This coming Sunday, Germany´s team FC Bayern Munich will try to get revenge in their comfy living room from their early season loss on the road against the Fraport Skyliners. For some before the basketball has even started there will be various delicious attractions in the Audi Dome like getting to the food line early and being able to feast on a traditional 5 Euro German Brat Wurst which is the American equivalent of the good old hot dog or seeing how many Bayern Munich celebrities one can witness from the football department like former president Uli Hoeness who is one of the main reasons why the basketball department got the needed funding to make it´s course to the Beko BBL or 1996 European champion and current head of the board Matthias Sammer or any of the various players like Jerome Boateng or Holger Badstuber who have visited games in the past. When one finally has got their share of enough food and celebrity watching, then comes time for the basketball encounter at 3.00pm. On the basketball side, there are enough fine attractions to wet one´s mouth again even after the fourth Brat Wurst as one can be astonished by the big man duel of power vs elegance between John Bryant and Johannes Voigtmann or witness the ultimate team player like Aaron Doornekamp doing the nitty gritty work inside or the ultimate duel of the high flyers Quantez Robertson who is his own special airline every time he is gliding through the air and Bryce Taylor who can electrify any crowd with his crushing dunks even awakening that poor tired soul that dared to fall asleep during the game. However put all these scrumptious treats aside as the biggest and most anticipated battle will be the revival with the ex Fraport Skyliner Justin Cobbs against the potential league MVP Jordan Theodore.
When things aren´t going well on the playing area then it is usually the head coach or if your on the football field the quarterback that gets tagged as the scape goat while on the basketball court it is more often than not the point guard who gets the blame when there is chaos on the court as well as in the standings. Last season in the Beko BBL there was a main reason why the Brose Baskets Bamberg won the title besides having a talented deep roster they had Philadelphia native Brad Wanamaker who led the team the whole season and rightfully earned Eurobasket player and guard of the year. “ He’s a smart and tough point guard that competes at the top level. I was impressed the most about how well he gets his whole team involved. He controls the game and they play at their speed. They will be successful with him at the point guard position”, stressed Giessen 46er Braydon Hobbs. Good guards are as common on earth as fleas putting up their tents up in your Dogs fur and having a little more luck than the rest and having a general manager that loves you, a player with the caliber of a Jordan Theodore could be in the NBA today. Usually when you have a bad point guard you are poor, when you have a solid point guard, a club is treading water somewhere at 500, when you have a good point guard you might make the playoffs, but if you have a great point guard, you have very good chances to collect hardware for your living room shelf. The Frankfurt Skyliners have only won two titles in 2000 and 2004 and for both ex German national player Pascal Roller had a big part in the wins. In the 2010-2011 season, Frankfurt was close to reaching the final, but lost to Alba Berlin in a tight five game series while having that seasons MVP Dashaun Wood who had a career year comparing his weekly stats with Monta Ellis as a 22 point 9 assists and 6 rebounds evening was nothing unusual for the Detroit native. Last season it was rookie Justin Cobbs from Los Angeles that led the Fraport Skyliners from near the end of the standings to the playoffs as well as to the Eurochallenge final 4 as his calmness, timely scoring and right decisions carried the team for 6 months. This season the Fraport Skyliners have Jordan Theodore as their point guard and after only three games and a 1-2 record comparisons are already surfacing and his credibility on the court is being questioned. Fans and critics can be so cruel, but come on its only been three games, the season is very long and it is just unfair to put the American responsible for the current state of the team. What kind of point guard will Theodore be for the Fraport Skyliners this season? Where will he be in the scale between bad and great? Let´s just say the word will begin with a G and the Fraport Skyliners will be fine this season.
Just when the Wurzburg arena went bonkers after they had won their second game in exciting fashion beating derby opponent Giessen 46ers 104-101 in OT with a Maurice Stuckey game winning three letting ex German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to ponder why it took him so long to witness his first ever Beko BBL game and most fans probably boasting that they had witnessed the most dramatic game of the Beko BBL second game day, the German walking wounded of the Fraport Skyliners with national players Danilo Barthel, Johannes Voigtmann and Konstantin Klein had a little mix of shock and anger as they had witnessed the end of the Frankfurt-Oldenburg game where they were robbed of overtime on a Johannes Richter bucket that wasn´t given. Depending just how good the cooking aptitude of cooking chef Danilo Barthel was, the players seemed to have enjoyed his feast that he has prepared, but even when not one could of at least excused ones self to the rest room to relieve one´s self, but in the aftermath of the horrible call, there would have been no need to scamper away to the lavatory as the scene left in the Oldenburg arena would have been enough to vomit one´s grief all over the living room. After a magnificent victory in Bremerhaven where they held a very offensive talented team to only 59 points, the club traveled to Oldenburg with a walking wounded list as long as the grocery list of Shaq, but once again Fraport Skyliner´s mastermind behind the bench Gordon Herbert devised another plan of getting the most out of the talent he had and stayed close to Oldenburg all night long. The way the Fraport Skyliners lost left a very sour taste in their scent in their stomach, but the club had four days to try to digest this misfortune as best they could and next had to battle against aspiring s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg who blew away the Pro A last season despite losing to Giessen for the Pro A title and came into the Fraport arena with a 1-1 record. It a very tight game throughout, but in crunch time when the Fraport Skyliners could have used a Justin Cobbs who displayed countless times last season his calmness, cool demeanor, rookie leadership and cold execution in getting Frankfurt over the hump, tonight it was Lebron James friend Dru Joyce who stole the show from Jordan Theodore hitting big shots and keeping the club together in the end winning a real nail bitter 77-75 the way Cobbs did last season “Frankfurt had more energy in the first half, but luckily we were able to stay close to them. However we gave a better effort in the second half, played with more intensity and picked it up on defense”, warned ex TBB Trier guard Dru Joyce. The Fraport Skyliners lost their second game in a row on the last possession and their frustration showed after the loss with faces as long as the trek a person would have to take across the Bering strait. “This loss was unnecessary. We have had lost two games in a row at the end and it really hurts. We have very high goals and to lose two games like this is very difficult”, added Fraport Skyliner center JohanneRichter. Fraport Skyliner Jordan Theodore didn´t shy away from expressing his grief, but at the same time was man enough to take a blame for the team´s shortcoming. “We have injuries and also lost two close games, but we can´t make excuses. I have to play better at the end. I am a player that can score, but I didn´t get it done tonight. I will get better. It all comes down to execution. It is still early in the season. We still have many games. We will be fine and believe me I will be in the gym tomorrow morning”, warned New York native Jordan Theodore. “We gave up too many three pointers in the first half and had bad rotations. We defended better in the second half and attacked more in the second half after being too passive in the first half”, added ex UCLA center Brendan Lane.
Only few would have expected Justin Cobbs to have such an impact on the season of the Fraport Skyliners as he arrived at the end of November and was a big factor why the 2004 BBL champion went from near the bottom into the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and the Eurochallenge final 4 when all one really knew about the rookie was that he had had a stellar career at California had hit a few amazing buzzer beaters against then number one school Arizona as his fade way in the corner almost landed him in the lap of his head coach Mike Montgomery or Oregon and had been given the name a poor man´s Derrick Rose, but the Los Angeles native was the real deal in his five and half months with the Fraport Skyliners. Even if one had to force out words out of him as talking was less on the agenda, but more often the sight of him in deep thought as the NBA was swirling in his mind as it is for just about every other American player be it realistic or not. Cobbs never explicitly talked about the NBA, but when asked about it he didn´t hesitate to let it be known that that was his ultimate goal even if that wasn´t stated until the last few months in Frankfurt. Cobbs was mostly the last player exiting the locker room in the Fraport arena sporting his Los Angeles Dodgers cap displaying his general like aura that he always had on the court even if he didn´t lead his team out of the dressing room after a game as each player had their own shower time ritual and duration time. In the last few months, he would at times exit with his unforgettable swagger not far behind his teammate fellow rookie Sean Armand as they harmonized on the court. If Cobbs had any idea in the latter part of the season that he might be teammates next season with the New York native Armand in Turkey was most likely not possible, but unfortunately after being the last cut of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014-2015 season, his path to the NBA seems even more distant now after hardly getting any minutes this summer at the NBA Summer League in Orlando. If Cobbs sensed first that his NBA route might be delayed with his sparse minutes or the acquisition with Jeremy Lin is unknown, but having NCAA champion Kemba Walker and ex Brose Baskets Bamberg point guard Brian Roberts before him must of brought him back down to earth that his NBA way through Charlotte might not be derailed, but blocked. Instead Cobbs most likely will return back to Europe and take the dough as money doesn´t stink for Cobbs, but only the olive Oil will in Turkey. According to reports Cobbs will lace up his sneakers with Turkish team Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) and be teammates with Sean Armand once again.
It has been almost two months since the Fraport Skyliners said farewell to the 2014-2015 Beko BBL season as they lost 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the playoffs against FC Bayern Munich. It was also the last game of Los Angeles native Justin Cobbs who finished game four with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists. It had been a very strong season for the rookie who played 27 BBL games averaging 14.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 80.3%, 2.9rpg, Assists-4(6.1apg), FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 83.1%. He also belonged to the top players in the Eurochallenge tournament where the Fraport Skyliners wouldn´t have reached the Final Four without the stellar play of the California(NCAA) graduate. He played 12 games averaging 16,3ppg, 2,9rpg and 6,1apg. He brought home Eurobasket.com All-EuroChallenge Honorable Mention, and Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga 3rd Team. At the start of the season he was the last cut of the Charlotte Hornets and it was no secret that his number one goal was getting to the NBA as it is for every other basketball player on earth. Of course getting on the correct NBA route and getting that possible training camp invitation is usually made easier with a potent NBA Summer League performance. Last summer he played NBA Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies, but got into two games playing garbage minutes. With his rookie season under his belt, he is back at it this time with the Charlotte Hornets and try to make amends for having to clear the last spot for a veteran.
If Fraport Skyliner mascot Dunking Kong who is the big goofy looking, but very loyal monkey that cheers on the 2004 Beko BBL champion at home games were to set up his own tight obstacle course on the floor with the objective to weave in and out of the small cones with a scooter and not to knock any over, Fraport Skyliner rookie Justin Cobbs might not have a perfect score if he were to attempt a miraculous ride without any contact from the scooter to a cone. Just to weave between the tightly placed cones would be a massive challenge for even the most gifted people like BMX rider Tom Dugan if he were given the chance. When you watch the extreme smoothness and elasticity of Justin Cobbs on the court, one would never expect that he could ever be clumsy in any way. However back when he was balling at California(NCAA) he had an experience with teammate Richard Solomon where he seemed to know better himself not to do something and did it anyway and got the clumsiness label put upon him. Cobbs didn´t want to move a glass of water, but did anyway and a short time later had knocked it over. Anyone can knock over a glass of water and this whole experience was more of a ribbing from Solomon in the direction of Cobbs than any kind of real truth that the American is someone that is inept and more unlikely to bump into people than Paris Hilton is to go on a eating binge at Mcdonalds in downtown Los Angeles without make up on. However one thing is for sure, Cobbs is as distant from being clumsy on the court as teammate Jacob Burtschi getting an ally-op dunk pass from Quantez Robertson. Cobbs came to the Fraport Skyliners in November 2014 and turned a cellar team to a playoff candidate and led the team to the Eurochallenge Final 4 with a 10-0 record.
For 110 days the Fraport Skyliners were flawless winning 10 games at home in a row and posing the question if their comfy living room temperature that had kept the club so snug for such a long period of time had been turned down as clubs like six time Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg and Russian Eurochallenge opponent Avtodor Saratov arrived in the Fraport arena at the end of January 2014 and beat them. The last time the 2004 Beko BBL winner Fraport Skyliners lost two consecutive games at home. It was at the start of the season on the first weekend where they lost to Phoenix Hagen and ratiopharm Ulm. It was such a long time ago that the recently crowned 2015 Super Bowl champions New England Patriots were 2-2 and coming off a crushing 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and were as far away from a fourth Super Bowl win as is nose tackle Vince Winfork is from ever getting lost at the take out drive through line at Mcdonalds, the Atlanta Hawks were in training camp getting ready for the 2014-2015 season as only the very few would have predicted them being the best team in the NBA at the start of February 2015 having a stellar 40-8 record and the San Francisco Giants and manager Bruce Bochy were near to winning their third MLB World Series in the last five years. However streaks are there to be broken as the Fraport Skyliners lost to the Brose Baskets Bamberg and Avtodor Saratov. Having lost key players German national player Danilo Barthel and Los Angeles native and rookie Justin Cobbs to injury, the club lost a third consecutive game to 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen on the road. Despite injuries and a brisk winter wind having taken over in the usual warm and cozy Fraport arena that disrupted the success of the club, the Fraport Skyliners returned home, but the competition didn´t get any easier as 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin arrived, but Frankfurt had big hair, Oklahoma flavor, basketball general Justin Cobbs and basketball lieutenant Sean Armand who led the 2004 Beko BBL champion past 8 time BBL winner Alba Berlin 87-80 in overtime starting a new winning streak at home. Quantez Robertson had big hair again something he usually displays at the start of a season as a gesture of good luck and success for the season, three is a charm as Jacob Burtschi was back in Frankfurt for a third tour of duty bringing that Oklahoma flavor while Justin the basketball general Cobbs and basketball lieutenant Sean Armand took care of business in overtime as it was another normal day at the office even if it was an ugly win the club gave Alba Berlin only their second loss of the season. “It was an ugly game, but sometimes when you are overmatched playing against an Euroleague team where you should lose by 20 points on paper, you need to turn it into an ugly game. We were lucky, stuck together and got the win”, warned ex Bremerhaven forward Jacob Burtschi. For Alba Berlin, it was only their second loss of the season and something they definitely weren´t used to as lowered heads came out of the dressing room one by one as so little words escaped their mouths that one could of asked “cat got your tongue”? “We lost and Frankfurt played well. It was a good game and exciting, but Frankfurt had the advantage with the home court. They always had answers and shot very well from outside”, stressed ex Skyliner Alex King.
When BG Goettingen arrived on the scene in the Beko BBL in the 2007-2008 season, head coach John Patrick and company brought a breath of fresh air to the league as their 40 minutes of basketball hell and unconventional style brought one or the other BBL opponents to unwanted head aches or annoying and painful cramps after a 40 minute battle in the trenches. The Frankfurt Skyliners also had their share of unforgettable games against the 2010 Eurochallenge winner as who could forget the amazing win in the mysterious Lok Halle in Goettingen where Murat Didin had a sick list as long as Shaq´s midnight snack list to Mcdonalds as he dressed 7 players and Maksym Shtein had the game of his life and showed a totally other side of him as he exploded on the court making just about every touch he had land in the basket as he led the club in scoring with 24 points. Other nice memories were in the 2009-2010 season where Frankfurt won in overtime 90-88 as Aubrey Reese tied the game at 88 with a three pointer and then won the game with two free throws with nine seconds to play and Seth Doliboa blocked the last BG Goettingen shot with two seconds to play. That season Frankfurt also got past BG Goettingen in the Cup Top 4 in Frankfurt only to later lose to Bamberg in the final. In the 2010-2011 season Frankfurt swept the season series and then won in the playoffs 3-0. In the last meeting between both teams, American Matt Bauscher preserved the win for BG Goettingen 62-61 with the classic buzzer beater. After two seasons in the German Pro A, BG Goettingen returned back into the Fraport arena with a new coach and all new players and wanted to continue their winning streak there, but couldn´t stop Justin Cobbs last minute transformation from slightly invisible to that needed glow at the end despite giving up a strong fight losing 74-70. After the win, Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson was happy that despite the tight win that he didn´t have to test his nerves even more with a buzzer beater and seeing his old teammate Dominik Bahiense De Mello “I remember BG Goettingen having a good look with that buzzer beater a few years back. Tonight we did a good job executing down the stretch. I made a stupid play at the end letting them get to the free throw line, but we held our composure at the end getting the needed stops. It was a good feeling playing against my ex teammate who I played two seasons with. He is still a good friend of mine today. He made some crucial shots at the end to get his team closer. I am happy there was no buzzer beater today”, expressed Auburn alumnist Quantez Robertson. After the 93-86 loss against the Brose Baskets Bamberg, BG Goettingen was looking to get back on track in the win column and gave a great fight against the Fraport Skyliners, but came up a bit short. After the game, BG Goettingen was more than unpleased about the narrow loss and had a lack of words for the reasons of the loss. “They made the plays that they needed down the stretch. Cobbs is a great player and future Euroleague player that came up big”, stressed former Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan.
It isn’t that often that very good friends battle year after year against each other in the Beko BBL, but from 2007-2014 each season Detroit native Rickey Paulding and St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney battled each other at least twice a year for off season bragging rights. Especially in Frankfurt, both guys always had big duels with both guys shining on the court, but this meeting between the two excellent athletes has been absent the last two seasons as Mckinney played for the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. This season Paulding was all alone in the Beko BBL without his friend Mckinney as the St Louis native was home waiting for the phone to ring and catching more college football games as well as from his alma mater Vashon high school where he won titles as a kid something he was unable to do the last years as he was in Germany the last 8 years playing. Recently it was made public that Mckinney had signed with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen to help out in the scoring department as American Jonathan Wallace was recovering from an injury. Paulding help lead the EWE Baskets Oldenburg to a 98-89 win at home against Tuebingen before the arrival of Mckinney where he steered 13 points. Paulding will have to wait until March 14 where he will meet his old friend again for the ninth straight season in a game in the Beko BBL. Until then Paulding has much time to rekindle the old memories from their battles on the court and might even had a blur memory of their combat on the court. Since their last battle in Frankfurt in 2011 where Oldenburg won 72-53 only two Skyliners were on the floor then are still with Frankfurt now with Quantez Robertson and Danilo Barthel, but even two Mckinneys most likely wouldn´t have helped Oldenburg on this afternoon in Frankfurt as the 2004 Beko BBL champion Frankfurt Skyliners defeated Paulding and co 93-74 giving Oldenburg their fourth loss in their last five games and after the loss the St louis native was sentimental about the game and his friend Mckinney returning back to Germany. “It is always good to have Jimmy around especially in Germany in the Beko BBL. I am happy that he has caught on with Tuebingen. We had some strong battles here but that was some years ago. I didn’t have that too much on my mid. I was concentrated more on this game. I hope to talk to Jimmy sometime before March when we play against each other. Frankfurt played harder than us, were more aggressive, ran on us, made shots when they had to and were just the more aggressive team”, stressed 2009 Beko BBL champion Rickey Paulding. “I am also happy that Jimmy is back in Germany. I was a bit surprised that it took him so long to get a new team. I am always motivated to play and will be extra motivated when we play Tuebingen because Jimmy is one of my closest friend”, expressed Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners keep rolling winning their sixth win in a row and it was a tale of two halves where the first was even, but in the second Frankfurt made adjustments on defense and Oldenburg had problems hurting Frankfurt inside like they did in the first 20 minutes. “The first half was close and both teams were scoring. In the second half we improved our pick and role defense. Coach had got on me and Johannes Voigtmann to get up higher on pick and role to get more dribbles and let our guards get over and we were able to clog the middle and force them to tough shots. This led to more turnovers and easy transition buckets for us”, added Fraport Skyliner center Mike Morrison.
The NCAA life can be very exciting, hectic and experience nourishing where at times a player can feel like a traveling salesman as you are in different cities each weekend playing the game you love while juggling classes somewhere in between. Since finishing his three year college career at California(NCAA) last spring, the last six months have been a real basketball adventure for Los Angeles native Justin Cobbs as traveling continued for him. He is a 23 year old 191cm guard that is a professional rookie as he has bounced around the States at NBA workouts over the summer, played NBA Summer League in Orlando with the Memphis Grizzlie, practiced with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa, was on the training camp roster of the Charlotte Hornets and already got a taste of early winter in Latvia getting experience with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) as having snow on Christmas day in Los Angeles is rare as you can go surfing on off Venice beach. His journey continued to Germany where he is currently playing with the Fraport Skyliners helping out their injury plague that has hit their point guard rotation of Richard Williams, Konstantin Klein and Max Merz.