February 24th ‘2022 won’t only be a historical day in the history of the Ukraine, but also in all of Europe. It was the day where Russian president Vladimir Putin declared war on the Ukraine. It was the day where he sent tanks and troops into the 4 million inhabitant country and also the day where fighter jets invaded the country. After this day, nothing will be the same in Europe again. When a country is under attack, things like basketball get very unimportant. I reach Fraport Skyliner Will Cherry (185-PG-1991, college: Montana) on the night where seemingly millions of Ukranian citizens let tears flow down their cheeks after a day that must have felt like an eternity. He was tuned in on TV to the Ukrainian drama as I reach him. He had been made aware of the Russian attack by his teammates. The Oakland native is one of those guys that doesn’t waste much time watching TV, but spends his time more watching Netflix and being on his computer. He has played in numerous countries in Europe like Lithuania, Turkey, Croatia, Greece, Israel and Italy. Despite having seen tension in Turkey, he has always felt safe in Europe. ‘I have heard of guys not being allowed home or getting their money from their Ukrainian teams. When I was in Turkey, the government was being overthrown. I saw a little of it. Bombs were going off and I heard the fighter jets over my apartment. I was living near the Syrian boarder. It was scary, but it didn’t come to the point that I had to be geared up to go home like in the Ukraine’, warned Will Cherry. There have been some upscale Americans playing in the Ukraine that had spent time in the NBA like Will Cherry with Archie Goodwin and Toure Murry who both played in the easyCredit BBL as well as Drew Gordon. ‘I know Drew Gordon. He is my boy. I actually didn’t know he was playing there. I know Dangelo Harrison who plays with Promety as well as my ex assistant coach from Alba Berlin who is there. It’s just crazy what’s happening’, stated Will Cherry. It is difficult for Will Cherry to imagine what real war is like, but one thing is for sure, he wouldn’t have stuck around to find out. ‘I would of left early. It’s crazy that some teams aren’t allowing guys to go home. Safety is bigger than money. Life is more important than basketball’, stressed Will Cherry. Don’t put Will Cherry on an expert panel discussing about the Ukrainian crisis. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with the Russian leader. I don’t dip into politics. I do know that there is a lot of fake stuff going on. War is never good for anyone and usually nothing good comes out of it. War happens for selfish reasons 98% of the time’, warned Will Cherry.
War and politics isn’t Will Cherry‘s game, but basketball is. After a 26 day break in January because of Covid cases, the Fraport Skyliners came back and suffered a 5 game losing streak and currently have another break of 19 days on account of the Fiba window. Some easyCredit BBL teams allowed their players to go home, but the Fraports Skyliners remained in Frankfurt. They had some days off. The American would have liked to go home and get his mind straight again. Despite not going home, the break was still useful for him as he had missed some games due to injury. ‘I was forced to rest and get my back good again. This is a great opportunity for the team to lock in on some things and fine tune parts of our game. We have to be ready for the next games. Their will be many games in a short amount of time. We will have to be ready to rock and roll’, stressed Will Cherry. Even if the Fraport Skyliners only have 5 wins, they are a club that is way better than their record shows. ‘We should of beat Chemnitz. We had a hot start against Ludwigsburg and then ran out of gas. It was the same with Oldenburg. With the exception of Munich, we should of beat everyone even Alba Berlin. It’s not like teams are rolling over us. When teams are deeper than us, then it will weigh on us. We keep running out of gas’, stressed Will Cherry. One can always say what could have been, but at the end of the day, the position in the standings don’t lie. ‘We should of beat Chemnitz both times. We were better than Bayreuth for three quarters and then lose the fourth quarter 26-7. That just can’t happen. We let a lot of games slip away. You have to win the games that you should, because if you don’t it will come back and bite you in the butt. We should have 10 wins. We definitely want to make up for the loses in the next games’, expressed Will Cherry.
The Fraport Skyliners have had problems scoring the ball this season and it wasn’t any different against Euroleague teams FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin where they averaged only 54 points. It’s no secret that Frankfurt is very dependent on Cherry and he was definitely dearly missed in those two games. Don’t the Fraport Skyliners need an extra scorer for the stretch run? ‘I don’t know. That is up to management. I feel that we are good, but when certain guys are missing, it forces other players to do things uncharachteristically. We have a very young team. Some guys can adjust on the fly while others can’t’, warned Will Cherry. Even when Frankfurt plays good defense, they don’t win, because they can’t score. ‘We played great defense against Alba Berlin. But we scored only 2 points in the fourth quarter. Something like that just can’t happen. Defense has been our calling card this season with the exception of Oldenburg. It was the same old story. We ran out of gas’, added Will Cherry. The team next face off against ex Pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg on March 6th and will be prepping seriously when they arrive in Spain next week. ‘We will lock in and concentrate on Heidelberg in Mallorca. As of now were just putting in the work and being sharp in the gym. We aren’t lying around’, said Will Cherry.
Despite the woes that the Fraport Skyliners have had in the wins department, Will Cherry has been mostly consistent this season and left it on the court each game. He is as focused as one can be in basketball hard times and doesn’t want to let his team down. ‘All we talk about is getting on a win streak. We gave up too many games. I always try my best. Even if I don’t have a good game, I try to find a way to impact the game. I will not let Frankfurt go down to the second league’, warned Will Cherry. He has had a very strong season scoring in double figures in 9 of 11 games and always being that scoring weapon while also knowing when to set his teammates up as he currently is averaging 15,5ppg, 3,5rpg and 5,3apg and getting 1,2spg. His turnovers haven’t been great as of late as he has coughed up the ball 13 times in the last three games and before that held them to 13 in his first 8 games, but he knows that. ‘I had one game against Oldenburg where I had 5 turnovers. That really pissed me off. I have to take care of the ball better. It is very uncharachteristic of me to turn the ball over so much. It can happen when I have the ball in my hands so much. I just can’t let this happen’, warned Will Cherry. The next weeks are the real weeks of truth for the Fraport Skyliners. Will they get higher up the standings or move further down? A stretch of games arrive now where Frankfurt must make ground. They will have three games in eight days and wins against Heidelberg and MBC, two teams near the bottom are mandatory. The players are more than mentally prepared for this important challenge. ‘At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. We are better than both of them and just have to play better. We have to take care of business. Heidelberg had a huge win against MBC having a great fourth quarter. These are all must wins. We are more than ready mentally’, warned Will Cherry. The month of march will be instrumental where their journey may go in April. ‘Hopefully we can have been 5-1 or 4-2 by April first. That would sound really good to me. We have to strive to win these games’, stressed Will Cherry. After talking about the Ukraine and war and the Fraport Skyliners, there is still some time left to talk NBA vs the easyCredit BBL. A month ago, I asked Will Cherry how many points Lebron could score in the BBL and he answered with 80 points. So how many points could Slovenian super star Luka Doncic score in the BBL tomorrow? ‘He wouldn’t even be close to scoring 80 points. Luka isn’t built or is as athletic as Lebron. Even if Lebron was 50, Luka couldn’t match his strength or athleticism. But Luka is still a killer. It’s just harder to score the way he does in the NBA, because he doesn’t have as much space in Europe. I honestly feel Luka could average a triple double in the BBL of 20/10/11 in the BBL’, warned Will Cherry. So now that were at the debate of how many points NBA greats could score in the BBL, how many could Michael Jordan score? ‘Jordan could probably go for 100 points. Who knows’, smiled Will Cherry. I wonder how many Mr NBA 100 points Will Chamberlain could have gone for in the easyCredit BBL? That question and debate will be for another time.