Last Weekend a new star was born in the Pro B with Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance who hit the Dragons Rhondorf on the road for 21 points and really demonstrated his wide array of offensive skills, but what really stood out was his amazing and unending athleticism that the opponent was unable to come to terms to. His shooting which tends to be off the radar functioned well as did his rebounding and passing game, but his dunking most likely remained in the minds of many. At the start of the third quarter, he scored back to back buckets in a span of 30 seconds. His second basket was a lay up, but the first one was a hard left handed dunk with authority that captured the attention of his teammates on the bench as they jumped off their seats so quickly after the jam as if someone had secretly filled their seats with hot coals. His quick first step and getting around his man paved the way for the “good night” feeling right before he flew to the basket with the dunk. He didn´t score 40 points, but just the way he played and handled himself displaying a type of special self confidence and finishing so strong at the rim made his performance really stand out. Even though he is mainly seen as playing for the farm team, one has to honestly ask how long it will still be before he makes his BBL debut for Gordon Herbert. He has had some very good test games for the BBL game and sky is the limit for the 20 year old. After he helped lead the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to their first win of the season on the road, he returned home to the BCM to show the home town fans some more added stellar play. Not only was Clarance a theme to the game, but also Wurzburg head coach Eric Detlef who was returning to an old stomping ground as he had coached the Fraport Skyliners Juniors from 2012-2017. After 40 minutes the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had squeezed out a hard fought 74-68 win against TG s.Oliver Wurzburg. After the match Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance was happy the team got the win, but one could sense in his tone and body language that he wasn´t pleased with the play of the team. “They came out with a lot of energy and played well. We matched their energy well in the first quarter, but not so well in the second and third quarters. We picked it up at the end of the third again and kept it a bit in the fourth. We took care of the ball well and executed at times, but made mistakes”, warned Fraport Skyliner Junior Elijah Clarance. Wurzburg head coach Eric Detlev was smiles after the loss, but was also content how well his team kept up with the much stronger Frankfurt team on paper. “I was happy to be back. I had good times here. I told the guys if Frankfurt plays well together then nobody can beat them, but if they don´t play well together than there is a chance. They had 22 more shots. Usually you would lose by 20 points when that happens. Guys like Clarance and Freudenberg are too good for the Pro B. This loss was a good lesson for us. Our mentality is very good. One could see that we were frustrated. With a little luck we could of won, but we couldn´t handle the pressure”, stressed head coach Eric Detlev.
Garrett Jackson is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Portland, Oregon playing his third professional season and first with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) Currently he helped his team remain in the pro B and with one playdown game remaining he is averaging 19,2ppg, 7,6rpg and 2,1apg. Last season he played with the Sydney Kings (Australia-NBL) and the Dandenong Rangers (Australia-SEABL) playing 12 games averaging 16.6ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 70.9%. In his rookie season he played with the NW Tasmania Thunder (Australia-SEABL) playing 15 games: averaging 21.1ppg, 9.4rpg, 3.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 82.8% and with the Melbourne United (Australia-NBL) playing 6 games averaging 5.2ppg, 2.2rpg, 2FGP: 54,5%, 3FGP: 25.0%, FT: 80.0%. He played at USC(NCAA) from 2010-2012 playing 65 NCAA games and at St.Mary’s, CA (NCAA) form 2013-2015 playing 52 games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 8.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 46.7%, FT: 71.9%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball before the end of the regular season before the playdowns started.
Garrett thanks for talking to German Hoops. You have been 3 months in Germany now playing for Pro B team TG s.Oliver Wurzburg. How has the overall experience been for you being this is your first professional season in Europe?
Overall it’s been great. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do what I love on a team of people I enjoy being around. This is my first time in Europe, so I’m doing my best to take in the culture and experience new things every chance I get.
Did the city Wurzburg and Main river remind you a bit of home Portland and the Willamette river. Did that make the first days of the adjustment period a little bit easier in conjunction with English being a language that everybody identifies with
Yeah, there are some similarities. Portland’s a bit bigger and we have a lot more bridges. I was actually surprised at how many people speak English here. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but everyone’s been really helpful. I’m trying to learn some German too.
You played your first two professional seasons In Australia. Did the contact to the team and signing come through your contact to Australian coach Liam Flynn? Talk a little about how you got your feet into the European basketball world?
I hadn’t met Liam prior to this and he’s Australian. I spent the last two years in Australia playing year round in two leagues so I hadn’t been home that whole time. My season just finished up in September where we lost in the SEABL championship. I decided that I would go home and see my family and if an opportunity came up to play in Europe I would take it. I was only home for a couple weeks when Liam contacted me. He was looking for another foreigner for the roster and asked some of his contacts in Australia. A couple people mentioned me. I later found out that some opposing coaches and players, as well as former teammates recommended me. Coach definitely did his homework. I jumped at the opportunity to come out here and play.
With the Pro B regular season winding down, one can pretty much predict well where the post season journeys of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and TG s.Oliver Wurzburg teams will take them. Frankfurt has booked a ticket for the playoffs while TG s.Oliver Wurzburg most likely will play in the playdowns to be able to book their ticket for the upcoming Pro B season. One thing that is never as predictable is what lineup the Fraport Skyliners Juniors will go with on account of their BBL license players and injuries having been a huge factor in the success they have had this season. With Isaac Bonga, one never knows will he suit up or not as he has been concentrating more on the easyCredit BBL this season and only played sporadically in the Pro B. Especially on weekends when the BBL team Fraport Skyliners are in action, his chances of playing become less, but this weekend the team was off as they had back to back games within the week. Bonga had played in the last home game victory against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and had been a vital factor for the success as he took over the game in many phases and finished with a career high 30 points. Fans weren´t disappointed when Bonga arrived in the BCM gym for warm ups and then was present on the court ready for battle again. He didn´t score 30 again like two weeks ago, but this time it was Garai Zeeb again who was the fourth quarter savior as like some weeks ago against KIT Karlsruhe, he had a horrible first half and stepped it up in the second half sparking Frankfurt with 13 points and this time powered home 8 points down the stretch against TG s.Oliver Wurzburg pacing the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to the 75-69 victory.
Miles Jackson-Cartwright is a 25 year old 190cm guard from Van Nuys, California that is playing in his third professional season and second in Germany and first with the TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) averaging 14,7ppg, 5,0rpg and 4,8 apg. His last club was the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProA) playing 29 games averaging 11.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 42.1%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 71.4%. In his rookie season he played with Aris Leeuwarden (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five) playing 18 games: Score-3(16.1ppg), 3.3rpg, Assists-1(5.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 80.2%. He started his basketball career at Pennsylvania (NCAA) in 2010 and played there until 2014 playing a total of 115 NCAA games and in his four year career averaged 11,6ppg, 2,6rpg, 2,8apg and 1,0spg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Miles thanks for talking to German Hoops. We both have a very uncommon same name. How many other Miles´s have you met in your life? My count is less than 5.
Ha! I have actually met quite a few, to be honest. Definitely more than I can count.
You sat out a whole season. Talk a little about your time off. Was it a planned thing to pursue other interests or were offers scarce and just not the right opportunity to play professionally last season?
I actually signed with a Bulgarian team last season before the new year. It did not work out for the best, but I was appreciative of the team for giving me the opportunity obviously, I wanted things to work out differently but I probably would not be in the position that I am now if not for what happened last season.
Congrats on signing with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB). Two seasons ago you played in the German Pro A with the Hebeisen White Wings. Do you feel like your taking a step back this season or what benefits do you see by playing in the Pro B this season?
Thank you! I truly believe that this is the best situation that I’ve been in so far. It’s the best of both worlds for me. I get the chance to lead a young group with the Pro-B team, all while being able to play and learn from Coach Dirk Bauermann and the talented group of guys on the BBL team. Being here with Coach Liam Flynn has always been something that I’ve looked forward to, and the opportunity to also play in BBL games is truly a blessing. This organization is first-class in all facets and I have never been more excited to be playing for a team like I am here.
There was only one win where the smile was at it´s greatest for American Kameron Taylor and that was following his unforgettable buzzer beater pull up jumper against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors which saw nothing but net, but other than that one could really debate in which of the other games his smile was bigger, because the Dragons Rhondorf have easily disposed of every other opponent with Leverkusen, Munich, Schwelm and Karlsruhe that have attempted to make some noise in the loud Dragon Dome and were easily put in their place and sent home trying to figure out what went wrong. Two weeks ago, the Dragons Rhondorf easily took apart HIT GEQOUS Karlsruhe and saw the struggle of Kameron Taylor getting in early foul trouble and regrouping and having a strong second half to produce 18 points in 18 minutes while his teammate German Patrick Reusch was reborn after battling injuries and stepping up big in the absence of Taylor and racking up 18 points in 18 minutes and giving the team that much needed push form the guard position while the American was fighting with his thoughts on the bench. The Dragons Rhondorf came into the game with a potent 9-2 record and resting comfortably in second place in the Pro B south standings sporting a four game winning streak and were looking for their six win a row at home a place that has turned into that special dominating living room as they welcomed the 11th placed TG s Oliver Wurzburg as they had a miserable 1-10 record and were one place away from being the leagues doormat. The Dragons Rhondorf entered the contest as the huge favorite and showed no real signs of having difficulty in losing as they played a solid defensive game and as always when they needed instant points, they looked to Kameron Taylor who came up big in the fourth quarter scoring 12 points and leading his team to their sixth win in a row at home. After the game, the Maryland native was focused and trying to save his smile for another day even if he had flirted with a quadruple double with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and eight steals, he never noticed. “I can´t even imagine getting a quadruple double. I just play my game and my stats come on their own. Statistically this may have been my best defensive game, but I try to compare my best defense to how well we contain the opponents best player”, stressed Kameron Taylor. The focused attitude of the American had more to do with how well he really felt his team played. “It was an ugly game and we weren´t satisfied as a team. We were disappointed and feel that we could of played a lot better, but were happy we got the win. It shows what kind of team we really are when we aren´t happy with a 16 point win”, added Kameron Taylor. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg were without many key players and that showed in the play of the team. “We had a lot of guys that had to step up and play out of position. We lost so much inside and this game was a real challenge. We knew that we had to stop them on transition. I felt we defended and rebounded well for three quarters, but in the end they edged us out. Rhondorf was the better team”, stressed ex USC(NCAA) forward Garrett Jackson.
Marcellus Barksdale is a 24 year old 196cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that recently completed his first professional season in Germany with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) averaging 17,0ppg, 6,0rpg and 3,3apg.He played at IUPUI (NCAA) form 2011-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 8.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 73.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the season.
Marcellus thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and what were your foremost basketball thoughts today?
I’m currently back in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. Honestly, I’ve tried to free my mind from basketball this past week to give my mind and body a chance to rest.
You and TG Wurzburg gave it a great fight, but came up short in a do or die game against the ScanPlus baskets. How disappointed were you of ending the season like this?
It’s never a good feeling after taking a loss, especially a season ending loss. Initially, I was disappointed but looking back on things, my teammates and I were able to come together and we had a special season.
You told me our last interview in January that the team had had the potential to defensively lock team down. In the three game series against the ScanPlus Baskets you allowed 80 points as a team which was also the season average. Was the opponent in the long run just too good offensively to have achieved this goal?
ScanPlus is a very talented team. I felt we were able to set the tone defensiviely in game two, which led us to a win. Ultimately, they made some huge shots in game three. That was the difference.
There is one thing you can´t take away from Vincent Sanford and that is his unending drive like a starved kitten who is shyly and timidly strolling down a city alley looking for any tiny scraps of food preferably tuna fish or it´s abandoned mother to keep chipping away at not only being the best player that he possibly can, but too also never lose that fierce desire to play at the best level even if it has been a slow process. He definitely doesn´t have the same route like a Malcolm Delaney or Brian Roberts who played at high levels like the easyCredit BBL and then made the jump to the NBA, but the American who lists Mr cross over Kemba Walker as his hardest opponent in the NCAA has had to toil in lower leagues in Europe, but now has reached the EasyCredit BBL in Germany. Sanford is a 26 year old 190cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that has continued to battle the odds and now with possibly the help of a coaching change with s.Oliver Wurzburg and has reached one of the top leagues in Europe in Germany with the EasyCredit BBL by accident even if he has the talent. Four months ago, the basketball life of Vincent Sanford looked a lot different.