ProB

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Defensive Pressure Overwelm The RheinStars 77-55

A little more than 27 months ago on a warm latesummer day, easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners were playing an exhibitiongame against Pro A team RheinStars on the Us Army Base in Wiesbaden about a 20minute drive from Frankfurt. In this test game, fans saw the first signs of areal star being born in Isaac Bonga as the 16 year old got ample minutes fromhead coach Gordon Herbert and he presented his unending athleticism, but whatwas even more enjoyable to witness were his no look passes which some of theyoung German kids that were there that day wearing the Cologne jersey surelydidn´t forget. Now Isaac Bonga is living the ultimate basketball dream in La Laland with the Los Angeles Lakers G-League team South Bay as his call up is onlya matter of time while the Rhein Stars are in the cellar in the Pro B southstandings. So much has changed in the last two years as the RheinStars pathhasn´t gone the desired route. They came to Frankfurt with a disappointing 1-9record and sitting in 12th place as their defense hasn´t found anidentity yet giving up 80 points per contest while the Fraport SkylinersJuniors season has had two faces and recently been like night and day. Theybegan the season in lightening fashion coming out of the gates with a six gamewinning streak, but currently were riding a poor four game losing streak. Thebiggest problems in the last weeks has been their defense. They are currentlystill the fourth best defensive team allowing 72 points per game, but in thelast four games were giving up 78 points per game and had three games with 80points or more given up. Another problem had been that their roster had beenshaken up as key contributors Jules Akodo left for London and JT Roach returnedback to California as combined they scored 18 points per game something that wasmissing now. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t have an Isaac Bonga anymore,but had enough offensive and defensive forces on board with guys like Big manLeon Kratzer who made his Pro B debut as well as well good support from roleplayers Felix Hecker and Len Schoorman and a whole lot of defensive pressurefor 40 minutes overwhelming the RheinStars Cologne 77-55. After the big game,Frankfurt head coach Sebastian Gleim was content with the victory. “It was animportant win when looking at how tight the standings are. If we had been 8-3now, I would have been very happy, but at 7-4, I´m still happy. One couldalready see last weekend against Coburg that our game was getting better again.The team could practice a lot this week and guys were fresh and were happy. Ourdefensive pressure was good and everyone played at a high intensity”, said headcoach Sebastian Gleim. The RheinStars Cologne never gave up, but shot poorlyand had problems against the defensive pressure of Frankfurt and taking care ofthe ball. After the loss ex Western Michigan Tucker Haymond was miffed by theloss and felt a bit helpless as well. “Frankfurt played very good defense andwere the better team today. They did a good job scouting and took certain guysout of our game plan. We played hard, but our sense of urgency wasn´t good. Wedidn´t match their physicality until the end of the game”, added TuckerHaymond. “It may have looked like an easy win to you, but it was hard work. Weplayed good defense which always gives us success. We deserved to win the game.We had good defensive pressure, but our three ball wasn´t falling. Our high Lowgame of Kayser, Trtovac and Kratzer worked well. We moved the ball well also.We trained together almost everyday and were fresh”, smiled Richard Freudenberg.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Richard Freudenberg who produced 10 points and 8 rebounds in the victory

 

New Fraport Skyliner Dennis Mavin watched the game as he played for the Giessen Rackelos in the Pro B last season and also saw BBL action and this season played with the ScanPlus Baskets while in the stands Fraport Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertso who has season tickets to the Pro B games had an old teammate by his side with current Euroleague player with Baskona Shavon Shields who played with Frankfurt during the 2016-2017 season and was in Frankfurt for a lay over. Both teams had difficulty finding an offensive rhythm as the RheinStars were using a good Box and one zone while Frankfurt´s defensive pressure irritated Cologne from the get go and continued for 40 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors did a good job getting the ball inside early to big Man Armin Trtovac who got a bucket and got to the line easily. Frankfurt also was finding their shooters as ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb connected and ex Kronberg guard and 2017 NBBL player of the year Felix Hecker supplied outside shooting and five points and ex St Johns forward Richard Freudenberg made a lay in like a guard as Frankfurt led 15-9. While the RheinStars couldn´t find their outside shooting touch, did find production inside from young German Benedikt Van Laack and ex Tuebingen big man Yasin Kolo with a turn around shot. Frankfurt did a good job as always using their bench and their depth didn´t disappoint as 20 year old German energizer Konstantin Schubert scored inside and then Hecker scored inside again as Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance who often couldn´t get inside had to opt for finding his teammates and did with a no look pass. Ex Dragons Rhondorf forward Thomas Michel who has three BBL games with Bonn on his account dropped a trey ending the first quarter as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 19-12. “Frankfurt did a good job moving the ball and had good looks. Their aggressive defense gave them good opportunities on offense. They also controlled the pace well knowing when to slow down the game and when to run”, stressed ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners juniors shot 35% from the field and 29% form outside and had 9 rebounds and 1 turnover while the RheinStars Cologne shot 27% form the field and 17% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

In the second quarter the Fraport SkylinersJuniors were able to extend their lead into double figures and controlled thegame into half-time. Ex Bamberg center Leon Kratzer got Frankfurt on the boardfirst with a pretty old school hook shot. The Fraport Skyliners Juniorsexcellent defense sparked their offense which led to  Freudenberg trey and Elijah Clarance´s energygave Frankfurt another push as he stuffed home a big two handed jam and sunk atrey as Frankfurt led 29-19. Frankfurt moved the ball well and were sparked byClarance´s high intensity while the RheinStars were unable to get good ballmovement and had to get by with individual feats as Michel spun his way to therim for a lay up and 20 year old German Flip Kukic scored in the lane.Frankfurt continued to keep their double digit lead as Hecker stayed hot fromoutside launching a missile that landed through the net and Kratzer scoredinside again retrieving the lob pass from Freudenberg for the 36-19 advantage.The Rheinstars then found some daylight and hit Frankfurt with a 11-3 run tocut their lead down to 39-30. Frankfurt had some defensive break downs whichthe RheinStars used to their advantage. Kukic scored in the paint, Yassin Koloplayed pick and pop dropping a trey and testing his 37% accuracy from down townand Van Laack made an offensive rebound and put back. Clarance took Frankfurtinto the break with a steal and run away two handed dunk as the FraportSkyliners Juniors led 41-30 after 20 minutes. “Freudenberg played wellrebounding well, hitting shots and playing good defense. Frankfurt also did agood job not just pressuring the guy with the ball, but everyone”, warnedQuantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 41% from the field and33% from the three point line and grabbed 20 rebounds and had 5 turnovers whilethe RheinStars shot 31% from the field and 30% from the three point line andgrabbed 21 rebounds and had 12 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing RheinStars guard Tucker Haymond who contributed 11 points in the loss

 

The third quarter was a tale of two halves asthere were two runs as the RheinStars matched Frankfurt´s intensity in thefirst five minutes cutting down their lead to only five points, but then gaveup a large nasty run to Frankfurt pretty much deciding the game after 30minutes. Both team´s offenses stalled in the first two minutes as both teamswere stumped on their first three possessions. The RheinStars then upped theirintensity and defense and rode out on a timely 11-5 run to cut Frankfurt´s leadto 46-41. In the run the guests had their long ball game working. Kolo nailed atrey as the big man continued to be a dangerous weapon inside and out, but thatdidn´t scare Frankfurt as they got back to back buckets inside using theirspeed as Len Schoorman scored with his left hand on penetration and Zeebfollowed with a high lay in off the glass as Frankfurt led 46-35. The doubledigit lead was quickly cut down drastically to 46-41 as the RheinStars gotmassive support form the three ball as ex Essen German Tim Van Der Velde who played48 Pro A games with the RheinStars dropped a trey and 17 year NBBL star ThomasFankhauser also connected from outside. The RheinStars overall aggressivenessalso sparked their play on the boards in this phase. But the Fraport SkylinersJuniors had seen enough and erased the RheinStars run with their own 13-3 runleading comfortably again 59-44 after 30 minutes. In the run, Cologne onlyreceived a trey from Van Laack as Frankfurt spent a lot of time at the freethrow line as Kratzer and Clarance combined for 9 points from there andSchoorman made a pretty reverse lay up from the wing and Kratzer also scored.“We need to play consistent defense for 40 minutes, but showed that we didn´tin this quarter. We continued to bring a lot of energy and always found ways tobe successful even when our shot wasn´t falling”, stressed Richard Freudenberg.“We made a good defensive run and hit three´s. But then Kolo and I got in foultrouble. We then lost some 50/50 balls and had the whistle go the other way andwe lost some of our momentum”, added Tucker Haymond. The Fraport SkylinersJuniors shot 37% from the field and 24% form the parking lot and had 36rebounds and 7 turnovers while the RheinStars shot 28% form the field and 33%from the parking lot and grabbed 29 rebounds and had 16 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber bumped into ex Fraport Skyliner Shavon Shields who currently plays in Spain with Euroleague team Baskona

 

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to play with a high intensity at both ends of the court and executed well on offense while holding the RheinStars to 11 points. The first two plays of the game was a great example of what kind of a competitor Garai Zeeb is. He made a play that will stand in the stat sheet, but his hustle and never giving up on the play before is something that won´t be seen on the stat sheet. Zeeb lost the ball at mid court and instead of hanging his head, he chased his man down the court and made a big block making amends for his moment of lost concentration. That led to a Schoorman pull up jumper who had an excellent game with 10 points, 4 assists and 4 steals in 25 minutes while shooting a strong 67% from the field. The 16 year old had the best efficiency on his team with 17 something that surely was noticed by head coach Sebastian Gleim. After the RheinStars got three measly points off free throws from Kolo and Michel to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 61-47 and make the game somewhat interesting again, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors slammed the door shut on the RheinStars for good going on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 68-47. In the run, Frankfurt got another huge trey form Hecker and then got added support from the Dunk duo of Schoorman and Clarance. Schoorman who compares his game to De’Aaron Fox jumped into a passing lane made the steal and was off to the races making a hard one handed dunk and Clarance followed with a beautiful floater that was text book like. The Rhein Stars did get some three point support down the stretch from Haymond and young German Christ Theodore, but it wasn´t enough. Frankfurt also got some baskets from Armin Trtovac with a offensive rebound and put back, reverse lay up from Freudenberg and a trey from Hecker closing out the game. “We were fresh and kept our energy going and made pressure for 40 minutes. They got a little tired, but we continued to paly our game”, warned Richard Freudenberg. “Their defensive pressure really hurt us. They are a deep team and had two good units. Even if their second unit it always score, but they did a good job from keeping our unit form not scoring. Their defensive intensity was strong no matter who was on the court”, stressed Tucker Haymond. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Elijah Clarance and Felix Hecker with 14 points apiece. Leon Kratzer added 11 points. The RheinStars were led by Yasin Kolo and Tucker Haymond with 11 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 41% from the field and 29% from outside and hauled down 50 rebounds and had 14 coughed up balls while the RheinStars shotb23% from the field and 30% from outside and hauled down 38 rebounds and had 20 coughed up balls.

Nick Hornsby (Bayer Giants Leverkusen) My Team Has Been Helping Me Be More Confident In Different Situations

Nick Hornsby is a 23 year old 201cm forward that was born in Irvine, California that is playing his second professional season in Germany and first with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He has been an instrumental part in the big 10-0 start averaging 12,7ppg, 8,7rpg and 3,1apg. Lastseason as a rookie he played with Giessen 46ers II (Germany-ProB) playing 23games averaging 13.9ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.9apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 70.3% He also played 2BBL games for Giessen. He won two high school titles with Tustin and then played at Sacramento State from 2013-2017 playing a total of 123 NCAA games and was able to improve his scoring and rebounding each season. As a senior he played 31 games averaging  11.3ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 71.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen.

Nick thanks for talking to germanhoops.com! Where are you at the moment and how isbasketball life treating you at the moment?

Right now I’m just at home with my fiancé enjoying some downtime on our off day.

Congrats on the amazing quick start as your 10-0 with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. If somebody had told you in pre season that the team would have begun at 10-0 what would you have said?

Basketball life wise I’m great. Our team is 10-0 and I have no complaints. We have been playing great basketball. If someone would have told me we would be 10-0 I’m not sure if I would have believed it. I think we all knew when we first came together as a team we were very capable of having a good season.

Have you ever registered a start like this in your career? How does it feel reeling off so many wins in a row?

I’ve had a year like that when I was in high school I was lucky enough to have a great team then. It feels great I think the most exciting time we have in the week is after the game. During the week, we are just fully focused on the next game.

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Alexander Blessig (Bayer Giants Leverkusen) We Want To Develop A Winning Mentality Knowing That It Is Important To Stay Humble And Keep Improving

Alexander Blessig is a 25 year old 188cm guard from Berlin playing his third professional season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen(ProB). Currently he has been a vital part in the 10-0 start of the team averaging 10,1ppg, 2,4rpg and 2,4apg while shooting a massive 60% from outside. He began his basketball career with FC Bayern Muenchen (ProA) and also played with Alba Berlin 2. He then played a season with Florida Gulf Coast(NCAA) helping the team win the A-Sun tournament and reaching the NCAA Sweet16. He then moved to Rollins (NCAA2) and played three seasons totaling 66 games. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.

Alex thanks for talkingto germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

HeyMiles, thank you for interviewing me. I currently live in Cologne, finishing up my Master’s degree, working part time as a working student in Venture Capital and of course, playing ball in Leverkusen. I am just enjoying every second I can be on the court with my team – it’s a blessing every single day!

Congrats on the amazing quick start as your10-0 with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. If somebody had told you in pre-season that the team would have begun at 10-0 what would you have said?

I knew from the start that we had a special group of guys together, but I did not expect this kind of a run. If somebody had told me we would go 10-0, I surely would not have believed them.

Have you ever registered a start like this inyour career? How does it feel reeling off so many wins in a row?

I never had a start like this in my career – it feels great. However, the games that really count are still to come (Play-Offs). We appreciate the wins but at the same time we know that we have not achieved anything yet. We have to stay humble and keep improving to play our best basketball at the end of the season. Next up, we play Elchingen twice, which will be two really tough games for us!

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Nino Celebic (Bayer Giants Leverkusen) I Really Believe Hansi Gnad Can Put This Club At A High Level Again

Nino Celebic is a 27 year old 191cm guard from Serbia playing his second professional season in Germany and first with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He has been an important reason for the team´s 10-0 start currently averaging 10,9ppg,1,1rpg and 3,4apg. He began his career with BC Mega Aqua Monta Beograd junior team and played many years in his home land before coming to Germany in 2016 where he practiced a season with Pro A team Hamburg Towers. Last season he celebrated his break through in Germany with SC Rist Wedel (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 79.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.

Nino thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

Right now I am in with Bayer and I am enjoying playing here. After 2-3 really difficult years behind me, now everything is going good.

Congrats on the amazing quick start as your 10-0 with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. If somebody had told you in pre season that the team would have begun at 10-0 what would you have said?

Yes, 10-0 really sounds amazing. I would say “wait, let’s go game by game” , I think that’s the only way how you can be successful

Have you ever registered a start like this in your career? How does it feel reeling off so many wins in a row?

I was, 13-0 when I was in Serbia. The feeling is great really, but on the other hand you have to be calm and stay on the ground, because the real games start in March ,then you have to play your best basketball.

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The Wiha Panthers Schwenningen continue their success story in the Pro B

After eight games the Wiha Panthers Schwenningen and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors may have had an identical 6-2 record in this year’s Pro B competition. But apart from the record Schwenningen and Frankfurt don’t have much in common. While Frankfurt has a roster full of german talents and primilary uses the Pro B as a platform to develop players for their first division team, Schwenningen mainly counts on experienced players and tries to establish basketball in the Black Forest. On Gameday 8 Schwenningen hosted Frankfurt at the Deutenberghalle and 850 spectators witnessed a commanding 68-48 start-finish victory of the home team.

Clarence_Moore

Elijah Clarance (blue jersey #1) and Rasheed Moore (orange jersey #23) led their teams in scoring. Clarance scored a team-high 15 points and Moore dominated with 31.

In Schwenningen the fans are used to see their team winning. Since 2015 the club has won the vast majority of its home games and established a growing fan basis. After winning the Regionalliga title in 2016/17 the Wiha Panthers became one of the main talking points in german basketball. The club was not happy about the foreigner rules in Germany’s third-tier level league and threatened to initiate legal actions. In Pro B competition at least three german or so called local players have to be on the court at anytime. Schwenningen did not want to part ways with some of their european top performers and declared that the practiced rules may not be in accordance with european regulations. A process that could have dramatically changed the foreigner rules in german basketball ended abruptly before it even started. Due to a procedural error in their application documents the Wiha Panthers could not make the jump from the Regionalliga to the Pro B. Schwenningen’s head coach Alen Velčić still believes the decision of the Zweite Basketball-Bundesliga was mainly politically motivated to keep his club out of the competition. But Schwenningen did what they do best, competed for another year in the Regionalliga Südwest and could again win the championship with just one loss in 28 games. This time the club declared to play by the rules and accepted the existing foreigner regulations.

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FC Bayern Munich 2 Escape Rhondorf With 78-70 Victory

For six years German Viktor Frankl-Maus paradedin the Dragons Rhondorf back court and was the identity figure and heart andsoul of the team. The way he played the game and left his heart on the floorfor the Dragons, one had the feeling that he could never leave the club andbecome a Dragons lifer that would always give his all in the Dragon Dome forthe home court fan. But last summer he decided on taking on a new challenge andjoining Germany´s most famous sports club FC Bayern Munich and to be honest whocould blame him. It was a once in a lifetime chance to play for such arespected organization and later on tell his grand children stories of how hewas mingling with people like football legend Uli Hoeness or top player ThomasMuller or a Robert Lewondowski. Fans in Rhondorf not only will never forget hiseffort on the court, but the brilliant 2014-2015 Pro B season where the Germanled the club into the Pro A. Fans also won´t forget his beautiful feeds to topplayers like Aaron Nelson or Kameron Taylor in the last two seasons. The timehad to come where Frankl-Maus would return to his old stomping ground in theDragon Dome as he led the fifth ranked FC Bayern Munich who had a record of 5-2against his ex team Dragons Rhondorf who were resting in tenth place with adisappointing 2-6 record. It was a game where there was little differencebetween the two even though the standings told a different story. A basketballgame has 40 minutes, but the Dragons played only 37 minutes as they allowed FCBayern Munich to break out on a 10-0 run at the end to decide the game. Afterthe game ex Dragons Rhondorf guard Viktor Frankl-Maus was all smiles as he hadhelped lead his new team to a win over his ex team. “I was very happy to behere. It is one of the highlights for me this season. I was happy we got thewin and was very happy how much the fans cheered for me. It tells me that Ileft a lasting impression here. We had problems rebounding, but overall playedwell at both ends of the court. We didn´t play perfect and made mistakes, butwhen it counted most, we stuck together”, warned FC Bayern Munich guard ViktorFrankl-Maus. After the bitter loss Dragons Rhondorf center Zygimantas Riaukatold it like it was, but was still pleased with the club´s effort. “Theyoutrebounded us which is unacceptable. It came down to us missing some layups. Wemissed a couple of bunnies. I am happy how we played as a team. Everybody wasfighting. Earlier in the season we would have gave up. We are a young team, butcan´t make anymore excuses. We have some big games coming up and need to produce if we want to make the playoffs”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing FC Bayern Munich captain Viktor Frankl-Maus after the Munich win

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The Bayer Giants Leverkusen Make Countless Neck Breaking Shots Keeping The Fraport Skyliners Juniors At Bay 87-70

If some wise man had predicted at the beginning of the Pro B South season that after seven games you would have the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and Fraport Skyliners Juniors at one and two, people would have not called you a genius, but a fool while fans in Elchlingen would have flipped you the bird as how could the multi talented and 2018 Pro B champion not be anywhere but at the top. Ok so the ScanPlus Baskets are near the top in third place with a record of 6-2, but are at the moment breathing up the backs of Leverkusen and Frankfurt waiting to prance on them like a famished cat waiting for their mistakes. It has been a very refreshing season for the German BBL title record holder Bayer Giants Leverkusen as they have built up an offense led by German Tim Schonb born and Frenchman Ron Mvouika and American Nick Hornsby that average 87 points per game and also have found chemistry on the defensive end allowing only 70 points per game. They also have gotten good support from their German role players and are also the best rebounding team in the league. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were born in 2009 and have put together their best start in their history going 6-1. They have continued to uphold the Frankfurt basketball tradition of having a strong defense and have sparked their offense along the way as they average 77 points per game. The young German´s know each other since years and have added the needed athleticism with Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance, sniper power from American JT Roach and German young big men Aaron Kayser to make a deep squad that is hungry for success. The two top teams met in Frankfurt on a mild autumn Saturday night and the Bayer Giants Leverkusen demonstrated why they went into the game undefeated and why they returned home unbeaten. They simply did everything a tad better than the Fraport Skyliners Juniors like shooting and rebounding, moved the ball better, made the smarter plays, took Elijah Clarance out of the game and got the big shots from Tim Schonborn and Nino Celebic who also controlled the game for the guests. “We struggled at the start of the game on defense, but knew that they were a good scoring team and picked up our intensity. We did a good job on Clarance and also on Zeeb, but he still played a great job. Dennis Heinzman did a great job getting the rebounds”, added ex Giessen Rackelos forward Nick Hornsby. After the 17 point loss the players escaped to the dressing room, but returned and were horrified by their poor defense. “We weren´t happy with our defense. We gave up way too many easy baskets. They did a good job taking Clarance out of the game and hit many tough shots”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior forward Konstantin Schubert.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Serb Nino Celebic after scoring 16 points in win

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