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.
Sometimes early Christmas come early and timely like the NBA season starting up again, The Dallas Mavericks getting older and older with Vince Carter and Lamar Odom to the delight of Mavericks bashers, or Charlie Sheen´s cell number being unwantingly being disposed to the world for all his haters to finally spread some vicious words in his direction, but for The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig, the club didn´t get any negative pre Christmas delight, but a positive one as they signed ex Nevada Las Vegas(NCAA) star Michael Umeh to help at the guard position. Umeh is no stranger to the Beko BBL as he shot out the lights in various German arenas for two seasons with the LTi Giessen 46ers. The last time that Umeh did his damage in the Beko BBL, BG Goettingen was still far away from their Eurochallenge win, Braunschweig was still dreaming of landing in the post season since Demond Mallet last had led the team to the promised land in 2003 and guys like Kevin Hmailton and Brandon Thomas were still months away of coming to the Phantoms and Umeh was still playing in the same back court with German national player Heiko I can hit from anywhere on the planet Schaffartzik. Umeh made his debut in a Phantoms jersey, but was unable to help snap the 69 month winless streak in the Volkswagen halle against Frankfurt as the Fraport Skyliners controlled the game and won 77-70. “I am very happy to be back in the Beko BBL playing with Braunschweig. I still have to get settled, but they are a good team. Braunschweig is bigger than Giessen and I am found out quickly why guys like to play here. We played against a very good team today. Frankfurt had us down early an djust were more aggressive and had more intensity than we did”, stressed Nigerian national player Michael Umeh. The Fraport Skylinerswon their fourth game of the season and third on the road and showed their best game of the season topping their road win in Hagen. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte was very emotional after the Hagen win, but seemed more composed after the Braunschweig win. “I was more calm today. A huge burden was lifted off our shoulders in Hagen, but this is still a big win for us. This could be the start of a longer winning streak. We deserved to win today”, stressed ex Paderborn baskets center Marius Nolte.
With Christmas only a week away, folks of all ages will be having the holiday season on their mind, like thinking if there will be a white Christmas in New York city, what one can give Miss have it all Paris Hilton for Christmas, can the Miami Dolphins upend Tom terrific Brady and the New England Patriots on Christmas eve, or who would be the perfect substitute for the white bearded Santa Claus, Mickey Rooney, Leslie Nielsen or Tim Allen? However on December 18th, The Fraport Skyliners will have clash with 2011 beko BBL cup finalist New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and for at least two hours, stockings, eggnog, presents, Christmas caroling, and Rudolph the Reindeer will be secondary. Young fans in the Volkswagon arena in Braunschweig wont be dreaming of presents an dif Santa Claus can really fit through the chimney with his chubby stomach, but will be hoping of athletic and stimulating take offs to the hoop by Quantez Robertson, no look passes from Immanuel Mcelroy who could ask Jermareo Davidson some advice of how to cover your body correctly with additional tattoos, Robert Kulawick three point bombs from the corner, and making bets when Johannes Herber will cut or trim his overwhelming long beard. Fans come into the arena´s to enjoy basketball anytime and might forget that players this season wont be in their real home for Christmas dinner, but in their home from home in Germany trying to tell their little children that Santa Claus has to use the balcony to distribute presents. “The Beko BBL continues to make it very difficult for the players to find any kind of Christmas spirit. We play in Oldenburg on December 27th and have to practice on the 24th, 25th and 26th. One of my favorite things at Christmas is having home made goose. My mom cooks it and is the best cook in the world”, stressed Walter Tigers Tuebingen forward Ruben Spoden. “Sure it is tough being away from home during the holiday season but it is part of your job and even if you want to be back at home, you have to still perform and make the best out the situations that you are put in”, added TBB Trier guard John Bynum.
Kevin Hamilton is a 27 year old 193cm guard from Queens Village, New York that just completed his second season for The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. He played at Holy Cross from 2002-2006 and played together with ex Skyliner Keith Simmons. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 17.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.5apg, 3.3spg, FG: 38.1%, 3PT: 33.2%, FT: 77.7%. In his rookie season 2006-2007, he came to Europe and played in Poland for Polpak Swiecie playing 19 games and averaging 13.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.8apg, Steals-2(2.3spg), 2FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 64.2%. In 2007-2008, he played in France for Besancon Basket Comte Doubs (France-ProB) playing 2 games and averaging 6.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg. He also had a short tenure in Mexico with Pioneros de Quintana Roo-Cancun. In 2008-2009, he returned back to Poland to play for SKK Kotwica Kolobrzeg playing 32 games averaging 11.0ppg, 5.1rpg, Assists-1(6.4apg), Steals-1(2.8spg), FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 66.5%. He was not lazy in the last three summers staying in game shape and playing in Puerto Rico playing 90 games. In the summer of 2009, he played for Indios de Mayaguez playing 35 games and averaging 10.5ppg, 4.7rpg, Assists-3(6.3apg), Steals-2(1.7spg), FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 70.6%. His father was a draft pick of The Boston Celtics in 1980. In 2009-2010, he played his first season in Braunschweig playing 39 games: 10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-3(5.4apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 63.7%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 77.6%. Last season for Braunschweig, he played 39 games: 9.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.3apg, Steals-1(1.9spg), FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 67.0%. Currently he is with the Puerto Rican national team and looking for a team for next season. There is always a possibility that he will return to the Beko BBL. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig lost in 5 games to the Artland Dragons in May. What was key in this series for Artland advancing?
I think they were just too tough at home last game. It was a great series , both teams played real hard but at the end they just executed better than us.
Marcus Goree is a 33 year old 201cm power forward from Dallas, Texas playing his second season for The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. He is a typical European league power forward that is very effective in the low post game. He runs very well on the court, can defend well and even press on the perimeter. He has great instincts for the game, and is also a good rebounder and shot blocker. He played at West Virginia from 1996-2000. In 2000-2001, he played for Havre (France-ProA, starting five): 18.6ppg, Reb-5(9.1), 2.1apg. In 2001-2002, he played for the Opel Skyliners (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 32 games: 19.5ppg, 9.3rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3bpg, 1.0spg. In 2002-2003, he played for Tel-Aviv (Israel-Premier League, starting five): Adriatic League: 23 games: 13.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 0.8apg; Euroleague: 20 games: 10.0ppg, 5.7rpg; Israeli Premier League: 33 games: 13.8ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.2apg. In 2003-2004, he played for Gran Canaria (Spain-ACB, starting five): ULEB Cup: 12 games: 12,8ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.2spg; Spanish ACB: 38 games: 17.3ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3bpg, 1.0spg. He played for Benetton Treviso from 2004-2007. In 2007-2008, he played for Moscow (Russia-A Superleague): Euroleague: 25 games: 7.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 56.3%; Russian League: 18 games: 9.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-1(1.2bpg), 2FGP: 58.9%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 62.2%. In 2008-2009, he played for Lyubertsy (Russia-A Superleague, starting five): Eurocup Qualifications: 2 games: 9.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2.0spg, 1.0bpg; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 8.7ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.1%, FT: 54.5%; Russian League: 23 games: 9.6ppg, Reb-5(5.9ppg), FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 23.1%, FT: 68.1%. Last season he played for The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 20 games: 12.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 72.9%. He won the Euroleague with CSKA Moscow in 2008. He spoke with German Hoops about basketball.
How challenging is it playing against Craig Callahan?
He is always on the move. There are not many position 4 players as mobile as him. He is strong in the post, can shoot the three and take you off the dribble.
It is a never wise to walk down Times square in New York City flaunting a New York Yankees jersey with symbolic skull painted across the name of star short stop Derek Jeter, underestimating the love that fans still can give a lindsay Lohan after getting a standing ovation from Jay Leno fans during her interview or A Chris Paul who is trying to lead his New Orleans Hornets to an upset of the Los Angeles Lakers or Kobe Bryant dunking despite having a sprained ankle. It also wouldn´t have been wise not giving The Artland Dragons or The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig a chance at the 2011 Top 4 in Bamberg even though the big favorites to reach the final were Frankfurt and Bamberg.. Both Braunschweig and Artland rolled into the Top 4 with a regenerated mystical self confidence playing magnificent basketball and there really wasn´t much missing for both teams to have landed in the final. Braunschweig got past Frankfurt and Artland might have been in the final if they hadn´t lost Tyrese Rice earlier than expected to foul trouble as well as a few other players. Both teams are in the playoffs and for anyone to doubt them this time of possibly reaching the final should have their head examined. “This will be a good series as both teams are playing well. Either could reach the final”, stressed Walter Tigers Tuebingen forward Chris Oliver. Both teams will as motivated as any players in Europe heading back home to be with their loved ones who didn´t reach the post season, crazy William and Kate fans getting the perfect spot along the parade route or NHL hockey fans finding their perfect spot in sports bars for the next playoff round as four series has made the action exciting with seven game series. The Artland Dragons have been going through a tough drought not having reached the beko BBL playoffs since 2008 while The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig want to build on their semi final berth last season and just get that title after they came so close in the Top 4 final bowing out to Bamberg in the last minute. This series also could be the last chance for two veterans to get a title.
A few days ago, Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert tried to get his team in the right mood setting them on a scavenger treasure hunt in the dense forest of Rothenburg to find the delectable chocolate treasure in a team building measure to help put The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in the right frame of mind for the 2011 beko BBL cup semi final similar to how Kate Middelton will find her pot of gold soon in the British family, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki finding the right switch for his first NBA crown or young 16 year old German tennis player talent Urs Thurau looking to land in the foot steps of idol Roger Federer and not like dad Didi Thurau as a cyclist, but Frankfurt were unable to find their treasure on the court of the Stechert arena in Bamberg never finding their rhythm slipping to The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig 82-77. „Even though we had GPS navigation systems in the woods , we were technically unable to use them on the court tonight to help us find the treasure“, commented a sad Kimmo Muurinen of Frankfurt. „ After the big win, New Yorker Phantom players were more than relieved to talk about not letting Frankfurt find that most desirable treasure. „The treasure to reach the final was on the court, but Frankfurt didn´t have the right key to unlock the treasure chest“, stated Braunschweig center Kyle Visser. „We buried the treasure in the ground“, joked Braunschweig American Brandon Thomas. “The key to Braunschweig finding the treasure was that their plan worked best in that they got many hustle plays and got the majority of the loose balls”, expressed Dashaun Wood.
The New Yorker Phantoms hadn´t won against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in 60 months losing the last 11 games in a row and sooner or later the big bubble losing streak of the Phantoms had to burst. Guys like Brandon Thomas and Kevin Hamilton had lost the last 4 games in a row losing by only a combined score of 17 points and were about as sick of losing as the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf have been this season. Hamilton summed it up best before the game. „I am pretty sick and tired of losing to Frankfurt“, stressed Kevin Hamilton. After the game Kyle Visser reflected about always losing with Braunschweig, but not never having beaten Frankfurt. „Frankfurt has been our achilles heel. Pascal Roller has won too many games against me. However we were very motivated today, but in the beko BBL it is pretty difficult to beat a team 3 times in a season, but I did beat Frankfurt last season with EnBW Ludwigsburg“, joked ex Wake Forest star Kyle Visser. Braunschweig led for most of the game and never let Frankfurt back into the game and displayed disciplined basketball and nothing out of the ordinary. “Coach Machowski prepared his team well. Braunschweig was able to follow their game plan and just did the easy things. They played pick and roll, penetrated and kick out and got the ball inside and that was the key to getting the win”, stated ex German national player Ademola Okulaja.
The way players come and go in the BEKO BBL, remembering a streak is often not in the cards for players, because they don´t stay long enough to enjoy the highs and mope with the lows. The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig have not won against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in 60 months dating back to April 2006 as they slipped by Frankfurt 81-76. Back then, current Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert was coaching Racing Paris and still far away from landing as an assistant with The Toronto Raptors some years later and in the dreams of many Skyliner fans of ever returning to Frankfurt, ex Phoenix Sun forwad Dan Langhi led Braunschweig in scoring with 19 points in the win, Skyliner Kavossy scoot Franklin led his team in scoring and hobby rapper and Skyliner guard Nino Garris had a smoking hot game making 14 points, four assists and four steals. Frankfurt has won the last 11 games and maybe the 12th game will be a charm for Braunschweig? Possibily playing Frankfurt on neutral ground for the first time will give them luck? “I think that Braunschweig just have to play their game and not worry about the streak, cause once the ball goes up it doesnt matter anymore about the past. I just think they have to come out and play hard and anything can happen they will be alright”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. Frankfurt on the other hand have a 1-3 record on neutral ground since 2002. They lost to Alba Berlin 100-88 in a cup game in Berlin, lost to The Telekom Baskets Bonn in the Frankfurt Festhalle 89-82 and lost to Alba Berlin in teh 2009 semi final cup game in Hamburg and then beating Duesseldorf in the game for third place. “I think playing on a neutral court can be tough but at the same time if it is neutral neither team does have an advantage. I think Frankfurt will adjust just fine”, added TBB Trier guard John Bynum.
After not allowing any brittle air or unwanted snow to enter the Eisbaeren arena last weekend to somehow get Bremerhaven on track, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners not only had to put up with the Braunschweig basketball team, but also had to keep an eye on the mysterious phantom who is always lurking in the Volkswagon arena shadows and has that unpredictable aura in his movement, but the club was able to block all this out and withstand any hardships as they were as focused in their game as 20 year old Sacremento King American Demarcus Cousins was as he showed how unpleased he was not getting the ball at the end of a loss which got him ejected off the team plane because of tensions with a teammate or legendary American actor Mickey Rooney showing astern face and not letting his stepson rob him off his earnings and keeping him 100 yards away as Frankfurt won their third game in a row 68-67 against The New Yorker Phantoms. “The Braunschweig phantom mascot isnt dangerous looking at all, but moreover just looks funny. Kimmo Muurinen used his cape tonight to fly all over the place hitting jump shots and getting rebounds. He set the tempo and without him we would have been in trouble”, stressed 2011 BEKO BBL MVP candidate Dashaun Wood. “I have to thank our own fans, because I feel that they took the fear away from the Phantom with their cheering”, added Marius Nolte. “I think that our Phantom has the possibility to scare little kids, but if he is as scary as Toby the dragon, I dont know since we travel to Artland in two weeks”, joked Nick Schneiders. ” The Phantom looked funny and really should pull up his pants. Our Dunky Kong is a animal and the Phantom a half man”, laughed Quantez Robertson. It is never easy loosing on a last play especially when it happened twice in both games against Frankfurt. Tony Skinn looked as serious and sad after the loss as his X box had been banned from him for life. “This is a game that we should of won. We were up by 7 points in the fourth and lost which shouldnt happen. Frankfurt didnt beat us, but we beat ourselves”, commented Braunschweig guard Tony Skinn. “Frankfurt dug down harder and maybe found something at the end, that we didnt have”, added Braunschweig guard Kevin Hamilton.