In most other towns in the United States a guy like De´mon Brooks might be a household name or atleast featured in the Wikipedia list of notable people, but when you come from a city like Charlotte, North Carolina that is the second biggest banking city in the states as well as having a list of the who´s who of the basketball world like a Michael Jordan and Steph Curry and other well known players like Bobby Jones, Jeff Mcinnis or an Antwan Jamison, you may become not more than just a side note, but rather just another name, but in reality the American is more than just a marginal note, but a very special guy that learned good values at Davidson(NCAA) and also had a stellar four year career there. You don´t always have to go to the top basketball schools in North Carolina like North Carolina or Duke, but recently Davidson has also made a name for itself as being a school that has continuously grown as a program and having NBA superstar Steph Curry play there didn´t actually hurt either. Brooks is a 24 year old 202cm forward that was born in Georgia, but grew up in Charlotte and after playing at Davidson has broadened his basketball horizon in his first two professional seasons in Italy and Israel where he didn´t win any titles, but was a consistent performer and thus starting his early growth as a professional player. This season he is playing his first season in Germany for medi Bayreuth and has helped them be the big surprise of the season having a 6-1 record which the least expected and is one of many new players that head coach Raoul Korner reeled in feeling that one of a kind character in him. Currently Brooks is first in scoring and is very consistent having scored in double figures in each game and having that very humble approach that he inherited living in North Carolina. It has been a while since Brooks won a title dating back to back to back wins with the Southern Conf. Tournament in 2012-2013, but this season, medi Bayreuth may not win a title but finally reach the playoffs with the right coach and players that the club currently has. “What I like about Coach Korner is that he really cares for everyone in his program and his attention to detail. There is no stone left unturned, but at the same time he knows how to communicate with his players to get the best out of us. To me he is a players coach and those are the type to create a winning environment”, warned Demon Brooks. So far the American who compares his game to Golden State Warrior Draymond Greene has had no problem adjusting to the BBL with his versatile game. “I think my biggest strength is the ability to play inside and outside. I am very mobile at the 4 position and I can do a variety of things. But I think my bread and butter is just playing inside and just taking what the defense gives me. If that is scoring the ball or kicking it out to a teammate. I think my passing has come a long way since college. From my past two years I seen a lot of double teams has made me widen my vision”, stressed Demon Brooks. But not only his role model like play has stood out, but his character which grew at Davidson where he played for Bob Mckillop who has been responsible for grooming his players to not only being the best possible players, but the best possible human beings. Brooks knows that the Davidson experience was priceless as well as his dealings with head coach Bob Mckillop. “There is no better coach in the world. He is the reason why I am here today. From the time I stepped foot on Davidson he prepared me for this journey on and off the court. One of the many lesson that stays with me is with freedom comes from responsibility. This is one lesson, especially playing professional basketball in Europe, that is very important for a player to abide if you want to have a long promising career”, warned Demon Brooks. Brooks remembers hearing the great stories from coach Mckillop about Steph Curry that also helped shape him. “My personal favorite story about Steph is during the NBA lockout and he came back to Davidson to finish his classes. He is the best player I have ever seen personally, but with that he is not cocky or arrogant. He is a genuine person and the way he carries himself is like no other. That what stands out most about him to me. Not what he does on court”, warned Demon Brooks. Brooks may not always think about it, but he profited a lot from his Davidson experience and has some of that Davidson Curry character rubbing off on him on and off the court.
It seems Brooks arrived at the right time in Bayreuth this season as at the moment the club are the little darlings of the easyCredit BBL as they have blown in a massive refreshing breath of new air into the league and with the exception of ratiopharm Ulm, there are three B´s at the top of the standings as usual with Bayern Munich and Bamberg, but not Alba Berlin, but Medi Bayreuth.They have had good starts before, but never as good as their 6-1 current record as the club has finally learned how to win consistently and to believe in their capabilities. Sometimes basketball can be so easy when dissecting the general reasons why a club is having success. This season, it is mainly two simple components in that they reeled in the right coach with Raoul Korner and the right mix of players that have established that early season chemistry. There was no certainty that this season would work so well so soon as the club held on to only two players with Germans Steven Wachalski and captain national player Bastian Doreth The club brought in six imports and so far they have been exactly the right ones. At the guard position Kyan Anderson and Josepth Lewis who are young players with little professional experience, but have gotten adjusted to the pace of the BBL quickly. At the wings they have probably picked up their two most valuable imports with the versatile Nate Linhart who could be the best player they have signed since they moved back to the BBL in 2010 and Demon Brooks who has that special character that has kept the team together. The two new big men aren´t household names, but Andreas Seiferth seems to be making the next step in his career after botched attempts in Munich and Artland and Assem Marei who was an unproven player having played in the NCAA 2 and last season in Lituania, but this season like Seiferth is making the next step in the higher BBL league and one of the refreshing new rookies in the league. These two are a perfect 1-2 combo inside that have been giving opponents fits in the early going. The club also added young Germans Robin Amaize and Moritz Trieb
Like Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert, Korner also has the knack of really preparing his team very very well against the opponent and he already demonstrated that with Braunschweig last season just missing the playoffs. He has instilled that concept of team basketball early and the players have bought into his system right form the get go. Their team basketball has generated an average of producing 88 points per game and while their defense has been suspect in the past have found a line and identity already giving up only 75 points per game and on offense have produced 80 points or more four times. They demonstrated their defensive strength holding Braunschweig to only 48 points a few weeks ago. Another big strength of Korner was in that he didn´t get players that can do much, but rather players that do one thing exceptionally well and that has brought the team closer together as each player understand their part and completes the task. . If Brooks hadn´t already learn how to celebrate Bavarian style this season, he most surely did after the amazing 98-96 win against Alba Berlin last weekend. Since their opening season loss to ratiopharm Ulm, the club has a 6 game winning streak and the quant university city of Bayreuth is in basketball heaven as watching basketball there has become very fun again. Even though, they have only defeated two playoff teams with Alba Berlin and the s.Oliver Wurzburg and other top teams are upcoming on their schedule, their self-confidence continues to rise from game to game and fans are really starting to believe in the success of this season.
The club held on to Germans Bastian Doreth and veteran Steven Wachalski. Doreth is a 27 year old 182cm point guard that has gotten around in the BBL having been with Bamberg, Trier, Munich and Artland and seems to have found a home with Bayreuth as he is in his second season there. Last season the German national player who played at the 2013 European championships in Slovenia played 34 games: 4.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.0apg. He is a controlled playmaker that always does what is best for his team and makes his teammates better. His playmaking and defense coupled with his immaculate basketball IQ stand out in his game. Wachalski is a 33 year old 202cm forward that needed five years in the Regionaliga and two years in the Pro B before making the jump to the BBL in 2010 then with Bayreuth. After two years in the Pro A with MBC, he moved back to the BBL with the Telekom Baskets Bonn where he sparkled with his dangerous outside shot from 2013-2015 and in his last season there shot 45% form the parking lot. Last season with Bayreuth he played 33 games averaging 9.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 81.8%. Most think he can only shoot, but the German will go where it hurts and grab the rebound over the taller player. Besides reeling in Demon Brooks, the club also signed Nate Linhart who is a 29 year old 200cm forward from Ohio playing his eighth professional season. He played at Akron(NCAA) with Lebron James friend Dru Joyce and since 2009 has had a solid professional career having played in the best league in Europe with the Endesa and top team with Macabbi Tel Aviv. He also gained experience in Austria, played two seasons with TBB Trier and also played in Italy. Last season he played for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-Liga Endesa): 32 games: 4.1ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.1apg; Eurocup: 18 games: 5.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 69.2%. Linhart is the most versatile player that can do it all and is with Doreth the team´s best defender. The club also brought in Kyan Anderson who is a 24 year old 180cm point guard from Ft Worth, Texas playing his second professional season. He played at TCU(NCAA) having a solid college career and as a senior played 33 games averaging 13.4ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 87.0%. Last season he started his professional career with Crelan Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 39 games: 15.9ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 84.5%. His quickness stands out as well as his scoring and first pass mentality.
The team also reeled in Josepth Lewis. Lewis is a 24 year old 188cm guard from Garfield Heights, Ohio playing his first professional season after playing college ball at Penn State, Cleveland State and rounding out his interesting career in school at Louisville (NCAA) where as a senior he played 31 games averaging 11.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 79.5%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Cleveland Cavaliers): (Semifinals): 5 games: 1.4ppg. He is a proven scorer that will be in the top three of teams coring when the season ends. The team also added Egyptian Assem Marei who is a 24 year old 206cm center playing his second professional season after being a rookie last season with BC Siauliai (Lithuania-LKL) playing 37 games averaging 12.1ppg, Reb-2(7.5rpg), 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 53.6%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 12.5ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 62.7%, FT: 64.7%; Baltic League: 8 games: 12.3ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 58.3%, FT: 68.3%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (New York Knicks): 3 games: 1.0ppg. He started his basketball career with Al Zamalek (Superleague) and then played three seasons with Minn.St.-Mankato (NCAA2) and as a senior played 20 games averaging 19.3ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 62.6%, FT: 59.2%. He is a solid center that defines his game through his defensive presence and rebounding, but also can score at ease. The team also brought in Germans Robin Amaize and Moriz Trieb. Amaize is a 22 year old 188cm shooting guard that started his basketball career in 2012 with the LTi Giessen 46ers (BBL): 10 games: 1.5ppg, played also for LTi Giessen 46ers junior team (NBBL). He played three years in the Braunschweig organization and last season played with the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (BBL): 21 games: 3.0ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.0apg, also a license for MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB): 22 games: 15.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 71.4%. He has a solid all-around game with a huge athletic upside. Moritz Trieb is a 18 year old 189cm guard that came from the Nordlingen organization and last season played 27 Pro B games averaging 4.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg. The German U-18 national player also plays with BBC Bayreuth 2 (Regionalliga) this season.
Last season the two teams split the season series with medi Bayreuth winning at home 82-69 where they were led by Jeff Xavier´s timely shooting and 19 points and Jake Odum added 18 points and 10 assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 22 points. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners won a nail bitter 75-71 and were led by Quantez Roberston with 23 points.medi Bayreuth were led by Andreas Seiferth with 13 points. Medi Bayreuth come into the game in fourth place with a record of 6-1 and are looking for their seventh win in a row. The Bavarian club has gotten away a bit form their superior defending as they relinquished only 65 points per game during a four game stretch, but in the last two have played more shoot out ball giving up 86 points per game, but despite that have gained special added self-confidence after their stellar 98-96 home win against Alba Berlin. The Fraport Skyliners snapped a five game losing streak winning their first Champions League game in Slovenia 61-56, but have a three game losing streak in the BBL. American point guard Kwame Vaughn had his break out game in Slovenia netting 27 points as the club made a good first step in finding an identity. Medi Bayreuth have great team chemistry as everything is rolling for the team at the moment while Frankfurt are continuing to build and find team chemistry. A win for the Fraport Skyliners against one of the league´s hottest teams could be that crucial twist to getting out of their rut and finally showing what they are made of as they are searching for that big BBL win.