The Fraport Skyliners have played a whirlwindof a season so far as their results and play in the Eurocup and easyCredit BBLhave been like day and night. Injuries as usual has been a huge factor whilethe chemistry has stalled in it´s growing, but that isn´t any different withother teams like an Alba Berlin who lost three guards, but continue to keepwinning. The Fraport Skyliners lone bright spot this season has been theirstellar play in the Eurocup as with two games remaining, the club has alreadyqualified for the next round having a record of 5-3. Even if they have playedunsatisfactory at times, the difference to the BBL has been that they havefound ways to win. In the easyCredit BBL that hasn´t been the fact as they cameinto the Braunschweig game in 14th place with a record of 2-5 anddesperately need some kind of success to get them out of their current rut.After starting 1-1, they lost four of their last five games and lost their lasttwo homes games in crunch-time games they most likely would have won underother Gordon Herbert teams. The team at times have lacked the needed intensityand passion at both ends of the court. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig areplaying a solid season and have a record of 3-5 considering that for them it isalways an uphill battle with their limited budget. They like the FraportSkyliners have been like night and day as they began the season in the cellarlosing their first five games, but recently found an uphill trend having wontheir last three games. That winning streak was started by something teamshaven´t done in years which is beat top team Brose Bamberg. They then finishedoff Wurzburg and MBC and arrived in Frankfurt with a lot of confidence andmotivation led by top BBL center Scott Eatherton. The Basketball LowenBraunschweig almost made it four wins in a row, but were unable to handle theolder Gents of the Fraport Skyliners suffering a tough, but hard fought 81-77loss. It was another game where Frankfurt didn´t play well for 40 minutes, butfound a way to win. Canadian rookie Trae Bell Haynes carried the FraportSkyliners in the first half to a 49-30 lead as his penetration effectivenesstore apart Braunschweig, but a weak third quarter of scoring only 12 points andallowing 31 points in the fourth quarter almost cost them the contest. “We arestill waiting for playing a full game well. We started hot, but became cold inthe third and fourth quarters. We stayed together at the end despite themmaking seemingly every shot. We did a good job on defense for the most partletting them take only one shot and rebounding well and getting out ontransition. We didn´t do a good job guarding the three point line in the fourthquarter and I had bad turnovers. We have to take better care of the ball”,warned Trae Bell Haynes. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig played with a lot ofheart and made an amazing comeback in the fourth quarter only to drive homewith the loss as they couldn´t make key stops at the end. “The first quarterwas close back and forth. In the second quarter Bell Haynes carried them and wealways seemed a step to slow and weren´t physical enough getting beat by lay upafter lay up. We knew coming into the third that we were a well rounded teamand never believed that the game was over. We fought until the end, but at theend just couldn´t pull out the win”, stressed ex Hamburg Tower DeandreLansdowne.
Deandre Lansdowne is a 28 year old 187cm guard from Albuquerque, Mexico that is playing his first BBL season with the Basket Lowen Braunschweig. Last season he played with the Hamburg Towers averaging 12,3ppg, 5,0rpg and 2,3apg. He started his career in Germany in 2015-2016 in the Pro B where he played with Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Pro B) playing 27 games: Score-2(22.9ppg), 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(2.6spg), FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.5%. He played college ball at Fort Lewis (NCAA2) and as a senior played 32 games averaging 15.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 50.7%. He then gained his first professional experience with Pioneros de Delicias (Mexico-Chihuahua Vive) before continuing career in Germany. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball shortly after the new year.
Deandre thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how did you celebrate the holiday season?
Hi, Good speaking with with you again. I’m in Braunschweig. I didn’t do much. We had quite a few games the last weeks. So I’ve just been focusing on basketball. But the good part is my mother has been in throughout the holidays, so it’s been nice spending time with her.
You played in Herten and Hamburg before moving to Braunschweig this season. Was there anything special in your new home in the holiday season that you hadn´t seen before in Herten and Hamburg?
Nope, nothing new. I would say Hamburg had a better holiday season with their huge Christmas market.
Congrats on reaching the easyCredit BBL in your third season with Braunschweig. In our last interview in April 2017 you stated that “My Next Step Is To Be One Of The More Dominant Players In Pro A”. Did you not sell yourself a bit short? You must of felt after that strong Pro A season that you could reach the BBL or not?
My plan was always to get to the BBL, but if I happened to play in Pro A again, that was my goal, so that I could only spend 1 more season there.
Scott Eatherton is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Hersey, Pennsylvania who will be playing his third professional season and second in Germany and first with the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL). Last season he played with BG Goettingen (Germany-BBL) playing 33 games averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-4(6.9rpg), 1.5apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 76.9%. As a rookie he played for Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) playing 35 games averaging 12.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.2apg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 62.3%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 64.1%. He started his basketball career with St.Francis, PA (NCAA) where he played 57 games and then moved to Northeastern (NCAA) and as a junior played 30 games averaging 15.5ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 65.8%. In his senior season with Northeastern (NCAA) he played 35 games averaging 14.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 62.6%, 3PT: 25.8%, FT: 69.4%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.
Hi Scott thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Currently I am in Hershey, PA and my summer has been great so far.
You hail from Hersey, Pennsylvania. Now that you have lived in Germany for a year, would you still take a good old Hersey candy bar over a tasty German candy bar like Milka or Ritter Sport?
I would still choose a Hershey bar.
Congrats on signing with the Basket Lowen Braunschweig. I was a little surprised at first that you signed there since you had a great second professional season in Germany with BG Goettingen and were named to the Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Newcomers Team. Did your desire to feel like you could make a serious difference in their success outweigh personal gains of possibly playing in a higher league and better team, but reduced role than what your going to have with Braunschweig?
I felt like I can make big impact with Braunschweig after speaking with coach Frank. I was excited about what he had to say and feel like we can compete more this year than last year.
The German Pro A is filled with talented and skilled guards with a dime a dozen being an understatement, but moreover about as many players as there are Bulls fans in his home town of Chicago still unaware who new German shooting star Paul Zipser is and who still don´t know how to pronounce his name correctly as it isn´t like the zipcode, but moreover like Cipser if your saying the name from a German standpoint. Every club in the German Pro A have adept guards who are still looking for that big chance to make the next step up to the BBL or another top level in Europe as the list is as unending as the debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James as who is really the best ever. There are guys like Cologne´s Richard Williams or MBC Marcus Hatten that have reached the big dance in Germany, but the again other players like Virgil Matthews of Chemnitz, Carrington Love of Kirchheim, Chase Adams of Paderborn, Eugene Harris of Hanau or Diante Watkins of Nurnberg who could surely get a shot at the BBL, but so far are still waiting for that golden opportunity. One guy who has been toiling in the Pro A for years is Virgil Matthews who continues to put up very solid stats filling up the stat sheet like a Nicolas Batum can and has scratched the triple double surface , but at the end of every summer, it was the same story as he ended up again in the Pro A getting passed up by BBL teams. However two guys that have made the jump to the BBL this season after years of being overlooked in the Pro A have been Carlos Medlock who played three seasons in the Pro A with Crailsheim, Wurzburg and Vechta and Carlton Guyton who also had to wait three seasons before making the BBL promised land playing in Ehingen and Gotha. For Medlock reaching the BBL this season was more than bitter sweet as he had been the point guard in charge the last three seasons helping his teams move up to the BBL, but wasn´t kept for the next season, while for Guyton it wasn´t as dramatic as he was rewarded for his good play in Gotha helping build a playoff team. Curiously both guys ended up with the same club this season with the Basket Lowen Braunschweig as German head coach Frank Menz believed in their abilities and both have shown that their BBL season has been no fluke. Playing with the older Medlock has been a blessing in disguise for Guyton. “It’s been a pleasure to play with Los! After competing against him for so many years I was very familiar with his game. We had our share of battles. Now us being on the same team, every night I know I can count on him to bring it! Also with him having more experience than me I try to learn his little vet tricks”, smiled Carlton Guyton.
The road to the German BBL has been a long one for Carlton Guyton and it had to start somewhere as even in teenager years, the current 26 year old 193cm guard had to prove himself which has been a standard procedure in the last 8 years.
It really doesn´t matter what basketball player you ask in Germany that isn´t playing in the easyCredit BBL, they will answer that their ultimate goal of reaching it one day and the chance of that happening isn´t so off the rocker. What is funny the lower you go league wise, the more confident the player will get of their abilities while players in the Pro A are just as confident of their abilities, but seem to know that they are so close and will keep a more controlled mouth work as they know just having that one strong Pro A season plus having the right contact might be enough to be able to wear the jersey of that BBL club. The list of players that move up from league to league in Germany is as large as the beast magnitude that a guy like Demarcus Cousins displays each night and one of those guys that has experienced this move has been American Carlos Medlock of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. The 29 year old 183cm point guard needed some grooming in the Pro A, but so far this season the ex Eastern Michigan(NCAA) player has displayed that he can compete in one of the best leagues in Europe as in 11 games he is averaging 11,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 4,2apg while shooting 32% from downtown for the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig as he finally reached his goal even if it took a bit longer to reach.
After coming out of college, he had to start at the bottom and prove himself in the always improving English BBL league where he led the Guildford Heat to the British trophy while playing 17 games averaging 14.9ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-4(4.6apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 64.1%. He already showed as a rookie, that he could recover in a grand way from a set back as he came over the pond after making his first experience in the D-League with the Utah Flash. There he noticed quickly that the D-league wasn´t his route as he played three games averaging 4.3ppg, 1.3rpg and instead of wasting a whole season there, he reacted quickly and came over to Europe to try his luck and in hindsight, it turned out to be the correct decision. After sitting out the season in 2011, he came back strong in 2012 and the next destination on his basketball map was Iceland a place that always turns into an adventure with the beautiful scenery, daylight issues and weather, but at least the road trips are short and it isn´t worth it to switch on the lab top as you will have reached your next destination before the opening credits of Suicide Squad have even ended. In Iceland he wore the jersey of U.M.F. Skallagrimur Borganes (Iceland-Dominos League) and one could be cautious, but still say with pride that the rest is history. Like many players before him, he tore up a weak league, but for some reason many players that have achieved success here have moved on to bigger and better things. Just ask a Derrick Allen who balled with Medlock last season in Vechta as he won the cup in Iceland in 2004 and after moved to the German BBL and is currently playing his 12th season in that league and for a time belonged to the top three power forwards. In Iceland Medlock played 24 games and was second in scoring averaging 27.2ppg), 4.4rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-5(2.3spg), FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 78.9%.
Trent Lockett is a 24 year old 196cm guard from Minnetonka, Minnesota playing his third professional season and first for Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A). He played for Arizona St. (NCAA) from 2009-2012 playing a total of 87 NCAA games. He then moved to Marquette (NCAA) and as a senior played 35 games: 7.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 75.2%. In the 2013-2014 season he turned professional for Reno Bighorns (D-League, starting five): 48 games: 11.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 74.5%. Last season he played his first season in Europe for the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL): 30 games: 12.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 77.9%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball recently before a Eurocup game in Oldenburg.
Trent thanks for talking to eurobasket. Is the Italian lifestyle all what you expected?
Yes it has been. I really have been enjoying the culture and lifestyle.
Your playing your first season with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A) and return back to Germany to play Eurocup in Oldenburg. What memories do you have of the 84-70 in Oldenburg?
I didn´t have too many good memories of that game except for my dunk over Adam Chubb. We won the first game in Eurocup and want to win in Oldenburg to separate us from the others in the group.
Having a perfect regular season in any sport is an accomplishment if it is in baseball with 162 games or NBA or NHL with 82 games or even in the NFL which has 16, but accomplishing this is as rare as Boston Red Sox fan ever having the audacity to put on a hated New York Yankees cap at the bleacher bar at Fenway Park. Sometimes it is done as Tom Brady took the New England Patriots to a perfect record in the 2007-2008 season, but couldn´t cap of a 19-0 season as the New Giants crushed their season winning the Super bowl on the last drive. In a way Tom Brady and Basketball Lowen Braunschweig guard Derek Needham have one big similarity in that they had perfect regular season records, but the Needham took it one step further by not losing a single game last season for BK Khimik-OPZ Yuhzny (Ukraine-Superleague) going 37-0 winning the league title while playing 36 games averaging 11.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 71.0%. After not having that horrible feeling of defeat once last season in the Ukraine, losing the first regular season game with Braunschweig must have been like a culture shock, but the American hopes that with due time his winning experience from last season will be transformed on to his new team and he knows what it takes to win and there definitely were no secretes. “No secrets we worked very hard and loved each other. We stayed focused throughout the season and had a great coach. We players and coach get along it makes it easier to go to battle with your team”, stated Derek Needham. If someone had told him this season like last season that he wouldn´t lose a single game, he probably would of uttered the same words as a year ago. “I would have said they are crazy and that’s very very very hard to do. To stay focused and perform every night and to win the games was amazing. Still can’t believe that happened”, added Derek Needham. Needham is a 25 year old 180cm point guard from Dalton, Illinois and playing his third professional season and belongs to the smallest guards in the Beko BBL. He is a player that can penetrate very well and knows when to find his teammates and since the unbeaten season last season has leadership that is a strength even if he feels it isn´t always noticed. “Maybe my leadership is hidden, I love to help my team and make sure everyone is one the same page and in tune with the game so we can play our best every game”, said Derek Needham. He has always been consistent since he started at Fairfield (NCAA) in 2009 and played until 2013 and then moved on to Lithuania and the Ukraine last season and never averaged less than 11,4ppg. He also has improved his three point shooting as he shot his best last season during the title run. Surprisingly he had his best games against the top teams like Bamberg and Alba Berlin where he even had a better ranking then top Beko BBL point guard Brad Wanamaker. The season is still young as Braunschwieg is up and down and the team is trying to still find each other, but Needham will continue to develop further as he gets used to the style of the Beko BBL as he tries to fill the shoes of last seasons point guard Dru Joyce. After last season´s bitter end of just missing the playoffs, Braunschweig could have the arsenal to make it this season and with the mix of the disappointment of Nicolai Simon missing the playoffs last season, the NCAA experience and success of Josh Gasser and Needham´s run last season could be the right mentality for added minutes in May.