The last weeks before the FC Bayern Munich playoff series have been at times a disgusting roller coaster ride for the Fraport Skyliners and for a Philip Scrubb he might already have completed a short season ending vacation to Paris or secretly been in Munich for a meal with Marko Pesic concerning lucrative bucks for next season and been back in Ottawa where he is in the offseason and already getting up extra shots in preparation for next season had the club lost their last regular season home to Science City Jena which they were very close to doing after a seemingly curse was erased by the basketball God as three mishaps were rewarded by defensive stops and a Shawn Huff shot saved their season. Two weeks later the Fraport Skyliners aren´t at home digesting a second non playoff season and wondering where they would be with a Jordan Theodore, but are back at their basketball home Fraport arena with seemingly help from the basketball God again as they sit in the driver´s seat having an amazing and really unbelievable 2-1 game lead against Germany´s most famous sports club FC Bayern Munich and can end their season that had very high expectations on Tuesday with a victory. But then again is this really a miracle, because over the years Gordon Herbert has time in and time out shown what he can master even when the odds look bleaker than a tornado filled Oklahoma sky and produce success. He has showed again how he can get the best out of each player at the right moments and how his pinpoint scouting can bring an experienced and so talented team like FC Bayern Munich to unending riddles to how they can counter react when Frankfurt makes a successful adjustment. No matter how this series ends, the Fraport Skyliners should follow Science City Jena and do what they did for Bjoern Harmsen and give him a indefinite contract. He deserves it because he lives for the Fraport Skyliners even if his back would rather decline comment on the matter. Maybe Gordon Herbert is a basketball God in disguise. The last week, he surely has driven his team to go above and beyond, but can they make that last step and slam the door on this season best and most successful team FC Bayern Munich?
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing 2018 easyCredit BBL scoring champion Philip Scrubb after droping 8 points and dishing out 8 assists
If there is anyone in Frankfurt basketball country that had the audacity to say now that they had predicted a Fraport Skyliners series win, they are most likely lying. I have been a staunch believer in the masterful work of head coach Gordon Herbert over the years, but as this series with FC Bayern Munich approached, I saw no hope in this team surviving against Jared Cunningham, Devin Booker, Danilo Barthel and co. I predicted an easy sweep by FC Bayern Munich and then corrected myself giving them possibly one win already remembering that the Fraport Skyliners had won games against FC Bayern Munich in the past and had won game 2 in their living room in the 2015 series. I just wanted to be on the safe side, but my inner thoughts were flooded with sweep, sweep, sweep for the Bavarian side. It was a normal basketball reaction from me as basketball reality was staring in my face. How could I predict a Fraport Skyliners series win after seeing Frankfurt stink up the house against Science City Jena and being crushed in Berlin as the team suffered one of it´s worst defeats in franchise history.
Philip Scrubb scored 26 of his 33 points in the first half and proved once again that he is the league’s topscorer averaging 20.0 points per game
For many years there had been serious harmony in Freak City when head coaches Chris Fleming and Andrea Trinchieri had been at the helm as the most major scandal then would have been if a Daniel Theis and Elias Harris had gotten in a major fight, but not even that happened as despite major competition at their positions, the two Germans were very good friends. But this year the harmony was put on major hold as that once Bamberg consistency had disappeared quicker than ex NBA player Dorell Wright can fly to the rim as it has been a season to forget. Just some weeks ago, Bamberg wasn´t even in the playoff watch, but suddenly they have risen like an eagle and sit at position 4 as they came to Frankfurt. Only 48 hours ago, they disposed of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg winning their fifth game in a row which is their longest winning streak of the season. On the other hand the Fraport Skyliners haven´t played their best basketball either as they entered the game having lost three of their last four games and had lost their last two games at home against Giessen and FC Bayern Munich. Frankfurt erased their bitter three game losing streak with a solid 81-69 win in Bremerhaven and had no problems generating an offense without their second main scoring option Tai Webster as Phil Scrubb like always stepped up with 19 points and the club got steady contribution from Finish national player Shawn Huff and most importantly from Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson who finally had his shooting stroke alive as he responded to his poor shooting of 3/15 in his last four games from outside going 6/9 in Bremerhaven getting 18 points. The Fraport Skyliners and Bamberg have had unforgettable duels in Frankfurt since the 2003-2004 season and Frankfurt wanted to gain more leverage in the playoff picture and did by playing an all around spirited game for 40 minutes as they were able to get a super defensive performance and had a red hot Philip Scrubb who produced 33 shooting 63% from the field leading the way. It was the second win in a row for Frankfurt as they stayed at position 8, but have Wurzburg breathing down their backs are slowly getting into playoff form and heightened their self confidence one bit more for the last three games. After the big win, all of the Frankfurt journalists swarmed around Scrubb, but a Jordan Sibert was all lonely and had a big smile on his face after the victory. “This win was big for our playoff hopes. We needed this win and got it. We still have a long way to go though. We gave a good game on both ends of the court and Philip Scrubb carried us. Defense was our key to the win. We did a good job with our rotation and our matchups and just helping each other out all night long”, described ex Dayton(NCAA) guard Jordan Sibert.
Even if the Fraport Skyliner players forgot the 83-59 massacre in Giessen a little more than two months ago, head coach Gordon Herbert probably thought of that loss daily wondering what it was that negatively turned their season around? The Fraport Skyliners had had a 9-4 record going into that Giessen game on the road and anything but a win seemed realistic, but the surprising loss had turned into a negative trend in that Frankfurt had had a 3-6 record since then and suddenly the playoffs seemed to be a question mark. However their last win in Ulm 18 days ago had lifted the team´s spirits and one can´t forget that they had had suffered many unwanted injuries in that 9 game span and players had been slowly been coming back. The Fraport Skyliners had had a long break of 18 days as they had to wait out the World Cup qualifying games schedule and had a lot of time to work on their weaknesses as well as producing a potent game plan against the s.Oliver Wurzburg squad who had creamed them in their own living 81-64 shortly before the new year. On that night the Bavarian squad came alive in the second half and in total dropped 15 three´s which put out the lights for the Fraport Skyliners. Both teams were fighting for a playoff spot and the perfect playoff atmosphere was set in the Fraport arena as 5000 fans came out for a mild Sunday afternoon matinee and saw a hard fought game that wasn´t pretty and despite Frankfurt having control of the game, they never could totally shake Wurzburg from their backs as they grinded out a brutal 78-72 victory which held them on playoff course.
Philip Scrubb led Frankfurt in scoring (31) and rebounding (9)
After the game Frankfurt top scorer Philip Scrubb reflected on the big win and the battle to close down a Robin Benzing. “It was a hard fought game and Wurzburg came at us in the second quarter. But we played them tough and rebounded well. We also hit some shots when it counted most. I missed some games this season while Benzing stayed very consistent. He is really difficult to stop. I felt we did a good job making it hard for him to score in the fourth. That was one of the keys to getting the win”, warned Canadian national player Philip Scrubb. For s.Oliver Wurzburg, it was a bitter loss as they need every win they can get for reaching the playoffs. They did a good job fighting until the end, but had problems getting stops and getting Benzing involved in crunch-time. “We didn´t rebound well and let Scrubb loose. We need to tune up our defense more in the next games to be successful”, stressed s.Oliver Wurzburg guard Abdul Gaddy.
-30- Philip Scrubb / FRAPORT SKYLINERS (blue) / -41- Geoffrey Groselle / EISBÄREN BREMERHAVEN (white)
Its approximately 3.20 pm in the afternoon on a cool Saturday afternoon and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have just completed the first quarter and are behind 25-14 against the ScanPlus Baskets and hadn´t found a remedy on how to stop Hayden Lescault until that moment as he had scored 10 points and later would win the game with a buzzer beater and the crowd is sparse for a Pro B game which is the third German basketball league. However there is one spectator sitting up in the stands by himself enjoying some take out chicken and looking very sporty in his attire. The young man explains to me that The ScanPlus Baskets are a very tough and physical team and have a lot of experience. You could see that Frankfurt was missing a big man and it was tough to match up. This wasn´t some dad of a player, coach or basketball writer sprouting his expertise knowledge of the game, but Philip Scrubb professional basketball player of the Fraport Skyliners. When he left his mark at Carleton(CIS) winning 8 titles, for some he became known as the greatest Canadian college player of all-time. On a free afternoon before the highly anticipated Sunday battle in Bamberg against top team Brose Bamberg most of Scrubb´s teammates are elsewhere and trying to free their mind before getting mentally focused for the Bamberg duel. A guy like Quantez Robertson was probably spending time with his cute kids, a Mike Morrison was possibly doing a play afternoon with his son and Tai Webster might have been skyping with his family back home in New Zealand. Having the label of being the greatest Canadian college player of all-time may not have the same clout as being the greatest Canadian basketball player of all-time which Steve Nash pretty much has racked up, but definitely an honor that he appreciates. If a Steve Nash, Andrew Bennett or Andrew Wiggins were sitting in Scrubb´s place in the stands fans surely would recognize them, but with Scrubb he looks like that normal Joe Schmo in appearance, but when he is on the court it´s a totally different story as he becomes that amazing player with phenomenal shooting abilites, but also overall excellent offensive skills and a basketball IQ that any player would die for. So what is the greatest Canadian college player of all-time doing at a minor league basketball setting? Most professional basketball players wouldn´t waste their time taking in a game like that even though his teammates Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison are often there as well, but for Scrubb being a faithful spectator watching his team´s farm team is as normal as practicing free throws every day. “ I just like watching basketball and I think that it is important to support the guys. I´m living on my own so usually I don´t have anything else to do”, stressed Philip Scrubb. In his rookie season when asked about that greatest Canadian college player of all-time he responded very truthfully “There have been many great players from Canada. I played at the best program and for the best coach. There was much handed to me. Winning improves the way people look at you. I was lucky to be on winning teams. The media helps people remember this”, stressed Phiip Scrubb. His character really stands out and get´s lauded everywhere he goes. “He is quiet and humble and never talks about his self. He works hard, listens and always wants to help the team first”, stressed Valencia forward Aaron Doornekamp. Even if he missed his entire second season with a knee injury, the Canadian from Vancouver is back fresher than ever and on route with winning another greatest label if he continues his stellar play in Germany in the EasyCredit BBL.
Almost eight months ago a tall young man that looked like he could have just come from a long Caribbean trip or had fallen asleep under the tanning machine was in the Fraport arena and really stood out from the rest of the spectators as he was the tallest in his seating area. One might not have right away come to the notion that he was related to Fraport Skyliner Philipp Scrubb, but the Carlton University sweat shirt that he was wearing and his dark tint could have been the needed hint that these two people might be related. Six days after his rookie season had ended with Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) where he had poured in 26 points in a loss to BC Nokia, The tall figure that was roaming the Fraport arena was in fact Thomas Scrubb the older brother of Philipp and was in Germany watching his brother play a game. After the Fraport Skyliners had easily disposed of the 2004 Fiba Europe Cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC 89-61 and Philip Scrubb had contributed four points and four assists, both brothers met after the game and had some brief small talk before the younger brother went to the fans to give the obligatory post game autographs. When one observes the two Canadian brothers who made watching basketball so much more enjoyable in the last five years at Carleton(CIS), Philip seems like he could moonlight as a ball boy at an NBA game getting balls for the players and being too shy to answer after getting asked a question or an altar boy who attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying and ringing the altar bell and just standing by the side of the priest like a loyal dog does his master. Thomas on the other hand could easily moonlight as a fitness trainer as his seemingly perfect looking body would be destined for that job or as a model gracing the cover of Fitness magazine. Even if Philip could get lost in the shuffle of a group of basketball players walking down a hall and Thomas rather be asked what the easiest weight lift plan could be instead of what the correct and easiest method is too getting a rebound, once these two brothers slip on their jersey´s and lace up their sneakers and step on the basketball court, they are in their perfect world and everyone would experience that their passion and biggest strength is basketball. One thing that stands out with both players, is their low key demeanor that seems to be cemented inside them as firmly as a new laid down drive way. There is no cockiness or self adulation present in their characters and that reflects their play as they display pure unselfishness on the court. Last season Philip explained how their parents set them on the right path to how to deal with success the correct way. “If you do a good job on the court then you feel good internally”, explained Philip Scrubb.
Murphy Burnatowski is a 25 year old 200cm forward from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada that is playing his third professional season and first with Cytavision Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A). He started his basketball career with Maine (NCAA) in 2009 where he plyed two seasons playing 56 NCAA games. He then moved to Colgate (NCAA) where he played two seasons and 62 NCAA games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 14.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 76.8%. He started his professional basketball career in 2014 with WKS Slask Wroclaw (Poland-TBL): 12 games: 1.2ppg, 1.4rpg, left in Jan.’15, later that month moved to SLUNETA Usti nad Labem (Czech Republic-NBL, starting five): 21 games: 11.5ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 44.5%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 67.2%. Last season he played with Starwings Basket Regio Basel (Switzerland-LNA, starting five): 30 games: Score-3(20.5ppg), 7.5rpg, 1.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 72.0%. He spoke to German Hoops before a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bonn against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Murphy thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. What experiences have you had here? You played in the Czech republic as a rookie and last season with the Starwings Basket Regio Basel (Switzerland-LNA)
I have been to Germany many times. Most recently last season when I was playing in Switzerland. Basel was only about a five-minute drive from the German border so I would go frequently.
The basketball Hessen Derby is one of the highlight dates to mark each season along with the Big Three B games with Bamberg, Berlin and Bayern Munich as the rivalry between the Fraport Skyliners and Giessen 46ers is unmatched in the easyCredit BBL as in the last 10 years there have been some unforgettable games like the Desmond Ferguson 30 point game in Giessen or the Rouven Roessler buzzer beater in Frankfurt which left the one or another hardcore fan with the name Rousler forever enshrined in his mind. But there was also a down period from 2013-2015 where the Hessen Derby between the two clubs was absent as the Giessen 46ers moved down to the Pro A and came back to the BBL in 2015 thanks to the hardnosed and precise coaching of ex German national player Denis Wucherer. The Hessen Derby has a special explosive force every season simply because of the intense atmosphere especially in the Giessen arena, but also because of the fan support, but this season this out of the ordinary rivalry was getting a special player spice that it had never seen before, but unfortunately there will be no head to head dynamic Scrubb Duo in the Hessen Derby this season. It is not every day that there are two brothers playing in the easyCredit BBL, but even rarer when two brothers of the amazing magnitude of Philipp Scrubb and Thomas Scrubb who are legends at Carleton university in Canada and would probably be even more known if the country didn´t have ice hockey as their main sport. Philipp Scrubb already wooed the BBL last season with the Fraport Skyliners coming in mid season and being a vital spark plug from the bench and was a key contributor in their success and winning the Fiba Europe cup. He shone with his all-around stellar play and total unselfishness of a player even if his deadly shooting stood in the focus. Even if they would have been foes on the court this weekend, it is refreshing to know how thankful one brother was for having the chance to play together with his brother in college. “It was great playing with my brother during my university career. We never won together in high school so it was great to win so much together at Carleton”, added Thomas Scrubb.