How many times did one see the classic hook up of Viktor Frankl-Maus (186-PG-93) to Kameron Taylor in the 2017-2018 season? It was a lot and probably as much as the vintage dimes and buckets Laker fans can experience now with Russell Westbrook and Lebron James. That season was a special one in the Dragons Rhondorf history even if it wasn’t rewarded with a Pro B title as Wolfenbuettel kicked them out of the playoffs. It was so unique simply because it saw the phenomenal rise of Kameron Taylor. Who knows where his career may have gone had he not taken the step back from Pro A to the Pro B? When all is said and done after Taylor retires, I will bet my house that he will always say that the Rhondorf season was key in him starting his journey to the Euroleague. You would have to have a sleepless night checking if there has ever been a Pro B player in Germany get to the Euroleague. I’m sure there hasn’t been one. Of course there have been guys like Deandre Lansdowne or Terrell Harris that have gone from the Pro B to the easyCredit BBL, but to Euroleague? That is simply another type of climb up the steep mountain and an incredible achievement and heart felt story and similar to how guys have been in Europe a long time and then after years of paying their dues make it to the NBA. Taylor really paid his dues having to play in Hungary and 2 more years in the BBL before signing with Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. He is a very talented player that can fill the stat sheet as easily as a Mike James can go off on you in a game in the Euroleague, but how well would his season have gone in Rhondorf without point guard Viktor Frankl-Maus? Offensively the creative point guard was a big factor in Taylor being able to score so much. 4 years after having been able to play with Kameron Taylor, Vic as many call him only has praise and admiration for his ex teammate. ‘Kam is an unbelievable story. I always tell him that he inspires so many people. He is such a great player, but even better person. He never once complained in practice and never expected to be treated better than the rest. He is such a humble guy. Important for him reaching the Euroleague was that he always knew what he had to work on and he accepted it. He also understood to make his weaknesses to strengths. If he can get a bigger role in the Euroleague, then I could see him in the NBA in 2 years. It could go very fast for him’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. The memories that he had with Kam Taylor will last a life time as he unleashed so many dimes. ‘Yes I had many assists. The whole season was a highlight. We had such a good understanding together. I always knew where he would be. The game winner against Frankfurt was very memorable. We also had many nice moments in practice. We were very competitive and made each other better. He had some incredible personal games. There were a few triple doubles. The game I will never forget was in Coburg. We were down by 15 points and nobody was hitting shots. He stepped on the court and took over and scored like 20 points in the second half and carried us to the win. I told him after the game. ‘Kam you are a sick mother fuc. He never took the limelight after games’, remembered Viktor Frankl-Maus.
The charismatic German who has Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry and Hakeem Olajuwon on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore was born on September 8, 1993 in Wuppertal, Germany and grew up in Cologne and began his basketball career with the Koln 99ers. In 2012 he sought a new challenge with the Dragons Rhondorf. He would remain 6 seasons there and in his last season even was able to play a Basketball Champions League game with cooperation partner EasyCredit BBL team Telekom Baskets Bonn. He made a steady development in Rhondorf and quickly became known as that quick and shifty pass first point guard. In his fourth season, he was the fifth best assist giver in the Pro A. It was a season to forget for the Dragons as they moved right back down to the Pro B. His best season was in 2016-2017 where he averaged 13.7ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-1 (7.1apg), 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 21.7%, FT: 94.1%. And his second best season was in his last season together with Kam Taylor where he averaged 13.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 5.2apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.6%. He would play 132 games for the Dragons and some of his best games included scoring 23 points in wins over Wurzburg and FC Bayern Munich.
At the age of 25 the ex U-20 German national player who last watched the movie House of Gucci went to play with FC Bayern Munich 2 from 2018-2020. Not many people can say that they played for the famous German organization FC Bayern Munich. Even if he only laced up his sneakers with the second team, he always felt as if he belonged with FC Bayern Munich and it was an experience that he will never forget. ‘It was a sensational experience. It was a totally different world. You notice that being a part of FC Bayern Munich was totally different compared to other organizations. There was that bond between football and basketball. We were allowed to attend the football games as well as eat lunch at the football training facility at Saebener street. You could be eating lunch and next to you was Giovanne Elber or Karl Heinz Rummenigge. You noticed that it was a family’, stressed Viktor Frankel-Maus. When you play for an organization like FC Bayern Munich, you can only develop further as a player and person. He soaked up as much knowledge as possible in the two years. ‘ Those 2 years in Munich was huge for my development on and off the court. That first summer in 2018, I did an apprenticeship at the FC Bayern Munich office. I learned so much from Demond Greene and development coaches. I worked in the gym every day that summer. That helped me bring my game to a new level. I noticed that right away when the season started. I played my best basketball. My shooting percentages in the first 10-12 games were incredible. We had many injuries so we had to put more young players and I had more responsibility. I became mentally stronger in my time there. You could always practice as the door to the gym was always open’, remembered Viktor Frankl-Maus. He also had the pleasure of learning from young and ambitious coach Demond Greene who played together with Dirk Nowitzki in the national team and is confident that he will go places. ‘I had a very good relationship with him. He will land in the BBL one day. He is a very detailed and a hard working coach. He has very much basketball know how and is learning a lot under Andrea Trinchieri. He is getting more and more experience which will help him’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. Two of the most talented teammates he had on the farm team were Jason George and Sascha Grant, guys that will surely go their way, but not necessarily with FC Bayern Munich. ‘ Both have developed very well. Both play the same position. I have a feeling George could go somewhere else in the future. Grant was loaned to Verona to have a bigger role and get experience. Both will go their way, but it will be difficult in Munich because they expect so much’, said Viktor Frankl-Maus. He played 45 games in total with FC Bayern Munich 2 averaging 9.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 5.3apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 81.0% in his first season and 11.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.5apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 76.9% in his second season. He had his best scoring game in his second season registering 27 points in a victory over Speyer.
After two years in Munich, he felt it was time for another change and he went home to Cologne to play with Pro B team RheinStars where he started his career. But this was a season to forget as Covid was at it’s height and he suffered a severe injury. He was reunited with 4 ex Rhondorf players and was even teammates with the German Batchelor Andrej Mangold. ‘It felt like home being back with so many guys from Rhondorf. That was a reason why I went. I was recruited and we all had contact before I came. Everything started off well, but then came my injury and Covid was always there. The season didn’t go the way we wanted to. It is over now. I loved my time there. Being with so many old friends was great. But sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to’, explained Viktor Frankl-Maus. There he was teammates with the talented Tibor Taras who surprisingly still hasn’t reached the easyCredit BBL and has found a new challenge in Holland in Amsterdam. ‘ He is a great player. Tibor wanted a new challenge and the RheinStars didn’t stand in his way. He wanted to do something else and he also left for his studies. To reach the BBL, you need luck and timing. He was in the Bamberg organization, but perhaps it was bad timing’, commented Viktor Frankl-Maus. Last season was tough, but he mastered the hardship of recovering from a serious injury during COVID. ‘Last season was unfortunate for me as a player. Corona didn’t hit me so bad even though I did get it. But my season ended after only 3 games with the RheinStars. I did my own rehab so covid didn’t affect me during the season the way it did for other guys that were playing. My biggest challenge was getting healthy again. Often you fall into a hole during an injury. I was worried if I could get fit again. I’m glad I did’, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. COVID has been such a terrible thing in the world and so many have suffered. But one tries to make the best out of it, and he has even drawn positives out of it. ‘You see the separation in society about Covid. Everybody has their own opinion. I have a clear view and I feel it is important that we respect what the German government does. You can be critical of the decisions, but you must follow and accept them. That is the only way that society can get through this quicker. Covid has shown me exactly what I want in life. My focus isn’t only basketball, but there are other things as well. I am thankful that I wasn’t effected badly. I had corona a year ago, but I got through it ok. There are so many other people in the world that have suffered very bad. I’m thankful that I’m ok’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus.
The Cologne native who never battled Andrej Mangold in a one on one duel, but is sure that he would win is back in his second home Rhondorf where he is now in seventh season trying to lead the team back to the playoffs. Coming back to the Dragons Rhondorf was a no brainer. ‘I’m happy to be back with the Dragons Rhondorf who gave me so much in my career. I have a different role now. I’m not that young player anymore. I have more experience and have played a long career. I feel like Rhondorf is my home’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. When he left Rhondorf, he was 25 years old and now will be turning 29 in 2022. When he looks around, he sees guys 10 years younger than him. Heck head coach Julius Thomas is even younger than him. ‘I feel old. But at the same time it is also a blessing. You remain young when you play with young men. You are able to see their perspective on things and how they think. I already went through that in Munich. There I learned to listen to the kids and observe what the young generation does. The young players of today have a better skill set than 5-10 years ago’, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. It was no secret that the team could have early problems this season with such a young roster, but the club continues to make strides in their game as the last results against Schwelm and sandersdorf show. ‘I’m very happy with the team’s current development. I remember reading the box scores at the start of the season. They lost by 40 points in Wedel and now play well against Schwelm and win in Sandersdorf. The team got more stable and mentally strong since the loss against Wedel. The team needs to have that belief now that they can beat anyone. They continue to show that now they can play with anyone on the league’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. An area where the team really needs to keep getting better at is at the defensive end where they give up an unacceptable 84 points per game. ‘Our defense won the game in the Sandersdorf. That was the first time this season that the defense was able to do that. We need to keep that level of defense that we had in Sandersdorf in every game for 40 minutes. Things like communication and making the right reads can always be done well. We have to get better in 1-1 defense. The blow bys are a big problem when there is no help. Easy baskets like that can’t happen’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus.
He is the oldest on the team with fellow German Paul Albrecht and has the pleasure of being able to watch so many young talents develop and give his expertise about the game of basketball. Two young guards that he sees daily and helps are Bruno Albrecht and Oshane Drews. It is no secret that these two guys will continue to climb the basketball ladder. ‘Both are really talented. Drews at 198cm is very athletic and a real team player. I love that. You can see on the court that he wants to make his team better. His decision making needs to get better. I hope that he can profit from me. If he can develop a more consistent shot, then he can decide how far he goes. Bruno has a different role. He is a shooter that is at the three point line waiting for the kick out. He needs to become more consistent. He also needs to find that balance between when to shoot and when to drive’, explained Viktor Frankl-Maus. Another really talented scorer is German Nicholas Bucholz who already sampled Pro A experience with the Rostock SeaWolves and could reach the highest level. ‘I can see him becoming a BBL player. He needs to notice now what kind of role he wants and then stick with it and work at it. Does he want to be a three and D player, ball handler or more a guy that does all. He needs to understand that he needs to do whatever role he wants very well’, commented Viktor Frankl-Maus. One player where many eyes are observing is Ousmane Ndiaye from Senegal. He already gave his German Regionalliga debut at age 15 and also is developing really well at the Pro B level. The sky is the limit for him as some NBA teams have him on their radar. ‘ Ousmane has quiet self-confidence. He doesn’t talk much. He has the killer instinct, but needs to get tougher. He needs to use all of his strengths more. He wants to shoot much, but he is also a great finisher. He should use that more. He has no fear. His mentality will grow with more confidence. He also needs to be more calm in certain situations and read the defense better, but he is so young. That will all come with experience’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. Even if German head coach Julius Thomas is a few years his junior, he is another person that Frankl-Maus is really impressed with. ‘He is a great guy. I could go on and on lauding him. I have so much respect for him and what he is doing for his age. He is a student of basketball and just understands it so well. He understands the players very well, because he is so young. He is already a very good coach, but he also understands that he still needs to learn a lot. Learning about certain in game situations and staying calm, but he knows that. I know that he will go his way. The door is open for him’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Viktor Frankl-Maus in Frankfurt in 2018
So far in his first two games, fans haven’t seen the old Viktor Frankl-Maus yet who lists Cardel Mcfarland and Matthias Perl as his toughest opponents in the Pro B as in the loss to Schwelm he produced only 6 points and 3 dimes in 20 minutes while shooting a dismal 2/9 from the field. In his second game, his shooting continued to falter in the win over Sandersdorf shooting 1/5 scoring 3 points, but had 9 assists in 25 minutes. His role is a different one from his first tour of duty in Rhondorf. ‘I came in mid season and need to get used to the team. My role is to be that leader. That is why they got me. I think that I can bring the needed calmness in situations when things aren’t going so well. I was always that dangerous player that liked to pass the ball. Now we have more shooters than when I last played here. I haven’t played for a year. I still need time. I won’t panic if my shots don’t fall right away’, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. The club now also has more offensive options then when he and Kam Taylor tore apart the Pro B in 2017-2018. ‘You will see my scoring again. We don’t have that 1-2 punch of when I was together with Kam Taylor. Back then we had to do it all. Now we have more responsibility on more shoulders. Back then we had clear roles. Now so many guys can help. We need to find a weapon and feed him. I will always be aggressive’, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. At age 28 he is in his prime, but the question is how much of a priority is basketball for him now as he is about to complete his studies. COVID-19 definitely has opened up his eyes about life and beyond. ‘When COVID hit, I had more time to think about life. Basketball is my passion, but I understood that I didn’t want to be at home until the game started. I wanted to develop outside of basketball. I am almost finished with my studies basketball management. I am already looking for jobs. I would like to balance basketball and a job. Maybe it will work for the next 3-4 years. It depends how well my body holds up and if my job permits it’, stated Viktor Frankl-Maus. Even if Kam Taylor is far away and doing his thing in the Euroleague, I’m sure that Dragons fans will see some really good games from Viktor Frankl-Maus and give everyone basketball joy again. Even if Kam Taylor is missed, maybe the German will find a new favorite combination in the second half? I’m sure nobody will be sad if one begins to see amazing alley-ops from Frankl-Maus to Ousmane Ndiaye and other incredible hook ups. Time goes on and everyone in Dragons country are prepared for a great second half by the Dragons Rhondorf and Viktor Frankl-Maus leading the charge to success.