It has been two weeks since Germany won their fourth soccer World Cup and slowly life is getting back to normal even for basketball fans who might have taken a break from their sport the last month, but now it is time for basketball again. In the dog days of summer where Beko BBL team roster foundations are molded, the only basketball one can get a hold of after the end of NBA Summer League is to follow the German national team as they are getting ready for the next Eurobasket qualifications which will take place in August. The German National team had been together since the start of July and had played some friendlies in Italy and Portugal and also were happy and lucky to have their players back from the NBA Summer League with Dennis Schroeder, Elias Harris, Niels Giffey, Danilo Barthel and Daniel Theis. Everyone was excited to see the debut of Atlanta Hawk Dennis Schroeder who was unable to play for the German National team last summer, because he wasn´t cleared to play from his NBA team Atlanta Hawks. Germany had cut ex NBA player Tim Ohlbrecht a few days earlier as that was surely a big surprise for the ex Frankfurt Skyliner. Finland was without NBA player Kevin Murphy and Ludwigsburg defense specialist Shawn Huff, while Germany were without 2 time NCAA champion Nils Giffey and ex Bamberg center Tibor Pleiss. Despite the Oklahoma Thunder having the rights to Pleiss apparently there is interest from the Dallas Mavericks and Pleiss is shortly before signing somewhere and that is why he couldn´t play in Leipzig. How the future of Pleiss looks for the German national team this summer is in the air. That all depends when and where he is signed. Fraport Skyliner Johannes Voigtmann and Maxi Kleber also did not dress and were at the end of the bench watching the action.
Frank Robinson is 29 year old 193cm guard that was born in Compton, California and grew up in Los Angeles. He played at Cal Fullerton (NCAA) from 2005-2008. In his senior year, he played games: 15.8ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3Pts: 34.2%, FT: 73.8%. In 2008-2009, he started with NBA club Atlanta Hawks (NBA), left in Oct.’08, then moved to Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga UPC, starting five): Adriatic League: 17 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.1spg; Euroleague: 8 games: 6.8ppg, 3.3rpg, in Feb.’09 signed at EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 11 games: 11.0ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 73.5%. In 2009-2010, he started with the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) again, only pre-season, in Dec.’09 moved to Los Angeles D-Fenders (D-League, starting five): 38 games: 12.4 Maccabi Haifa (Israel-Premier League, starting five): EuroChallenge: 14 games: 9.3ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 59.5%; Israeli League: 28 games: 12.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-2(2.4spg), FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 61.1% ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 24.3%, FT: 69.2%. In 2010-2011, he played for Sokhumi Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague, starting five): Eurochallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 16.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0bpg, in Oct.’11 moved to Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five), in Nov.’11 signed at B.C. Habikaa (Israel-Premier League, starting five): 21 games: 12.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-5(1.8spg), FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 25.7%, FT: 54.1%. This past season, he played with Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-TBL), left in Nov.’12: Euroleague: 7 games: 7.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 2FGP: 40.7%, 3FGP: 26.9%, FT: 50.0%; Polish TBL: 8 games: 5.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 23.8%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 68.8%, in Dec.’12 moved to Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague): Eurocup: 6 games: 3.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0apg; Ukrainian Superleague: 9 games: 5.3ppg, 3.8rpg, 2FGP: 44.2%, 3FGP: 5.9%, FT: 46.7%, left in Feb.’13, later that month signed at s.Oliver Baskets Wuerzburg. With Wurzburg he played 11 games: 11.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 57.1%. He talked to German Hoops about basketball.
Frank thanks for taking time to talk to Geman Hoops. You are currently in beautiful California, but told me you wouldn´t mind be in Germany now. Was that more of kind words for me a man that has to endure the cold German weather in summer?
Hey man thanks for contacting me, it’s always a pleasure. Yes I am home and I’m loving every minute of it. At the same time I wouldn’t mind being in Germany either. I’ve grown to love Europe and have accepted it as a second home.
How is your summer going? You are very busy with your summer camp, but you do find time to work out. When your running in the California hills, do you think about certain plays on the court during the last season that could have happened differently?
This summer has had a different rhythm for me. It has been very busy with several events and projects my partners and I have put together. The first was the SWSX Inaugural Showcase. This showcase featured twenty of southern California’s finest young athletes who never have had the opportunity to prove themselves as professional players. This event was put together to help those guys get the exposure we feel every player should have at least once in their careers as they strive to become professional players. There were three teams scouts that represented three very elite leagues and about four to five agents. The event was a success and five players were able to partner up with an agent after the games were finished. The second event was the International Hoop Expo (IHX). IHX was an event held in Detroit, Michigan and was put together by Jordan and Joe Crawford. Their family put together an amazing event including the Jordan Crawford Elite Camp, their very own showcase for aspiring pros and also a powerball conference that featured five great speakers. The goal of the event was to bring awareness to the city of Detroit and also to open eyes to many about what it takes to become an athlete or someone in the athletic word. The third and final event was the Frank Robinson Skills Academy, which has two sessions. One just ended and the second which starts July 9th. The skills academy features young athletes who are hungry for knowledge from ages 6-16. These athletes have come from all over the San Fernando Valley. So yes it has been very busy.
One thing that is always very interesting and exciting to observe is how a very young German player develops over the years after showing enormous potential at a very young age. In the last years there have been numerous talented players that have gone a healthy route in their development. Who could forget the daring comparison of Stephan Baeck of Tibor Pleiss to Dirk Nowitzki many years ago. Since then the 215cm lanky giant has gone an interesting direction having started with Rhein Energy Cologne where he already played ULEB Cup with 18 years of age. He then went to Bamberg where he won 6 titles, was drafted by the New Jersey Nets and now plays for Caja Laboral Vitoria (Spain-ACB) battling his way to 15 minutes playing time. Another promising German is Robin Benzing who first got some publicity playing for TV Langen and was able to practice with the Frankfurt Skyliners. Instead of playing for Frankfurt, he opted to go to ratiopharm Ulm where he continued to develop under Mike Taylor and was the top german scorer in the 2010-2011 season. Before even playing a single Beko BBL game, he made big strides at the 2009 European championships playing 6 games: 5.5ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 91.7%. He moved to German tradional team FC Bayern Munich where last season, he seemed a bit lost in a huge rotation, but this season since the arrival of Svetislav Pesic has been reborn and playing superb basketball being a main factor in both wins against Frankfurt. This season a player that has made the biggest strides so far is 19 year old Dennis Schroeder of the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. Already last season, one could see the unending potential that was stuck in the 181cm point guard. This season he has leaped as it seems over the Swiss alps in his development and now instead of being a young talented bench player has become one of the most reliable players and is currently their leading scorer and is the best point guard behind German national players Per Guenter, Heiko Schaffartzik and Anton Gavel. His rise is simply amazing as he quickly replaced the experienced Miah Davis in the starting rotation. He had some strong games at the start with 16 points against TBB Trier and BBC Bayreuth, but since registering eight points in a 80-85 loss against Tuebingen on November 17th, he has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games.In this span, he has averaged 15ppg and nearly 4,0apg. He recently scored 20 points in 29 minutes against the Brose Baskets Bamberg while shooting 7/10 from the field. He is making very wise decisions on the court while playing hard defense. When you see his play, he looks like an NCAA top kid ready to fly to the NBA. “Schroeder is getting playing time and getting important experience. As a result of his good play, NBA scouts are looking at him. The question is how well his social competence is in his development as a player. Frank Menz helped to discipline him and how to behave on and off the court. The club has much confidence in him. He plays very boldly and could be a factor for the German national team soon. He needs to keep defense as important as offense, but he is developing in a good way”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss. Schroeder who started many games this season as was top scorer in many as well came from the bench for the second straight game against the Fraport Skyliners, but put his stamp on the game in the second quarter scoring 13 points in six minutes turning a close game into a Sunday stroll in downtown Braunschweig leading the Phantoms to a 73-66 win as well as getting any more NBA scout doubters 100% on his side as scouts from the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers were present. After the game a defeated Quantez Robertson gave an emotionless comment about the 19 year German wunderkind. “Schroeder was a huge spark off the bench. His confidence and good shooting were impressive and they were able to keep the lead and win”, stressed Quantez Robertson. It seems also that no young German player in the Beko BBL has developed as quickly as he has in the last three months. “ I think that Dennis was already playing like this when I came at the start of the season. He does great things in practice and it shows in games. He is a leader at his position and always so competitive”, commented 2012 Olypmic competitor Eric Boateng. “Schroeder hurt us today the same way he did in the game when I was with Giessen. He attacked the high pick and role and has a real advantage against the big man. He reads the defense so well, stays low and knows how to draw contact. He has so much confidence when taking shots and his penetration opens it up”, expressed Ryan Brooks. Even young German Johannes Voigtmann of the Fraport Skyliners was in awe of his talent. “Schroeder has been top scorer in many games and just leads the team and his coolness on the court is amazing and when he drives to the hoop, he is always aggressive. He is solid on defense and with his long arms makes it very hard for guards”, added Johannes Voigtman.
In the basketball business there are always special relationships on the court between teammates that are as interesting to observe as if Brit superstar Robbie Williams new album Take the crown will rise or fall in the hearts of people, if any crazy people actually dressed up as one of the basketball wives from Halloween or if legendary astronaut Buzz Aldran would ever strap on his moon boots again for a trek up to the moon especially when its concerning an older player showing a younger player at the same position the ropes of the game. There always seem to be those exciting situations where there comes a time for the older more experienced player to pass the torch along to the more younger and hungry player looking to make an impact on the court. Current Skyliner Zach peacock was a freshman at Georgia Tech when current NBA player Thaddeus Young of the Philadelphia 76ers was a senior. Peacock could learn valuable things at the forward position from the NBA veteran who had 383 NBA games coming into the current season. 13 years ago a young Pascal roller came to Frankfurt after three years in Freiburg and soon made an impact in the Beko BBL. For Roller being able to make the next step in the top German league had a lot to do with German legend Kai Nurnberger who won the European championships in 1993 and played four years in Frankfurt with the ex Skyliner captain help grooming him into atop German point guard in his career. This season, there is a similar situation in Braunschweig with 20 year old German Dennis Schroeder and 31 year old American Miah Davis who is sprouting of much basketball experience having played in countries like Poland, Cyprus and Belgium. Schroeder was already getting minutes last season under ex head coach Sebastian Machowski and this season is doing the same as new coach Kostas Flevarakis has not been shy from proclaiming that he wants to give the young players a chance. It will be interesting to see how this point guard duo develops and how Dennis Schroeder continues to grow as a point guard under the watchful eye of Miah Davis. At only at the age of 19, Dennis Schroeder is already in the notebooks of NBA scouts. His biggest strength for that market is his quick first step, ball handling and the ability to change speeds and be shifty with the ball keeping the defense off balance. His outside shot is improving as well, his defense is already very strong with his length and getting in the passing lanes, but he often looks out of place against bigger and older players. It is already an experience seeing this talented player play at this age. “Dennis Schroeder is a talented player that is going to be an exceptional player. Certain players need longer to develop especially with point guard and centers where there is a great er risk of making mistakes. He is already playing very well for his age. It doesn´t surprise me that NBA scouts already are showing interest. His quickness and understanding of the game is very valuable. The big question is his discipline. He can be difficult to work with. Frank Menz always says that you need a tight reign on him and need to control him and watch him closely. It is hard to tell in which direction he will go. The metal part is very important. When you see NBA teams with problem players than they aren´t successful. But Dennis is going in the right direction. I like Miah Davis very much. I think he will help Dennis a lot”, warned basketball expert Steven Clauss.
Dennis Schroeder is an 18 year old 186cm guard that plays for the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB) and New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (1.Bundesliga). Last season in the PRO B, he played 24 games: 8.5ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.2apg, FGP-2(68.7%), 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 80.4%. Last summer, he played at the European Championships U18 in Wroclaw (Poland) -11: 8 games: 13.5ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-3(4.9apg), 2.0spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 63.6%. German Hoops had a chat with him at the 2012 Beko BBL Allstar game.
This was your first time at the Beko BBL Allstar day. How did you like it?
I really have enjoyed the day a lot and it was a great experience.
You had six points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals in 25 minutes in the NBBL Allstar game. What grade would you give yourself?
I would give myself a German grade of 3.
Injuries are always a sore spot for teams, but when they do erupt like an unwanted tattoo on your baby smooth butt, it gives other players the chance to step up and use their ability to showcase their talent. One of the best examples in sports history where an injury helped pave the road for a player to ultimate star status was in 2001 when drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots went out with an injury and little known third string quarterback California native and Michigan(NCAA) standout Tom Brady took over the reigns in game two of the season and led the team to the Super Bowl with three more to follow and the rest is sweet history. With the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig, they have had injury woes in the last weeks and especially at the point guard position where starter Stephen Dennis is out with an injury and the team has had to shuffle a bit at the playmaking position. This will give the chance for young 18 year old German Dennis Schroeder to step up at the point guard position and increase his minutes even more to his already extra minutes that he has been getting this season. One may not be able to compare this situation as much to the Tom Brady arrival into the season 11 years ago, but despite his youth, Schroeder has a pretty focused head on his shoulders and knows exactly in what direction he is going this season. Schroeder has gotten a lot of help from Stephen Dennis this season and can develop his strength further which is the same as of Dennis. “Playing against him each day gives me a lot of valuable experience. I feel I have gotten better each day when we play against each other. My defense has gotten better playing with him each day. My biggest strength is my drive. I can shoot too, but I still need to work on that phase of my game”, stressed Dennis Schroeder. Even the Phantoms brought in guard insurance last week with 25 year old 193 guard Igor Milosevic(Greek/Serbian) who has played with top teams KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd, Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus, and Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, the young German should not fret about getting less minutes with this new arrival as he had played 19 minutes against the Tigers, 15 minutes against Wurzburg and 10 and 12 minutes against Bamberg in this season. In last weekends OT loss in Bremerhaven, he scored 14 points. The pressure to perform is only going to heighten next season. “Yes I believe that next season the expectations will rise. I am working more on my defense this season than on my offense”, added Schroder. He knows also exactly where his journey on the basketball court wants to end. “I want to play in Europe next and then someday in the States”, warned Schroeder.