I always believe in the best. I never thought that the Fraport Skyliners would be in as much danger as they presently are in actually leaving the easyCredit BBL, but at the moment the chances are as good as it is for the current high flying Boston Celtics to make some surprises in the playoffs. There have been some real down times in the 20 plus years history of the Fraport Skyliners, but none as bad as now. The trepidation coming into the do or die game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg on the last game day in the 2005-2006 season may have made some hard core Frankfurt fans uneasy, but at the end of 40 minutes Kavossy Franklin and Pascal Roller had combined for 40 points for the 81-67 victory and continued BBL life. But now at the begining of April 2022 and 8 games to go, the Fraport Skyliners are on a good route of moving down to the PRO A for the first time in their history. They are three games behind the last secure spot in the standings. The only thing that can save the Fraport Skyliners now is a miracle. Can new head coach Luca Dalmonte be that man?
Luca Dalmonte is a 57 year old Italian head coach that has jumped into the precarious Frankfurt situation as a fire man. He spent more than a decade as an assistant coach for various teams in the Serie a in Italy like Siena, Scandone Avellino, and Tisettanta Cantu and as a head coach for teams like Rome and Pesaro. He has had experience of saving teams and did it last season with Lavoropiu Fortitudo Bologna (Serie A). He came into that seemingly helpless situation where the team had only had one win in December 2020 and then he took charge leading the team to 9 wins and remaining in the Serie A in Italy. After a week, the Italian has a 0-2 record as Frankfurt slip more and more into the dragon’s dungeon, but so far he has left a good impression on ex NBA player Will Cherry. ‘He is a cool guy. He has kept some of Diego Ocampo’s things implemented. He really values our input. He talks a lot to the leaders on a daily basis. He makes sure that everyone is on the same page. He came into a very tough situation., He is trying to make the best out of the situation and help us achieve our goal and finish the season strong’, warned Will Cherry. So far in the first two games, one hasn’t really seen a personal touch of Dalmonte as the defense has continued to be potent, but the offense as usual is very weak. ‘Coach is putting his spin at both ends of the court. He is starting to emulate some things, but at the same time also keep some of the things that Klaus Perwas has’, stated Will Cherry.
The biggest problem this season as been their offense. Producing points on the board has been as big a task for the Fraport Skyliners as it has been trying to understand why the Los Angeles Lakers won’t make the playoffs this season. Frankfurt has enough capable scorers like Will Cherry, Jamel Mclean, Brancou Badio and Quantez Robertson, but have totally underachieved as an offensive club. You would think with the talent they have and with guys like Matt Haarms and Len Schoormann who can help give scoring punch, they would be somewhere in the high 70’s or low 80’s, but instead look stagnant on offense. ‘We don’t get enough easy baskets and don’t run enough transition. When we do have an advantage to run, we either slow it up or make silly turnovers. It is all under an umbrella of experience. In today’s game you can’t just play half-court basketball. Teams are too big and fast. When we get stops, we have to put on the pressure and run. We are more like robots than just trying to feel it’, commented Will Cherry. It also doesn’t help that they are shooting a dismal and unacceptable 30% from outside. ‘Our three point shooting is terrible. This goes back to moving like robots again and second guessing. We should be shooting more on transition where were getting the open tree’s. But that isn’t happening. We are also taking a lot of three’s at the end of the shoot clock’, explained Will Cherry.
The loss to ratiopharm Ulm was another game of many this season that the Fraport Skyliners should have won, but let slip away. Luca Dalmonte didn’t show much emotion on the sideline and in the game against Heidelberg, it seemed like assistant coach Klaus Perwas was coaching at the end. ‘No that’s not true. Klaus drew up one play. The rest was all coach Luca coaching’, stressed Will Cherry. So can Dalmonte be a motivator that the team so badly needs now? ‘He has had his speeches and motivates us, but that doesn’t matter at the end of the day. We still have to play. It is all about tactics. You want to win as a team’, added Will Cherry. The games don’t get any easier as they play in Bamberg today, in three days in Goettingen and a few days later host top team Telekom Baskets Bonn. Dalmonte has only been in Frankfurt 11 days, but Cherry already appreciates something about his coaching style. ‘His biggest strength is his attention to detail. He has done a good job breaking down things and knows how to get us all on the same page’, warned Will Cherry. Bamberg arrives in the game with a 12-14 record and are two games away from the playoffs and still hoping for their own miracle. They have a three game winning streak and added self-confidence. ‘We have to be on the same page in Bamberg and exploit the mis matches and take out their key players’, commented Will Cherry. If Dalmonte can be the start to a miracle man will show in Bamberg. Of course it is unfair to put pressure on him. The players themselves have put themselves in this nasty situation. One thing is for sure, no matter what Will Cherry never believes there is a game he can’t win even after so many loses with Frankfurt. ‘Every game has been big for us especially the last 10-11 games. All we can do is give our best and try to win. I always think that we win’, warned Will Cherry. A win in Bamberg in Sunday would be so huge for the Frankfurt moral. Right now any win is like wining a seventh game. A win on Sunday might even blind the most hard core Skyliner fans about just how rare it is to come off the floor as the winner in Freak City something that was almost impossible more than a decade ago.