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.
Philip Scrubb has played against many noteworthy players in his basketball career and got a sweet taste in the summer of 2015 when he took part at the Marchand Cup in San Juan (Puerto Rico) -15 (Gold) playing 4 games averaging 10.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 46.7%, FT-3(85.7%)
and at the FIBA Americas in Mexico -15 (Bronze) playing 10 games averaging 7.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 85.7%. There he played against the best players that the America´s have to offer. Some of these intense challenges that he had to take on was battling NBA and former NBA players like Jose Barea, Luis Scola, Andreas Nocioni or Gustavo Ayon and held his own. Having to battle teammates like Cory Joseph, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson this summer or guys like Andrew Wiggins, Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk last summer in practice most likely made him better as a player without him really noticing. However the biggest battle that he had to conquer with team Canada was to beat France and NBA legend in the making Tony Parker. If Scrubb was in awe of the four time NBA champion and six time NBA allstar was unknown since it isn´t always easy to get underneath the game face of the Canadian. Of course it was a huge deal to face an icon like Parker, but Scrubb knew that with the unbelievable deep roster and talent of the Les Bleues, he had to focus on every player and play team basketball if they had any chance to win. Team Canada had the chance to qualify for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with a victory and Scrubb had to block out too much respect for Parker and co and just play their game knowing that they could produce some new Canadian basketball history with a victory.
A few days ago, the small beautiful country of New Zealand which is best known for their breathtaking landscape and having been the location for the filming of the Lord of the Rings movies and the tiny country that has only 4,4 million inhabitants to boast hasn´t been known for exporting great basketball players except for guys like Steven Adams, Sean Marks and Aaron Baynes to the NBA had the big mighty Les Bleues France at the brink of a loss. This summer the French national team boasts four current NBA players like Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum, but also ex NBA players like Nando De Colo and Mickael Gelabale, but France rallied back and showed their true colors unleashing a lethal 22-2 run in the fourth to escape with a hard fought 66-59 win over the disappointed New Zealand nation. This summer New Zealand has a very hungry group of players that mostly play in the NBL league at home, but also have a few players abroad like Tai Jack Webster who played against the top young Kids in the states at Nebraska (NCAA) or Isaac Fotu who plays for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-Liga Endesa) or Thomas Abercrombie who played at Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL) last season. Corey Webster led New Zealand with 21 points and had the hot hand even if he only shot 7/22. He is definitely a guy that loves to say inside his mind “bombs away” when he is parked behind the three point line. Canada was fortunate that France was able to come back and win the nail bitter, because if they hadn´t Philip Scrubb and co would have had a date with France already in the semi-finals instead of with New Zealand.
Playing back to back games is nothing new for Philip Scrubb as he got a hang of that last season playing NBA Summer league for the Toronto Raptors so having only 24 hours to digest the victory against Turkey before suiting up against Senegal was no sweat for the Canadian native. He surely could of found something to do to pass the time as there is enough to do in a city like Manilla that boasts 1,7 million people like reading up on the history of the city that was founded in 1571 or just daze out of his high rise hotel and enjoy all the lights that make the city seem like a little New York. He most likely just relaxed and got mentally prepared for the next game against African nation Senegal and possibly watching some last minute film on Clevin Hannah of Endesa league team Bilbao who played Eurocup against German teams Bonn and Oldenburg last season.