From the shooting stats last weekend in Gotha that Philip Scrubb produced one could have thought on paper that it could have been a Steph Curry or Klay Thompson or even Larry Bird transported back to the court that had somehow been secretly been flown to the former Eastern Germany city and had worn a special Scrubb mask, but in reality it was really Scrubb. For many in North America he has been classified as the best Canadian college player of all-time and is on the verge of becoming the best Canadian to ever play in the EasyCredit BBL. Ok it was only one game, but the Canadian has been a sniper/scorer his whole life and making points on an regular basis and making it look easy like those superstars from the NBA has been a regular occurrence this season as he is flirting with winning the scoring title in Germany´s highest league.
Not only is this season fun again for players like Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and Scrubb who won a Fiba Europe Cup title in 2016 and reached the BBL semi-finals two seasons ago as last season was one to forget as the club missed the playoffs and all in all it was a very boring season except for seeing some AJ English shooting clinics and getting jealous whenever ex players like Jordan Theodore or Aaron Doornekamp were celebrating new titles. Not only is winning enjoyable, but since the 34 point Scrubb onslaught something else is exciting to watch each day with the Fraport Skyliners. Over the years, it was always fun to witness for how many points and assists a Dashaun Wood would go for the Fraport Skyliners in the 2010-2011 season as he won the MVP and also to see how many assists Jared “Mr pass” Jordan would hit you with with teams the Telekom Baskets Bonn and the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Now in Frankfurt, there is the Philip Scrubb watch and just how many points he will score on the next night as he is on course to possibly follow Dashaun Wood as the next league MVP. After the Gotha romp, the Fraport Skyliners and Scrubb returned home and had to face the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven who haven´t invented defense this season as they have given up 82 points on average which is 12th in the league, but they had brought some momentum after a much needed win against Tuebingen, but they had no chance against the Fraport Skyliner´s offensive versatility getting destroyed 95-69. For most scoring 19 points would mean having a good night at the office, but for Philip Scrubb who was scoreless in the third quarter, it was a solid, but not spectacular night. After the win the Canadian had to escape a horde of photo hungry girls and one could see he would rather have been attacked by a shooting machine, but as always he shrugged off his success and was modest even if the Scrubb watch produced a smile. “We didn´t need my points, because other guys were playing well and hitting shots. For me it´s not a big deal how much I score. After that Gotha game people may expect me to do that every game and have a Scrubb watch, but that won´t always happen. I will take shots if I get them”, stressed Phiip Scrubb.
Before the game began a familiar face with AJ English was sitting in the front row behind the Fraport Skyliners bench as last season he led the team in scoring and had some impressive shooting clinic´s as well as a buzzer beater in Tuebingen for the win.
He wasn´t only in the arena to watch his old team play and witness how much Isaac Bonga had developed in the last six months, but will suit up soon as the club gave him a short term contract to help bolster the injury torn roster. Last season he led the Fraport Skyliners in scoring and was third best in the BBL averaging 17.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 81.5%. He started this season with French team Limoges averaging only 5,6ppg, 1,6rpg and 2,0apg while shooting 28% from outside. One could see from the look of his face that he is excited to be back and ready to get parked in the corner and start firing away or giving a hand with his playmaking as he will also be a valuable asset in that department. The American from Middletown, Delaware that learned his basketball trade at Iona(NCAA) isn´t worried about having a scoring competition with Philip Scrubb either. “I have been watching the Skyliners for a while now. They are a good team and a little older and everyone is playing well under Herbert. I have known about Scrubb for a while. I wish I had been able to have played with him last year. I am a fan of guys that can score like Scrubb. I will fit in well with him”, warned AJ English. As for the game the Fraport Skyliners dominated the game for long stretches and except for a short dry spell in the third quarter, the club played a good game on both ends of the court. “It was a good team effort today especially our defense. We lost focus in the third quarter, but we got more physical and got more loose balls. If we keep building on wins like this then we will be good”, added Philip Scrubb. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven continue to be a huge disappointment and being a fan now must be like a nightmare as the team just can´t win games. The club left the floor after 40 minutes with hanging heads and returned to stretch on the floor as new American Tre Bussey attempted to give a plausible reason why his team stunk. “We came out slow and let them get up. They got more confident with every basket and we just couldn´t get stops. They did a good job not letting us get the ball inside. We have to play better pick and roll defense from beginning to end”, warned Tre Bussey.
On a freezing Saturday night, 4,540 fans came to witness the duel and saw the Fraport Skyliners fly off on a quick 7-2 lead as Philip Scrubb started off where he had left off in Gotha the last week nailing a trey which instantly sparked the offense as Mike Morrison who had been inserted into the starting lineup after the injury to Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann finished with back to back crushing dunks which electrified the fans in the first two minutes. However the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven did a good job not getting irritated, but staying calm on offense and executing with authority as Canadian sharp shooter Johnny Berhanemeskel who learned his basketball trade at the University of Ottawa (CIS) nailed a trey and ex Delaware (NCAA) big man Carl Baptiste hit a 20 footer dead locking the game at 7-7. The Fraport Skyliners continued to set the tone as Scrubb, Morrison and Quantez Robertson scored, but that was met each time by a Bremerhaven score from Michael Kessens who played at Alabama(NCAA), and Jordan Hulls who played at Indiana(NCAA) tying the game at 14-14. Bremerhaven had done a good job not having to rely on one or two players for scoring punch, but spread the ball around adequately. However Frankfurt then buckled down and broke away closing out the first quarter with a 9-4 run to lead 23-18 after one quarter. In the run, the Frankfurt guard tandem of Tai Webster and Isaac Bonga destroyed Bremerhaven in the paint as Webster scored three tough layins and Bonga once. “The intensity was up and the guys were working hard. Bremerhaven got confidence quickly after scoring a few baskets. We gave up too many second chances, but we had Philip Scrubb that was the difference”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Alex Fountain. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 63% from the field and 50% from outside as the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 35% from the field and 29% from outside. Bremerhaven had the 11-5 rebound edge and two turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners continued to let their offense do the talking as they were just flowing on all cylinders as they continued to extend their lead and had the game decided at the break. The big difference was that the Fraport Skyliners played team basketball and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven didn´t and opted for one on one play which wasn´t the best option since they only had two good individualistic players with Berhanemeskel and Bussey. The Fraport Skyliners came out with an aggressive 17-4 run to extend their lead to 40-22. Head coach Gordon Herebrt did a super job getting everyone involved as German talent Garai Zeeb nailed two three´s probably upping his confidence too the most it has ever been in Frankfurt in the last three years, Scrubb scored two buckets as did Niklas Kiel, Tai Webster and new player Marco Voeller scored his first Skyliner basket. At the 34-22 mark every Skyliner that had been inserted to the game at that point had scored. Frankfurt opened up the floor so well as their spacing was top notch, while on defense, they didn´t allow Bremerhaven any real room as they had to take contested shot after contested shot and also had many deflections that led to turnovers as they produced 8 alone in the second quarter. The Fraport Skyliners kept their offense in the flow led by top scorer Philip Scrubb that didn´t seem like he was in total attack mode, but was more calm knowing that he had enough options that were on on that night. However Scrubb didn´t pass up shots, but gladly took them when open and made it look so easy as if the basket is like an ocean for him. Frankfurt also got a trey from Isaac Bonga who had perfect shot selection going forcing nothing and as always passing first before shooting. Bussey scored a few buckets, but they were all off one on one plays as that was all Bremerhaven had to chose from. Bussey was a bit misfortunate at the end as he nailed a seemingly impossible buzzer beater at halftime, but it didn´t count as he hadn´t released it in time as the Fraport Skyliners easily led 50-33. “Frankfurt kept the intensity up and the offense did a good job making the right reads and finding open guys”, said Alex Fountain. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 65% from the field and 67% from the three point line while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 42% from the field and 18% from the three point line. Bremerhaven had the 17-11 rebound lead, but had 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had only three turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued their dominance as they led by as much as 27 points and just continued to wear out the hapless and bewildered Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. After Tai Webster scored the first bucket, the Fraport arena went quiet as Niklas Kiel went crashing to the floor after getting an elbow to the head and remained there for a few minutes before getting to his feet and being transported to a hospital with a concussion. Frankfurt would stop the Bremerhaven´s first three possessions which resulted in another bucket from Webster this time from the parking lot upping the Frankfurt lead to 55-33. Bremerhaven didn´t muster much good things on this night, but at time had flashes of success as they went on a 5-0 run as Hulls nailed a trey and ex Creighton forward Gregory Groselle made a lay in to cut the Frankfurt lead to 60-41. However the Fraport Skyliners fired back with a crushing 10-4 run to up their lead to 70-45. In the run, it wasn´t Scrubb with the hot hand, but Webster that just hit from all over dropping a trey and scoring easily in the paint. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven used the last 3.36 minutes to close out the third quarter with a much needed 11-3 run not allowing Frankfurt with a field goal. In the run, Bremerhaven was aided by Bussey, Adrian Breitlauch and Hulls with baskets as the visitors had quietly came back trailing Frankfurt only 73-56. “We got sloppy on offense and weren´t as aggressive anymore as they were pressing us better. Our offense led to laziness on defense. They have some good shooters and went on a little run”, added Philip Scrubb. “We started to get stops and played better pick and roll defense forcing them to tougher shots. We also hit more shots”, added tre Bussey. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 56% from the parking lot while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 45% from the field and 29% from the parking lot. Bremerhaven had the narrow 23-21 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners opened up the last frame with a lethal 11-2 run to slam the door on the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven leading 84-58. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners got a trey from Scrubb and free throws from Bonga and Webster. They also got efficient production from ex Giessen 46er Marco Voeller who didn´t land in the BBL until he was 27 years old last season after stints in Langen, Hanau and Gotha. He finished with a potent eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes as he got lauded by the chef and top scorer. “Character and work ethic comes before talent”, stressed Gordon Herbert.
“Marco has been great. It is tough to come in your first game after only one practice. He is a hard worker and good finisher. He will be good off the bench. He will be even better once get has more practices and games”, warned Philip Scrubb. With the game more than decided, Quantez Robertson came from the wing and made a hard two handed dunk something he hasn´t displayed in a while. “He hasn´t gotten many dunks, because he hasn´t been free. Once he got clear in the lane, I knew he was gone”, smiled Fraport Skyliners center Mike Morrison. “I had a rare chance to dunk”, smiled Quantez Robertson. In the last few minutes, Bremerhaven German Lars Wendt gave a signal to head coach Sebastian Machowski that he is worth more than sitting at the end of the bench for 36 minutes and coming in for garbage time as he scored five unanswered points. Morrison scored two more times as did Isaac Bonga. The 18 year German major talent was a bit hidden in the overall great team win, but he had his real breakout game scoring 16 points his season high and made another step in his development. “Isaac played well. When he is aggressive and confident is when he is very good. He has a high IQ and key for him is to let the defense play him before he makes the pass”, stressed Philip Scrubb. Gordon Herbert ended the game with four German Pro B players and Mike Morrison. “Scrubb´s first three in the fourth let them dictate our game the rest of the way. We did too much of that. We fight hard in practice, but need to it in the game as well”, warned Tre Bussey. “We got better in the fourth after I hit that shot. Voeller followed with a few baskets and Webster did a good job forcing the pace and getting guys open shots”, stressed Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Tai Webster with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists. Philip Scrubb added 19 points and Isaac Bonga 16 points. Mike Morrison added 14 points. The Eisaberen Bremerhaven were led by Johnny Berhanemeskel with 15 points. Jordan Hulls added 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 60% from the field and 55% from outside while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven shot 42% from the field and 24% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 30-29 and had 13 turnovers while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven coughed up the ball 18 times.