Every August if your strolling around the shopping mall at Nordwest center where Basketball City Mainhatten is where the Fraport Skyliners train, then there is a very good chance you might bump into Skyliner legend and identity figure Quantez Robertson (188-G-84, college: Auburn, agency: Interperformances). The athletic guard just keeps coming back every late summer and the 2004 BBL champion Fraport Skyliners are more than thrilled that he has never wanted to wear another jersey. Entering the BCM training facility for the first time for Quantez Robertson was in September 2009 and for him it seems like it was yesterday as he had no problems remembering specific events that happened those first few weeks when he was a member of the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners. Back then there was probably absolute no one that could have predicted Tez staying so long in Frankfurt except for maybe Turkish head coach Murat Didin who was running the Frankfurt ship then and was instrumental in the Ohio native coming to Frankfurt. I personally remember seeing Tez for the first time in the BCM sitting in the lower stands and being very shy. Boy would that shy persona never become evident on the court. He actually had a short term contract of only three months which then was prolonged during the season until the end. Tez remembers that first week as if it was yesterday. ‘I remember Frankfurt playing Maccabi Tel Aviv, but I didn’t play. We then traveled to Strasburg, France where I played my first game. A week later the season started. I over packed. I brought a lot of bags not knowing how long I would stay. It was cold and I had shorts on. The team was looking for a combo guard. Aubrey Reese put in a good word for me and the rest is history , smiled Quantez Robertson. One teammate that he will never forget is Derrick ‘Mr Ballerina’ Allen. Right away he got an introduction to what work ethic and energy was really all about. ‘D.A really took care of his body. He was always running and never got tired. He rarely took water breaks. He didn’t only run all day, but also talked all day. He was always telling us what to do and also got on us when we messed up. It was always a challenge defending him on ball screens, because he was so quick. He got so many open slips for easy lay ups’, remembered Quantez Robertson. Very rarely does a player not take himself in a one on one. Even now 12 years after being teammates with Derrick Allen and having battled him more than a dozen times as opponents, he would still take himself, but it won’t be a one sided game against the retired player who is now coaching Rasta Vechta. Of course I would win, but it would be a very close game’, smiles Quantez Robertson.
Quantez Robertson is in his 13th training camp and so far the Fraport Skyliners have left a fine impression about how the team could function properly this season. They beat teams like Bochum and Giessen, but then also lost to Heidelberg and Wurzburg. One can’t expect wins to be served on a golden platter, but one thing that one has noticed that defensively the team isn’t allowing a lot of points even if defensive specialist Quantez Robertson isn’t satisfied yet with the defensive qualities. ‘We are still getting used to how to play with each other. We are also still looking for our spots, but we are coming together. We aren’t talking on defense yet the way we did before, but that will come with familiarity. We have a lot of size so it looks like we will play inside more. Coach wants us to shrink the court’, added Quantez Robertson. The philosophy of new Spanish head coach Diego Ocampo isn’t only to develop a fine line on the defensive end, but also other things and the athletic freak is like an extended arm of the coach on the court. ‘Coach wants us to always get out on transition and try to get easy baskets. He likes that up tempo style and wants us to get the easiest shot in the first 8 seconds. If that doesn’t happen then set something up in the half court offense. Our bigs have been rotating well and playing well on the pick and roll defense. I try to relay what he wants on the court. But in general he wants us to call our own plays and just play’, warned Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners haven’t made the playoffs for a few years now, but when your Quantez Robertson you want to make the playoffs every year. ‘Reaching the playoffs isn’t a stretch. We need to fight each game. It hurts that we lost Bruno Vrcic, but I still think we are deeper with our German players than other years. If we can execute our game plan and play hard, I feel like there could be a good chance of reaching the playoffs’, stated Quantez Robertson.
Like every new season players come and go and this off season with a new head coach brought in, the organization did a house cleaning. The only key players to remain were Quantez Robertson, Rasheed Moore, Len Schoormann, Richard Freudenberg and Bruno Vrcic. The last missing puzzle piece was sharp shooter and ex NBA player Reggie Hearn. It will be interesting if he can become that first scoring option the way Matt Mobley was last season. It may not be easy at first as he played his whole career in the G-League and the Skyliners are his first team overseas. ‘He is very strong and gives us another big wing. He isn’t just a good shooter, but can also play defense. He is a great scorer. If he becomes that first scoring option depends how we start off games and if coach wants that’, explained Quantez Robertson. The last few years, the big man game wasn’t as in force with the Fraport Skyliners, but that should change this season. With rookie ex Purdue (NCAA) 221cm center Matt Haarms, and raw 206cm player Brooks DeBisshop, the team have some interesting talent. It will be interesting to see how Diego Ocampo can shape them into solid easyCredit BBL players. ‘Haarms and Debisshop obviously still need to get used to the physicality of the BBL, but they are getting there. They are doing a good job hedging out another thing that they haven’t been used to. Haarms does a good job passing out of the pick and roll and DeBisshop is rotating well and is tough and will take that elbow to the chest. He has said that he doesn’t only want to be the best rebounder on the team, but also in the league. He has rebounded very well so far’, warned Quantez Robertson. Another very interesting player to watch is young German Lorenz Brenneke that grew up in the Alba Berlin system. He is a guy that won the NBBL title with guys like Franz Wagner, Malte Delow and Jonas Mattissek and has been around great talent his whole life. He is another guy that will probably get extended Pro B minutes, but also should be able to slip into the BBL rotation. ‘He could play at the position four or even at the three. He has been playing against Rasheed Moore a lot in practice. It will always depend how big we play. He is strong and bangs on the block and can defend’, added Quantez Robertson.
One thing that the Fraport Skyliners have seldom lacked in the last ten years has been having talented point guards that have been successful in a Frankfurt jersey, Guys like Dashaun Wood, Justin Coobs and Jordan Theodore left their mark for the Fraport Skyliners. But what kind of fate will new point guard Donovan Donaldson have? He has had solid professional seasons, but in lower leagues. The easyCredit BBL is a step up and it will be interesting how well he can play and how rapidly he will get adjusted to the speed, physicality and competition? ‘I believe that he can make the next step. He isn’t a straight up point guard. He can score very well, but he needs to take that playmaking role first and then look for his shot. There will be times when he will have to score right away. He can shoot the ball very well off the pick and roll’, warned Quantez Robertson. It will also be interesting to see how some of the other German players do. Len Schoormann is looking to make another step this season and looks a tad stronger, while 2021 German Olympian Lukas Wank is looking to have an important role and with the injury to Bruno Vrcic, his role will be bigger while for Alex Richardson his time may still be a little too early to break into the big man rotation. ‘Len has been shooting the ball lights out in pre season. You can tell that he has been working on his shot a lot. He will be more of a back up point guard, but coach wants him to play shooting guard. I really like how calm Lukas is in certain situations. He doesn’t rush getting into plays or getting to the rim. He is a great defender that can guard the positions 1-3. He is versatile and can shoot the ball well. He could possibly be our starting point guard. Alex will play more for Pro B team. But you never know, but he could step in for us if he keeps practicing hard and shows progression’, said Quantez Robertson.
So what kind of a player will we see with Quantez Robertson this season at age 36? Being that impact defender is a given, but he also is looking to be a force on offense and bring even more stability to the team scoring. ‘I want to be more of an offensive threat this season and shoot better’, warned Quantez Robertson. The risk of him getting burned out or getting injured of playing excessive minutes could be cut down this season simply because head coach Diego Ocampo will be subbing in and out as quickly as a John Patrick does with his playing style. ‘I will do whatever it takes to win even if it means playing a lot. But the way coach has had the rotation going, I might not need to play 36 or 35 minutes per game. He wants to keep fresh guys in as much as possible’, stressed Quantez Robertson. Last season under new Hakro Merlins Crailsheim head coach Sebastian Gleim, Tez averaged 32 minutes per contest. That Tez has always wanted to moonlight as a point guard isn’t a secret. So often over his career, he has come in and helped with the playmaking. Last season he dished out 5 assists or more in 8 games including 9 dimes against Chemnitz. Having that passing mentality is something that won’t ebb this season. ‘Being able to find guys and look for the open shot will be beneficial. I think that being able to make good decisions on the pick and roll will also help the team’, added Quantez Robertson. Tez has belonged to the best defenders in the easyCredit BBL his whole career and even at age 36 he can get up and down the court with anyone even the young bucks. When you have been a great defender the way he has, it never gets old annoying offensive players on the floor. ‘You will continue to see me attached to guy’s hips and read the offensive guys eyes on the weak side and continue to rack up steals’, warned Quantez Robertson. I reached Tez on a Tuesday night and he was in good spirits. 9 Hours earlier the German Basketball federation announced that his ex coach Gordon Herbert who he played 8 seasons for was named new German national coach. ‘I was shocked when I heard the news, but at the same time very happy. I sent him a message right away. I believe that he will have success with them. He has coached NBA guys before and I think that he will run the team the way when he helped the Toronto Raptors. I am pretty sure that he will have a different game plan, but he will get the best out of the players’, warned Quantez Robertson. One thing is for sure that Tez won’t be moonlighting for the German national team even if Gordon Herbert wouldn’t of minded it at all. ‘Gordy told me I should of got my German Passport’, laughed Quantez Robertson. It is probably better for the Fraport Skyliners that he doesn’t moonlight, because they need all of Tez’s energy for them this season.