The one guy is a legend and as present in the German basketball world with his black attire as is legendary actor Jack Nicholson when he is in the front row in the Staples Center at Lakers games while the other guy is one of 1000´s of Americans playing out his dream of being a professional basketball player and one of the fewer making the slow steps up the professional basketball ladder from league to league and from level to level. The legend is none other than Dirk Bauermann who has to be considered as the German Phil Jackson in terms of what he did in the 90´s winning 9 titles with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen as well as being coach of the German national team and winning the 2005 Silver at the European championships with Dirk Nowitzki in Belgrad. After leading FC Bayern Munich into the BBL in 2011, his attempt at winning a title failed and he disappeared from Germany for four years coaching Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB) where he was forced to insert the eccentric club CEO into games and had a short stint with the Iranian national team. He returned back to the Fraport arena a place where he won many games, but lost the 2004 BBL title with Bamberg and now was leading the charge with another Bavarian team s.Oliver Wurzburg and came in as the savior, but so far has experienced something he has rarely seen as a coach in Germany losing as he is still looking for his first win as he was 0-5. The other guy coming with Bauermann was American Vincent Sanford that came to Germany late joining s.Oliver Wurzburg farm team in November and right away was a spark averaging 17,7ppg, 4,6rpg and 2,9apg while shooting 40% from downtown helping the team to a 5-4 record. The American is one of those guys that has had to prove himself his whole career as he played 54 games for the well known Georgetown(NCAA), but averaged only 1,8ppg,and transferred to Dayton(NCAA) where he had more of a role and solidified himself as a solid NCAA player averaging 12,3ppg and 9,6ppg in his last two seasons. However despite reaching the NCAA Elite 8 in 2014 and having good stats didn´t grant him a free pass to a top league as he had to claw himself up the professional ladder playing with Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League): 13 games: 22.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 73.0% and last season played with Barrancabermeja Ciudad Futuro (Colombia-Liga DirecTV, starting five): Liga DirecTV-1: 20 games: 14.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 3.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT-2(42.9%), FT: 76.8%. Now in his third professional season and after 9 Pro B games, he suddenly saw himself suit up in an easyCredit BBL game against Tuebingen scoring 9 points in 14 minutes and a week later had 13 points in 17 minutes against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, There are basketball worlds between Bauermann and Sanford, but both had the same goal and wanting to win that first game with s.Oliver Wurzburg. However both didn´t leave the Fraport arena with smiles, but moreover with sullen expressions as they lost a tough 79-76 battle to the hands of the Fraport Skyliners. Bauermann was not only disgusted with his 6th loss in a row, the most that he had lost in a row in Germany and also for being called for a technical foul late in the fourth which turned the game in favor of Frankfurt. Sanford was unable to match the personal success of his last games as he credits a lot to Bauermann as he had one point on 0/3 shooting in 9.12 minutes and was far form 100%. “I have no excuses, but I couldn´t really dribble as I have been playing with a broken hand. You have to take the good ones with the bad ones. Bauermann has helped me see the game differently in the BBL. He has helped me a lot mentally”, stressed Kentucky native Vincent Sanford.
The Fraport Skyliners came into the contest against s.Oliver Wurzburg riding a three game losing streak having lost badly to Bamberg and Munich and then being embarrassed in Turkey against Pinar Karsiyaka ending their Champions League season. Frankfurt came into the game with a lot to prove, but were having problems with being able to play consistent for long spurts, but were able to overcome a nine point deficit in the fourth quarter as s.Oliver Wurzburg were putting up prayers left and right as if Larry Bird had haunted the Fraport arena and stayed calm and showed their big strength having those fighting mentality qualities, buckled down on defense and won with heart and pride. “Key today for pulling out the win was staying together during the ups and downs in the game. They hit tough shot after tough shot and we had our backs to the wall, but we always stuck together. We played Skyliner basketball until the end and executed down the stretch”, stressed Iona(NCAA) guard AJ English. s.Oliver Wurzburg hoped their basketball woes would come to an end with legendary German head coach Dirk Bauermann, but instead the team still has the big goose egg looking for that first win. After the loss a dejected Jake Odum(Indiana State) exited the locker room and one could feel his disappointment as his soft voice described the game loss. “It went down to the wire. It was very disappointing that we couldn´t come away with the win. It has been very tough not being able to win a game in two months. Most of us aren´t used to losing like this. We have been getting better in practice, but haven´t learned how to finish games. I put a lot of blame on myself for not doing my job. I credit the Skyliners for making plays when it counted”, added Jake Odum.
On carnival weekend, the Fraport arena had 5.002 excited fans and would witness a very entertaining and exciting back and forth game for 40 minutes. Both teams came out with a lot of intensity, but the Fraport Skyliners had a bit more and had their touch early on from downtown as they got big production from Kwame Vaughn and Quantez Robertson as they sunk trey´s giving Frankfurt the 12-6 advantage. But the day basketball has no more runs is the day pigs can fly, because there are always runs and Wurzburg found some fortune on offense going on an annoying 10-3 run to gain their first lead of the ball game 16-15. In the run, the Bavarian team got a huge three pointer from ex Arkansas(NCAA) forward Marshawn Powell and steady bench help from ex UCLA center Brendan Lane who hit a pretty left handed hook shot and crashed the boards for a tip in while German Maurice Stuckey saved his three point aggressiveness for later and got two buckets inside dancing around Niklas Kiel once. However Frankfurt got two buckets from AJ English to lead 20-17 after one quarter. The last English shot was a trey from the right wing that he nailed at the buzzer. It would have looked like a Larry Bird repeat basket had he done it over two defenders the Boston celtic legend did on a regular basis back in the day, but the Skyliner was all alone, but nevertheless saw nothing but net. “I know Larry can shoot, but I never got a chance to see him play. That English shot reminded me more of an Antonio Graves buzzer beater this season”, smiled Quantez Robertson. “That English buzzer beater remined me of one between Khimky Moscow and Bamberg. English is a good shooter, but Janis Strelnieks hits those kinds each day”, stressed Dennis Schroeder agent Ademola Okulaja. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 43% from outside while s.Oliver Wurzburg were shooting 38% from the field and 14% from outside. Both teams had nine rebounds apiece and Wurzburg had one turnover and Frankfurt three turnovers.
The second quarter was a head to head battle as there were five lead changes and no team could break away from the other. The Fraport Skyliners were able to carry over that AJ English momentum builder from the last minutes of the first quarter as English threw up an alley-oop pass to Florida native Mike Morrison who made the nasty throw down and ex Nebraska(NCAA) forward Shavon Shields scored in the paint as Frankfurt led 24-20. However Wurzburg struck back going on a 7-2 run to regain the lead 27-26. In the run, the club got a 20 footer from ex Rhode Island(NCAA) forward Lamont Ulmer, a Powell lay in and trey from ex Alba Berlin forward Kresimir Loncar. Kiel made a runner and Odum a nasty trey as both teams traded leads and Vaughn made a step back deadlocking the contest at 30-30. Frankfurt continued their attack on offense getting Kiel free throws and a beautiful coast to coast sprint from Super Tez Robertson who finished in ridiculous off balance fashion with his left hand. However the Fraport Skyliners were unable to take the lead and momentum into the break as s.Oliver Wurzburg closed out the second quarter with a 7-0 run to lead 37-34. In the run, the club got valuable buckets from ex ratiopharm ulm forward Sebastian Betz, a Odum step back jumper and a deep three from Stuckey. “Both teams were playing hard defense and both teams hit difficult three´s. Wurzburg have been hit hard with injuries, but they continued to play hard. I was happy that Gordon Herbert played the German kids”, stressed ex North Carolina Tar Hel Ademola Okulaja. s.Oliver Wurzburg were shooting 52% from the field and 42% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 27% from the three point line. Wurzburg had the 15-12 rebound edge and both teams had seven turnovers apiece.
The third quarter was an even affair again as Shavon Shields got busy, but once again the Fraport Skyliners were unable to hold the lead as s.Oliver Wurzburg closed out the third quarter with another back breaking run to regain the lead. The Fraport Skyliners defense did a great job stifling s.Oliver Wurzburg on their first five possessions, but couldn´t gain much ground getting only a Robertson trey and Morrison lay in on transition to get the lead back at 40-37. Wurzburg finally got on the board with a Loncar tip in and Stuckey burnt Frankfurt again with a bomb from outside tying the game at 42-42. Then it seemed like there could be some movement form one team as the Fraport Skyliners went on a key 10-3 run to extend their lead to 52-45. In the run Shavon Shields was a one man wrecking crew as he scored three times inside showing that no matter how you scout him, he is almost unstoppable one on one.
Vaughn also made free throws and German Max Merz made a jumper courtesy of an English pass. The ball game continued to be a game of runs as now came a good phase for Wurzburg as they closed out the third quarter with a 8-2 run to once again snatch back the lead 53-52. In the run, s.Oliver Wurzburg took advantage of Frankfurt´s five team fouls and got free throws from Lane and Odum as well as a 20 footer from Loncar and Odum lay in on transition. “It was a game of runs. We had some good looks during their run, but we stayed aggressive and never gave up despite that”, stressed AJ English. S.Oliver Wurzburg was shooting 47% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 24% from the parking lot. Wurzburg had the 25-18 rebound edge, but 12 turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, s.Oliver Wurzburg suddenly began shooting out the lights and hitting from anywhere and over anybody as they quickly gained momentum and had a sturdy lead, but the Fraport Skyliners continued to stay composed and fought back never losing hope. S.Oliver Wurzburg shocked the Fraport Skyliners blasting out on a 9-2 run as they nailed three consecutive trey´s as Loncar, Odum and Stuckey connected extending the Wurzburg lead to 62-54. Then Shields and Stuckey traded three pointers as Frankfurt trailed 65-57. Shields didn´t allow Wurzburg to decide the game early as he scored on a rapid and consistent level scoring inside and making a trey keeping Frankfurt close at 70-64. Frankfurt continued their come back as Vaughn made a hard dunk on transition cutting the Wurzburg lead to 70-66.
Everytime one thought Frankfurt would now have the momentum, it was halted by Wurzburg as they would make an even more ridiculous shot than the last. Odum was on fire and nailed a crazy trey over Robertson close to center court extending the Wurzburg lead to 73-66. “When I am feeling it and have had the confidence of making previous shots, I just continue to let it ride”, stressed Jake Odum. “Odum hit a lot of crazy shots tonight. But that was nothing new to me. When I was a freshman at Iona, we played him and Indiana State and hit the same kind of shots”, added AJ English. Frankfurt then made a couple of stops and were rewarded getting a Kiel offensive rebound and put back and Robertson three cutting the Wurzburg lead to 73-72. Then Bauermann was hit with a technical foul. Odum nailed another crazy three over Robertson, but Shields answered with an offensive rebound and put back as Frankfurt trailed 76-74. At 1.06 of the fourth quarter, Loncar was called for an offensive foul which led to a clutch English trey giving Frankfurt the 77-76 lead and they would never look back.
With 16.58 to play, s:Oliver Wurzburg had the last possession, but with 8,9 seconds to play Robertson made a huge steal which led to his free throws that sealed the game for Frankfurt. “That is what Tez does. I see it in everyday in practice. He is a great player and I learn a lot from him. He tripped on the screen, but never gave up and then made the steal. He is our heart and soul. I know if I need help with something, I go and talk to him”, smiled AJ English. “The technical and English three hurt us. We made some silly mistakes at the end, but the Robertson steal was key. He is a great defensive player and really stepped up for his team”, added Brendan Lane. “He had the ball near my face and I just poked it away. I get a majority of my steals poking the ball away”, smiled Quantez Robertson. S.Oliver Wurzburg had one more chance, but Odum couldn´t get the ball off and wanted the foul. “He came at me after the game saying I fouled him. I guess the angle that the ref saw was where I got most ball. It could of gone both ways. Maybe It went my way, because earlier I had been called on my block attempt against their big man”, joked Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Shavon Shields with 24 points. Quantez Robertson added 15 points, AJ English supplied 13 points and Kwame Vaughn contributed 11 points. S.Oliver Wurzburg were led by Jake Odum with 27 points. Maurice Stuckey added 15 points and Kresimir Loncar netted 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 47% from the field and 32% from outside while s.Oliver Wurzburg shot 51% from the field and 46% from outside. S.Oliver Wurzburg won the rebound duel 32-23, but had 17 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball only nine times.