If you aren’t tough on the court, you probably won’t survive anywhere and it isn’t any different in the NBA. Ok so if you’re a diminutive guard and try to go up against Shaq in his prime and have fear of getting squashed, then it is understandable that you might try to avoid him. But then again there are enough other players who have shown over time that they won’t shy away from anyone. The world’s top league has supplied some very tough cookies over the years that have defined what the word resilient really means. Some examples over the years have been guys like Kendrick Perkins who would go through opponents like a bull dozer even if it meant tearing his PCL and MCL which paved the road in the 2010 playoffs for Kobe and the Lakers to win, or Scott Skilles despite his size was always a pest and didn’t shy away from the taller and stronger guards or former #1 round pick James Johnson which Miami Heat fans will never forget their gladiator who’s second degree black belt in karate and 20-0 record in MMA matches is as tough as they ever got. Or who could forget the epic scene of pandemonium in the Boston Garden in May of 1991 during game 5 between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers as Larry Legend Bird trotted back on the court in the third quarter after having had to leave the game in the second quarter as his face had crashed to the floor. He came back fired up and led the Celtics to the victory. These are just a few examples of some very rugged and unbreakable players that have mixed it up on the court. First year Fraport Skyliner Lorentz Brenneke isn’t a house hold name yet in the easyCredit BBL, but is seeking to make that next step in Frankfurt after getting a fine training experience in the last years with top youth program Alba Berlin. He is a forward who hasn’t had the number of wars that a James Johnson has encountered, but has been introduced to toughness on the court. His ex NBBL (U-19 league) coach Josef Dulibic remembers an experience where one saw just how tough the young German is. ‘We were at a NBBL game. He was hit hard with an elbow in the face. He came to the bench and told me that he couldn’t see so well. His eye then got swollen in a matter of a few minutes. The game was over for him. He didn’t complain or cry about this. On the way home he joked about the whole experience with his eye. That is how he is. He is a tough player. He is also a great guy that understands to have fun sometimes even if it’s at his expense’, remembered Josef Dulibic.
Lorenz Brenneke (206-PF-2000) who’s toughest opponent so far in his career has been Luke Sikma was born on January 2, 2000 and had spent his whole young career in the Alba Berlin organization before arriving in Frankfurt in the summer of 2021. He took all the steps that a regular young player would playing for the Alba Berlin U-14, U-16 and U-19 teams. Alba Berlin have such an influx of young talent that they also have various professional teams to help youngsters get that first taste of what it is like being a boy playing with men. Brenneke made his first experience with the men as a 16 year old playing Regionalliga 2. His development moved smoothly as he then played Regionalliga as a 17 year old averaging 10,7ppg and 5,2rpg. He made his Pro B debut as a 18 year old with Lok Bernau and that season averaged 8,8ppg and 3,5rpg. At the same time, he got extended minutes in the NBBL averaging 16,1ppg and 5,8rpg. In his last two years with Alba Berlin, he got a chance from legendary Spanish coach Aito Gonzalez Reneses playing 18 easyCredit BBL games and also saw action in 2 Euroleague games. He continued to up his stats in the Pro B averaging 10,4ppg and 5,4rpg in 2019-2020 and last year made another step averaging 13,8ppg and 7,8rpg. He helped Alba Berlin win the 2018 NBBL title together with NBA rising star Franz Wagner and also won the Albert Schweitzer tournament with Germany in 2018 and helped Germany win a Bronze medal at the 2019 U-20 European championships. Josef Dulibic remembers the first time that he witnessed Brenneke on the court in 2017. ‘Alba Berlin always have so many talented guys, but you see early which guys have that basketball body and which don’t. Lorenz definitely had that basketball body. He was an interesting player for me and a player where I thought could become a professional player’, said Josef Dulibic.
It would have been interesting to see how the German’s development would have continued with Alba Berlin had he stayed and not embarked to the Fraport Skyliners. It is apparent that a reason why the German left was the lack of roster spots and the massive competitive level from players at his position. In the last years there have only been a few that have made the next step with players like Jonas Mattisseck, Franz Wagner and Malte Delow ‘The roster spots are limited. Young players practice a lot, but you also need adequate minutes in order to continue to develop. To make that next step is difficult. There were many players at his position. When you don’t get minutes then there is the fear that the development will be stopped’, added Josef Dulibic. A road block for Lorenz Brenneke was talented German Tim Schneider. The German had a few advantages in that he is three years older, has been on the roster since 2017-2018 and has 128 easyCredit BBl games on his resume. Tim Schneider also had a contract and Brenneke didn’t. ‘With Tim Schneider in the way, Lorenz Brenneke just wasn’t guaranteed to be able to get minutes and make the next step’, warned Josef Dulibic. Despite leaving, his valuable experience he got the last two years being able to practice with the BBL team will help him immensely make the next step with the Fraport Skyliiners. Seeing the versatile game of Luke Sikma is something that will help him in his battle for playing time with the other Frankfurt bigs. ‘Playing with Luke was very beneficial for Lorenz. If you have a dream to play professional and then can practice with guys like Luke Sikma, your confidence automatically rises. Luke was great for him. He is very open and likes to help the young players. Lorenz had a front row seat and seeing that professionalism that Luke has helped him a lot’, stressed Josef Dulibic.
Lorenz Brenneke who enjoys chess is a 206cm power forward that actually began at the position three with Alba Berlin. He has that all around fine offensive arsenal who can score, rebound and possesses a solid passing game. But his biggest strength is something that not every player has. Lorenz has absolutely no fear on the court. He is a real competitor that always plays hard. ‘He has no fear of contact. He is a lefty that is very dominate with the left hand. It is important that he continues to work on getting his shot to a good level’, said Josef Dulibic. His game developed nicely with Alba Berlin. He began at the position three. In his second NBBL year he made the jump from the position three to four. His game exploded as suddenly as it was easy to play the position four. His athleticism really helped him adjust to the four as well as his drive. But as is the case with just about every player, not every ability of his is on the radar. He has a hidden strength that is a big asset for the Fraport Skyliners. ‘He has a good feel to slip a block. He has great timing and knows when to get into the space. He is able to do this surprisingly perfect’, stated Josef Dulibic. With the Fraport Skyliners, he has been in a rotation with Dutch rookie Matt Haarms, unproven professional Brooks DeBisshop, and raw 17 year old Alexander Richardson. Being able to perform for a coach like Diego Ocampo who is known for allowing young players to play and develop was surely a vital reason why he came to Frankfurt. Josef Dulibic is more than confident that his ex player will be able to make the next step with Frankfurt. ‘He has finished school and now can concentrate fully on being a professional player. He will practice two times a day. I’m sure that he will be able to establish himself and fight for a chance under the sun’, warned Josef Dulibic. He has had a solid first season with a struggling Frankfurt team averaging 6,4ppg and 4,0rpg in 24 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in seven games and has had one double double. He had 14 points against Hamburg and 12 points against MBC and BG Goettingen. Dulibic has observed Brenneke from a far, but those memories that he could share with the young German will always be there. ‘I got to know Lorenz as a listener. He is very laid back and quiet. But on the court he shows that he isn’t laid back, It may seem like he just woke up, but as soon as he gets into the game, he plays very hard. Everybody loved him in Berlin’, remembered Josef Dulibic. Brenneke has continued to display that sheer toughness on the court and has proved that you can continue to love his game in Frankfurt