After the big 83-60 win against AEK Larnaca in Europe Cup action that upped the Fraport Skyliners record in that competition to 13-0 which was another simple day at the office where the 2004 Beko BBL champion once again had transformed head coach Gordon Herbert´s scouting report from paper on to the court with a dynamic masterful performance, two of the club´s key performers Jordan Theodore and Philip Scrubb were stretching on the sidelines. Two guys side by side while Theodore was yapping around yet still being focused on his legs while Scrubb like usual was the silent, but observant rookie taking everything in and seemingly taking mental notes about this new experience for his vast memory bank. Both guys winning journeys in their short career´s have been about as different as you can ever find comparable to a Michael Jordan who won his share of titles and Karl the mail man Malone who played 20 seasons and never won a title and came to the Los Angeles Lakers a few years too late otherwise he would have got that ring. With Theodore and Scrubb as odd as the comparison sounds is a bit similar not in how many seasons they have played, but in title talk. Theodore who is the pride and joy of Engelwood, New Jersey, didn´t win anything at Seton Hall and played his first three professional season´s on losing teams in Turkey with Antalya and Mersin and last season in France with Bourg, while Scrubb at the age of 23 already has the distinction of being the greatest Canadian college player of all time as he won 5 CIS and 3 OUA tournaments while racking up 3 player of the year titles, One MVP and one rookie of the year. This is a huge contrast in the career´s of both players, but with the combination of the winning mentality and experience of knowing how to win by Scrubb and the undying will and need to win by Theodore, the Fraport Skyliners had two very special figures entering the game against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin ready to do their magic and help carry their team into the 2016 Beko BBL cup final in Munich, but it was Alba Berlin guard Jordan Taylor that stole the show hitting a huge shot at the end with 1,1 seconds to play propelling Alba Berlin into the 2016 Beko BBL cup final 79-76. After the loss, Scrubb was his usual emotionless self, while one could see the sadness of Theodore painting a clown´s expression after nobody laughed at his latest stunt. Theodore wanted to win badly, but will have to wait for a new chance. “Phill, I and the whole team wanted to win this game very badly. I was a little up and down in the first half. I was nervous, because this was the first meaningful game that I had been in as a professional. I was forcing too much and not letting the game come to me. In the second half, I was calmer and hit some shots. I was so hyped for this game, because I love the big stage. I feel like I have to prove myself new every game, because I always want to be the best”, stressed Jordan Theodore. After the contest, it was the two Jordan´s who were in deep conversation on the sideline as Taylor was more smiles, while Theodore at times seemed to be somewhere else in thought. Possibly that last shot will be in his mind for a long time? “I grew up playing with Jordan Theodore and all the other gaucho´s in New York. It is always nice to see a familiar face and I was just fortunate to make some shots. I was happy to find a rhythm after my long injury and hope it will carry into the next games”, stressed Wisconsin Badger Jordan Taylor. Frankfurt made a courageous come back in the second half, but their unsatisfactory second quarter got them in an early rut putting Alba Berlin in the driver´s seat. “The second quarter was hard on us. We tend to have bad stretches in games, but you can´t do that against big teams. We have to play at a high effort for 40 minutes”, warned Jordan Theodore.
Ever since the Fraport Skyliners then known as the Opel Skyliners won their last Beko BBL title in 2004, they have had a long championship dry spell as they are still searching for their third club title, but the way the 2000 cup winner is playing this season, that long drought could finally be stopped as quickly as Carolina Panther Cam Newton can escape the pocket from the right defensive end and squeeze through the line and get the first down. The Fraport Skyliners most likely will have the opportunity to win three competitions with the cup(2 games), Europe Cup(5games) and if they make a run in the playoffs a total of 9 games. But before one looks forward and dreams too much, the Fraport Skyliners get down to real title business this weekend in Munich and arrive as the hottest team riding a 13-1 hot streak that dates back to December 23, 2015 and oozing with so much self confidence that could even give Alba Berlin head coach Sasa Obradovic some jitters. Bamberg hasn´t lost in the Beko BBL in the time of the Frankfurt winning streak, but three times in Euroleague. The last loss in the Beko BBL was in Frankfurt so if the troops of Andrea Trinchieri reach the final against Frankfurt, there will be some serious revenge on the minds of a Brad Wanamaker and Darius Miller. The Fraport Skyliners will meet 9 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin in the second semi-final as FC Bayern Munich hosts 2015 Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg in an afternoon affair Saturday. In the last 10 years Frankfurt have had some interesting tangles with Alba Berlin getting by them in the 2005 and 2010 semi-finals of the playoffs while bowing out to them in the 2011 semi-finals of the playoffs. The club also met in the 2009 semi-final of the cup in Hamburg and lost. For some reason, basketball fate doesn´t want to let these two teams battle in a title final yet.
In the past 25-40 years there have been very little birds chirping anything positive about the New York Knicks who had success in the 70´s with the leadership of Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe winning titles in 1970 and 1973 or the Detroit Pistons with their success with Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman winning back to back titles in 1989 and 1990 and not to forget their win in 2004 and one could hardly call these two basketball cities a rivalry, but both cities have two exceptional players balling in Europe with Ricky Paulding and Jordan Theodore. Paulding who was drafted by his home town team Pistons in 2004 coming out of Missouri(NCAA) has had a brilliant career overseas and has been with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg since 2007 and most likely will be built a special statue the day he hangs up his sneakers, while Theodore is a guy who hails from Engelwood, New Jersey, but was quicker in New York city on the I-95 than Spike Lee could depart Madison Square Garden after a Knicks win. While Paulding has won the 2009 Beko BBL title and 2015 Beko BBL cup, the ex Seton Hall star Theodore hasn´t won anything meaningful in hardware playing for losing teams in Turkey and France, but this season with the Fraport Skyliners, he could pull even with Mr Oldenburg, because the New Jersey native who hung around in New York growing up has good chances to win the Europe Cup where Frankfurt is 10-0 so far and the cup, but to do this he needs to win three games. However Paulding was standing in the way in that first win for the ticket to reach Munich in the cup top 4 at the end of February. Theodore was seeking revenge after the first loss in Oldenburg where Frankfurt lost on the last possession 82-80. In that contest, Paulding had 10 points, four boards and five assists while Theodore led his club with 17 points and was so close to escaping with a victory. With the Pistons and Knicks far away from their minds, it was the Beko BBL showdown between Detroit and New York and it was the big apple that prevailed, but Jordan Theodore didn´t have the motor city and Rickey Paulding on his mind, but actually Dyckman playground in the Bronx as he had some added fuel in his tank playing against his childhood friend Scott Machado who was injured in that first meeting of the season. Machado has made the NBA playing 6 NBA games for the Houston Rockets and led the NCAA in 2012 in assists with 9,9 with Iona feeding the ball to ex Fraport Skyliner Sean Armand all night long and had had enough friendly games against Theodore on the court, but never in a professional game. Theodore and Machado had played a lot at the Dyckman playground in the Bronx so playing this so important game for the ticket to the cup top 4 meant a lot to both players. Theodore got the best of his close friend Machado leading the Fraport Sklyiners to a 80-68 win against the 2015 Beko BBL cup winner EWE Baskets Oldenburg. “This wasn´t something personal, but something I looked forward to. He is from Queens and I am from Engelwood, Nerw Jersey which is 5 minutes from New York. When he was a senior he was #1 in the nation in assists and I was something like fifth or sixth. Our match ups were pretty even growing up. But we played street ball so there was a lot of talent around with NBA players around”, stressed Jordan Theodore who scored 12 points and dished out eight assists in the win against Oldenburg. After the win a disappointed Scott Machado who has played in France and Estonia departed from the locker room and quickly was put into a land of reminiscing as he was reminded of his childhood basketball days with Theodore. “As kids we played streetball against each other. We work out with the same trainer and Jordan is like a brother to me. He works so hard and would run through a brick wall. He just loves the game so much. He got the better of me tonight”, warned Scott Machado.