Even if basketball Germany was hypnotized by the Euro 2022 the last week by the refreshing and brilliant play of Germany beating top nations like France and Lithuania, the normal daily business of the game continues. easyCredit BBL teams are in the dog days of the pre season getting ready for the new season. The Fraport Skyliners are one of those clubs that not only wants to get back to old winning ways, but needs to. The last years have been brutal and this season the organization hopes that new head coach Geert Hammink will bring fresh wind to the club. The 2004 BBL champion kept a handful of German players, but also did something more unusual bringing in 2 Lithuanians and only 1 new American with JJ Frazier. As usual the identity figure and Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson is on board for a 14th season. In their second exhibition game of the season, the team met the ambitious and talented Telekom Baskets Bonn who will give control to TJ Shorts who helped lead the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim on their magical season last season. On a cool Saturday night as summer seemed on it’s way out, the Telekom Baskets Bonn came to play and demonstrated for 40 minutes that at this time of pre season that they were already at a different and higher level than the Fraport Skyliners tearing them apart 95-67. The guests ended the first quarter with a nasty 13-2 run and from there on, Frankfurt couldn’t turn the game around always having to play catch up ball. After the game ex Crailsheim diminutive guard TJ Shorts who had a quiet scoring night with only 10 points was content about how his new team played. ‘Overall it was a good game for us. We try to play a fluid offense. We want to just play and not think and let the ball pop. We also played fast tonight. Our defense is our D & A. We have many guys that can play multiple positions. We set the tone and kept the intensity high. We want to keep getting better each day’, warned TJ Shorts. Fraport Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson who sported a short haircut and will turn 38 this December played only 18 minutes and came from the bench something he may have to get used to this season under new coach Geert Hammink was still positive despite losing by 28 points. ‘I felt that we did some good things tonight. We worked hard and showed some good ball movement. I think that we need to get more vocal and physical. We also have to rebound better’, stressed ex Auburn (NCAA) defensive pest Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners were without 221cm giant Matt Haarms who was with team Holland at the 2022 Euro and new American point guard JJ Frazier. The first 5 minutes of the contest was a back and forth affair as there were 4 lead changes. The Fraport Skyliners showed their zeal of getting the ball inside early and new Lithuanian combo guard Lauryas Beliauskas did a good job bringing energy and showed his sniper qualities early nailing a trey. Bonn showed their smooth ball movement early on and also destroyed Frankfurt inside with their great inside duo of Kessens and Kratzer who scored but also sparkled with their facilitating with 7 assists combined in the game. The easyCredit BBL was also introduced to New Zealand player Finn Delaney who was a menace on both ends of the court as he hit a trey and scored in the paint. The guests ran away with the game leading 13-12, they closed out the first quarter with a forceful 13-2 run to lead 26-14 after 10 minutes. In the run, Bonn was led by Sebastian Herrera who brought a lot of energy scoring key baskets as well as solid production from Delaney and ex Warner Pacific College (NAIA) great Collin Malcolm. TJ Shorts was the perfect conductor not having to finish himself as his teammates were adding all the production. ‘Frankfurt played hard on the hedge which made me have to get rid of the ball. I just do whatever my team needs me to do to be successful’, warned TJ Shorts. Frankfurt showed early that their communication will have to improve vastly. ‘We had a lack of concentration. We gave up too many offensive rebounds and weren’t helping the helpers on the help side’, stated Quantez Robertson.
In the second quarter the Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to dictate the game as the Fraport Skyliners continued to play catch up ball and just couldn’t find an identity on defense. The guests raced out on a 11-5 run to extend their lead to 37-19. In the run, the Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to move the ball very well and got a lay in and three from Delaney, Kessens free throws and even a bucket from Shorts. If there is one thing that is a beauty to watch then it is the floater from TJ Shorts as he presented a swish to perfection. Frankfurt’s biggest problem in this run and in most phases of the 40 minutes was that they simply couldn’t match Bonn’s intensity. The Fraport Skyliners then had a good few minutes as they went on a 6-0 run to trail only 37-27. The run was capped off by a Robertson runner from the wing, a giant trey from ex FC Bayern Munich guard Joshua Obiesie and a Jordan Samare basket. But Frankfurt just couldn’t find any consistency something that also plagued them last season. A few good minutes was followed by a 10-4 Bonn run to extend their lead to 47-31. UK and ex Augusta University (NCAA2) great Deane Williams (203-PF-1996, college: Augusta) then made his presence with a massive alley -oop dunk coming form the wing. He would have 2 more crushing dunks. He finished with 13 points and had a big smile on his face after the win enjoying every dunk. ‘Dunks are a part of the game. It gets everyone going. I always try to finish strong. A dunk can change the whole outcome of a game. I like all my dunks’, said Deane Williams. Jordan Samare gave Frankfurt a spark in the last minute halting the Bonn run with a lay in, tip in and free throw as Frankfurt trailed 47-34 at the break. ‘Jordan played well with the minutes he got. He took shots when he needed to and fought very hard’, stated Quantez Robertson. The Telekom Baskets Bonn 25-15 rebound dominance and 12-6 offensive rebound lead played a big role in Frankfurt trailing at the break.
In the third quarter, both teams found their rhythm early as both teams combined for 50 points, but the Fraport Skyliners couldn’t afford a shoot out as that didn’t help them gain ground on the guests. Ex Alba Berlin guard Nolan Adekunle who has a double license with the Fraport Skyliners gave Frankfurt some microwave like energy with 7 points early showing his athleticism with 2 lay ins and sniper like qualities draining a deep trey, but Bonn always had an answer. Bonn countered with a Tadda trey and 2 baskets from Delaney as Bonn still led easily 56-44. A big difference on this night between both teams was that Bonn showed that many guys could carry the load on their shoulders and produce with efficiency and accuracy. Herrera came in and sunk back too back three’s while Malcolm did the same with lay ins. TJ Shorts continued to be like a spectator watching his teammates do the scoring while he just continued to conduct. Once in a while, he also wanted to get into the action and made a lay in with his brutal quickness and another pretty floater. Frankfurt had their moments with buckets from Obiesie, Alex Richardson and Robertson, but they just couldn’t make ground on the guests trailing 74-57 after 3 quarters. ‘Bonn continued to execute very well. We gave up too many fast break points and gave them too many easy open looks. We had good perimeter defense but didn’t help the helpers’, stated Quantez Robertson. ‘We focused on ourselves. When we are locked in at both ends, then were successful. We did a good job limiting our own mistakes’, expressed Quantez Robertson.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn didn’t let up in the fourth quarter and easily won the last 10 minutes 21-10. The Telekom Baskets Bonn didn’t waste any time ultimately deciding the game with an annoying 14-3 run to lead 88-60. In the run the guests did what they love to do and that is running. American Tyson Ward who is playing his second season with the Baskets and made a good impression in the Munich playoff series last season scored 3 transition baskets while Kessens scored twice including delivering a hard 1 hand dunk. German big man Leon Kratzer added a pretty floater and Herrera made a lay in. Skyliner combo guard Lauryas Beliauskas who disappeared a bit during the game, woke up at the end with 5 points, but Bonn’s athletic gem Deane Williams put a hard exclamation mark on the game with 7 points making another thunderous dunk to end the game. ‘He will be huge for our success. He is a freak athlete that can guard multiple positions. He is very versatile and gives us another dynamic when he is on the court’, stressed TJ Shorts. ‘We didn’t get tired in the fourth quarter. We didn’t rebound the ball well or take care of the ball. We got a good taste of a BBL team. We have to be more physical and limit our turnovers’, said Quantez Robertson. The Telekom Baskets Bonn offered 6 guys in double figures as they were led by Finn Delaney with 15 points. Sebastian Herrera added 14 points and Deane Williams added 13 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Joshua Obiesie with 15 points while Jordan Samare had 12 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 56% from the field and 32% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 44% from the field and 30% from outside and had 23 rebounds and 21 turnovers.