In the last few days in Las Vegas, nothing was out of the ordinary except for in Paris where people were going crazy after their Les Bleues reached the 2018 World Cup, but in the city where gambling is a way of life all was normal as the city remained a sizzling hot stove in the desert with the slot machines in full swing being operated mostly by tourists, the hotel pools packed with guests looking for a major cool down and in the Thomas & Mack center, fans witnessed nonending basketball action with 15 games being played and packed action as many of the NBA future stars were at work and didn´t disappoint anyone. As usual Fraport Skyliners past and maybe present as some are still hoping that Philip Scrubb and Tai Webster might return back to Frankfurt as the Skyliners budget was suddenly heightened with the money from the Bonga Lakers signing, but latest reports have speculated that this won´t be the case, but dreaming to keep that Skyliners chemistry is always possible. Also other Germans were in action like Moritz Wagner while ex Artland Dragon big man Isaiah Hartenstein sat out the 104-90 win by the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday due to an injury in his right hand, but it was nothing serious.
While all of the football world had an off day on Sunday from the World Cup and were already making early predictions who will be crowned 2018 champion and if England can go all the way and win again after beating Germany in 1966 and wondering if they will continue their sudden surprising penalty kick mastery if needed, but in Las Vegas, there was no day off as the 2018 NBA Summer League continued with day three. 10 teams played including three Fraport Skyliners as well as Germans Moritz Wagner and Isaiah Hartenstein. Even if basketball is the number one priority for all the basketball players, one can´t neglect talking about the smoking heat in Las Vegas that is something that is always present in the dog days of summer. After his first post game interview after the 96-79 win against the Philadelphia 76ers, Isaac Bonga who has a pretty good English for an 18 year old German, but will get even better with time with more repetition was asked about how he communicates with German teammate Moritz Wagner. Bonga who is two years his junior commented with saying just a little German, because Wagner who has been playing in the states since 2015 with Michigan(NCAA) has already adapted that English basketball language which is only normal. So concerning the radical heat something Bonga isn´t used to since Germany is a lot cooler, he could have pranked his teammate if he knew how warm it would be on Sunday and replied “it´s going to be 49 degrees. A shocked Wagner might have replied with what 49 degrees? Is it going to snow now”? Bonga might have answered with not 49 degrees Celsius which the two German teammates might communicate with in German, but he would have said “49 degrees Fahrenheit. That is how extreme the weather Sunday was and with what players had to deal with, but when the main theme is basketball and the main goal is trying to impress NBA teams, being able to block out the intense heat is not an option, but mandatory. One player who is living his own basketball dream in Germany and knows something of heat after growing up in Florida and battling brutal humidy in the summer is Orlando Parker. He went from the Regionaliga with Baskets Vilsbiburg to the German Pro A in three seasons and has become a solid Pro A player with PS Karlsruhe. He remembers his first encounter against Bonga in 2016 as he watched the German score 6 points in his Pro B debut helping the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to a tough 61-56 grind out win on the road. “When I played against him I knew nothing about him besides his size and potential. But I definitely could see a player who has the skills and versatility to be good player at the next level. He impacted the game with his size and ability to handle the ball, which was amazing to watch for someone so young. If the Lakers work with him and believe in his potential the way Frankfurt believed. Then the sky is the limit for the kid. I wish him the best”, warned PS Karlsruhe forward Orlando Parker.
With the Utah and Sacramento NBA Summer Leagues history, teams and players now have traded the mountains of Salt Lake City and the old town of Sacramento while not on the court for the Thomas & Mack center and glitz of the always happening and wide awake Las Vegas. On Friday the 2018 easyCredit BBL scoring sniper Philip Scrubb had his first action in 2018 with the Washington Wizards after having made his debut back in 2015 in Orlando with the Memphis Grizzlies where he played 5 games averaging 2.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 20.0% and in Las Vegas with the Toronto Raptors where he played 4 games averaging 5.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0apg. The ex Carleton stand out who won 7 titles there and won the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners came from the bench as the Washington Wizards went mostly with their starters who averaged 28 minutes in the 72-59 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some of the more known players this summer for Washington are guys like Aaron Harrison, and Thomas Bryant. Scrubb logged 13 minutes and apparently isn´t quite used to the rims in the Thomas & Mack center still searching for the feel and touch as he went 0/4 from the field and 0/3 from outside as his usually very feared three pointer is still looking to drop. He also hauled down four rebounds and coughed up the ball three times. Scrubb next plays on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
It is no surprise that one has seen easyCredit BBL teams feature players at the NBA Summer League over the years. In 2014, the Fraport Skyliners had current FC Bayern Munich forward Danilo Barthel suit up for the Miami Hear and he held his own being teammates with NBA players like 2014 NCAA champion Shabaaz Napier with Uconn and Justin Hamilton. However it is rare when a easyCredit BBL team is able to showcase more than one as this summer the Fraport Skyliners will be able to observe three players displaying their abilities with Tai Webster Philip Scrubb and Isaac Bonga.
15.05.2018 / Basketball BBL / Playoff-Viertelfinale / -0- Tai Webster / FRAPORT SKYLINERS
Ex Carleton sniper and all around great player Philip Scrubb helped Canada at the 2019 world cup qualifying games last weejned with wins against the Dominican Republic where he contributed six points and four assists in 22 minutes and stroked home 14 points in 17 minutes in a crushing 30 point victory against the Virgin Islands. Scrubb will suit up for the Washington Wizards in Las Vegas this weekend and will be teammates with some well known players like Thomas Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Aaron Harrison of the Dallas Mavericks and Devin Robinson of the Washington Wizards. He also will be teammates with Phil Goss who is one of those players that has had a solid career in Europe and looking to turn some heads of the many NBA Gm’s on hand. Sam Cassell Jr will also be on the roster a guy who stands out just with his well known name. Isaac Bonga is slated to play for the Los Angeles Lakers with the official announcement still not having been made.
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.