Sometimes the overwhelming differences that two basketball teams may possess on paper can be as hard to digest for an opposing coach in terms of what strategy he will use for 40 minutes as it was NFL coaches and defenses to figure out how to stop a Tom Brady of the New England Patriots who at age 39 seems to be playing like in his prime and having that very special and rare football gen called forever young. When one observes Germany´s youth league NBBL which displays the faces of tomorrow and possible professional players in the making, one can´t always expect games in the 90´s or a 50% field goal percentage as these kids are all still learning, but sometimes the stats on paper do tell the story. This was the case as unbeaten Eintracht Frankfurt who had beat MTV Kronberg in a thrilling OT game where they showed their true colors in OT and last weekend needed a 26 point explosion in the fourth quarter to leave the Junior Baskets Rhein Necker in the dust faced off against the 1-1 Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen in another classic Hessen derby. The guests lost the first game of the season against Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg with 65-58, but last weekend nipped the well-known basketball academy Urspring 55-53. The immense statistical advantages that Eintracht Frankfurt had were mindboggling as they averaged 82 points to 56 points of Langen, had the massive rebound edge of 51-26 and in the playmaking department also had more creativity with the 20-11 edge. Langen did have the better defense in the first two games giving up only 59 points while Eintracht Frankfurt did 65 which wasn´t too shabby either. Stats are one thing, but in the end the only thing that counts is what happens on the court for 40 minutes and that is when both teams leave everything they have on the court. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen played a hard first half where nobody would of noticed any kind of big advantage for Eintracht Frankfurt, but the home team did break out of their shell in the third leading by as much as 17 points only to see the guests fight back and force OT, but then ran out of gas as Eintracht Frankfurt squeaked out a 82-74 win. After the game, 18 year old German Konstantin Schubert didn´t look anymore pooped than after any other game, but he had played an overwhelming 81 minutes in 17 hours dating back to the Fraport skyliners Juniors OT win in Nordlingen the night before, but was still able to give sound answers concerning his second OT win within 24 hours. “I feel very tired. This was my second OT game. I played 42 minutes last night and 39 minutes now. We were up by 17 in the third and can´t let the opponent come back like that. We brought more power than Langen did into the OT and hit the deciding shots that gave us the win”, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt forward Konstantin Schubert. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen played a very spirited game, but used up a lot of energy after being down 17 in the third and just didn´t have the needed gusto in OT to prevail. “This was a tough loss for us. The third quarter killed us. We never gave up until the end, but Frankfurt just had more energy than we did”, added Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen forward Julian Pfaff.
Ian Sheldon is a 196cm forward from Traverse City, Michigan that is starting his professional basketball career in Germany with Regionaliga team TV Langen. He played basketball and football at Hillsdale (NCAA2). He spoke to German Hoops recently before he made the trip to Germany to join his new team TV Langen.
Ian thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment an dhow is your summer going?
Currently I’m on my way home from Philadelphia. I was out there playing in The Basketball Tournament – a $1 million nationwide professional tournament. My summer is going great! Spending all of my time in the gym training and with family and friends.
Welcome to your future new second home Germany. You have signed a contract to play for TV Langen. How blessed do you feel at the moment for getting a chance like this?
I feel incredibly blessed to have received this opportunity. It was always my dream to play professional basketball. It’s hard to fully convey how grateful I am to be playing professionally for TV Langen.
Martinis Woody is a 33 year old 201cm forward from South Carolina that recently completed his sixth professional season and third with TV Langen. He played at Benedict(NCAA2) and turned professional in 2009 and played for NOMA Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 12 games: 20.8ppg, 11.8rpg, 2.2bpg, 1.6spg, 1.5apg, FGP: 60.9%, FT: 64.9%. In 2010-2011 he played for CRE Eagles Itzehoe (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 21 games: 18.5ppg. In 2011-2012 he played for SSV Lokomotive Bernau (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games: 16.3ppg, Reb-3(10.6rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 72.6. He moved to TV Langen in 2012-2013 and has been a top forward in the Pro B for the last three seasons. Last season with TV Langen he played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 9.1rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 68.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball
Martinis thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?
I’m currently home in Greenville SC.
It is fast approaching August and the new season is quickly approaching, but you still are unsigned. Are you getting nervous about still not being signed?
Not nervous God has a plan just waiting to see who need a great big man down low.
The one guy Martinis Woody hails from South Carolina and the other guy Jermale Jones from Alabama and in the States the south is as big as many countries in Europe put together and diverse as accents are in Germany, but in Germany the area called Hessen is about as big as the State of South Carlolina and here it is a lot easier to meet both guys at some sporting event especially in Frankfurt. For the experienced 201cm power forward Martinis Woody, it takes him 20 minutes to drive 23 kilometers to the Fraport arena while it takes Jermale Jones the 28 year old 186cm guard from Lich about an hour to travel 60 kilometers. These two Americans who have played in Germany the last years have made it an obligation to get to Frankfurt whenever they can within their schedule to watch Beko BBL team the Fraport Skyliners and have seen each other more than any other opponents in the German pro B this season off the court as one can find them sitting in the first row often alongside Fraport Skyliners juniors like Kyle Fossman and Andrew Bock catching the action. Missing this battle was also not an option for close friend Quantez Robertson and teammates of the Fraport Skyliners Sean Armand and Justin Cobbs who got off the plane from Siberia to come to Langen to watch them duel. However this weekend they met again, but on the floor in do or die Pro B play downs as both had split the season series as both teams had won their home games. Both guys had huge games in the first Langen contest as Woody had 20 points and 16 rebounds while Jones had 26 points and they battled again for the third time and after three games Jones has the 2-1 season lead against Woody as the Licher Basket Baeren Squeezed out a 61-60 nail bitter. “We needed the win tonight. We knew that we had to come out with a lot of energy to match theirs as they were better team in the first half. However we came out in the third quarter had less turnovers and got buckets inside. At the end we kept fighting which gave us the win. When Woody and I play against each other it goes deeper than basketball. We may not be friends on the court, but when the game is over it is like family between us. We found that connection in Bernau when we were teammates some years ago”, stressed Lich guard Jermale Jones. “We have to keep our heads up now. We played well for 40 minutes. We have five games left and still have to go to Lich. Jones and I do some trash talk on the court and aren´t friends on the court, but at the end we always shake hands. It is always a pleasure to play against him”, added TV Langen forward Martinis Woody.
Maxim Schneider is a 23 year old 184cm point guard playing his fourth season with TV Langen. He started his basketball career in 2008 with DJK MJC Trier (Regionalliga). He spoke to German Hoops after the 61-60 loss to the Licher Basket Baeren.
Maxim thanks for talking to German Hoops. A tough 61-60 loss to the Licher Basket Bahren. What were the main reasons for the win loss against Lich?
It was almost like last week where we played good for 35 minutes and couldn´t hold the lead at the end. The Lich zone killed us. We had a miscommunication on the last play. Sharda called a different play than what the others expected. The Tom Alte shot wasn´t planned.
TV Langen play against Lich, Speyer and Saarlouis in the play downs. How do you see the chances overall for TV Langen?
I think that we will have a good chance against Speyer. They play a structured basketball like we do. Saarlouis will be tough because they play more college style. Rickey Easterling is tough and we need to control him. Despite the Lich loss we still have good cards in the play downs.
Kevin Luyeye is a 23 year old 196cm forward that is playing his first season with TV Langen. He started his basketball career with ASC Theresianum Mainz (ProB) in 2008 where he played until 2010. He then moved to the Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt II (ProB): 18 games: 1.8ppg, 1.6rpg, also played at Eintracht Frankfurt (2.Regionalliga). He then moved back to ASC Theresianum Mainz (Regionalliga) for two seasons. Last season he played for SG TVD-BIS Speyer (ProB) playing 28 games and averaging 7.6ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 22.5%, FT: 44.8%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 76-66 loss to TG Wurzburg Baskets Akademy.
Kevin thanks for talking to German Hoops. A tough loss against Wurzburg tonight. What were the main reasons for the loss?
We gave the game away in the fourth quarter with many turnovers. We weren´t playing aggressive and lost our self confidence.
TV Langen was in the playoff hunt until last weekend. It lost five of the last six games. Why was the team unable to win games in these important stretch?
I think that the loss to Hanau was the deciding point. We still had a chance for the playoffs, but that loss robbed us of our self confidence. We had many tight loses and our motivation left us. We didn´t have much luck the last weeks.
Anish Sharda is a 32 year old 188cm American point guard that also has the Indian citzenship and is playing his ninth professional season and first with TV Langen. He started his basketball career in 2001 with Moorpark JC. H ethen finished school at University of Mary (NAIA) in 2005 and as a senior averaged 15.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, 45.9% FGs, 38.7% 3-pts, 83.2% FTs. He came to Germany in 2007 and played two seasons for ASC Theresianum Mainz (Germany-Regionalliga) helping them move up to the German Pro B in 2008. He then played a season for USC Freiburg and for Hanau from 2010-2014 helping them move from the Regionaliga to the Pro B in 2011. Last season for TG 1837 White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProB) he played 24 games averaging 12.4ppg, 2.9rpg, Assists-5(4.9apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 85.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball
Anish thanks for talking to German Hoops. You came to Europe in 2007 and have always played in Germany. Why has Germany become your second basketball home?
Yes it is my second home. I am very thankful that I got another opportunity to play in Germany. My wife is from Mainz and another reason why I love Germany. I have felt comfortable wherever I have played in Germany and have always been treated well. I am so thankful that I can continue to do what I love which is play basketball.
Except for a season in Freiburg you have mostly played in the Rhein Main area. Has the international flair in general here been something that has kept you comfortable and have had the need to explore other basketball areas in Germany. You signed late into the season with TV Langen. Were you almost retired at age 32. How close was the end of your professional basketball career had you not signed for Jogi Barth in Langen?
I have always felt very comfortable in this region. Even now playing for Langen I live in Mainz. Mainz isn´t big but has that city flair. I signed late as I had a hard time trying to find a team and I don´t know why. The later it got the less I thought of retiring. I stayed in shape with the Mainz team and am thankful that Jogi Barth took a chance on me as I will do my best to help the team win games.
TV Langen and South Carolina native Martinis Woody could call the Fraport arena his second living room as he is there almost every weekend watching the Fraport Skyliners and his buddy Quantez Robertson battle Beko BBL or Eurochallenge opponents, but even if he often visits the BCM gym with TV Lich guard Jermale Jones where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors duel against German Pro B teams, he couldn´t call this mi casa in the last two years as he has departed the floor like a beaten dog does after his master has scolded him and refused him a dinner with Kibbles N Bits. Since coming from Bernau in 2012 to TV Langen, Woody has lost twice in Frankfurt with a combined score of 188-121. In both games, TV Langen were run off the floor the way a pack of Lion´s does a herd of antelope. Woody didn´t muster much in both games averaging only nine points and six boards. Two seasons ago TV Langen and he were trampled by Frankfurt 103-53 as he got an introduction to the future of German basketball as the big three Konstantin Klein and twin towers Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann combined for 42 points. American Larry Wright added salt to the nasty wound dropping 27 points. Last season TV Langen got hammered 85-68 as Kevin the light is Bright fired home 21 points, Johannes Voigtmann got in some practice with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Johannes Richter supplied 17 points. These two games may have been a bad nightmare for Woody, but sometimes three can be a charm as he returned back to the BCM hoping to finally return home to Langen with a victory, but once again was denied as TV Langen were flattened 88-67 by the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. After three straight loses, Woody and TV Langen have been outscored 276-188, but a curse isn´t on the mind of the ex Benedict(NCAA2) player. “There is no curse for me, but moreover Frankfurt doing a great job of making adjustments and taking me out of the game. Frankfurt double teamed and just shut me down. My team has to be able to find me even if the opponent is making pressure. We had a good first half, but broke down in the second half. Frankfurt came out aggressive and we couldn´t match their intensity”, stressed TV Langen forward Martinis Woody. For Fraport Skyliners head coach Eric Detlev, there was no curse for Woody, but just a great answer from his team concerning the last bad defeat in Hanau. “Woody has no curse, but seems to have had the short end the last few years. We were always the better team. We came out twice this season against TV Langen and played well after two bad loses. We know that Woody is a very good one on one player so we play good team defense and don´t allow him to play well”, added Eric Detlev. “We played a good first quarter getting easy baskets on transition while in the second TV Langen scored more easily getting back in the game. In the third quarter we started to move the ball better and made open shots. Our good rebounding was a big part of our success”, commented Canadian Kyle Fossman.
Tom Alte is a 20 year old 205cm German center playing his second season for TV Langen. He started his basketball career with KIT SC Karlsruhe (Regionalliga) in 2012. Last season for TV Langen he played 12 games: 0.5ppg, 1.2rpg, played also for Schoder Junior-Giraffen Langen (NBBL). He spoke to German Hoops after the 88-67 loss against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
Tom thanks for talking to German Hoops. What were the main reasons for the 88-67 loss against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors?
We had problems with our pick and role defense. Frankfurt stayed aggressive hitting shots against our zone. We also had some unneeded technical fouls that hurt us
Niklas Kiel is two years younger than you. What has been your impression of his game and how much potential does he have?
Kiel has a lot of potential and can really go far. He is big, can move and shoot. He has all the tools to go far.
When one sees the beautiful countryside around Greenville, South Carolina one could expect to catch some nice hiking routes, but one can also find enticing festivals in nearby Fountain Inn where they close Main street as many vendors share their craft with folks. If this is a distance that TV Langen forward Martinis Woody travels between work outs during the summer is unknown, but approximately that same distance of 22 kilometers is a route he likes to take in Germany when he travels from Langen to Frankfurt to watch his friend Quantez Robertson play with Beko BBL team Fraport Skyliners. If his schedule permits, one can always see Woody in the front row sitting next to the wives and farm team players taking in a good game and possibly picking up new tips from the players even if one would think that the 32 year old 201cm forward has learned all he needs to know in six years of professional basketball. It hasn´t been the easiest of seasons for Woody as he got a rude welcome in the first weeks as teams seemed to double team him more which annoyed him and his play. Last season he averaged 18,3ppg and 9,3rpg, but reached his season average of 18 points last season just once in the first 10 games scoring 19 points against Wurzburg this s eason. Now if he has received extra tips on the floor in the Fraport arena from Skyliners or visiting teams is unknown, but in the last three games the American has been in serious beast mode as he has averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds per game. TV Langen lost against Saarlouis where Woody produced massive stats of 22 and 18, but since then the club has really come alive in the last two games winning on the road in Speyer and Karlsruhe as he displayed 25 and 21 points and 13 and 14 rebounds. Of course the injury to TV Langen top scorer Nick Freer has hurt the team as Woody has gotten the burden of the scoring on his shoulder again, but that is something he has been used to the last years and is showing again that he can still be a nasty creature in the paint for any opponent. The EN Baskets Schwelm visited Langen and Woody and the American had the burden again of having to dominate down low, but the visitors did their homework keeping him in check and coasting to a comfortable 85-70. The EN Baskets Schwelm were led by their Johnson and Johnson duo of American Jody and Chris. Johnson and Johnson is an American multinational medical devices pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer which brands include numerous household names of medications and first aid supplies. The Johnson and Johnson duo may not have used any oversized band aids to slow down TV Langen, but just patched them up on both ends of the court with their play that left the home team helpless in their own living room. “Woody is a skilled big man. We just wanted to double him as much as possible when he touched the ball. He got some buckets, but overall I thought that we contained him well and capitalized off it. This past week our new coach Omar Rahim and us just worked on getting our intensity back. We worked a lot on pushing the ball and just getting out on transition. We did a good job doing this against TV Langen. Having regained that intensity back again, we were able to control the boards. Everyone helped with our two bigs, Chris and myself as well as new guy Max Massing. We always go into games wanting to win the rebounding duel”, stated Washington native Jody Johnson. After the loss it was unknown if TV Langen forward Martinis Woody who was chatting with his buddy Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison of the Fraport Skyliners was talking about being blocked by Max Massing or who was going to win the forward duel in Frankfurt Sunday between German talents Danilo Barthel and Daniel Theis. After he said farewell to the players, he could only predict certain stats since there were no stats available at that time due to technical problems and had a solution why he couldn´t match the 21 ppg and 15rpg average he had the previous three games. “Turnovers cost us the game tonight. I think we had something between 18-20 turnovers. In the last three games I wasn´t getting double teamed until the second half. Tonight they did it from the start and didn´t let me do anything with it”, stressed TV Langen forward Martinis Woody.