Basketball players usually remember their first and maybe even second professional games especially when they gave a good effort. It seems like it has been ages since Fraport Skyliners power forward Danilo Barthel was a rookie in the 2011-2012 season, but he got on the right track in his first two games at home against Oldenburg and on the road in Tuebingen scoring 8 points in each contest in limited minutes, but at once letting the German basketball world know that there is potent basketball coming from the historical city of Heidelberg. For Barthel playing on the front line squeezed between the eccentric ex NBA player Jermario Davidson who will be remembered for playing with his cell phone on the bench while being injured and possibly studying new rap lyrics at an away game in Tuebingen and the talented young German Tim Ohlbrecht who had already played his first Beko BBL game at age 17 with Leverkusen, won the German league title at age 19 with Bamberg and played at the 2008 Olympic games at age 20. After that his career stagnated a bit and seemed at a low point when he came to the Fraport Skyliners in 2011. After the wasted season in Frankfurt where he never really got going under the hard nosed head coach Muli Katzurin where he averaged 6,0ppg and 4,0rpg and was even humiliated having to play 4 Pro B games with the farm team. After that season, he knew he had to make a change in his career as it was going nowhere, so he decided to go to the United States and try his luck even if that seemed like a reach at the time. He worked hard during the summer of 2012 in New Jersey and then made it to the NBA via the D-league. He played 3 NBA games for the Houston Rockets and won 2 D-league titles with Rio Grande and Fort Wayne which was no easy feat. Last season he came back to Germany and laced up his sneakers with ratiopharm Ulm and averaged 12.1ppg, 5.3rpg, Blocks-5(1.2bpg). This season he took the bucks and went to Russia to Enisey and has been a key figure in their success as he is averaging 11,3ppg and ,4,0rpg while shooting a strong 65% from the field. Last season the 27 year old German played solid games against Frankfurt with Ulm posting 17 and 15 points. Ohlbrecht probably won´t remember the first two games of the 2011-2012 season where he put up the goose egg in the first two games against Oldenburg and Tuebingen, but Barthel will surely never forget those first two games where he put his first mini stamp on the Beko BBL with his rugged play. Ohlbrecht was looking for another title while Barthel was still looking for his first title and both were motivated to help get their teams going and into the coveted final on Sunday as the Fraport Skyliners needed a strong fourth quarter to grind out a dirty 59-56 win over Russian team Enisey and will face off against Italian team Varese on Sunday as they dispatched home team Chalon 91-82. It was another game where Ohlbrecht didn´t fair so well as he notched only three points in the loss. One got a feeling very quickly that it would be a grind out game as both teams focused on defense and just couldn´t get anything going on offense as players had a new obstacle to contend with the ball. “It was a dirty game get down fight to the end. Both teams really wanted to win, but it was difficult playing in a totally new gym and it was hard adjusting to the Molten balls since we are used to the Spaulding. We didn´t play well for three quarters. We were too excited in the first three quarters and we are supposed to be under control, but we missed too many easy lay ups and free throws, but in the fourth quarter we stuck to our principles moving the ball and playing great defense”, stressed ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. Enisey fought hard for 40 minutes, but in the fourth quarter got an extra dose of aggressive defense thrown in their face and were unable to tame the Frankfurt inside out game. “It was a real grind out game and the Frankfurt good team defense really helped them. They also did a good job getting fast break buckets and our transition defense hurt us. Frankfurt hit big shots at the end and we couldn´t make the plays which was the difference”, stressed ex George Washington(NCAA) guard Tony Taylor.
The Fraport Skyliners meet Russian team Enisey in the semifinals on Friday and come into the tournament with a lot of self-confidence riding a nine game winning streak from the Beko BBL.Their latest coup was a dandy 80-64 masterpiece against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin on the road which was their first win in Berlin in the last four tries dating back to game 4 of the Beko BBL 2010-2011 playoffs when Frankfurt won 83-74. “. It was a win we needed. I’m overly satisfied with my team. We grew together all season and we’re ready to take what’s ours”, stressed Fraport Skyliners guard Jordan Theodore. In the Fiba Europe Cup, they were the best team, but needed three games to dispose of Israeli team Maccabi Rishon as they let game 2 slip away on the road in OT 88-84. In a do or die game three in Frankfurt, the Fraport Skyliners found to their old self again winning 91-75 as they were led by Mr Canada Phillip Scrub with 20 points and six guys scored in double figures. The team displayed their classical Skyliner basketball which is a mix of amazing ball movement coupled with the great pass outweighing the good pass and great defense something the team has prided their game on as they are the top defensive team in the Beko BBL and Fiba Europe Cup allowing the least points of 65 in each category. The Fraport Skyliners are led by the basketball conductor Jordan Theodore as well as the German twin towers Johannes Voigtmann(11,4ppg, 5,7rpg, 2,3apg) and Danilo Bathel(8,8ppg, 4,7rpg, 1,9apg), Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp(9,6ppg, 4,8rpg, 2,2apg), and freak athlete Quantez Robertson11,6ppg, 4,0rpg, 2,8apg). The club has a very solid bench where any guy can step up at any time in a game and make big plays and shots like Mr Canada Phillip Scrubb(14,0ppg, 2,4rpg, 2,3apg), Konstantin Klein(7,3ppg, 1,6rpg, 2,3apg), the minister of defense John Little(5,2ppg, 2,4rpg, 1,1apg) and big Mike Morrison(8,2ppg, 4,2rpg) and the judge Johannes Richter(2,6ppg, 2,8rpg who head coach Gordon Herbert calls his best offensive rebounder.