John Bryant has seen hundreds of point guards in his career and played with hundreds more since he picked up a basketball in San Pablo, California, but he definitely hasn´t come across a player like Siyani Chambers before in his career as he doesn´t possess only extra ordinary fine basketball skills, but also has another skill that definitely not all basketball players have and something that if he and his current teammates really wanted to get on the back of the Minnesota native could possibly rob a lot of free time and even have him moonlighting from basketball on certain nights. Chambers didn´t only have a magnificent NCAA career at Harvard where he won more titles than most college players in a four year career, but he also learned another trade only because of an injury and a service that isn´t usually handed to a man and definitely something that most men wouldn´t feel proud of doing or want to do it, but it has been done not only by women. In the summer of 2015 the American interned at Adidas in Portland. While playing pickup, his left knee gave out and he tore up his ACL. He withdrew from Harvard for the 2015-16 academic year because Ivy League schools don´t allow redshirt seasons. Instead of getting a typical job that a man would do, he did something very untypical becoming a nanny for Reverend Jonathan L. Walton, Harvard’s Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. It was a route that most men would have cringed at and thought “are you crazy and why would you do something like that”, but Chambers didn´t go against the norm and found the experience very enriching and gave his life new meaning and also helped him get his mind of the nasty injury. “, I want to thank Rev. Walton and his family for their hospitality and allowing me to stay in their home. Caring for the kids, Zora, Elijah, and Baldwin was not only fun but it also helped take my mind of the injury. As a competitor any injury that will keep you away from the game is tough. I had to learn to be patient and understand that my recovery would be a process, and to mentally stay focused and believe during times when things weren’t as fast as I wanted”, stressed Siyani Chambers. This whole experience wasn´t easy having to sit out a year and be away from competing on and off the floor, but his ex Harvard teammate Brandyn Curry knew exactly what he was going through. “Whenever you are faced with some adversary like that how you respond really determines if it was a blessing in disguise and I think that´s exactly how it ended up being for him. He took that year and worked extremely hard on making the most of it. I had a similar situation when he was a freshmen and I had to take a year off so we talked a good bit when he had his. I think as the years go on he will continue to value that year off more and more just like I have”, warned Brandyn Curry. Should a fan over hear a John Bryant whispering something to Siyani Chambers after a hard fought victory to the words of “hey man how about watching my kids tomorrow night while my wife and I check out that new Spiderman movie The New Universe”, then it will be clear that his teammates have exploited the child caring talents of Chambers and given him a new moonlighting job as a babysitter. Siyani Chambers has the winning mentality and children skills to fit in anywhere.
There are quite a few qualities about Larry Gordon that nobody would ever have the audacity to complain about on and off the court. He has many qualities that stand out as he is a prolific scorer and hard worker on the defensive end, but the skill that stands out the most is his rebounding. There has to be a reason why where ever he has laced up his sneakers being if it was with Cal Poly(NCAA2), Austria, Germany, Korea, or Kazakhstan he has belonged to the top rebounders. One also can´t forget that the American isn´t a center listed at 2,10cm or a power forward listed at the ideal height of 2,03cm, but a small forward listed at 1,96cm that rebounds the ball with heart, passion and effort. Having the knack to haul down the ball seems to be in his blood. “I can´t really explain it, it´s just something that is embedded into my game. It´s a lot of heart and relentless effort to get the rebound that makes me so good at it. When the ball goes up you will always see me near the rim no matter what. That is just what I do”, warned Larry Gordon. What else does any coach want from a player when it has that commending attitude. Giessen 46ers head coach Ingo Freyer could probably fill a university auditorium in Giessen any day now and give a heart filled lecture about why he loves Larry Gordon. There has to be a reason why he was able to hold him three years in Hagen in a low market including for a third season after he had torn up the BBL averaging 15,5ppg and 7,6rpg where he must have had better offers from top teams in Germany and elsewhere. There also has to be a reason why Gordon is back together in Giessen this season reunited with his former head coach Ingo Freyer. It has already fit between the two guys. But not only on the court is Gordon at home with his game, but off the court with how he treats the media. There are quite a lot of players that I have enjoyed not only interviewing once, but two or three times and then again there have been guys that I have interviewed more than 10 times like three time Euroleague winner Kyle Hines, Jacob Burtschi, Kevin Hamilton, John Bynum or Josh Young to name just a few. However there are few that have had my question thrown at them as often as Larry Gordon. One could say that Gordon has had more interviews with me that Allen Iverson uttered the word practice in his legendary press conference years ago. To be exact Gordon has done 40 interviews with me since he arrived in Germany in 2012 with the first being in October 2012. Alone in his first two seasons it was 22. He still had patience with me in his third season, but after that the Q & A sessions have died down a little as he played in other countries. After 40 interviews there is only so much you can ask the guy, but the way he can handle the boards with ease, the same he does with my pin point questions as there has never been a dull moment in our question and answer sessions. Not only does rebounding come automatically for him, but so does interviewing. “It isn´t a challenge. If you look at my past, rebounding has always been a part of my game. Rebounding comes automatically to me. There is no effort for me I just go go go to the basket and enjoy rebounding”, warned Larry Gordon. Many guys know how to play the game well and other´s are noted interview partners while rebounding and interview talent go hand in hand with Larry Gordon.
Dennis Mavin is a 26 year old 190cm guard form Gainsville, Florida that recently completed his third professional season with the Giessen 46ers where he played two BBL games and also 9 games for their farm team in the Pro B averaging 18,4ppg,3,6rpg and 2,6apg while shooting 36% from outside. He played his first two professional seasons in Morocco winning 2 titles. He played a total of 123 NCAA games for two schools with Florida Atlantic (NCAA) and FIU (NCAA). In his senior year at FIU (NCAA) he played 33 games averaging 17.2ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 64.3%. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of his third professional season in Germany.
Dennis thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and what was the first eatery that you scoped out when you returned home?
At the moment I’m in the Bahamas on vacation enjoying myself before the summer grind. The first restaurant I went to was “Yamato” a Japanese restaurant.
After playing two seasons in Morocco, how did you experience playing your first season in Europe? Is this a territory where you want too remain for good in the next years?
My first season in Germany was amazing. I was blessed to be a part of such a great organization with so much history like the 46ers. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Europe is definitely a spot I want to remain at.
After losing a tight 95-92 encounter a few weeks ago on the road against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goetiingen, 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner Fraport Skyliners learned their lesson after a win at home against Gotha going on the road to Bonn and not getting lost in crunch-time again like in Goettingen, but were sparked by a strong 29 point third quarter and had the nerves at the end to pull out the tight 79-75 victory against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. But the question was did the Fraport Skyliners learn their lesson from their embarrassing loss in Giessen shortly before Christmas 2017. In that game the Fraport Skyliners traveled to Giessen in body, but not mind losing 83-59 which for many belonged to the worst losses in the last years. The Fraport Skyliners came into the game having got off on the wrong side of the bed while Giessen played with a lot of heart and at a high intensity which Frankfurt couldn´t match all game long. Giessen played good team basketball outshooting Frankfurt and pounding them on the boards 43-29 and despite getting 17 points from ex FC Bayern Munich center John Bryant, it was the overpowering shooting duo of Canadian Jahenns Manigat and Mauricio Marin who combined for 34 points and nailed combined nine of the teams 10 three´s on the night. Even if the game was more than three months ago, one could be sure that Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert still remembered that dreadful loss well and made the needed adjustment for the always entertaining Hessen derby. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game having won three of their last four games while the Giessen 46ers came into the contest having lost three of their last four, but had beat the Walter Tigers Tuebingen 106-83 and were still dreaming of the playoffs as they were in 11th place, but needed a win on the road in Frankfurt to keep it alive. It was an entertaining and tight game up to the break, but in the third quarter the Giessen 46ers played as if they had been totally reborn and the Fraport Skyliners played like they were from Mars giving up a 17-0 run and trailed by 28 points, which led to a 86-60 loss and a date with head coach Gordon Herbert at 7.30 Friday morning for a video session as a punishment.
The Giessen 46ers didn´t only sweep the season series, but did it in amazing fashion outscoring Frankfurt 169-119. After the shocking Frankfurt loss, Gordon Herbert had his team in the dressing room for 15 minutes and after a few players emerged with Quantez Robertson and Shawn Huff wholooked small as their own children after the Herbert post game speech and big Man German Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman tried to convey to the press what had gone wrong. “Coach and us were frustrated after this loss. We never found to our game and it is difficult to say why. We had a tough time reacting to their shooting. We couldn´t play our plays and didn´t play together. We didn´t get many outside opportunities and didn´t get rebounds”, added ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann.
A little less than three months ago, the Fraport Skyliners were playing a meaningless pre season game in Giessen and the big men were missing in action as Mike Morrison was out but watching his team play and for Giessen they were still testing their roster as big country John Bryant was still not in the mix, but would soon be signed. On the Giessen side there was also a big man who couldn´t display his game as he was only able to watch his team and parade around the Osthalle sporting his big smile and one could only wonder if he will grey one day as quickly as his legendary father Rudi did. That 28 year old power forward was none other than Marco Voeller who had to sit out three months due to a doping ban. However in the last few months a lot has happened in his basketball career as he went to hardly playing in Giessen to catching on with the Fraport Skyliners and playing a very vital role in their game as the club had been seemingly hit harder by the injury plague than The Dallas Mavericks loss plague this season. In Giessen Voeller had been a steady role player last season for head coach Denis Wucherer averaging 3,1ppg and 1,7rpg in 14 minutes of duty, but this season never found his way into the Ingo Freyer rotation as he had played only eight games averaging 1,0ppg and 2,3rpg in 7,5 minutes of action. The rapid move to the Fraport Skyliners was a beautiful Christmas present for the ex Gotha player as he has shone in his first two games against Bremerhaven and Alba Berlin where he came off the bench getting big minutes. Especially in the win against Bremerhaven he had a fairytale like Frankfurt debut scoring eight points, hauling down five rebounds and dishing out three assists in 14 minutes of action. Voeller made his return back to Giessen and into a very noisy and energetic gym, but was also prepared to battle his ex teammates and also seek to show his old coach that it had been a mistake for not giving him a real chance. Voeller produced four points and three rebounds, but that was a mere side note as the main story was the horrible display of basketball that the Fraport Skyliners displayed in the second half scoring a measly 22 points and being whipped out of the Osthalle arena 83-59. Despite having left Giessen, Voeller still had many youth fans there as 15 minutes after the end of the game, he stood patiently for 10-15 kids for a selfie and then explained his sad return back to Giessen. “The return wasn´t as nice because of the loss. I came in with a neutral mind and gave my best, but this loss really hurts. We didn´t have the correct energy and intensity and Giessen hit everything”, expressed ex Gotha forward Marco Voeller. One guy who had the last laugh was German Mahir Agva who has finally found a BBL home in Giessen with head coach Ingo Freyer. He didn´t get a real chance with Frankfurt and plastered his ex team with 8 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. “I didn´t have an extra special focus going in because it was my ex team. I go into every game with the same focus. I still have many friends in Frankfurt and keep contact. Klaus Perwas congratulated me after the game telling me I played well. I just went in bringing energy, getting offensive rebounds and trying to hit my shots. When you have a guy like John Bryant on the court, it really opens a lot up and makes it easier”, smiled Giessen center Mahir Agva.
At the end of August, a quick and flashy point guard by the name of Dee Davis was testing out the Osthalle floor in his new Giessen home against the Fraport Skyliners in a pre-season game and wasn´t impressing anyone. The American with two professional seasons under his belt was taking hurried low percentage jumpers and driving to the hole into a brick ball and missing shots on a regular basis and the first moans were surfacing and cries for Cameron Wells to return who had been an important piece to the rapid ascension of the club the last years from the Pro A back to the BBL and almost to the playoffs. One could easily observe that Davis had a lot of talent, but was a little wild. He did make some acrobatic shots and made some fine kick out passes finding the open man, but after that game nobody was really convinced he could fill the shoes of Wells. Three and half months later nobody in Giessen is remembering that early pre-season game against Frankfurt anymore and possibly not reminiscing all to much anymore about Wells. One can say now that never rate the ability of a player after one game or two or maybe three especially if it´s the pre-season where teams and players are still working on finding their game within the team structure. Davis is a 24 year old 183cm point guard from Bloomington, Indiana that has overcome early question marks and is making the grade with the Giessen 46ers. Davis is one of many guys that enter the BBL each season looking to make the next step in a much higher and skilled league coming from a lesser league. Sometimes players pan out and sometimes they don´t as the Frankfurt Skyliners found out with Jimmie Hunt who couldn´t make it in the BBL coming as the top scorer with Kemoplast Alpos Sentjur (Slovenia-1A), but did go on to other countries finding his mark and is still playing today in Bulgaria at age 35. Just like Hunt, Davis played his first two seasons in Slovenia with Rogaska Crystal (Slovenia-Liga NovaKBM) leading the team to the final last season and leaving his mark as third top scorer averaging 16.3ppg, 2.9rpg, Assists-4(5.0apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 75.6%. The question was right away could the American make the next step in the BBL. He certainly wasn´t lacking in self confidence as in June after being acquired by Giessen he already was sprouting bold predictions about not only making the grade, but more than that. “Of course, I believe in any league I could make an impact”, warned Dee Davis. He has held on to his warning and stat wise totally panned out and helped Giessen be a team currently in the hunt for the playoffs something Giessen isn´t expected to do.” I would describe myself as an aggressive playmaker who’s does what he has to, to help his team win”, stressed Dee Davis. Aggressive he has been and helped lead the team to some big wins. After 11 games he is averaging 14,8ppg, 2,3rpg and 4,7apg, 1,5spg and is shooting a respectable 33% from downtown in 31 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in nine of his first 11 games. Right away in his second game he held his own against top team Brose Bamberg having them near the brink of defeat losing 87-84 as he steered 11 points, dished out eight assists and had three steals. A week later he helped Giessen beat dark horse title favorite Ludwigsburg 83-81 producing 16 points, grabbing four rebounds and getting five dimes while picking his spots and having sound shot selection. Another game that showed he had landed in the BBL was his 20 point and 10 assist game in the 107-99 win against MBC. But one also has to give head coach Ingo Freyer a lot of credit as he has been known for years to bring in those underdog type guards and helped them mature as he showed with Davin White, Zamal Nixon and Brandon Jefferson when he coached Phoenix Hagen. “I believe I can adjust to whatever style of play, but I enjoy getting up and down the court”, added Dee Davis. And that he has and it will be interesting to see where the rest of this season´s journey will go for the ex Xavier standout as so far he has been a refreshing new face to the BBL that has made the most of his opportunity.
It may only be preseason, but the majority of the EasyCredit BBL teams not only have the core of their roster battling in preseason games in order to get tuned up for the upcoming season, but also five to seven import players on the stat sheet to help get their chemistry rolling except for the Fraport Skyliners who like every August/September in the last years have had to scramble through the preseason with their few import players that had stayed on board and the rest of their young kids rounded out by some of their farm team players from the Pro B. It wouldn´t have been half as bad had their three veterans Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and Jonas Botterman-Wolfarth been present, but they were missing in action and one suddenly had to rely on the future with kids Isaac Bonga and Richard Freudenberg. The good news was that Mr Canada Philip Scrubb was back after missing last season on account of injury and had personal expectations as high as Mount Logan and was as hungry as a famished tourist in Ottawa getting ready to chow down at the trendy eatery Fauna and his stellar play showed. The trio of Scrubb, Bonga and Freudenberg may not have the experience of a Mayo, Gamble or Klein of the Telekom Baskets Bonn, but they are like a fountain of youth as the other three teams at the Giessen weekend tournament of Bonn, BG Goettingen and the 46ers could only dream of having young talent like that on their roster. The Fraport Skyliners weren´t rewarded for their furious comeback against the Telekom Baskets Bonn losing 82-76 a day earlier as 17year old German wunderkind Isaac Bonga made his first real serious breakthrough in a BBL setting as he filled up the stat sheet like a Lebron scoring 16 points, hauling down 10 boards and dishing out five assists. On Sunday the Fraport Skyliners were playing for pride in the game for third place facing home team Giessen 46ers who stunk up the building a day earlier losing by almost 40 points to BG Goettingen, but on this day the troops of head coach Ingo Fryer not only came to play, but played a well rounded consistent game that Frankfurt couldn´t combat despite their second half comeback losing 102-90. After the game ex NC-Greensboro (NCAA) forward Kayel Locke was relaxed doing his postgame stretching and even though he didn´t lead his team in scoring, his overall energy level at both ends of the court infected his team to totally rebound form their embarrassing performance the day before. “We were too sluggish against BG Goettingen and against Frankfurt we came out with more energy especially on the defensive end where one could see each man was trusting each other to help each other. We didn´t get good shots against BG Goettingen, but better one´s against Frankfurt and made them”, stressed KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-SuperLeague) forward Kayel Locke. The Fraport Skyliners lost their second game in a row of the Preseason and at times there wasn´t a player over 20 years of age on the court and second year man Canadian national player Philip Scrubb transformed into the leader with so many veterans absent and played his heart out especially in the second half leading his team back into the game, but the club just was unable to step up together as a team when it needed it most in crucial moments of the game. “This was our second game in a row where we didn´t start out well and weren´t focused on defense with no communication. In the second half, we communicated better on defense, got defensive stops which led to easy buckets on transition. We showed a good sign in the second half, but we need to bring it for 40 minutes”, warned Philip Scrubb.
The Giessen 46ers jumped all over the Fraport Skyliners right off the bat gaining the 7-2 lead as their two main offensive threats Kayel Locke and Austin Hollins scored and new American and ex E.Carolina (NCAA) forward Jamar Abrams showed his shooting expertise nailing a pull up jumper.