandon Davies in the lane, then the Fraport Skyliners will come back to Frankfurt Germany with their third club title.