There are some players that play in the Fraport arena like German national player Per Guenther who has been annoying the Fraport Skyliners since 2008, but then again there are players that played there once and then don´t return for many years as Michael Jenkins did. Jenkins came into the BBL in 2009 after playing at Winthrop(NCAA) and his rookie season with BC Buducnost Podgorica (Bosnia-1A) and then made a splash with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen averaging 14.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-3(1.9spg), FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 72.6%. In the time from 2009-2016, the Kinston, North Carolina native gathered valuable experience in Belgium for two years, Italy for two years and in Turkey for two years. He even had a taste of the NBA being a part of the Oklahoma Thunder in training camp in 2014 and playing catch and picking the brains of future NBA legends Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. A little more than 85 months ago on October 18, 2009 Jenkins made his first appearance in the Fraport arena getting plastered with Tuebingen by Frankfurt 98-66 as he supplied the losing squad with 11 points. Back in that game he had teammates like Lebron James friend Romeo Travis and Bane Ratkovica that are still playing today while Frankfurt had guys like Aubrey Reese, Greg Jenkins, Seth Doliboa or Dominik Bahiense De Mello all retired now. Jenkins also battled against Pascal Roller and Marius Nolte who usually watches the Champions League game from various area´s in the arena. Dinosaur Derrick Allen was also on the floor and is still chugging around in the paint in Germany displaying his never aging ballerina moves. There was only one player on the floor from 7 years ago that was also present in 2016 with Frankfurt and that was current Fraport Skyliner captain Quantez Robertson who was a young pup fresh out of Auburn(NCAA) and was a rookie showing the BBL his first taste of his freak athleticism as he finished with 10 points, eight boards and three steals. Both guys met again with the biggest difference that Robertson has called Frankfurt his home since then while Jenkins has gotten around. The Fraport Skyliners were reeling finally to get a win again as their 6 game BBL losing streak had effected the club and had to meet up with Greek powerhouse Aris the ex team of Gordon Herbert and they came up with a special welcome back gift for their coach who had been out for a while as they stepped up in crunch time shocking Aris 81-74. After the big win Quantez Robertson was already playing daddy for Autumn on the court, but had big words for Michael Jenkins whom he opposed as a rookie in 2009. “I really didn´t even remember him until assistant coach Klaus Perwas said during video that he played in the league once. He made some tough three´s and got going early and stayed with it until the end”, stressed ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. For Michael Jenkins there was no happy return to the Fraport arena as his record there fell to 0-2, but remembered Quantez Robertson. “It doesn´t only feel good to play here, but just being able to play each day is a blessing. It is always good playing against familiar faces like him and being in Germany in general”, added Aris guard Michael Jenkins.
Summer is slowly moving on as Fraport Skyliner fans are still trying to digest the departures of players like Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Jordan Theodore, but at the same time having the amazing 2015-2016 Fiba Cup title win in the back of their minds and looking ahead to this season as the 2004 Beko BBL champion Fraport Skyliners will take part in the new competition Champions Cup. There hasn´t been much buzz with new player signings yet for the Fraport Skyliners so the 2016-2017 Champions Cup draw was a refreshing way to dream and predict which teams could be drawn for Frankfurt during the slow and boring draw procedure. As if the basketball God had secretly had his hand in the pot, the Fraport Skyliners got a date with ex Skyliner Jordan Theodore who was one of the key figures for the success of the team last season and will return back to Frankfurt with his new team Banvit of Turkey where he surely will be greeted with a massive ovation. The Fraport Skyliners also drew Aris of Greece, CEZ Nymburk of the Czech Republic, Helios Suns of Slovenia and AS Monaco. Two more teams will be added, but won´t be known until a future date when the qualifying results are in.
It has been more than 11 years since manager Gunnar Woebke of the Fraport Skyliners last sipped champagne after winning the second club title in the team´s history since it entered the league in 1999 and since then they have come close a few times to winning a third losing against the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the 2005 and 2010 finals both in 5 games something a Malik Badiane and Pascal Roller will surely never forget. The Beko BBL gets more competitive each season, the top teams seem to get bigger budgets while the Fraport Skyliners continue to be in the lower bracket of the league in terms of budget. Every now and then the team has had great spurts like last season as new November arrival Justin Cobbs led a team from almost last place to the playoffs and the Eurochallenge final 4. That moment of glory has arrived back with the Fraport Skyliners this season as currently the team is riding a 9 game winning streak and in reality should be in 11-0 had they been able to execute on the last play in Oldenburg and against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg which would have got the team the victories. In the last few weeks it has been the same story after a game in the Fraport arena as the experienced FC Bayern Munich players who know the league snuck out of the catacombs like embarrassed little kids who had to enter school with their parents a no go since always while Americans Alex Renfroe and KC Rivers had more of the NBA style answering questions like professionals should or last weekend when the Brose Baskets Bamberg who were even a bit more perturbed as some exited with their heads bundled up in their hoodies as if they were to enter the Siberian winter when it was really only about 12c in Frankfurt. Beko BBL and Fiba Europe cup teams keep coming and leaving the Fraport arena as losers and if one didn´t see the game and put the two coaches side by side one wouldn´t really have known who had lost except for maybe a bit more of a ruddy expression on a Svetislav Pesic, but really if one watches a Gordon Herbert closely he pretty much always exhibits the same expression with the focused and straight ahead mentality and wanting to forget that amazing win as quickly as possible and get ready for the next basketball war. Gunnar Woebke paces up and down the catacombs calmly not getting excited about the amazing season start and just greets paying customers and sponsors and savoring every moment like a proud little kid that just got the high score on PS4. It is still very early, but there is something very very special about this team and the question is is this finally the year where the team wins it´s third title? Their best chance lies in the Fiba Europe Cup as well, but the Beko BBL is slowly noticing this extraordinary special basketball fairy tale that is being made in Frankfurt.
With the majority of the Beko BBL teams complete and in the swing of things practicing since weeks, the Fraport Skyliners started later into the 2015-2016 pre-season and are still searching for two import positions at the point guard and shooting guard position and while most teams can boast some well-known new players, the best press and show off material that the 2004 BBL champion Fraport Skyliners can boast in this young off season is the further consistent development of one half of the twin towers Johannes Voigtmann who will play at the 2015 Euro and in 20 years be able to tell his grand children that he played together with NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki and NBA star in the making Dennis Schroeder. Other than that the Fraport Skyliners are looking at some current uncertainty, but all that can be erased if head coach Gordon Herbert has that right endearing magical touch again and is able to bring in that right mix of NCAA lottery picks to the roster. The most positive news that the Fraport Skyliners have going for themselves is that they have kept many players from last season with the big three Germans of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein who will have an even bigger responsibility this season for the club. The organization also held on to their three imports Quantez Robertson, Aaron Doornekamp and Mike Morrison and also have retained the next generation of young Germans with Niklas Kiel, Max Merz and Stefan Ilzhoefer, so chemistry will be there come October second when the club opens up the season in Bremerhaven against ex head coach Muli Katzurin. The club also has new point guard Garai Zeeb who is a very interesting player that will mostly play for the farm team and NBBL team and the club also will continue to bring along young big man prospect Armin Trtovac. One thing is for sure nothing is ever dull when Gordon Herbert is around and if it ever does get tedious, just ask him about his Michael Jordan encounter at the 1984 Olympics.