When you observe Jordan Burris for the first time, he looks like any other American player in the Pro B standing out a bit from the rest of the majority of German kids with his 201cm athletic build and dark features, but unlike many of his American peers in the league who played at smaller and lesser known NCAA schools or NCAA 2 schools, the California native actually has seen the biggest arena´s in the United States playing against top programs like Washington, Oregon, Arizona State or BYU to just name a few and played his home games in the beautiful state of the art arena Lawlor Events Center that has a capacity of 11,200. So when the American who finished his college career at CS San Bernardino(NCAA2) entered the tiny, but very enticing and pretty BCM gym where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors play their home games, he mostly likely had no idea he was bringing some NBA atmosphere to a place that also had it. Even if it took Burris a few years to reach Europe and still has a chip on his shoulder wanting to continue to climb the basketball ladder, he played against future NBA players in the NCAA and even was part of a commercial with NBA legend Kobe Bryant. He easily could have lured some more fans into the BCM with his Kobe Bryant story had they known about it. “ He’s been my favorite player since I can remember. So to meet him and be able to pick his brain was the experience of a lifetime. At one point he stopped the production of the commercial and gave me a personal lesson on his fade away. That’s a memory I will cherish forever. He’s also a big trash talker man. But I guess in 20 years of NBA basketball he’s heard it all. Yea so when he got there I told him “I’m Jordan I’m the guy that’s going to lock you down.” To that he said “that’s not what my 30,000+ points say.” After that I had nothing to say. But just being a huge fan of his, I admire his work ethic and tried to incorporate that into my game. Be the first one in and last one out as much as possible. A line that sticks with me from Kobe is “rest in the end; not in the middle”, stressed Jordan Burris. But Burris also could of heard some stories from Skyliner employees who can boast about their own NBA atmosphere in the BCM gym as over the years guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Arroyo, Jon Leuer and Alan Anderson have played there. Burris put his NBA stories and memories of Kobe on hold for 40 minutes as he and BBC Coburg came to battle the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and departed with a disappointing 76-73 loss which had head coach Derrick Taylor shaking his head after the buzzer sounded. The head coach wasn´t happy with the outcome as neither was Jordan Burris who reflected on the BCM gym and the loss. “I was in good company being in the same gym where Dirk Nowitzki had played in before. I have played in even smaller gyms than this in Germany. When I walked in here I noticed it was nice, but as soon as the game starts, I´m totally focused on the game. We fought hard tonight, but I have to give a lot of credit to Frankfurt. They are a great team for their age. They made a lot of tough three pointers. We played good defense in the first half, but weren´t finishing our possessions with rebounds. We rebounded better in the second half, but they also hit more shots which left fewer rebounds. They hit too many open three´s in the second half”, stressed ex Nevada(NCAA) forward Jordan Burris. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors controlled the game and as always were saved by their timely shooting in crunch time. After the big win which set a date with Bochum in the playoffs, German forward Konstantin Schubert reflected on the win. “We got many baskets inside at the start from Trtovac and in the second quarter Gruehn helped us with his good three point shooting, but we were never really able to get away from Coburg. We had some bad phases when they went to zone and we also gave up some easy baskets as well”, added Konstantin Schubert.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without Alex Fountain who is done for the season and is flying home on Sunday back to the States to start rehab while Isaac Bonga and Richard Freudenberg were healthy scratches. BBC Coburg got on the board first as Kentucky native Byron Sanford who played at Trebeca Naz(NCAA2) showed his lethal penetration getting an easy lay in. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then scored six unanswered points as German center Armin Trtovac used his size and strength to get three buckets and give Frankfurt the 6-2 lead. Frankfurt would keep the early lead and momentum and extend their lead to 14-8 as they continued to dominate in the paint as Jules Akodo made a 15 footer, 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel scored inside and ex Ehingen center Tobias Jahn scored twice. BBC Coburg stayed on track as California native Jordan Burris nailed two trey´s. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors closed out the first quarter strong as they defended with passion and also dominated the boards and got a bucket from ex USC Freiburg center Cosmo Gruehn and 16 year old Maxi Begue provided free throws. BBC Coburg received a heads up basket from German Steffen Walde who was aggressive on the offensive glass and made the put back as Frankfurt led comfortably 18-10. “Trtovac was playing like the dominant force he should be. He remined me of Shaq, but he did get into early foul trouble and had to sit. Trtovac doesn´t know how strong he really is. We rebounded very well. When Kiel is up there crashing the boards, it´s easy to get rebounds and points”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 50% from the field and 0% from outside while grabbing 15 boards, but coughed up the ball five times while BBC Coburg was shooting 27% from the field and 33% from outside while getting 5 rebounds and having two turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to keep the lead, but could never fully shake BBC Coburg as they stayed on their heels. In the first quarter, Frankfurt had no outside game, but sooner or later, the three´s will fall and did as once again the hero off the bench was Cosmo Gruehn who had the hot hand again. But before that happened German Kevin Eichelsdörfer who was averaging only 3,9ppg nailed a 15 footer to cut the Frankfurt lead to 18-12. Gruehn hit his first three to give Frankfurt the 21-12 advantage, but BBC Coburg stayed with them as 26 year old German big man Daniel Stawowski scored in the paint and Lithuanian Elvidas Molosciakas hit a timely trey, but Kiel countered with a crushing two handed dunk and Gruehn struck again from the parking lot extending the Frankfurt lead to 26-18. BBC Coburg then struck for a quick 6-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 28-24 as Daniel Stawowsli made a offensive rebound and put back while Byron Sanford used his explosive quickness for a lay in and made a steal and coast to coast sprint for the lay in. “Sanford has been important in every game for us. He loves to play with energy and is a great scoring point guard. He is built and pushes me to become my best. He always wants to get every rebound. He has so much energy that he elevates the team to new heights”, added Jordan Burris. “I am aggressive on the defensive end which is contagious and turns to easy offense. When I´m aggressive then the whole team is aggressive”, warned Byron Sanford. BBC Coburg was rebounding a lot better in the second quarter, but they had no remedy how to contain Gruehn as he continued to unleash lethal three´s as he hit another two extending the Frankfurt lead to 34-26. “Gruehn gave us a lot of energy and a lift from the bench. We can always rely on him hitting big shots”, added Konstantin Schubert. He would tie his Pro B best mark of four three´s as he also did it in three other games against Leverkusen, FC Bayern Munich and Rhondorf. However Frankfurt was unable to now to pull away as BBC Coburg got another bucket from Stawowski as well as free throws from him and Sanford while Akodo hit a trey as Frankfurt had the slim 37-32 lead at the break. “Gruehn gets my vote for best sixth man of the year. He brings new life to the team when he comes in. Every shot looks good for him. The team likes to look for him because he shoots the ball so well. But the team did get a little complacent on defense not executing as well and not communicating as well”, stressed ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 48% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had secured 28 rebounds and had had eight turnovers while BBC Coburg was shooting 39% from the field and 22% from the three points line and they had hauled down 14 rebounds and had three turnovers.
In the third quarter BBC Coburg started off with a bang retaining the lead again, but only to see the Fraport Skyliners Juniors calm down and get a healthy lead again. BBC Coburg came out of half-time reborn going on a 10-4 run to recapture the lead 42-41 since leading 2-0 at the start of the contest. Byron Sanford got BBC Coburg the needed energy scoring on back to back buckets as his quick first step and penetration to the basket left Frankfurt dazed and miffed as he was unstoppable. The Bavarian team also gut timely support from German Steffen Walde who played 29 Pro A games with Baunach and scored on a pretty finger tip lay in and pull up jumper and Molosciakos scored in the paint as he retrieved a back door pass from ex Dresden center Max Von Der Wippel. BBC Coburg was making a lot better decisions and were getting everyone involved on the court while Frankfurt was going through a phase where they couldn´t execute effectively against the BBC Coburg zone. After a Frankfurt time out, they came out refreshed and let the three ball fly again rushing out on a 11-2 run to retake the lead at 52-44. Vital in the run was 19 year old ex Kronberg sniper Felix Hecker who was the 2017 NBBL leading scorer at 26,0ppg nailing two three´s while Garai Zeeb also connected getting his first field goal of the game after being shut out again in the first half. Down the stretch ex Ehingen forward Chris Wolf hit a trey and Von Der Wippel hit a step back, but Frankfurt led 56-49 after 30 minutes. Jahn scored inside and Zeeb also hit free throws to sustain the lead. “Hecker took Gruehn´s part in the third with important shots. We found our rhythm playing better against the zone”, said Konstantin Schubert. “Basketball is a game of runs. We had a big chip on our shoulder coming into the third quarter. I thought it was a pretty even third quarter”, stated Jordan Burris. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 45% from the field and 35% from the parking lot and had 32 rebounds and 10 turnovers while BBC Coburg was shooting 40% from the field and 25% from the parking lot. And had 25 rebounds and four turnovers.
In the fourth quarter BBC Coburg had one last gasp of energy cutting the Frankfurt lead to one point, but then were steam rolled again by the potent outside shooting as they could never recover from it. BBC Coburg entered the fourth quarter going on a 10-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 60-59. Gruehn who had done the most damage from outside showed he can be aggressive and scored in the paint. However BBC Cobrug then went on a 10-2 run as they got a lot of support from various players as four players contributed. BBC Coburg continued to get easy baskets inside as Stawowski used his size spinning to the hoop for two, Burris nailed a jumper, Molosciakos scored inside and Von Der Wippel scored four free throws. Frankfurt was playing their typical up and down game and lost concentration while the guests were calm and had a good rhythm on offense. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then went on a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 69-59 that got them in good position to seal the win. In the run they got all their 9 points from Akodo and Kiel who dropped trey´s and hit free throws. BBC Coburg did close out the game with a 14-4 run in their comeback, but the 76-73 loss was mis leading from the score. Frankfurt was in control and sank the needed free throws as Kiel hit four free throws and made a lay in which was enough for the win. “Our depth helped us again. It seems like every game it is another guy in crunch-time. Two weeks ago it was me, last weekend it was Freudenberg and today it was Akodo and Kiel. We defended well in the crunch-time taking away their inside game and controlling the rebound”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. “We weren´t fatigued at the end. We have to stay locked in as a team for 40 minutes. All five guys on the floor have to be locked in. If one guy isn´t locked in then there is that open shot. It was hard stopping Trtovac and every guy on that team is capable of knocking down shots”, stressed Jordan Burris. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Cosmo Gruehn with 16 points. Niklas Kiel added 14 points while Tobias Jahn had 12 points and 10 boards and Jules Akodo contributed 12 points. BBC Coburg was led by Jordan Burris with 16 points and six rebounds and Byron Sanford had 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 34% from outside while securing 37 rebounds, but coughing up the ball 16 times while BBC Coburg shot 42% from the field and 29% from outside while grabbing 36 rebounds and having nine turnovers.