While all of the football world had an off day on Sunday from the World Cup and were already making early predictions who will be crowned 2018 champion and if England can go all the way and win again after beating Germany in 1966 and wondering if they will continue their sudden surprising penalty kick mastery if needed, but in Las Vegas, there was no day off as the 2018 NBA Summer League continued with day three. 10 teams played including three Fraport Skyliners as well as Germans Moritz Wagner and Isaiah Hartenstein. Even if basketball is the number one priority for all the basketball players, one can´t neglect talking about the smoking heat in Las Vegas that is something that is always present in the dog days of summer. After his first post game interview after the 96-79 win against the Philadelphia 76ers, Isaac Bonga who has a pretty good English for an 18 year old German, but will get even better with time with more repetition was asked about how he communicates with German teammate Moritz Wagner. Bonga who is two years his junior commented with saying just a little German, because Wagner who has been playing in the states since 2015 with Michigan(NCAA) has already adapted that English basketball language which is only normal. So concerning the radical heat something Bonga isn´t used to since Germany is a lot cooler, he could have pranked his teammate if he knew how warm it would be on Sunday and replied “it´s going to be 49 degrees. A shocked Wagner might have replied with what 49 degrees? Is it going to snow now”? Bonga might have answered with not 49 degrees Celsius which the two German teammates might communicate with in German, but he would have said “49 degrees Fahrenheit. That is how extreme the weather Sunday was and with what players had to deal with, but when the main theme is basketball and the main goal is trying to impress NBA teams, being able to block out the intense heat is not an option, but mandatory. One player who is living his own basketball dream in Germany and knows something of heat after growing up in Florida and battling brutal humidy in the summer is Orlando Parker. He went from the Regionaliga with Baskets Vilsbiburg to the German Pro A in three seasons and has become a solid Pro A player with PS Karlsruhe. He remembers his first encounter against Bonga in 2016 as he watched the German score 6 points in his Pro B debut helping the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to a tough 61-56 grind out win on the road. “When I played against him I knew nothing about him besides his size and potential. But I definitely could see a player who has the skills and versatility to be good player at the next level. He impacted the game with his size and ability to handle the ball, which was amazing to watch for someone so young. If the Lakers work with him and believe in his potential the way Frankfurt believed. Then the sky is the limit for the kid. I wish him the best”, warned PS Karlsruhe forward Orlando Parker.
The first two Fraport Skyliners that were in action on Sunday were Mr Canada Philip Scrubb and Tai Webster. Scrubb was looking to improve his shooting from the first game, but had little fortune again as his shot continued not to fall as he was 0/3. He couldn´t manage much of a stat line in 9 minutes as he hauled down one defensive rebound and had one of his shots blocked. He didn´t play much in the second half and watched his team make a late game surge after trailing mostly by double digits in the game. In the end the Wizards comeback failed as they lost 95-90 against the San Antonio Spurs. He watched the front court of brown Jr, Robinson and Bryant combine for 65 points and point guard Chris Chiozza register a double double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Scrubb´s teammate Tai Webster had little luck in the win column as his team the Miami Heat fell to the Charlotte Hornets 94-90. Webster had to watch from the bench for 40 minutes as he received a DNP and saw his main competition Derrick Walton Jr put up a huge game of 11 points, 5 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Another German Isaiah Hartenstein and the Houston Rockets prevailed getting by the Golden State Warriors. The German big man had a very strong and efficient game as he produced 12 points, 7 rebounds and a block in 19 minutes while ex Georgia State(NCAA) stand out RJ Hunter led the Rockets with 19 points while the Golden State Warriors were led by Marcus Derrickson who averaged 16 and 8 last season as a senior with Georgetown(NCAA). Hartenstein is getting closer to sealing his NBA ticket each day with performances like that. Scrubb next plays on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers while Isaiah Hartenstein duels against the Los Angeles Clippers and Tai Webster plays on Tuesday against the Utah Jazz.
Isaac Bonga and the Los Angeles Lakers played their second game in the 2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and moved to 2-0 defeating the Chicago Bulls 69-60. Bonga watched his teammate Wagner have another monster game filling up the stat sheet like no other producing 8 points, grabbing 14 boards, handing out two dimes, gaining three steals and swatting away three balls in 26 minutes. His big highlight was a high flying one handed dunk from the wing off the pick and roll that got the Thomas & Mack crowd jumping off their feet as if it was March Madness again. Wagner´s athleticism continues to shine and really propel his game to another level. Ex Villanova stand out Josh Hart led all Lakers with 19 points while SVi Mykhailuk contributed 15 points. Bonga who learned his basketball trade in Koblenz before coming to Frankfurt in 2016 was able to make another step from his first game. Bonga scored four points was present in the paint with three rebounds including an offensive rebound and most important was able to shave down his turnovers from 7 to 4 in 16 minutes of work. His ball handling is a huge work in progress, but something he will be able to work on with the Lakers and improve with time. The kid doesn´t turn 19 until November and many keep forgetting just how young he is. Bonga stirred up his own special highlights as well making a sweet hook shot put back after getting an offensive rebound. His other bucket was a nice finish on transition where he gave the word trailer a new meaning. It was another solid performance for the young German wonder boy as he has quietly come from the bench and contributed solidly and played his role on a roster that has a competitive level that he has never seen before and he has stayed cool and collective and surely something that has impressed head coach Miles Simon and Magic Johnson. Bonga has a day off Monday and might get to take in the sights of Las Vegas or just hang out in the Thomas & Mack arena and be in awe of all the amazing basketball personalities in attendance as well as catching some of the biggest basketball talents strut their stuff on the court. Bonga next takes the court Tuesday and he will suit up against the New York Knicks. When Fraport Skyliner fans wake up Monday morning some of the hard core and most likely younger fans will check the Isaac Bonga stat line, while some of the older hardcore fans will remember the date July 9 as the birthday of ex Skyliner legend Chris Williams. Williams would have turned 38 today. He died last year at the age of 36 due to blood clots in his heart.