When I was in Portland Maine in November 2021 on an unusually warm day in the 60’s, it didn’t feel right watching a G-League game. It felt even weirder seeing a smorgasbord of ex players that had balled in Germany in the last years on the same team. The Maine Celtics who had ex NBA players left and right on their roster like Luke Kornet, Theo Pinson or Ryan Arcidiacono were battling the Capital City Go Go’s who had ex FC Bayern Munich center Greg Monroe, ex Chemnitz guard Shannon Bogues, Ex Hamburg Towers guard Pat Spencer and even an ex Pro A player by the name of Jaysean Paige who played his rookie season with Gotha in 2015-2016. Two months later Jaysean Paige is in the NBA playing games for the Detroit Pistons. Currently the NBA teams are going through serious hard times as players are being hit with COVID left and right as clubs are reeling for new and able bodies and in some cases have relied on guys that under normal situations most likely would never have laid foot in the NBA. One of the most extraordinary signings has been ex Illinois small forward Malcolm Hill. Here is a guy who has had a solid career overseas in Kazakhstan and Israel and even played his rookie season in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and another year played for John Patrick and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. I reach easyCredit BBL identity figure and Fraport Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson (188-G-84, college: Auburn, agency: Interperformances) on a Wednesday afternoon and the first thing I ask him is when he is going to make his NBA debut?. ‘I think I’m a little old for that’, laughed Quantez Robertson. When I mention how crazy the NBA is at the moment with all the new signings, he agrees. Just from last season there are two players back in the NBA who combined for 6 NBA games before coming to Germany in 2020 with George King and Haywood Highsmith who are now playing with the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. ‘It’s great seeing these guys in the NBA. It shows what hard work and dedication can do for them. They have the opportunity and are using it. It also shows how good the BBL is’, warned Quantez Robertson. I really get the feeling that Tez has this sense of proudness for these guys. He has a 1-2 record against Malcolm Hill and remembers playing him as if it was yesterday. ‘He was a strong forward. I don’t remember him being much of a shooter, but he was a scorer and got to the basket easily. He also handled the ball well. We did a good job on him. I don’t think that he averaged his point total against us. We contained him well and forced him to tough shots’, remembered Quantez Robertson. Even if he is 37 years old, he will never lose that competitor feeling in him and after hearing all those guys who are in the NBA, now he was quick to respond to his chances. Heck even Gabe York was signed by the Orlando Magic. No disrespect to the ex medi Bayreuth player, but he can ball. ‘If I was presented the opportunity now, I believe that I would definitely be able to show what I can do and put on a pretty good performance’, stressed Quantez Robertson.
Basketball life is pretty good for Quantez Robertson and the Fraport Skyliners at the moment as they have their second winning streak of the season. In December they beat Wurzburg and Crailsheim and now have beaten Heidelberg and Giessen. Sometimes things happen so rapidly as the Fraport Skyliners moved from 17th place to 13th place within 72 hours. Even if Frankfurt is riding a two game winning streak, freak athlete Quantez Robertson is staying on the ground and not blasting off with the self-confidence and is looking from game to game. ‘Basketball life right now is nice. We are still trying to get healthy, but I feel that once we all get healthy, in shape and on the same page gelling, then I think that we can have a good second half of the season’, warned Quantez Robertson. Anyone who knows basketball knows that a team is never the same with injuries, but as soon as Will Cherry and Brancou Badio returned, they gave the team a new dimension. ‘We competed at a different level during the last 2 games. We played hard and defended better. We also got shots to fall more and Jamel Mclean gave us a new inside presence’, stated Quantez Robertson. The two big wins gave the club a lot of self-confidence plus with injured players returning, it will be interesting to see in what direction the team will go in the next weeks if COVID doesn’t get drastically in the way. ”Mentally we are in good spirits. Guys are feeling more comfortable being able to play their normal positions. The wins gave us a good taste of what it feels like to win. I feel like we are practicing even harder now, because we believe that we can keep the success going’, warned Quantez Robertson. The team offense has also gotten better, because it isn’t one dimensional anymore with only outside shooting. ‘Being able to score inside is our biggest strength at the moment. Before we took too many outside shots, but now with Jamel Mclean we have a guy who can score inside which creates space for us to take shots outside’, expressed Jamel Mclean. Even if the team has given up 81 points in the last two games, the ex Auburn (NCAA) standout has seen strides on the defensive end. ‘I think that we have been more locked in. Guys are talking more and helping more on the weak side. We are also rebounding better, but it takes time to get on the same page. I think the more that we practice, the more we will get our opponents points down’, commented Quantez Robertson.
Jamel Mclean has been a huge spark and in 3 of the four games he has played in scored in double figures and is currently averaging 12/4 stats. The Fraport Skyliners finally have that dominating big man who gets down to business in the paint when he gets the ball and uses his strength to get close range position and easy baskets. You have to wonder how good he will be when he is 100% fit again. ‘He is the first genuine big man we have had since Leon Kratzer. Once he is better in shape, we won’t have to guard as much inside or 1-1 and help as much. He brings that veteran leadership that we have missed’, stressed Quantez Robertson. German 19 year old national player Len Schoormann didn’t start great into the season, but as of late he is playing his best basketball on the offensive end. In the last two wins, he has been picking his spots well and shot 9/22. Especially his drive has improved as his self-confidence continues to rise. ‘ Len has been presented with a great opportunity and he has taken full advantage of it. He doesn’t have to worry about anything and has been shooting efficiently and playing hard. That is what we expect of him. He has been attacking the rim very well and needs to keep doing it and finishing more’, added Quantez Robertson. One player who had his break out game in the easyCredit BBL last weekend was American and ex Northern Arizona University (NCAA) forward Brooks DeBisshop who was menace at both ends of the court in Giessen adding 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. The first few months were a learning experience for him, but now he could possibly build on his Giessen performance. ‘He has shown another quick and strong body inside. He rebounds well and plays defense and can guard the pick and roll. He is playing the way he did in pre-season. If we can get extra from him, then it is a plus’, warned Quantez Robertson. Another player who has unexpectedly found minutes has been German Felix Hecker. He has played 9 BBL games averaging 10 minutes per game and scored 9 points in the loss in Ludwigsburg and added 5 points in the win over Heidelberg. He definitely is more valuable than just a three and D player. ‘He doesn’t really need to do much with us. He doesn’t play many minutes. He proved in the Pro B that he is more than just a three and D player. He can create and get to the rim. He has taken full advantage of the opportunity with us’, said Quantez Robertson.
Quantez Robertson was out almost for two months and returned on December 5th. In that time, he has been very up and down on the offensive end. He scored in double figures in three straight games against Ludwigsburg, MBC and Chemnitz, but in the latest two massive wins scored only 6 points in total. The guy is a veteran and has seen every thing so this slow start back from injury hasn’t fazed him. ‘It hasn’t been hard on me. I’m just starting to get back in rhythm with shooting the ball. I just need to shoot it more’, warned Quantez Robertson. His three pointer continues to be nonexistent. He has played 7 games since his return and is shooting a meager 6/28 from the parking lot. He is confident that he will up his shooting percentage. ‘My three will fall again. It will take time. I just need to shoot and get in rhythm. I also need to take good shots’, stressed Quantez Robertson. The American is also still finding a healthy rhythm on defense. At times his aggressiveness seems to high which results in bad fouls. ‘Those fouls happen on the fast break. I just tend to be too aggressive at times and pick up cheap fouls. But overall, I feel like my defense hasn’t been that bad’, stated Quantez Robertson. Now that the Fraport Skyliners have found a good grove, their competitive juices will have to wait a bit longer as the big showdown with underachieving team EWE Baskets Oldenburg this weekend has been postponed due to COVID. This could be a blessing in disguise. ‘I think this extra time off will be good for us. It will give guys more rest and get healthy. We can keep practicing and get our chemistry going and get on the same page’, warned Quantez Robertson. Everything is going well for the Fraport Skyliners and Quantez Robertson, but even when you mention Rickey Paulding, you can’t avoid the NBA. Paulding was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2004, but never reached the NBA. Could have Paulding and Robertson reached the NBA in their prime with a little luck? ‘ Yes for sure. Rickey may of even been able to get their before his prime. It is just about timing’, warned Quantez Robertson. Perhaps fans will see that incredible NBA like performance between Paulding and Robertson. Maybe that last ever meeting between both BBL legends will garner that unforgettable last showdown on the floor?