Obviously being able to catch a glimpse of the old school and real NBA legends like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson strolling around the Thomas & Mack center and wondering what they actually and really think about many young future NBA players and what they would never disclose to the press is mind boggling, but really everyone who is in the arena is really there to watch exciting new NBA talent and good basketball. When observing the hoop talent, you really come across three types of players at the NBA Summer League. First you have the NBA lottery picks like the Deandre Ayton´s and Marvin Bagley´s who have that unending athleticism and one wonder´s at times what their mommy´s have secretly fed them for breakfast all that time. Second you have the rest of the current 2018 NBA draft picks like a Michael Porter Jr of the Denver Nuggets who for many got drafted quite late, a Moritz Wagner of the Lakers where many wonder can he already be an impact player as a rookie or a Hamidou Diallo of the well known basketball institution Kentucky who is property of the Brooklyn Nets and one of many talented players that will either make the NBA or play in the G-League. Third you have that already professional player who has gained some experience overseas, but still listed as an NBA rookie like Shavon Shields who has two years of pro ball in Europe under his belt or a Phil Goss who at age 35 could be Isaac Bonga´s dad and the oldest in the competition having played 13 professional seasons and nine in Italy having called the breathtaking city of water ways Venice home for two seasons a place that a Trae Young probably has never visited, but could in the summer time as a tourist or a Reggie Upshaw who was a rookie in Germany and looking to make that next step perhaps in the NBA?
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.
After the embarrassing and unacceptable 83-59 loss in Giessen shortly before Christmas, one would have expected a total 180 degrees turnaround in the return game and the Fraport Skyliners showcasing ecstatic faces after the win, but instead players moped back into the dressing room after the 86-70 loss and sweep by the Giessen 46ers with their heads hanging and fearing to have to confront head coach Gordon Herbert in the dressing room with his post game rant. Four year Skyliner veteran and Florida native Mike Morrison was limping to the dressing room like a destroyed World War 2 battle ship and the usual taciturn Philip Scrubb seemed even more quiet just with the dejected expression on his face. Gordon Herbert left right after the press conference skipping the normal VIP room dinner and one could only have hoped that he had calmed down by Easter Sunday. The only good news was that despite the poor sweep to the Giessen 46ers, the Fraport Skyliners were still in seventh place, but had teams like ratiopharm Ulm and Giessen close on their heels with only one win less for the playoff hunt. However with so many tough games remaining against playoff teams, the 2004 BBL champion had to start winning games against lesser teams in order to have some leverage if they lose some games to the other top teams down the stretch. The Fraport Skyliners had one of those must win situations against 2004 Fiba Europe cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC who they had barely survived winning a nail bitter 96-93 in their first meeting as new Skyliner Jordan Sibert put a scare into his new team with 23 points while Philip Scrubb and Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann carried the Fraport Skyliners with 47 points combined.
Tai Webster made 11 of 18 shots and finished the game with 26 points.
The contest also featured the first meeting between Jordan Sibert and his ex team who had rudely disposed of him after bringing back last season´s hero Andrew Warren. The Mitteldeutscher BC entered the game in no man´s land with 8 wins, but wanted to close out the season strong, while Jordan Sibert who had put up strong stats with the Mittledeutscher BC was searching for some revenge. Sibert didn´t gain revenge with his play in limited minutes, but had the last laugh as the Fraport Skyliners disposed of the Mitteldeutscher BC 83-67 keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Sibert had a smile on his face, but one could sense that he was disappointed he couldn´t contribute more on the court. “The win was important. It was like a practice again for me seeing the guys. It was good to see the guys healthy and playing. There are no hard feelings. I´m happy that we stuck to the game plan, executed on offense and were aggressive on defense”, stressed ex Dayton(NCAA) guard Jordan Sibert.