The last weeks before the FC Bayern Munich playoff series have been at times a disgusting roller coaster ride for the Fraport Skyliners and for a Philip Scrubb he might already have completed a short season ending vacation to Paris or secretly been in Munich for a meal with Marko Pesic concerning lucrative bucks for next season and been back in Ottawa where he is in the offseason and already getting up extra shots in preparation for next season had the club lost their last regular season home to Science City Jena which they were very close to doing after a seemingly curse was erased by the basketball God as three mishaps were rewarded by defensive stops and a Shawn Huff shot saved their season. Two weeks later the Fraport Skyliners aren´t at home digesting a second non playoff season and wondering where they would be with a Jordan Theodore, but are back at their basketball home Fraport arena with seemingly help from the basketball God again as they sit in the driver´s seat having an amazing and really unbelievable 2-1 game lead against Germany´s most famous sports club FC Bayern Munich and can end their season that had very high expectations on Tuesday with a victory. But then again is this really a miracle, because over the years Gordon Herbert has time in and time out shown what he can master even when the odds look bleaker than a tornado filled Oklahoma sky and produce success. He has showed again how he can get the best out of each player at the right moments and how his pinpoint scouting can bring an experienced and so talented team like FC Bayern Munich to unending riddles to how they can counter react when Frankfurt makes a successful adjustment. No matter how this series ends, the Fraport Skyliners should follow Science City Jena and do what they did for Bjoern Harmsen and give him a indefinite contract. He deserves it because he lives for the Fraport Skyliners even if his back would rather decline comment on the matter. Maybe Gordon Herbert is a basketball God in disguise. The last week, he surely has driven his team to go above and beyond, but can they make that last step and slam the door on this season best and most successful team FC Bayern Munich?
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing 2018 easyCredit BBL scoring champion Philip Scrubb after droping 8 points and dishing out 8 assists
If there is anyone in Frankfurt basketball country that had the audacity to say now that they had predicted a Fraport Skyliners series win, they are most likely lying. I have been a staunch believer in the masterful work of head coach Gordon Herbert over the years, but as this series with FC Bayern Munich approached, I saw no hope in this team surviving against Jared Cunningham, Devin Booker, Danilo Barthel and co. I predicted an easy sweep by FC Bayern Munich and then corrected myself giving them possibly one win already remembering that the Fraport Skyliners had won games against FC Bayern Munich in the past and had won game 2 in their living room in the 2015 series. I just wanted to be on the safe side, but my inner thoughts were flooded with sweep, sweep, sweep for the Bavarian side. It was a normal basketball reaction from me as basketball reality was staring in my face. How could I predict a Fraport Skyliners series win after seeing Frankfurt stink up the house against Science City Jena and being crushed in Berlin as the team suffered one of it´s worst defeats in franchise history.
Sharif Hudson is a 26 year old 188cm guard playing his third professional season and first with HSB Landsberg (Germany-2.Regionalliga). He played his first two professional seasons with BG Aschersleben Tigers (Germany-Regionalliga) an din his rookie season played 25 games averaging 14.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.6apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 52.5%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 64.8%. Last season with BG Aschersleben Tigers (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 19 games averaging 15.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 78.5%. He started his basketball career at Southern Union CC and then played his last two seasons in the NCAA 2 with Ark.-Monticello (NCAA2) playing 29 games averaging 10.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 61.3%. In his senior year he played 13 games averaging 14.3ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.2apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Sharif, thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are in your third professional season and many Americans dream to be in your situation even though your far away from a top level. How thankful are you for having the opportunity to play the game you love for a living?
It’s a blessing to be able to just play the game. Regardless of the level that I am at right now, just being able to lace up every week and compete with a group of guys is something that I don’t take for granted.
Corban Collins is a 23 year old 190cm guard from North Carolina that completed his rookie season in Germany with the Kirchheim Knights were he played 30 games averaging 17,1ppg, 4,6rpg and 3,9apg and 1,3spg. He played a total of 118 NCAA games with LSU, Morehead State and Alabama from 2012-2017. In his senior year with Alabama he played 32 games averaging 7.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 35.7%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 65.0%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball after the season ended.
Corban thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and did you explore a bit in Europe before returning back home after playing your rookie season with the Kirchheim Knights?
No problem at all! I’m currently in North Carolina, no I didn’t explore any or Europe. I just got home yesterday.
How tough was it being overseas and away from home as a rookie? What was the first thing you did when you arrived home besides seeing family and friends? Did you scope out one of your favorite eateries?
It wasn’t as tough as I thought it was going to be, being away from home. I think I got used to being away from my family in college being so far away and at different schools. First I did when I got back was go to Chick-Fila.
How tough was it for you and the Kirchheim Knights to play a solid season, but land in 9th place missing the playoffs? Did it take a while to digest?
It was really tough to not make the playoffs. It took me a long time to digest the fact that we weren’t making the playoffs. We felt like we played a good season, we just came up short
16 hours after the Fraport Skyliners had lost game one in Munich, the team had already had their post game cool down in their training facility BCM in Frankfurt and some guys exited the gym with Quantez Robertson, Tai Webster, Jordan Sibert and Mike Morrison who were in a good mood especially the latter with the Florida native who when he saw my Boston Red Sox shirt started to marvel about the amazing game three finish by the Boston Celtics. They had won on the expertise of possible NBA coach of the year Brad Stevens as the 17 time NBA champion last second inbounds play as ex NCAA champion with Florida Al Horford created a mismatch hauled down the lob and made the difficult basket for the win. That game three started at the time where the Fraport Skyliners were journeying back to Frankfurt on the bus trying to digest the tough 85-72 loss so it was more than likely that many of the players tuned into the NBA thriller to help pass the time and help forget the 21 point effort by Vladimir Lucic. The Fraport Skyliners came out to a quick 12-3 lead and played a solid first half, but overtime couldn´t handle the overpowering Munich team as they produced less points each quarter as they watched the favorite be able to play their game and dominate the boards and ease by them with their pinpoint shooting accuracy when they needed it most. The Fraport Skyliners needed a win desperately at home to salvage some kind of leverage going back to Munich and not having their backs to the wall down 0-2. In a way the Fraport Skyliner´s situation was a bit like the Celtics, who also were the underdog against the Philadelphia 76ers. Possibly the Fraport Skyliners could remember some of that energy and excitement the Boston Club presented on that bitter Saturday night as they were coming home from the bitter loss and they could possibly take some of their spirit and create extra toughness to give the Bavarian side a game that they would never forget. The Fraport Skyliners came to play and controlled the game for 40 minutes even if FC Bayern Munich was always on their doorstep, the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup teams slammed the door on the faces of the Bavarian team countless times with big shots that denied the opponent to get over the hump winning 75-69. After the win, Mr Canada Philipp Scrubb who´s beard had gotten a bit bushier since game one reflected on the big win. “Key today wasn´t only that we had many guys hit key shots at the right time, but also got rebounds and stops at the right time. When they went on a run and we lost energy, it was our bench that really stepped up. Bonga, Sibert and Huff were huge”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Philipp Scrubb. FC Bayern Munich snuck out of the locker room one by one, but ex Giessen 46er and Mr game changer Braydon Hobbs gave his reflection why his team was unable to go home with a 2-0 series advantage. “We have to give Frankfurt credit. They played good defense and we lacked the needed energy. When you score only 69 points, it won´t be easy to win games”, stressed FC Bayern Munich guard Braydon Hobbs. Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert didn´t leave the Boston Celtics subject totally untouched and gave his two cents to how a NBA coaching poll of coaches didn´t give one single vote to Brad Stevens for coach of the year. “I don´t know how that can be, but I like to take things from his coaching style”, smiled Gordon Herbert.
It was supposed to be the big weekend for the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Athens with the perfect story book ending with the club returning home with the 2018 Basketball Champions League title bringing some added special prestige to the 87,000 populated city of Ludwigsburg, giving the club only the 5th international German club title, bringing the versatile Thomas Walkup some added elevation in his stock as he is on the verge of the NBA and Euroleague and bringing head coach John Patrick another step up into the elite coaching corner in Germany as his development of the club in the last years has not only deserved unending praise, but the utmost respect as his work is exemplary, but instead the team returned home without a title and only a disappointing fourth place finish as they lost both games. The most satisfying aspect the club most likely could bring back to German soil was having had a free 48 hour vacation in the breathtaking city of Athens as a visit off the court to the famous Akropolis which is as much of a must see as it is visiting the Residenzschloss in Ludwigsburg and on the court having the pleasure and opportunity of witnessing the amazing Oaka Olympic Indoor Hall that seats 18,989 crazy and loud fans that make an arena visit so unforgettable that just being there for a game can supply exciting stories for a lifetime that could easily overshadow any incredible play, amazing shot, no look pass or crushing dunk seem like an absolute side note. Perhaps the unbelievable energy level and noise level of the OAKA arena could of doused the intense thoughts of head coach John Patrick at times after the loss in the arena, but then again his competitive nature most likely didn´t let him. The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg lost their semi-final game to the French squad Monaco on Friday night 87-65 that boasted ex Alba Berlin center Elmedin Kikanovic and played a solid first half, but lost their rhythm in the second half getting outscored 51-27 and had problems taking care of the ball. One of the worst things about a final 4 tournament is losing in the semi-final and having to play that unwanted game for third place. Instead of hiding your head in the sand and then flying home quickly, one has to remain and battle the unending thoughts about what went wrong in the semi-final and what could have been done better to win as well as try to focus on winning the game for third place. The German club were unable to salvage at least one positive thing on the court and went home 0-2 losing to Spanish side Murcia 85-74 as they got killed on the boards as the injured Justin Sears really was missed. Instead of leaving Athens on a massive high, the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg have to shift gears now and get ready fast for the easyCredit BBL playoffs as they meet tough opponent medi Bayreuth. Can the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg forget their disappointing Athens weekend on the court and be ready for medi Bayreuth, or will they suffer a second heartbreak in a row? Anyone that knows John Patrick, knows that he is a fighter and will have his torn and battered club ready for medi Bayreuth and not fall over and wilt like a flower.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing medi Bayreuth PG James Robinson after scoring 9 points in a 72-68 loss against the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt
It was an incredible season for the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in the easyCredit BBl as they finished in third place with a record of 26-8 which was their best record dating back to the surprise second place finish in the 2006-2007 season. It was also the most successful season for John Patrick with the MHP Riesen as coach as he had two eighth place finishes and one fifth place in 2015-2016. They started well winning 8 of their first 9 games, but then had a little drought losing 2 of three games getting beat by Munich and Wurzburg. Then they were back to their old consistent ways winning 11 of 13 games, but did get swept by FC Bayern Munich. They finished the season with a 5-3 record losing to teams like Bamberg and Alba Berlin. John Patrick did a great job being able to build a strong team that quickly found their chemistry and their roles as he almost completely added new players as the only guy from last season was veteran David Mccray.
Basketball competition can´t always be fair and often you do have those examples where one would love to see that Davey and Goliath situation prevail where the small clobbers the big, but more often than not that is only a dream and occurs in fairytales or if the opponent suddenly had some Lebron James´s cloned for their upset attempt. NBBL team Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had the unwanted and not desired task of meeting the super mighty and powerful club of Alba Berlin as the German capital team were the overwhelming favorites. They came into the series with a 15-1 record against the 10-4 Frankfurt record and an arsenal of offense talent that had scored 90 points or more nine times and 100 points or more five times and had that NBA type scoring atmosphere working. On top of that Alba Berlin had a roster where eight players averaged 10 points or more compared to Frankfurt having three youngsters attaining that feat and had the overwhelming size advantage with 9 guys listed at 2,00 meters or taller. Alba Berlin also brought two of Germany´s biggest talents with Jonas Mattisseck and Henrik Drescher that get minutes in the EasyCredit BBL and also two notable names with Franz Josef-Wagner who is the kid brother of 2018 NCAA finalist with Michigan Moritz Wagner and Elias Rodl who is the son of 1993 NCAA champion with North Carolina Henrik Rodl. Of course Alba Berlin didn´t bring all players like Rodl, but sure had a great variety of players to chose from. One could quote one of the bank robbers from the classic Boston made film The Town as the thugs are about to rob another bank with “Say your prayers”, because no team has had an easy time with the powerful Alba Berlin team. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was in their own smug living room staring at a do or die game as they had been destroyed in game one 91-61 as Alba Berlin controlled the boards and forced the Frankfurt club to a pathetic 35 turnovers.
Could Davey and Goliath make a statement or was Alba Berlin destined to make another trip to the NBBL Final 4? There would be no Skyliner miracle as game 2 took a very similar pattern to game one as Alba Berlin dominated at both ends of the court easily disposing of Eintracht Frankfurt-Alba Berlin 95-62. After the game, the Alba Berlin players were all huddled in the corner of the gym as they had just taken care of business again chilling and wondering when the pizza would arrive to help tame their stomachs during the long 8 hours bus drive home and top German guard Jonas Mattisscek reflected on the win as if it was the most normal result ever. “We didn´t get rattled by their physicality and were able to play better than them. We did a good job pressuring them for the whole game and just were allowed to play our game and put constant pressure on the ball”, stressed Alba Berlin guard Jonas Mattisseck. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had a solid season, but were totally outmatched in every area of the game, but gave their best and had their moments like 15 year old Len Schoorman who led all scorers with 25 points who was a bit in awe of the incredible talent of Alba Berlin. “I have never played against such a great team. One can really learn a lot from them. I felt we played better in game 2 than game 1. We did a better job against their press this time. There were very big and played well so together, but we gave it our best”, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners guard Len Schoorman.
Julian Gamble sat down and talked to Miles Schmidt-Scheuber about the BBL Play-Off quarterfinals series Brose Bamberg vs. Telekom Baskets Bonn and gave his opinion about the other three quarterfinals.