The holiday season is always a memorable one off the court for the players, but in the last week, it was anything but noteworthy as the Fraport Skyliners had to face ratiopharm Ulm twice in the easyCredit BBL and Eurocup and lost both games. The first game cost the club rookie Trae Bell_Haynes and Akeem Vargas who will be out for a long period of time. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner had had enough of the ratiopharm Ulm team and now had no other choice but to come home and have to take care of business with cellar team Hakro Merlins Crailsheim who came into a game with a 1-12 record while the Fraport Skyliners were doing their own type of balancing act in 12th place with a 5-7 record and three wins away from the last playoff place. The game also remarked the return of an old Skyliner friend Konrad Wysocki. The last time the German who played at Ivy League school Princeton wore a Skyliner jersey, Barack Obama was just beginning his first term as president, Derrick Allen was his teammate and still in his twenties and Dennis Schroeder was a huge basketball talent on the Braunschweig playgrounds. The 36 year old Wysocki played for the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 36 BBL games averaging 6.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 43.8%. He returned back to the Fraport arena having a BBL record of 3-2 against his old time since his departure in 2009. He was perfect with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg posting a 3-0 record and winning two nail bitters by two points, but had lost both contests with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. It was pretty much a game that both sides had to win badly with Crailsheim a tad more and did as the Fraport Skyliners despite having injury problems and fatigue gave an unsatisfactory performance losing to the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim 91-77. After the big win a relaxed Konrad Wysocki exited the locker room with a big smile and was right away greeted by his ex team attendant Wulle Buhr and after rapping about the good old days, he greeted me and commented on his return back once again after a few years in the Pro A. “Obviously the faces change over the years, but then you see some of the familiar faces from then and the memories return. This was a big win for us. It has been a tough season losing some close games. We really needed this win very much. Maybe this is the start of seeing more wins”, stated ex Fraport Skyliner Konrad Wysocki.
The Fraport Skyliners continue to struggle through the season and it showed most against the lowly Hakro Merlins Crailsheim as they had good moments on offense, but their defense continues to be their achilles heel as they can´t rely on this part of their game. Of course the many injuries as well as the many games they have had in recent weeks have had their toll on the club, but still showing effort is something that doesn´t take the most talent and is something any team can always display, but that is something the club has had problems sticking to. After the loss ex Georgetown guard Jason Clark had a long face as he tried to digest another loss after losing back to back games in Ulm and explained what went wrong this time. “We can´t give fatigue as a reason why we lost this game. Every team goes through stretches like this where they have injuries, but this is what we play for. We have to find a way to win these games. Yes were tired, but we can´t have a performance like this. We have to do the little things right and show effort. I have a lot of respect for Crailsheim and they played a hell of a game, but at the end of the day we are a way better team than what we showed. We have to win these kind of games. This game was winnable”, warned Jason Clark. After the huge victory, the diminutive 180cm point guard Dewayne Russell who seems like a few centimeters smaller felt a lot larger than he was after the game even if he didn´t show it as his hot shooting third quarter where he scored 15 points carried the team to the win. The ex Grand Canyon(NCAA) stand out was as humble as could be about the performance of his team. “We played well. This was one of the few complete games we have played this season. Coach did a great job preparing us and our veterans Wysocki and Turner kept our heads up. We did a good job staying together when they had runs. We executed very well what we wanted to against their different coverages”, stressed Dwayne Russell.