Recently a special old friend of the Fraport Skyliners was training at the BCM facilities and it didn´t take long for the secret to be reveled as it was ex Seton Hall(NCAA) standout Jordan Theodore who has had a whirlwind of a summer as months ago it was leaked he would go to Turkey, but then in September he was officially still part of the Milano team, but having the desire to play elsewhere as he and Milan weren´t the best fit, but they weren´t letting him out of his contract just yet. It would have been the announcement of the year and the best news since their 2016 Fiba Europe Cup title had they been able to sign Jordan Theodore, but the money demands must have been so high that Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert most likely didn´t want to think about it, because so severe head aches would have needed extra extra strong pain relieving pills to digest the sum. For the Fraport Skyliners the pre-season has been less of a whirlwind, because for the first time in many years the club had picked up all their pieces early something that hadn´t been the norm as guys like Jordan Theodore and Andrew Rautins had been picked up very late in recent years. The Fraport Skyliners also didn´t have the most optimal pre-season conditions as numerous players were away for a time playing with their national teams for World Cup qualifying, but as always the club made the best out of the conditions. Less than a week before the begin of the 2018-2019 season, the Fraport Skyliners had their last test of the pre-season inviting their BBL neighbors Telekom Baskets Bonn over into their living room for a friendly battle and the full packed BCM crowd wasn´t disappointed as it was a dog fight in the second half which Frankfurt grinded out for the 76-73 win. The first half was a tale of two stories as the Fraport Skyliners dominated the first quarter while the Telekom Baskets Bonn fought back in the second quarter to get back into the game while the second half remained as tight as a full blown up NFL football as Bonn had the last two shots to send the game into OT, but were denied. After the last second win ex NBA player Erik Murphy reflected on the win and the pre-season. “We started slow the last games and this time wanted to come out with more energy. We played well on defense and executed on offense. They are a good team and we knew that it would be a battle. Our fast start helped us. We had foul trouble, but we locked in at the end and got the win. We are still learning how to deal with end of game situations, but we showed good things tonight”, stressed Fraport Skyliner forward Erik Murphy. The Telekom Baskets Bonn played a solid game that had it´s highs and lows, but just were unable to execute properly in the last two minutes. “The first 5-6 minutes of the game put us in a big hole. We showed resilience fighting back, but it´s hard to win in the BBL when your down by 15 points. Important was that we were able to stick together”, stressed ex Giessen 46er TJ DiLeo.
After the huge 105-63 destruction that the Telekom Baskets Bonn performed over their Pro B farm team Dragons Rhondorf, the always boisterous Dragon Dome emptied rather quickly with the possibly of some wanting to reach that café on the Rhein and enjoy one of the last real nice comfortable summer nights of the year. In the quiet gym, a trio of Bonn Americans of James Webb, Charles Jackson and Rashad James came slowly slithering towards the VIP room as they almost combined for half of the clubs points and surely for them it was another normal day at the office, but if they truly knew that their new team was in the final again and would be looking for revenge the next day in the final against Wurzburg is more than unlikely, but as the final fast approached on Sunday, these guys were now aware of the revenge factor and had their game faces on. For s.Oliver Wurzburg they had had a tougher time reaching the final clawing out a difficult crunch-time affair against the Fraport Skyliners, but when it counted most they did the little things better especially in executing on one on one situations and being more aggressive on the boards and getting consistent offensive power from their ex Kansas(NCAA) ace Perry Ellis and getting timely baskets throughout the game from their guard power trio of Cameron Wells, Skyler Bowlin and Jordan Hulls as well as perfect role player Brad Loesing who Frankfurt could never really control over long phases of the game. Both teams were seeking that first title of the season and the Telekom Baskets Bonn would put a big dent into the Wurzburg ambitions of bringing home a second consecutive title as they controlled their destiny in crunch-time and were powered to the title by Mr clutch Rashad James who hit big shots in crunch-time and showed his scoring dominance leading all scorers with 28 points. Despite having just won a title even if it didn´t count, James didn´t bask in the glory of the win or his stellar play, but was already looking forward to the season and how good this team can still get. “We played very well and were strong as a team, but it is still early in pre season, but this win will continue to help us build. Our chemistry continues to be built and once we really start to click as a team, then we will be very scary”, warned ex Siena(NCAA) guard Rashad James. After the loss one could see it on all the faces of the Wurzburg players that they had expected so much more, but at the end of the day they couldn´t execute when they needed to. “We fought hard, but we missed too many open shots. It was just one of those days where they didn´t fall. When shots aren´t falling, then you have to do more at the other end, but we didn´t do that”, expressed 2013 NCAA finalist with Kansas Perry Ellis.
The first quarter showed a strong Bonn side in the first five minutes while the Bavarian squad of head coach Denis Wucherer fought back hard in the last five minutes to shave a seven point deficit down to only two points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn got the quick lead 9-4 as James showed his presence early and just got aggressive and never let up for 40 minutes getting to the free throw line and finishing strong with a lay in. s.Oliver Wurzburg´s offense was stagnant in the first minutes so Cameron Wells had to create for himself and his quickness allowed him to score easily inside as he cut down the Bonn lead to 11-8. But the little Wells one man show didn´t faze Bonn as they upped their lead again to 18-10 as they got hot shooting from Montenegran Bojan Subotic and Charles Jackson and James getting to the free throw line. S.Oliver Wurzburg did close out the first quarter in fine fashion going on a 8-2 run as they got full German support as ex Bonn forward Florian Koch nailed a trey and ex Gotha forward Felix Hoffman also dropped a trey and made a tap in. The Telekom Baskets Bonn did keep the lead as New Jersey native TJ DiLeo scored giving Bonn the 20-18 advantage.
That first weekend in early September typically is a horror for American school kids as it is that last weekend of freedom, that last time on the beach, that last moment to sleep until noon or to be able to catch your favorite TV show as after that the new school year starts and that whole cycle and lifestyle gets back to normal. However in the German basketball community that first September weekend isn´t a horror for kids or adults, but the signal that the new basketball season is not far away. In the month of September there are countless basketball tournaments across Europe where teams prepare their new plays while new players get integrated. One of the first well known basketball tournaments that commence each pre-season in Germany is the Gezeiten Cup in Bad Honnef in the Dragon Dome where Pro B team and farm team of the Telekom Baskets Bonn Rhondorf play their home games. This year the other three teams that were invited were of course the Telekom Baskets Bonn, Fraport Skyliners and s.Oliver Wurzburg. Of all the four teams, Rhondorf had had the longest idle phase as their inspiring season had ended way too early in mid march in the playoffs against Wolfenbuettel. The s.Oliver Wurzburg team played six weeks more as the Americans booked their flights home at the begin of May as they missed the playoffs. For the Telekom Baskets Bonn and Fraport Skyliners, they reached the playoffs, but both bowed out in the quarterfinals. The Telekom Baskets Bonn gave a good fight, but were swept by Bamberg while the Fraport Skyliners gave the mighty FC Bayern Munich a nasty scare taking a 2-1 games lead, but then were rudely squashed by the 2018 cup winner losing by 35 points in game four and by 20 points in game five. All four teams had busily shopped over the summer and fans were greeted by the arrival of some very well known and exciting players as Bonn had reeled in ex NBA player James Webb, the Fraport Skyliners had hauled in Canadian sniper Brady Heslip and ex NBA player Erik Murphy and Wurzburg ex Kansas(NCAA) standout Perry Ellis. The first game on the schedule was a clash between head coach Gordon Herbert and the Fraport Skyliners against his ex team and first team he ever coached in Germany Wurzburg which was in the 2000-2001 season. S.Oliver Wurzburg met the Fraport Skyliners in the first semi-Final and squeezed out a nail bitter 85-79 while in the second semi-final the Telekom Baskets Bonn demolished their farm team Dragons Rhondorf 105-63, but that was expected as their was a huge class difference between the BBL and Pro B team.
Jarelle Reischel is a 26 year old 199cm forward that recently completed his second professional season with PS Karlsruhe Lions (ProA) averaging 13,9ppg, 5,9rpg, 3,0apg and 1,8spg. Last season as a rookie he played with Vechta (BBL) and the Westchester Knicks (D-League). He was born in South Carolina and grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. He headed back to the states in 2008 and returned in 2016. He played at Pleasant Beach HS an dthen played for three NCAA schools with Rice, Rhode Island and E Kentucky playing a total of 125 games. He had his break out season as a senior at E.Kentucky (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 17.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 78.4%. He signed with the Telekom Baskets Bonn today and actually had sat down with German Hoops in May after his season had ended with PS Karlsrruhe.
Jarelle thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and what have you been mainly doing days after your season ended?
At the moment I am still in karlsruhe and since the season ended I been mainly hanging out with my teammates we are such a close group
Congrats on an amazing season with PS Karlsruhe. Two years ago they were still in the Regionalliga and this season was one of the four best teams in the Pro A. Just comparing the talent on this team with so many of the other dep Pro A teams would you ever have expected last September that the team would go so far?
We all expected that we would go this far.Everyone in the program knew what kind of talent we had. Our expectations were high amongst us and the outside just didn’t know that because we have so many names that were just question marks
Julian Gamble sat down and talked to Miles Schmidt-Scheuber about the BBL Play-Off quarterfinals series Brose Bamberg vs. Telekom Baskets Bonn and gave his opinion about the other three quarterfinals.
There have been numerous important dates on and off the court in Bonn like the cities 2000 birthday in 1989, the construction and completion of city hall in 1737 or the yearly carnival festivities that take place in February which sets the city into a crazy frenzy that doesn´t stop until Ash Wednesday and then life goes back to normal for the majority with very little lunatics still living in their little own world days after the nutty partying has ceased. On the court for the Telekom Baskets Bonn there have also been very memorable dates to reminisce about. Dates that no Telekom Baskets Fan wants to ever be reminded about are the five BBL finalist years of 1997,1998,2001, 2008 and 2009 and not to forget the three cup finalist years of 2005, 2009 and 2012. Unforgettable dates that every Telekom Baskets Bonn fan has stored in their memory bank as securely as a bear has his honey during hibernation are the year the club was founded in 1995 and the year they started to battle in the BBL in 1996. Other memorable dates in the history of the basketball club are 2008 when fans moved the 500 meters from the always energetic and vibrant Hardtberg gym which was small and tight and resembled a school gym into the state of the art Telekom Dome which has been their home ever since and has hosted the BBL Allstar days in 2010 and 2015. However not too long ago, fans added a new long lasting date to their date saving list with January 28th, 2018. For most people this was a normal day, but not with Telekom Baskets Bonn fanatic fans. This was the day of the Bamberg massacre. For many fans this day will live as a type of basketball holiday as the club didn´t only beat the Bavarian team, but whipped their buts so bad that they were probably still hurting hours after that certain players had to stand on the bus ride all the way home. A 20 point loss would have been a massive joy for Bonn fans, but Bamberg were whipped silly by 37 points 106-69 and thus this started the slow end to the Trinchieri era. Brose Bamberg would lose three more games in a row after the Bonn loss with the climax happening in Jena where they were embarrassed badly 85-68 and one could sense the players were playing against their coach. Bonn caught Bamberg a few months ago in a very bad time in their season, but things have changed since then and Bamberg has been reborn. It is May, the flowers are blooming, the weather is warm, the café´s are bustling and this is the time when Brose Bamberg come to life. Can the Telekom Baskets win a 5 game series against Bamberg? They have tried in the past and faltered and will do again.
There weren´t many highlights in the regular season for Brose Bamberg since it was the worst performance since the 2008-2009 season finishing 22-12. Not too long ago there was even fear that the club may not even make the playoffs. The biggest problem for the club coming into the season was the loss of key players like Darius Miller, Daniel Theis, Janis Strelnieks and Nicola Melli. After being able to bring in the right players for countless years through the stellar work of scout Brendan Rooney who since has left, the club wasn´t able to bring in those key players that could make an impact like they were hoping for. The club got very talented players, but not all meshed the way management would have hoped for thus which resulted in the team starting off at 3-3. They did have some good performances, but were unable to find consistency and a good run until the beginning of March after the coaching change.
Malcolm Hill is a 22 year old 198cm guard from Illinois playing his rookie season as a professional for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He had a four year career at Illinois(NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 136 games and as a senior played 35 games averaging 17.2ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 78.4%. With Illinois he reached the NIT Sweet 16 in 2014 and Elite 8 in 2017. He spoke to German Hoops before the easyCredit game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
Malcolm thanks for talking to German Hoops. Six days ago you witness the biggest win of the season destroying Bamberg and then a few days later got ousted from the Basketball Champions League competition losing to Besiktas 95-79. Was this one of the worst up and down weeks you have ever had or did you witness that at Illinois(NCAA)?
I don´t see this week as an up and down experience, but more of a new type of learning experience for me. We have a positive attitude going into the Oldenburg game. I thought that we competed well against Besiktas, but they were a very good team.
How is the state of the team at the moment. In a moment like this do veterans like Josh Mayo or Julian Gamble do extra to keep the team spirit up or are there other factors involved?
Those two guys have been a big help keeping everyone positive. They understand that an experience like this can be tough for a rookie.
You are in Oldenburg preparing for an easyCredit BBL game against the EWE Baskets. You won the first game in Bonn rather easily 90-68. You shot very well as a team from outside, won the rebounding battle and coughed up the ball only 7 times. Was this one of the best defensive efforts of the season?
Yes for sure. We did a good job guarding Paulding in that game who can be explosive at any time. Key in that game was Yorman Polas who set the tone on defense and set the bar and we followed him. We were already clicking on offense which helped.
Julian Gamble is a 28 year old 207cm power forward/center from Durham, North Carolina that is playing his fifth professional season and second in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He started his basketball career at Miami(NCAA) in 2008 and played there until 2013 playing a total of 127 games. In 2013 he started his professional career with Saint Vallier Basket Drome (France-ProB): 44 games: 16.3ppg, Reb-3(9.0rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-1(1.5bpg), FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 10.0%, FT: 62.9%. In 2014 he moved to the Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 25 games: 17.0ppg, Reb-3(7.6rpg), 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-1(1.6bpg), FGP: 57.0%, FT: 69.2%. Two seasons ago, he remained with the Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 36 games: Score-5(16.6ppg), Reb-2(8.3rpg), 1.3apg, 1.5spg, Blocks-1(1.9bpg), FGP: 60.8%, FT: 68.1%. Last season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn he played 37 games averaging 13.2ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.7apg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP: 61.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 58.0%; He also played 16 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 12.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 61.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 58.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after the amazing 106-69 bashing of Brose Bamberg.
Julian congrats on the huge 106-69 victory against Brose Bamberg. How long did the celebration period go Sunday? Was the atmosphere after the win in the Telekom Dome an extra special one?
The celebration didn’t last long. We enjoyed the victory while we were at the gym but as soon as we left our focus turned to the big game we have tomorrow. The atmosphere was great, especially against the three time defending champion our fans Energy was definitely high. It was a good evening for us all.
If some one had boasted jokingly in shoot arounds before the game that you would crush Bamberg by 37 points what would you have thought?
Bamberg is a good team and you have to be ready to play them. We are always confident no matter who we play and our focus was always to win the game. Someone could say something like this, but just winning the game was our goal regardless of the score.
You had many great wins in your career including beating Bamberg last season in the playoffs 93-92 where you produced 16 points. Where does this win rank up with your all-time best wins?
It was a great win for us, but in the end just another game in the season. Going into it, many people probably didn’t think we would win but like I said we were still confident. We will definitely remember this game but need to use it as motivation going forward to play the rest of our games with this type of energy and intensity.
The holiday season wasn´t one of the greatest for the Fraport Skyliners in terms of their basketball success. Off the court a Mike Morrison could of played the perfect Santa Claus for the kids with teammate Quantez Robertson as his handy Elf, but on the court the club was unable to get some much needed wins that could of secured a visit to the 2018 EasyCRedit BBL cup top 4 qualifying game. Overall the Fraport Skyliners have been their own plague on the road having lost four of their last five games. A day before Christmas eve, they played one of their worst halves of basketball in the last 10 years as they totally collapsed against their worst enemy Giessen. Eight days later, they must not of had digested their Christmas goose well as they couldn´t escape Wurzburg with a win as their usual trusty defense couldn´t get stops on a regular basis in the second half. The good news for the 2000 BBL cup winner Fraport Skyliners is that whenever they lost on the road, they were able to bounce back and win at home in their living room where they are 7-1 this season and are always very very difficult to beat. The Fraport Skyliners had a do or die game with the Telekom Baskets Bonn for a ticket and chance to reach the EasyCredit BBL top 4 qualifying game. The Telekom Baskets Bonn came into the first game of 2018 with a lot of self confidence having won three of their last four games and had beaten the potent Giessen 46ers at home. The stakes were high for both teams wanting to get into 2018 on a winning note and get closer to that cup qualifying game and fans saw a very exciting game that was played at a high intensity for 40 minutes, but the Fraport Skyliners were unable to close out the game as they controlled the game for 35 minutes, but allowed ex player Konstantin Klein find a quick rhythm which shifted the game in the direction of Bonn who nipped Frankfurt 81-76.
Even if the weather in Germany doesn´t feel like January, 2018 is here and everybody is more than content that it is what it is as in cities like Boston and New York the arctic cold has made the one or other quick trip to the grocery store for top European players Daniel Theis and Kristaps Porzingis a struggle, so for Telekom Baskets Bonn guard TJ DiLeo who hails from Cinnaminson,New Jersey, the -13 degrees Celsius that his family and friends woke up to on the first day of 2018 was something where he could only half-jokingly mutter over the phone with “well better bundle up” as the seemingly tropic like temperature in comparison of 8+ celcius in Bonn was something that Americans on the east coast could only have dreamt about. In Telekom Baskets Bonn country, the last thing on the mind of basketball followers was the balmy winter weather, but moreover about the current season and the very suitable and topical question of “When will the real Telekom Baskets Bonn please stand up?” With 2018 here there have been interesting basketball topics that have developed rather nicely in the last months like the abrupt continuation of the rise of Slovenian wonder boy Luka Doncic. For many he is a one in a million talent that only comes around once in a century and for many is better than Dirk Nowitzki was at that age as he is easily the best Euroleague player at the moment and best 18 year old player on the planet. Some other interesting basketball developments has been the stellar play of the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg who continue to be a quiet title aspiration in the league and a Basketball Champions League title contender as head coach John Patrick continues to demonstrate why he is one of the best coaches in the league. In the NBA, the sudden rise of the Boston Celtics who belong to the top teams in the league despite having lost Gordon Hayward early in the season has been a hot news item. But one topic that just seems to drag on half heartedly and just seem to be going through the motions and not taking off the way the New England Patriots can at any time when they are behind in a game and can react like a wounded coyote are the Telekom Baskets Bonn who have so much talent, but aren´t developing the way they should, but there are reasons for that. The positive aspect is there is a lot of potential in abundance in the roster, but the question is will they be able to implement it n the best way possible which will lead to more success?
It is no secret that the Telekom Baskets Bonn have been the German basketball version of the NFL Buffalo Bills who reached 4 NFL Superbowls losing each one as Bonn have reached their fair of finals in the last 20 years, but are still looking for their first real club title as they are a five time BBL finalist and a three time cup finalist.