Jordan Sibert´s (Fraport Skyliners) Secret NBA Word Is Domination But For Now Only The BBL Playoffs Are On his Mind

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Sibert in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt

Jordan Sibert may not know it yet, but he has a lot of NBA parallel´s with his new club the Fraport Skyliners and it starts each day when he wakes up and sees the enticing and mammoth Frankfurt skyline, when he drives to practice and ends each evening, when he returns home from practice and sees the lights and glitz of the Frankfurt high rise buildings. He would have a great chance of seeing that overwhelming Frankfurt skyline if he was living at the mall where most of his other teammates live, but he actually has an apartment 5 minutes away, but that inviting skyline is always lurking as you turn the next corner. In the NBA, cities have skylines just like in Frankfurt and the American remembers the one in Orlando where he lived when he was with the Orlando Magic. “The Frankfurt skyline reminds me a bit of the Orlando one, but Frankfurt´s is a lot bigger. Orlando has the Amway center and a few hotels to fill their skyline”, smiled Jordan Sibert. Just what NBA ties the Fraport Skyliners have had over the years, all he needs to do is have a 10 minute conversation with Fraport Skyliners CEO Gunnar Wöbke who would give him the low down with that sparkle in his eye. Sibert would hear the stories of how Mario Kasun helped the club win the 2004 BBL title before embarking overseas to play for the Orlando Magic or how dominant Jon Leuer was for a few months in 2011 as he strapped on the Skyliner jersey during the NBA lockout. Other interesting side notes that the ex Dayton(NCAA) star might hear was how they had a NBA draft pick with Malik Badiane on their roster as an unknown African gem, how Skyliner legend Pascal Roller and Tyrone Ellis played at the 2004 NBA Summer league with the Dallas Mavericks with the latter currently being an assistant with the Phoenix Suns. Ex NBA player Rick Hughes being briefly with the team before failing a medical test, or ex NBA player Desmond Ferguson dropping 7 threes in Giessen, current BBL player Danilo Barthel playing at the 2014 NBA Summer League being teammates with Shabazz Napier and battling Justin Hamilton on a daily basis, current teammate Isaac Bonga who is a projected 2018 NBA draft pick. And last but not least, the place where he practices each day the BCM has invited top players like Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Arroyo and Alan Anderson over the years as their teams practiced there with the latter dropping one of the finest thunderous dunks in 2009 with Maccabi Tel Aviv in a test game against Frankfurt. There are surely more stories that Wöbke could tell, but these are just some of the NBA stories that have been affiliated with the 2000 BBL cup winner.

Sibert has been close to the NBA having played briefly with the Orlando Magic in training camp as a rookie in 2015 and playing that season with the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League). He knows how he can get back there something that so many guys overseas want to do and think they have the answer too, but really don´t. “When I was younger and was at Ohio State Evan Turner would return to work out. He had left there the year before I came, but in the times I would see him over the summers became like a big brother to me. He gave me important advice in the last years. He told me that you have to keep everything in order. You have to dominate where you are at. There are so many guys overseas that think they can make the NBA, but they aren´t dominating where they are. If I can dominate in all aspects of my game not only my shooting, but also on the defensive end and winning games, then the NBA will be chasing me and me not chasing it. I know that if the NBA does come, then it will be a result of what I did in Frankfurt. The NBA is still my dream, but for now only the BBL playoffs are on my mind”, warned Jordan Sibert.

Before Sibert, who is a 25 year old 193cm guard, was able to breathe NBA air he played a season in the D-league and got further experience in Europe in Greece and Germany. He first had to make a name for himself in the NCAA. Before reaching the NCAA, the Cincinnati native attended Princeton high school where he averaged 18,7ppg as a senior and he was named Ohio’s Gatorade Player of the Year. He then committed to play at Ohio State where he arrived in the fall of 2010, but sometimes it´s just not meant to be as he would find out quickly. In two seasons at Ohio State, he played 49 games, but had limited minutes and averaged only 2,1ppg and 3,0ppg and could never show his true potential. A type of consolation prize was that the team had success reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 and Final 4, but who wants to remember sitting mostly on the bench and not being able to fully contribute? He was surrounded by some real talent with guys like Jared Sullinger and Jon Diebler and at the guard position had fierce competition with Aaron Craft, and William Buford. Despite having real hardships at Ohio State, the American didn´t act like a baby and hide his head in the sand, but was a man and stuck it out. “My family and teammates just pushed me telling me to stick with the process and keep believing. Despite all that I went through, I felt like I could still get better. No one can take away your progress as a player. I always wanted to be labeled as a good character person and just kept working hard instead of being discouraged with my situation”,added Jordan Sibert. Ohio State head coach Thad Matta wasn´t shy about mentioning that poor shooting and subpar defense were the reasons for the lack of minutes for Sibert. Sibert the tough competitor that he is believed that he deserved more of a chance, but also understood that not everything can go your way. “I do feel like I was overlooked at Ohio State. I think I should have had more minutes. I don´t really like to look back at this time. It is what it is. But life is never fair. I thought that I had worked hard and deserved more of a chance. All I know is that I have improved my three point shooting now”, warned Jordan Sibert.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Sibert in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt

Sibert who names Austin Rivers as his toughest opponent in the NCAA then made the right choice transferring to Dayton, but had to sit out the 2012-2013 season on account of transfer rules. At Dayton, he quickly left behind the pains of Ohio State and became an important player for them as he helped the school reach the NCAA Elite 8 right away in his first season in 2013. His minutes rose as did his stats. As a junior he played 37 games leading the team in scoring averaging 12.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 71.2%. He scored in double figures in 24 games including having a 23 point game in a win against Gonzaga and 20 point game in a victory against Georgia Tech. The 2013 NCAA Elite 8 run was magical as they beat Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford before bowing out against Florida. He had 18 points in the Sweet 16 win against Stanford, but remembers the win against his old school Ohio State the most and how valuable the run was for Dayton. “It felt very good beating Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They didn´t talk to me before or after the game. There were no hard feelings. I didn´t talk to them either. Those wins put them in a position not to be overlooked anymore. That run put the basketball program in a good light again”, warned Jordan Sibert. As a senior he made another step in his game playing 36 games and averaging 16.1ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 78.8%. He led the Dayton Flyers to a NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and finished with 1,003 points and despite playing only two seasons at Dayton, he ranked seventh all-time in trey´s made at 163. Who knows where Sibert would be today had he remained with Ohio State. Moving to Dayton was a blessing in disguise as he finally found the right coach in Archie Miller who gave him that last touch in his grooming and preparation for a professional basketball career. “I know Archie since I´m 14. I have to give him a lot of credit for my success. He always pushed me to the limit and wanted me to be the best that I could be. He always believed in me“, stressed Jordan Sibert.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Sibert in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt

After the NCAA, he didn´t get drafted, but still did make his way to the NBA even if he never played an official game, he did breathe NBA air. In the summer of 2015 he played with Orlando (Orlando Blue) playing 3 games averaging 11.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. Then he made the jump to the Orlando Magic in pre-season playing in 5 games. He remembers that experience very fondly today. “It was a great experience first playing in the NBA Summer League and then being signed and playing in the preseason. The whole experience was unbelievable at first. I was in a daze, but then I realized that playing in the D-league helped me grow as a player as a rookie. I took it as a job and took it very seriously. Now I am in Europe and I will keep working on my game. I am very blessed to still be able to play the game I love”, smiled Jordan Sibert. He was only wth the Orlando Magic for a short time and before he knew it was in the D-league where he would remain and finish the season. There he experienced totally different things than what he is seeing in Europe now as there was no breaking down of a loss in the NBA or a 7.30 AM video session like after the Giessen loss, but he experienced really how the NBA was like something that isn´t seen in Europe. “The game where we played against the Indiana Pacers. After the game coach didn´t even sit down and break down the game, but just said get ready for the next game. I realized that this was all very serious. You have a task at hand and can´t dwell on the loss, but focus on the next game. The NBA is a real business and you can´t dwell on the past”, added Jordan Sibert. As a professional rookie, he had to quickly show his game and on a daily basis against other top guards like Victor Oladipo, and CJ Watson. “I felt good and thought that I held my own against them. Oladipo and I had many battles with shooting and races. It was good having CJ Watson on the team, because he gave me important pointers not only about the NBA, but also about life in general. He gave me life lessons off the court“, stressed Jordan Sibert. He then played his rookie season with the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games averaging 13.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 87.1%. He had a consistent season scoring in double figures in 32 games, but got no call up to the NBA. Some of his finer games was a 29 point explosion against Grand Rapids, and a 24 point and 22 point effort against the Raptors 905. He had some talented teammates, but one guy really stuck out who like him was briefly in the NBA and trying to get back there. “Melvin Ejim was already there at open gym. I had heard a lot about him. On the first play he showed what he could do ripping through the lane and dunking over Andrew Nicholson. I had no idea that he was so athletic. He wasn´t only a great teammate of mine in the D-league, but he was a great leader. One could see that he had a lot of experience and that transferred over from college to the pro´s”, added Jordan Sibert. The American believes that his stint in the D-league was an important experience and learned to be more of a well rounded player which has come in handy in Europe now. “I  have to give a lot of credit to assistant coach Anthony Goldwire who played in the NBA and Europe. He always pushed me to be more than just a shooter. In college and coming out I had this stamp on me that all I could do was shoot the three. He pushed me to be more of a ball handler and use my athleticism better on the court. He also taught me that it´s on you to become a better player if you want to reach the next level. I know that I have more tools and I want to show that I am a more complete player“, warned Jordan Sibert.

After his rookie season in the States, he made the next step in his professional career coming to Europe and signing with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) where he played 19 games averaging 11.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 87.9%; and in the BCL he also played 16 games averaging 11.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 83.3%. He showed consistency and made an impact in two leagues something that Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert found very enticing. Especially in the Basketball Champions League, he proved that he could be a valuable and consistent performer in that he scored in double figures in 10 games, hit Oldenburg for 16 points and was a force in the tough 2 game playoff loss to Partizan where he scored 18 and 16 points. The toughest adjustment in Greece wasn´t on the court, but off the court. “The most difficult was getting used to the language barrier and lifestyle in Greece. But regarding basketball that is the same everywhere. There are always going to be different tactics, but my teammates did a good job getting me adjusted to the European style.”, added Jordan Sibert. All in all, it was a very solid first season in Greece for the American. He made his entrance to Germany last summer signing with the 2004 Fiba Europe Cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC, a team that has been jumping back and forth from the BBL and Pro A the last years and this season also has proved to be a difficult one for the organization and for Sibert even if statistically he wasn´t playing bad. He played 18 games averaging 12.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 53.2%, 3FGP: 32.4%, FT: 87.2%. He scored in double figures in 13 of 18 games and showed consistency and had huge games against Frankfurt with 23 points and against Top teams Ludwigsburg with 21 points, 17 points against FC Bayern Munich and 13 points against Brose Bamberg. But MBC decided to bring back last season´s scoring hero Andrew Warren which would have left any other player feel like the team had insulted them. Sibert didn´t play bad and when he landed in Frankfurt still had no real clue what had happened for his departure from Weissenfels. “I initially felt insulted, because no player likes being replaced even though having done their job. I think regardless of if I played well or bad, I think it was a business decision one that I also experienced in college. Warren is a great player. I have no hard feelings and glad I´m in Frankfurt now”, added Jordan Sibert. The MBC time was an important experience and he is thankful he could be teammates with the veteran Marcus Hatten. “He is like my big bro. He is with his 15th team and has so much knowledge. I was lucky we lived in the same apartment complex with him on the first floor and me on the fourth floor. I hung around him a lot and got so much important advice that I think that a player that has been around 8-9 years wouldn´t have given me. Often I didn´t know how to react to my situation and he told me too always be professional and always take care of my body if I want to have a long career like him”, stressed Jordan Sibert.

Instead of calling it a season, Jordan Sibert caught on with the Fraport Skyliners and now is looking to contribute as best as he can in the battle to reach the playoffs. So far the club is 3-3 since his arrival, but still have a lot of work to do and have a tough rest schedule with 2 tough home games against Bamberg and Science City Jena and tough road games against playoff teams. But Sibert knows the recipe to success so the team can continue to be playing in May. “Our key to success is playing our roles well. We have a great group of guys that can have success”, warned Jordan Sibert. There was a reason why Sibert was brought in and he could have been here already a lot earlier in the season. Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert had explained when he was signed that they had already wanted to get him last summer had Philip Scrubb not returned. A good reason for Sibert to come to Frankfurt, because he knew that he was really wanted and could be a vital factor and contributor in the drive to the playoffs. With Sibert on board, the Fraport Skyliners have a player that can really shoot the ball and compliments guards Philip Scrubb and Tai Webster and simply is that added scoring gem form the bench. A hidden strength in his game is his rebounding and in the game against Giessen, he already showed how valuable a rebounder he can be when he snuck inside and made a tap in put back in the second quarter. Gordon Herbert had stated that he has the potential to be a good defender and that is actually Sibert´s big focus before he lets his offense do the talking. “I want to keep it simple. My game starts on defense bringing intensity and being free on offense. When I have the ball, I will always be in attack mode”, stressed Jordan Sibert. One has seen his offensive potential in games against Gotha and Giessen where he came off the bench and produced instant points.

Sibert has fit in right from the start with the Fraport Skyliners, but he also has many talented veterans who have been there for him from day one and his development in the next weeks will continue, because he has the right teammates that will help him best on the court. Sibert already had a special kind of bond to Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson before he even landed in Frankfurt. Sometimes the basketball world is so small. The first link with Robertson is that they are both from Cincinnati, Ohio, but it goes a lot farther than that. Robertson may be 8 years older than Sibert and for some reason there has never been that random meeting on a playground in Cincinnati, but they had a bond that they didn´t know of until recently. “My best friend told me before I came to Frankfurt that his older brother has been in Germany for a while. As it turned out my best friend from back home is the little brother of Tez. How crazy is that”, smiled Jordan Sibert. The American now has the chance to practice with Robertson every day, get the needed defensive pointers and continue to observe how he defends on the court and thrill Gordon Herbert with becoming a good defender. He remembers his first encounter early in the season in Weissenfels where he dropped 23 points on 8/14 shooting. “When I got going against Frankfurt, Tez began to guard me. He got a steal right away. He had amazing quick hands that helped him get it. That experience as well as what I see now on a day to day basis has helped me more on the defensive end and I know how to use my body and hands better. He has been huge in motivating me to get better as a defender”, stated Jordan Sibert. On the offensive end, Sibert has profited a lot from leading BBL scorer Philip Scrubb and has been very impressed. “It is really amazing how he can score the ball. If he has an open shot it goes in. He is very crafty with the ball. Sometimes I feel out of place simply because I´m still learning the offense, but he helps me with my timing. The more we are on the floor together, the more problems we will give teams and when we get going together, we will be very dangerous”, warned Jordan Sibert. It will be interesting to see how Sibert will continue to develop this season as he is averaging 8 minutes less than with MBC and averaging 6,3ppg and 1,3rpg as he has a lesser role and comes from the bench, but so far is still waiting for that huge scoring breakout game that will be that added weapon for Frankfurt from the bench in games when that scoring versatility is needed.

Sibert is only in his third professional season and has been around the block having seen life up close briefly in the NBA and played a season in the D-League, played in the competitive Greek league and up and coming Basketball Champions League and this season experienced being with 2 teams in the EasyCredit BBL. What will be the next step for Jordan Sibert after finishing successfully the season with the Fraport Skyliners? Who knows with a big playoff run and the right words from  head coach Gordon Herbert at the end of the season, the Ohio native might take the option for another season with Frankfurt. If the NBA doesn´t come calling right away this summer, Sibert knows that his experience the last two seasons in Europe has made him a better player that he wouldn´t trade the world for. “I feel that I have grown more in Europe. What I like about Europe is that the best players are allowed to do what they want and there is more freedom. In the NBA, you will never see a Bradley Beal play point guard, because that is John Wall´s role. In Europe a player can play more positions. I feel like I have become more of a guard in Europe then being just the shooter that I was in the D-league. I´m able to show my versatility here and I´m improving on it. You see a shooter or defender come over to Europe from the states and in 2-3 years he is a complete player. Having that versatility gives you the better option than being one dimensional”, warned Jordan Sibert. Often in the NBA, a team will go after one big skill of a player and Sibert has that as a shooter, but being able to be that versatile player that he is developing now overseas will give him that added edge to continue to move up the basketball ladder in Europe should his NBA dream not pan out. After the embarrassing loss to rival Giessen, Jordan Sibert was disappointed, but also showed that the NBA is always in the back of his mind. When he was reminded him of his battles last season against Neptunas Klaipeda (Lithuania-LKL) and Larry Drew who dropped 31 points in a loss to PAOK and Sibert and only 3 points in a win and that the American is on his second 10 day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, Sibert´s eyes almost popped out of his sockets  hearing the news. He had no disrespect to his former opponent, but more it was another example of how the NBA is never far away. “My dad is always sending me text messages and informing me about guys I personally know like Andrew Harrison or Quinn Cook guys I also played against and about their current situations. My dad tells me that they are in the same position as me and that there is still hope for me. Larry Drew is a good player and it is great that the Pelicans gave him a chance. This is just another example that shows me that with the right NBA eyes watching, being able to play your game and dominating, there is always a chance for the NBA”, warned Jordan Sibert. Sibert will continue to help the Fraport Skyliners reach their playoff goal and always keep that NBA dream alive as he has showed often in the last 2 years that he can dominate in games in Europe, but now he just needs to be more consistent and continue to develop as NBA or not, he has a huge future ahead of him in Europe. Even after a tough and tiring basketball working day in Frankfurt, the drive home on the A 66 highway and flashy Frankfurt skyline on the right will continue to keep his NBA dream alive this season.

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