In the last decade 2004 easyCredit BBL champion Fraport Skyliners have had the luxury of not having to make any real changes at the head coach spot. Canadian coach Gordon Herbert coached for the club that came into existence in 1999 for 10 of the organization’s 22 years and helped guide the ambitious team to two of the three club titles. Herbert left two seasons ago to train the Canadian national team, was a consultant with the Brooklyn Nets and recently coached Avtodor Saratov before being dismissed in March 2021. Frankfurt was coached the last two years by young German coach Sebastian Gleim who now has left for a new challenge with the Crailsheim Merlins. That left Frankfurt without a head coach, but many faces available like Mike Taylor, Tyrone Mccoy, Derrick Allen or Will Voigt to name a few, but the Fraport Skyliners had other ideas. Instead of taking a known face in German basketball, they wanted to attempt something totally new and go with a trend that was started in Berlin some years ago. Bringing in Spanish coaches to Germany is the new sexy as legendary head coach Aito has proven in Berlin with his free style that let’s the players make the decisions and Pedro Calles in Vechta and Hamburg that went form an athletic trainer to one of the most sought after coaches in Germany showing he can lead teams to success with limited player resources. The Fraport Skyliners want to get back on track, and reach the playoffs and build something for the future with the planned new arena coming. The club have brought in 45 year old experienced Spanish head coach Diego Ocampo . The ex Weber State (NCAA) stand out Scott Bamforth who has played 8 professional seasons and 4 seasons in the Spanish ACB and won the 2019 Fiba Europe Cup had the pleasure of playing for head coach Diego Ocampo in his second season in 2014-2015 and has a notion why Spanish coaches have become the new sexy in the easyCredit BBL. ‘I think that the style of play is what makes Spanish coaches different than any other coaches. I think that in general, Spanish coaches teach their players and teams how to play basketball the right way all of the time in which I mean, they teach to make the extra pass of offense, make the extra help on defense’, stressed Scott Bamforth who last played with Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-Jeep ELITE ProA).
The 44 year old Diego Ocampo began his coaching career with with C.B.Tarragona (LEB1) in 2004. After that he coached Cajasol Sevilla (ACB) for four years and then also coached clubs like Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB, Tuenti Movil Estudiantes Madrid, Divina Seguros Juventut Badalona, FC Barcelona Lassa 2nd team (LEB Gold) and last coached ACB team Zaragoza. After coaching his whole career in his native Spain, he will now be coaching his first atime broad and in Germany. He is coming to Frankfurt ready to go and wants to bring new energy to a club that is looking to get back to the playoffs as well as continue to develop young talent. ‘I want to use all my knowledge and strength to help the club to continue to lead and develop the identity. We want to reach big goals. We want to give all and be competitive. We also want to make the young players better. We also want to show the fans good ball movement, passion and that we are having fun on the court”, stressed Diego Ocampo . Not only is the Spanish coach excited about coming to Frankfurt, but so is Skyliner captain Quantez Robertson. ”It’s going to be fun playing for a Spanish coach for the first time’, added Quantez Robertson.
Scott Bamforth played for Diego Ocampo in his second professional season 2014-2015 with Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB (ACB). But that wasn’t the first time that the American had played for him as he was an assistant his rookie year with Cajasol Banca Civica Sevilla for the legendary Aito who just won his second German BBL title in a row over FC Bayern Munich. Bamforth had a very solid rookie season in Europe’s best club league ACB playing 37 games averaging 10.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 87.1%. He then had Ocampo as a head coach in his second professional season with Murcia. He has great memories of Ocampo and things just clicked between the both of them. The Spaniard had a philosophy that all players could relate to. ‘Diego coached in a way that taught players how to play basketball the right way and make the extra pass and help your teammate on defense etc. He was a great coach in those areas’, remembered Scott Bamforth. In his second season in the ACB, he played 29 games averaging 8.9ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 85.0%. His stats weren’t as good as under Aito, but he was able to get the most out of the coaching style of Ocampo. ‘ On the court, Diego is a great coach who focuses on working and helping his players get better every day. He is a great at not only teaching individual skills, but also team skills that will help the team play together and play great basketball’, stated Scott Bamforth. One thing that Bamforth will forever remember was that he played under Ocampo when the coach was a rookie. That first head coaching job isn’t always the easiest, but the American was able to harmonize with the Spaniard. ‘I think my greatest memory with him that season was just being with him every day through the ups and downs of the season and going through his first season as a head coach with him. These were a lot of good times and bad, but we stayed together and kept working to be better’. Commented Scott Bamforth.
Ocampo is also known for being able to work together successfully with young players. He coached the Spanish U-16 and U-17 teams and won a Bronze medal at the U-16 European championships in Lithuania in 2011. He also coached the FC Barcelona farm team for two seasons that play in the Spanish second division called LEB Gold. He also has had the distinction of having helped develop future NBA players like Leandro Bolmaro, Kristaps Porzingis, Marc Gasol and Tomas Satoransky. Bamforth remembers seeing the touch that Ocampo had back in 2014-2015 when he was a young player himself and how he was able to motivate kids. “Diego is amazing with young players. He has worked with a lot of young players in his career and I think that he is able to teach young players a lot. Teaching individual skills is one of his greatest strengths as a coach”, warned Scott Bamforth. Two of the biggest desires for the Fraport Skyliners is to win and develop their young players. That is definitely something that the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner Fraport Skyliners and Diego Ocampo see eye to eye with. “That season I remember just the way he wanted to win and wanted his players to get better every day in practice. That was his main goal every day and I think that allowed the players to become better players every day and the team to become a better team every day”, remembered Scott Bamforth. Another experienced player that played for Diego Ocampo was Garrett Stutz(Wichita State University (NCAA) He has played in countries like Korea, Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus, United Arab Emirates and has made a name in Japan the last four years. He played for Diego Ocampo with Badalona in the 2016-2017 season. Sometimes a player and coach aren´t always on the same page on the court, but the character of a coach off the court can be just as vital as that team chemistry has to always be present there. “I really liked him as a person. He cares deeply about his players and family. We had some differences on the court. His solutions for every problem was work harder, work harder, work harder. Spend more hours practicing. My mindset is identify the problem and find the smartest solution. So we didn’t see eye to eye. Both of us cared so much about basketball & the team, but with different philosophies it was a conflict”, remembered Garrett Stutz. It will be interesting to see what the Spanish head coach can accomplish with the Fraport Skyliners and exactly what kind of steps the young talents Len Schoormann, Bruno Vrcic and Lorenz Brennecke can achieve under him. So far Aito and Pedro Calles have brought much joy to Alba Berlin, Rasta Vechta and the Hamburg Towers, so why shouldn´t there be a new Spanish success story ready to grow with the Fraport Skyliners?