At 13:30 on Top 4 final day, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners would rather have been in their hotel rooms chilling watching the Repeat of the UCONN win over Kentucky and seeing Kemba Walker flashing his Disney Land smile, dreaming about their 2011 home town summer fantasy or just playing a cute harmless prank on their room mate, but instead the gang of Gordon Herbert found themselves on the basketball court playing a meaningless constellation game for third place, which is as undesirable for a competitive player like the first day of school for a kid after the summer holidays, having to have played against the 2011 NCAA Butler team that has mowed away all of the competition so far except UCONN like a hurricane can the coast of Florida or having to go into a New York city bar as a Red Sox fan when their team is losing badly. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners still seemed to be a bit in sleep mode as they were creamed by The Artland Dragons 90-56 not reaching their goal as 2011 beko BBL cup champion, but coming home to the river Main with very sad faces in fourth place and with a whole lot of questions. “This was not a meaningless game to me, but meant a lot. You have to play each game as if it means a lot. If your going to lose at least lose with pride”, expressed Skyliner center Chris Moss. The Artland Dragons have often had very difficult games against Frankfurt and couldn´t believe what they were seeing on the court an dhow easy everything seemed. “I was very surprised how flat Frankfurt was. They had no energy at all”, witnessed Artland Dragon guard Bryan Bailey. “I don´t think it was tough playing at this time for us. We had the chance to learn from our mistakes in the Braunschweig loss, but we didn´t against Artland which was even worse”, stated Skyliner guard Dashaun Wood. “Even if you have to play at an early hour, you have to come to play”, warned Skyliner guard Jimmy Mckinney.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were thwarted by The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in getting their 2011 cup treasure, but at least they could of gotten a type of constellation prize from the treasure chest against The Artland Dragons, but were denied again but this time even more rudely as they lost by 36 points. “The Artland Dragons blew that flame all over the treasure chest not letting us to open it”, said current top scorer of the beko BBL Dashaun Wood. “Our anger didn´t allow them to get close to that treasure”, smiled Artland Dragon forward Adam Hess. The dragon in general isn´t only talented at sprouting a flame, but also other things. “We were able to hide the treasure well and they didn´t find it”, joked Bryan Bailey. It didn´t help the cause either that Dashaun Wood didn´t play as Frankfurt was without their top scorer and assist man. “It was awful being on the bench. I wanted to play very badly, but coach Herbert felt is was better to sit out not risking anything with two games coming up next weekend. My back was a little tight. If we had been in the final, I would of played”, expressed Dashaun Wood.
A few days ago, Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert tried to get his team in the right mood setting them on a scavenger treasure hunt in the dense forest of Rothenburg to find the delectable chocolate treasure in a team building measure to help put The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in the right frame of mind for the 2011 beko BBL cup semi final similar to how Kate Middelton will find her pot of gold soon in the British family, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki finding the right switch for his first NBA crown or young 16 year old German tennis player talent Urs Thurau looking to land in the foot steps of idol Roger Federer and not like dad Didi Thurau as a cyclist, but Frankfurt were unable to find their treasure on the court of the Stechert arena in Bamberg never finding their rhythm slipping to The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig 82-77. „Even though we had GPS navigation systems in the woods , we were technically unable to use them on the court tonight to help us find the treasure“, commented a sad Kimmo Muurinen of Frankfurt. „ After the big win, New Yorker Phantom players were more than relieved to talk about not letting Frankfurt find that most desirable treasure. „The treasure to reach the final was on the court, but Frankfurt didn´t have the right key to unlock the treasure chest“, stated Braunschweig center Kyle Visser. „We buried the treasure in the ground“, joked Braunschweig American Brandon Thomas. “The key to Braunschweig finding the treasure was that their plan worked best in that they got many hustle plays and got the majority of the loose balls”, expressed Dashaun Wood.
The New Yorker Phantoms hadn´t won against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in 60 months losing the last 11 games in a row and sooner or later the big bubble losing streak of the Phantoms had to burst. Guys like Brandon Thomas and Kevin Hamilton had lost the last 4 games in a row losing by only a combined score of 17 points and were about as sick of losing as the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf have been this season. Hamilton summed it up best before the game. „I am pretty sick and tired of losing to Frankfurt“, stressed Kevin Hamilton. After the game Kyle Visser reflected about always losing with Braunschweig, but not never having beaten Frankfurt. „Frankfurt has been our achilles heel. Pascal Roller has won too many games against me. However we were very motivated today, but in the beko BBL it is pretty difficult to beat a team 3 times in a season, but I did beat Frankfurt last season with EnBW Ludwigsburg“, joked ex Wake Forest star Kyle Visser. Braunschweig led for most of the game and never let Frankfurt back into the game and displayed disciplined basketball and nothing out of the ordinary. “Coach Machowski prepared his team well. Braunschweig was able to follow their game plan and just did the easy things. They played pick and roll, penetrated and kick out and got the ball inside and that was the key to getting the win”, stated ex German national player Ademola Okulaja.
Bryan Bailey is a 30 year old 185cm combo guard that is playing his 9th professional basketball season playing his 4th with The Artland Dragons. He is a true team leader both on and off the court. He possesses a diverse game, with an ability to stroke the long-range jumper, penetrate to the rim or distribute the ball. He is solid on the defensive end of the floor as well. His fierce competitive drive rubs off on his teammates. He started his professional basketball career at Bucknell and player there from 1998-2002 and in his senior year played 17games averaging 18.1ppg,5.3rpg,2.4apg. He made All-Patriot League 1st Team in 2001 and 2002. In 2002-2003, he started his professional basketball season in Germany with DJK S. Oliver Wurzburg (Germany-1Bundesliga, starting five): 26 games, 15.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.4spg. In 2003-2004, he played in Holland for Landstede Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 35 games: 17.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.1apg, 2.4spg, 0.2bpg. He then played with The Artland Dragons from 2004-2007 reaching the league and cup final in 2007. His best statistical season was 2005-2006 playing 33 games and averaging 11.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 25.3%. In 2007-2008, he played with Bosna ASA BH Telecom Sarajevo (Bosnia-D1, starting five): ULEB Cup: 12 games: 10.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 84.3%. In 2008-2009, he played in Poland for PGE Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-DBE): Eurocup: 6 games: 7.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.7spg; Polish League: 32 games: 8.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 77.0%. Last season, he played with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg playing Euroleague: 4 games: 8.3ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.8apg; German League: 6 games: 9.3ppg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 89.7%. He sat down and spoke with German Hoops before the 2011 beko BBL Cup game against The Brose Baskets Bamberg.
This is the first big chance for Artland to win a title again since the cup win in 2008. How excited is the team and fans this week?
We are definitely excited and ready to go to Bamberg and play good basketball. Winning the cup was one of our goals this season and we have a chance to accomplish that this weekend.
33 year old Michael Jordan is a 183cm guard from Philadelphia. He played at the University of Pennsylvania graduating in 2000. His first two years found him jumping around leagues in France and Spain before he found a new home in Germany with TSV Quackenbruck. In the 2002-2003 season, he helped lead Quackenbruck into the BBL with exceptional stats in 30 games, 21.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.9 apg. He helped turn The Artland Dragons into a playoff team in the 2004-2005 season as they lost the BBL Quarterfinal playoff series to The Opel Skyliners in five games. That season he averaged in 34 games: 11.1ppg, 3.4rpg, Ast-1(6.4apg), 1.3spg, 2.6bpg, 2FGP: 52.5%, 3FGP: 31.3%. The next season, he was released by The Artland Drgaons, but went to Rhein Energie Cologne and won the BBL championship in 2006 averaging in 33 games: 9.8ppg, 2.3rpg, Assists-4(4.1apg), 1.0spg, 2FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 40.3%, FT: 52.2%. The next season, he went to Italy and played at Cantu where he led the league in assists and averaged in 37 games: 13.8ppg, 2.7rpg, Assists-1(5.2apg), 2.0spg, 2FGP: 54.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 74.0%. The next season, he played in Belgium for Charleroi averaging in 15 games: 9.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.6apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 90.0%;. He had injury problems and finished the season in Greece with PAOK. In 2008-2009 after a very short stay in Israel, he played a few months in Bamberg before going to the Cologne 99ers averaging 10,5ppg, 2,4rpg and leading the BBL in assists with 6,2apg. Last season, he played for Phoenix Hagen helping the team remain in the BEKO BBL. He played 16 games: 8.9ppg, 2.3rpg, Assists-5(5.3apg), FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 73.3%. This season he started with MBC before going to the Giessen 46ers recently. He spoke to German Hoops about the 2011 beko BBL Top 4 in Bamberg.
The Giessen 46ers now have a 16 day rest between games. Has coach Steven key given the team some days off or has it been practicing?
“Practice? We talking’ bout practice? Practice? Not a game, no not a game?” Hahaha. In all seriousness, It’s unfortunate to go so long without a game, but we need to get back to the basics. Coach has us in the gym working so that we can finish these last 5 games strong and hopefully win all 5.
The way players come and go in the BEKO BBL, remembering a streak is often not in the cards for players, because they don´t stay long enough to enjoy the highs and mope with the lows. The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig have not won against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in 60 months dating back to April 2006 as they slipped by Frankfurt 81-76. Back then, current Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert was coaching Racing Paris and still far away from landing as an assistant with The Toronto Raptors some years later and in the dreams of many Skyliner fans of ever returning to Frankfurt, ex Phoenix Sun forwad Dan Langhi led Braunschweig in scoring with 19 points in the win, Skyliner Kavossy scoot Franklin led his team in scoring and hobby rapper and Skyliner guard Nino Garris had a smoking hot game making 14 points, four assists and four steals. Frankfurt has won the last 11 games and maybe the 12th game will be a charm for Braunschweig? Possibily playing Frankfurt on neutral ground for the first time will give them luck? “I think that Braunschweig just have to play their game and not worry about the streak, cause once the ball goes up it doesnt matter anymore about the past. I just think they have to come out and play hard and anything can happen they will be alright”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. Frankfurt on the other hand have a 1-3 record on neutral ground since 2002. They lost to Alba Berlin 100-88 in a cup game in Berlin, lost to The Telekom Baskets Bonn in the Frankfurt Festhalle 89-82 and lost to Alba Berlin in teh 2009 semi final cup game in Hamburg and then beating Duesseldorf in the game for third place. “I think playing on a neutral court can be tough but at the same time if it is neutral neither team does have an advantage. I think Frankfurt will adjust just fine”, added TBB Trier guard John Bynum.
Jacob Burtschiis a 26 year old 198cm forward from Chickasha, Oklahoma who is a rookie this season for Phoenix Hagen. He played at the Air Force from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 35 games averaging 13.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3Pts: 39.0%, FT: 77.3%. He had offers to play in the NBA, but served in the Air Force the last three years and could only play club ball. Some achievements that he got in the NCAA were All-MWC Honorable Mention -05, MWC Regular Season Runner-Up -06, All-MWC 2nd Team -06, 07, NABC All-NCAA District 13 2nd Team -07, and NIT Final Four -07. Jacob spoke to German Hoops concerning the 2011 beko BBL Top 4 in Bamberg.
Phoenix Hagen has a 13 day rest between games. You went to England. What was the most interesting thing that you experienced there?
England is a beautiful country. London has a bunch of tourist attractions. There were a bunch of riots over being in Libya there and there were thousands of policemen around Buckingham Palace and other Embassy’s.
36 months ago, the world according to the tiny frog footprint town Quackenbruck which is also referred to as Entenhausen was on top of the world as it had just won their first title the BEKO BBL cup in Hamburg against EnBW Ludwigsburg as the image of fan favorite Darius Hall “the wall” partying with fans in the stands as if all had been invited to his daughters birthday party will probably never be forgotten. With all the excitement and success, The small 13,000 town Quackenbruck which has been known to carry 1600 fans to away games(12%of town population) seemed to feel more like a 300,000 city as they were basking in the glory of finally winning that first title and the only thing missing was having Darius Hall do a special winners dance with Donald Duck who supposedly vacations in the Artland. However in the last two seasons, the euphoric rise of the club built by Marko Beens that entered the BEKO BBL in 2003 has rapidly declined like the endorsements of golf legend Tiger Woods has since his scandal with all his mistresses surfaced. The club has missed the playoffs two years in a row despite strong rosters and not reached the TOP 4 again. However this year, The Artland Dragons are back to the stomping ground that they experienced from 2006-2008, will reach the playoffs and need two wins this weekend against Bamberg and Frankfurt/Braunschweig to bring that second big title back to Quackenbruck. Maybe Bayern Munich coach Dirk Bauermann could give his player Darius Hall a few hours off to possibly transform some of his magic flair from the 2008 cup games in Hamburg to Bamberg this weekend?
Currently the Artland Dragons are in third place behind The Deutsche Bank Skyliners with a record of 20-9. So far the team of Stefan Koch is holding their own near the top. They have had two winning streaks of three games and there only rap could be that they have problems winning against top teams. They lost both times to the Brose Baskets Bamberg, but only with a total combined score of 8 points. Their biggest win of the season was a 78-74 win in Berlin. Despite not being able to beat top teams, the club is one that cant be underestimated. “Artland has been a great team this season and continue to get better each week. They are a team that will go deep into the playoffs”, warned John Bynum.