When trying to fit these three terms At Close Range, Sean Penn and Alba Berlin together, the average observer born after 1990 most likely will be unable to piece together the similarities that they do have, but the older generation that follow movies and German basketball might just be so shrewd and be able to link it all together. Close Range was an 80´s movie and for many the only thing that will be remembered will be the theme song by Madonna “Live to tell” and that it featured up and coming actor Sean Penn. At that time in 1985, the American who was an up and coming actor was reeling off the critically acclaimed flick the Falcon and the snowman and followed that up with the next masterpiece “At Close Range”. The only problem, nobody noticed except for the critics as the movie theaters weren´t overflowing as it grossed only $2,347,000 at the North American box office during its theatrical run in 83 theaters, earning less than its production budget of $6.5 million which was a major disappointment. Ok so these three terms might not directly have too much in common with the famous German team Alba Berlin, but there is always a way how certain things can be linked. In the case of acclaimed actor Sean Penn, Close Range and Alba Berlin, it has to do more with success. At that time, Sean Penn was a big acting talent, but just hadn´t really had that big success at the box office, but they would occur later in his career. It isn´t much different for Alba Berlin either. The German basketball powerhouse have had a lot of talent over the last 10 years, but not had as much success as a Marco Baldi would have liked. Winning cup´s are nice, but not the same as going through the playoffs and standing at the top of the peak at the end of the successful run. Winning a cup translates in a successful weekend where you win two games and was able to play your best basketball in a short period of time. The fact of the matter is that Alba Berlin hasn´t won a league title in 10 years and the Alba Berlin drought has been as annoying for the traditional organization as it has been for the Boston Celtics who also won their last NBA title in 2008. Penn was looking for that box office success in 1985 while Alba Berlin is seeking that league title success after a long delay, but they are at close range. But not only is the Professional team Alba Berlin that is at close range this season of reaching the basketball peak, but also the two youth teams the JBBL(Under 16) team and NBBL(under 19) team that are battling this weekend in Quakenbruck for two titles. Alba Berlin is battling the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg for the ticket to the easyCredit BBL final as well. In a few days the German basketball world will know if the Alba Berlin organization will celebrate two youth titles and in a few weeks if Alba Berlin can finally win a league title again.
Sick and tired of reading long, detailed reports about german basketball? We got something for you! Soon you will be able to just sit down, relax and listen to the German Hoops Talk. Manuel Schust and Miles Schmidt-Scheuber decided to start one of the first podcasts that covers german basketball in english. Later this week episode #1 will be released. We will talk about the upcoming BBL Play-Offs. In the meantime, BBL topscorer Phil Scrubb says Hi!
Tyler Kalinoski is a 24 yer old 193cm guard that was born in Cincinnati and is playing his third professional season and first in Belgium with the Antwerpen Giants. Last season he played with AS Apollon Patras (Greece-A1) playing 25 games averaging 10.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 78.7%. As a rookie he played with ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA) playing 36 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 82.8%;In the FIBA Europe Cup he played 19 games averaging 10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 51.1%, FT: 50.0%. He played at Davidson from 2011-2015 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 16.7ppg, 5.7rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 78.9%. He spoke to German Hoops while playing a tournament in Frankfurt Germany against the Fraport Skyliners and Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Tyler thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. You’re in Frankfurt playing exhibition games against Frankfurt and Bonn. You didn´t play against German teams in France or Greece. Have you ever been in Germany before or played here?
I have been in Germany before. We traveled through Frankfurt a number of times in my rookie season with Chalon. I also visited last season as my friend Brian Sullivan who was my teammate at Davidson was playing with the Hebeisen White Wings.
You won a thriller against the Fraport Skyliners 86-85 on Paris Lee free throws. That was a wild end. What was the wildest game that you ever played in at the college or professional level?
The most wild game that I played in college was when we beat La Salle in a conference game where we were down by 18 and won on a buzzer beater. As a professional my most wild game was when we were playing Le Mans at home with Chalon and won on a buzzer beater alley-op from out of bounds from Illian Evtimov to Devin Booker.
As a rookie two seasons ago you played with Chalon that lost a heart breaker at home to Varese. You then watched Frankfurt win the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup final. What memories did you have of Frankfurt then and what was your impression of them today?
I don´t have too much memories of Frankfurt at the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup final 4 in Chalon except that they were well coached and executed well. I saw a bit of the same in Frankfurt this weekend. They executed very well and were never out of the game and came back and almost won. They were a very good team that was well coached.
Your playing your third professional season and first in Belgium with the Antwerpen Giants. After two solid seasons in France and Greece, what are your goals as a player besides winning in your third professional season?
After not winning a title as a rookie and not making the playoffs in Greece, my main goal is to win a championship. Personally I just want to get better and continue to grow as a player. I want to take little steps and never become stagnant.
That basketball is first and foremost a business is something that repeatedly proved season in and season out in Europe when one observes the fluctuations of players coming and going just like what we have been seeing with the presidential cabinet of Donald Trump in his first year of office. With teams shaping up in the German leagues for the beginning of the regular season, one is able to see how much teams have changed in only a matter of a few seasons. The Fraport Skyliners met Belgium team Antwerpen in an exhibition game in Frankfurt and two players form the visiting squad had had ties to the Frankfurt club in that one player Jason Clark battled against them in the 2014-015 season in the Eurochallenge while American Tyler Kalinoski has never played against them, but witnessed the Skyliners accomplish something that the club has only done three times in club history Clark who learned his basketball trade at the renowned Georgetown University where he never had a shortage of flinging the ball to big men like Greg Monroe, Henry Sims or Hollis Thompson who would later go on to the NBA has played in Turkey since facing Frankfurt, but at least hasn´t bounced around form team to team like many do in the last two seasons as he is going into his second season with the Belgium side. In the 2014-2015 season Clark played for Belgium side Aalstar and faced Frankfurt twice helping crush Frankfurt at home 94-59 where he steered 20 points in 21 minutes for the win, but in the return game was annihilated 80-58 as he managed only 7 points. When looking at the Fraport Skyliners roster now only Quantez Robertson is still there as every other player since the 2014-2015 season has departed. Tyler Kalinoski played his first time against Frankfurt as he was a spectator in 2016 at the Fiba Europe Cup final 4 in Chalon as his team fell in the semi-finals thus not being able to meet Frankfurt who disposed of Italian squad Varese winning their third club title. With many new Skyliners on the floor, Clark surely still remembered Quantez Robertson who has been a menace on both ends of the court since he entered the BBL in 2009 as he filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, seven boards and five assists. After the contest, Clark was stretching and after a short chat with Skyliner Mike Morrison who he knew from battles in Belgium years ago, he reflected how valuable a guy like Robertson is in this day and age where playing for the same organization for many years isn´t typical. “It´s crazy how much basketball is a business. It just shows how much the club and city loves Tez for him to be playing here since 2009. A club doesn´t always keep a player that long like with him, but it shows that Frankfurt is like home for him and the club value him as a good person”, warned Antwerpen Giants guard Jason Clark.
Fraport Skyliner fans saw their team for the first time on their home court at the training facility and got their money´s worth as they saw a hard fought contest that had a certain pattern until crunch-time where they just couldn´t get over the hump as Antwerpen controlled the game.
In the dog days of summer there are always people playing basketball and even in the grueling Midwest heat where the only time to find a comfortable hour of basketball outside is possibly at 9.00pm when the sun is down and the air is a little bit more relieving, but then again if you are a player that is going after their basketball dream, there is no distance or conditions too unbearable. For seven players of one of the 2017 Howard Hoops teams in Germany, there was no 100 degree heat and steamy gym to contend with, but rather 62 degree weather and pouring rain and a 30 minute train ride from the international city of Frankfurt to the small town of Idstein that has a population of 24,000 and about as far away from the NBA as Puerto Rico is to ever winning the soccer World Cup. There isn´t much really too memorable about Idtsein except like so many small towns in Germany presents a breathtaking landscape similar to upstate New York as the most known athlete from Idstein is Max Hopp who is a dart player and where any non- resident could really get lost trying to find the A-3 highway in the pouring rain as finding the right turn was given with a small A-3 sign instead of the normal routine big sign that would make the drive a lot easier. Basketball players will do a lot on a Friday night in the hopes of being discovered in any way or impressing a manager a coach with their basketball skills. The Howard Hoops international tour has been a mainstay for a few years now as founder Ron Howard has developed it further step by step. This summer he already had a camp in Atlanta, Georgia as well as games in Germany this weekend in Idstein and Neu-Isenburg and games in England in September. Howard has been able to place numerous players in Europe and especially in Germany in the last years like Chris Miller, Chris Neal and Christopher Davis as his contact list grows day by day. It will be interesting to see where his track record will stand after this weekend?
In Idsein there was a coach in the stands with Danny Stallbohm who also had his son Justin with him who will fire away from downtown like no other when he is on the court as they took in the action.
One doesn´t always have to be in caught up in the playoffs of the NBA, Euroleague, or Endessa where one can witness great basketball in places like the Oracle arena in Oakland or the Wizink arena in Madrid or other leagues in Europe to be in the basketball zone in mind and be more than ecstatic about getting the full hot order on basketball, but one can also be trapped by desire in smaller venues in the dog days of summer in August like the OSP-Rhein-Necker gym in Heidelberg that seats 2000 people. On one side of the less modern arena where the benches are is a wall and seats no people. Any basketball spectator that has been used to the huge state of the art arena´s and were brought into the OSP Rhein-Necker gym blindfolded and turned towards the wall could of suffered a minor heart attack not knowing in what basketball calamity they had stumbled into. On August 8th, the OSP-Rhein-Necker arena in Heidelberg was the focus of a very special basketball evening that showcased great basketball talent all for a good cause as the well known University of Iowa that was an NCAA finalist in 1956 and NIT finalist 2013 were at the start of a European tour that would also take them to Italy and Switzerland and were playing against a put together basketball team for one night called the Basketball Aid Allstars. The game was for a good cause as once again Basketball Aid which had organized a successful tour last summer had put together this special event with all procedes going to help the fight for children stricken with cancer.
Iowa has a young team and some big talent with guys like Tyler Cook, Isaiah Moss, Jordan Bohannon and Nicholas Baer not too mention senior Dominique Uhi who was making his homecoming as he hails from Frankfurt only 98 kilometers from the trendy tourist attraction city Heidelberg where he was in the Fraport Skyliners organization for a few years before making the jump to the States in 2012. The Basketball Aid Allstars were led by coach German basketball legend Pascal Roller and had some very talented young players like Fraport Skyliners Richard Freudenberg and Garai Zeeb or Lukas Wank from Wurzburg, but also the very experienced Alexsandar Nadjfeji who at age 40 still plays like he is 30 and won titles in Germany with Cologne and Berlin.
It isn´t like Jordan Bohannon isn´t engulfed by special basketball vibes each weekend when he enters into huge basketball buildings in the States when he is on NCAA duty battling the likes of Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State or Seton Hall, but even during the dog days of summer and approximately 4,532 miles away from Iowa, the American will be presented with some NBA and brotherly vibes even if he doesn´t know it. When the American who hails from Marion, Iowa and could have called the University of Wisconsin a second home when he was younger sets foot in the tiny size OSP Rhein-Necker arena in Heidelberg, Germany that seats 2,000 on Tuesday it may seem like just any other ordinary gym with one side showcasing stands and the other side where the team´s benches are only a wall behind it, but in reality it will be more than that. The 20 year old 183cm point guard will be at the first stop of a summer basketball tour that will also take him and the Iowa Hawkeyes to the mountains and chocolate of Switzerland and to the pasta and wine of Italy. The first stop in Germany is a very special one as Iowa is taking part in a special event for the Basketball Aid organization that has been fighting against cancer that effects children since 2007 by giving awareness and having events where the proceeds go to cancer aid. As Bohannon and his teammates clash against a special put together Basketball Aid roster of mostly German professional players, the sophomore will have that special brotherly vibe following him all around the court as his brother Jason played for the then USC Heidelberg second division team that played in the OSC gym. He also will taste that NBA flair that is in the arena as current Chicago Bull Paul Zipser learned his basketball trade in this gym when he was a youth and actually was teammates with his brother Jason in the 2010-2011 season and played two games together at the end of the season where the German played two minutes scoring two points and the American tallied a total of 14 points in the two games. Another NBA aspect to this arena is that German basketball legend Pascal Roller will be coaching the Basketball Aid team. He had a stellar career winning 2 titles in Germany with the Frankfurt Skyliners and like Zipser started his career in this gym, but even better was a long time teammate of Dirk Nowitzki in the German national team that fed the Dallas Maverick in the post more times than Tyler Cook will ever dunk at Iowa. Now more than 6 years later Zipser is in the NBA, Jason Bohannon has retired from professional basketball and Jordan Bohannon is on the verge of continuing a very solid NCAA career. Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth was able to get a Maik Zirbes German national team jersey that was autographed by every member of the team and will be auctioned off at halftime.
On Tuesday August 8th, the University of Iowa will meet the Basketball Aid allstars and the American team led by head coach Fran Mccaffery at Iowa since 2010 are coming off a season ending loss in the NIT Sweet 16 to TCU 94-92 and embarking on the 2017-2018 season with many returning players, some interesting new freshmen and needing to compensate the loss of top scorer Peter Jok.