Even if the NBA is usually as far away from the Fraport arena and the Fraport Skyliners as Tom Brady is from a another Superbowl victory with the New England Patriots, a taste of the NBA does enter the arena on occasion. Sometimes it isn´t directly there, but one has to just look at the names of the players and that added 6 degree of separation at times that just flows along nicely. When Aubrey Dawkins of BG Goettingen was signed this season, it didn´t take me long to find out that his dad was the famous Johnny Dawkins who played at Duke reaching the 1986 NCAA final losing to Louisville and then would go on to have a solid 9 year NBA career where he averaged 11,1ppg. He now is a successful coach having coached 8 years at Stanford and currently is at UCF. I obviously watched the game of Aubrey more closely and so did Fraport Sklyiner legend and freak athlete Quantez Robertson. He had the task of guarding the ex Michigan (NCAA) player and was lauded after the game by head coach Sebastian Gleim as well as Dawkins as he was held to 6 points well below his BBL season average of 15,0ppg. ““He is a very good defender. I can only image what kind of pest he was like 10 years ago. He is still going strong. If I could I would definitely pick his brain and ask him what it takes to play so long. He has the quick hands and feet that give him the tools for being a great defender”, said Aubrey Dawkins. When I reached Quantez Robertson on Tuesday afternoon, he was content knowing that his hard work on defense was recognized. “I feel good that he said that. He is one of the team´s best scorers. I just tried to make it tough for him and make him take contested shots, be aggressive and just slow him down. Anytime you can slow a scorer like that down, it´s win for me and my team. When he gets going, his teammates feed off him, but that didn´t happen against us”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Tez who was born in 1984 didn´t know who Johnny Dawkins was and obviously wasn´t able to make the connection when he first heard about Aubrey Dawkins this season. Sometimes one sees just how small the NBA can be and sometimes how crazy it is that little coincidences surface out of nowhere. On the 1986 San Antonio Spurs roster, there was a Johnny Dawkins and a Petur Gundmundsson. Hmmm a Jon Axel Gundmundsson is playing for the Fraport Skyliners this season and could there be a connection? “Were not related, but I know him well. You get your father´s name as your last name so all it means is our fathers had the same name”, added Jon Axel Gundmundsson. Quantez Robertson found it neat hearing some of this NBA nostalgia “At first glance, one might have thought that the two dads of Aubrey and Jon played together and that would have been nice”, stated Quantez Robertson. But the NBA nostalgia and 6 degrees of separation didn´t end there. Charles Barkley and Johnny Dawkins were teammates with the Philadelphia 76ers and the 1992 Dream team player played at Tez´s school Auburn(NCAA). “These are a bunch of coincidences. It´s interesting to know that two guys of their calibur were on the same team. It shows that Aubrey took after his father and went in his footsteps. He may not have reached the NBA, but was able to become a professional player”, commented Quantez Robertson. The NBA nostalgia and six degrees of separation isn´t present during every Fraport Skyliners game at home, but sometimes all one has to do is to do some inspecting and one can find out the neatest things.
After starting the 2020-2021 season 1-4 and having the misfortune of playing the top teams early, the 2004 BBL champion Skyliners have been playing good basketball as of late having won four of their last six games. Last weekend they beat 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen 81-63. After a pretty even first half, the Fraport Sklyiners pulled away in the second half thanks to the energetic and sniper qualities of American Matt Mobley and much improved defense that only allowed 24 points in the last two quarters. In the first half Frankfurt had problems with the BG Goetingen big men Odiase and Kamp, but that all changed in the second half. “We wanted to make it tougher for them and clogged the paint. We also made them take tougher shots. I think they were expecting more double teams from us, but our better 1-1 defense caught them off guard. We didn´t allow any more easy looks or easy passes out of the post”, stressed Quantez Robertson. It was without a doubt the best defensive performance of the season for the Fraport Skyliners. “I think that our good defensive game began during the week of practice. We communicated very well and helped each other out and that translated over to the game. We were more vocal and were all over the floor. We gave it our best on the defensive end”, said Quantez Robertson.
A big reason for the Frankfurt win was Matt Mobley once again. In the wins over Chemnitz, Braunschweig, MBC and BG Goettingen he averaged 35 minutes and 29 points per game. In the contest against BG Goettingen he scored a lethal 19 points in the third quarter to totally slam the door in the guests face. Mobley not only belongs to the best scorers in the easyCredit BBL at the moment, but also in the history of the Fraport Skyliners. But Mobley didn´t get the full approval from Quantez Robertson in terms of being the greatest scorer in the history of the team. Robertson has played with many great scorers in the last 12 years. “It has to be between Matt, Wood, Theodore and Lamont Jones. When Matt gets hot, the rim looks like the ocean to him. He doesn´t see a bad shot, because most are going in. His shooting helps spread the floor for me. You can´t give him a lot of room and you can´t foul him, because he makes a lot of free throws”, stated Quantez Robertson. One guy who has made the biggest impact for me is American Rasheed Moore. He finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and shot 5/10 from the field. The way this guy has been able to adjust to a new league each season for the past 3 years and continue to perform well has been incredible. He is without a doubt one of the best players on the club and it´s just a shame that he doesn´t get the credit he should with his game. His biggest quality is that he just makes little errors and his fine play has also been noticed by captain Tez. The American agreed with me about what Skyliner award he would be deserving of. “He is always in the right spot. He always helps and for an undersized four man has held his own against others. He rebounds well and always plays hard no matter what and always gives his all. He would without a doubt deserve our team´s unsung hero award”, warned Quantez Robertson. It´s not always about the starts, but the bench is just as important as German Konstantin Konga has shown. His role isn´t as big as back in 2015-2016, but he comes from the bench plays his aggressive defense and knocks down shots. He finished with 5 points and 2 steals in 13 minutes. “Konsti has always been a heck of a ball on defender and goes the 90 feet. He was always good coming off the screen and taking three´s, but that is one area of his game that improved in the last years when he was gone. He hits his three´s more now off the screen”, expressed Quantez Robertson. Robertson had another tough shooting afternoon shooting 2/10. A few weeks ago he was mad about his lack of aggressiveness, but he wasn´t shy of taking shots last weekend. “I have been more aggressive, but I have to settle down and just start making more shots”, warned Quantez Robertson. But other then his dismal shooting, he did a good job as always on the boards hauling down 11 rebounds and dished out 3 assists and had 1 steal. There is never a knock about his defense. His killer attitude and focus is what always helps him be that ruthless lock down defender. “I just go out there and play my man as if he is taking that winning shot. Having the motivation to stop him is what fuels me on defense. I can´t let my guy make the shot, because that will let his team win”, stressed Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners are currently at 5-6 and next face s.Oliver Wurzburg who have a record of 3-7. The Bavarian club began the season at 2-5, but have been playing better in recent weeks sporting a 2-2 record. They started off 2021 with a tough 86-80 loss against Crailsheim, but rebounded last weekend beating the Telekom Baskets Bonn 89-77. Wurzburg have some talented Americans with Chapman, Hunt and Ward, a true German veteran with Alex King and many skilled young German role players. This will be another battle for the Fraport Skyliners. “We have to come in with a different mindset then what we had against BG Goettingen. They don´t have as many shooters as BG Goettingen. We have to help each other and attack the mis matches. They like to switch a lot. We have to pick our spots better than the way we did in pre-season. We have been rebounding well lately and have to keep doing that. We have to limit their second chances and continue to get offensive rebounds”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Basketball doesn´t get really interesting until mid March when the easyCredit BBL goes into the stretch run, but at the moment the NFL is on fire as 8 clubs are left competing for the Super Bowl. Robertson has no clear favorite to win it all this year. He is keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady as his ex teammate and friend Mike Morrison suddenly has Super Bowl win aspirations. “It´s tough making a prediction this year. The chiefs are looking good as are the Saints and Packers. You can´t really count anybody out this year. I expected Mike to being a lot more crazy about his Bucs now that they have Tom Brady, but he hasn´t been crazy”, smiled Quantez Robertson. Tez also comforted my fears about the new great Patrick Mahomes breaking Tom Brady´s 6 Super bowl wins one day. “Brady doesn´t have to be sacred. It isn´t easy to get to the Super bowl. It really takes a lot to win it”, warned Quantez Robertson. One thing is for sure, there may not be that NBA nostalgia or six degrees of separation each weekend in the Fraport arena, but Quantez Robertson could tell a crazy and entertaining Mike Morrison story every weekend which could easily compete with NBA nostalgia and six degrees of separation.