Mike Smith is a 26 year old 198cm guard from Vandalia, Missouri that is playing his first season for Liege Basket (Belgium-Ethias League). Last season after getting signed by Iowa of the D-league, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for the whole season. In 2011-2012 as a rookie he played the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven playing 34 games: 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 85.4%. He played at E. Tennessee from 2007-2011. In his senior year, he played 35 games: 17.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 78.9%. In the summer 2011, he took part at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 10.0ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, 1.0bpg. He was a A-Sun Tournament Winner -09, 10, and All-A-Sun Player of the Year -11. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Mike thanks for talking to German Hoops again. You are playing in Belgium this season for Liege. After playing in Germany as a rookie for Bremerhaven, you were in the States last season and couldn´t play in the D-league due to an injury. Did you miss Europe in the year in the States?
I missed the game of basketball in general, getting injured in training camp last season was definitely a setback in my career. Everything happens for a reason though and I am in a good situation here at Liege to kickstart my career back up.
You didn´t find a team right away last summer as the basketball market continues to get harder and harder to crack each summer. Did you ever lose faith that you might not find a team this season?
I knew it would be tough to find a team for this season after being injured, but it only takes one team to like you and I’m thankful that Liege has given me this opportunity.
Did you ever consider playing in the D-league again or possibly some other leagues in the States or even Canada in the PBL league?
I got picked up early in June by Liege so I didn’t take any other leagues in the states into consideration.
I remember that we did an interview last summer to help your chances and Belgium team Liege bit and signed you to a contract. Besides good work by your agent, what do you believe sold Liege on your abilities as a player?
I feel they liked my abilities to score, rebound, and defend. Overall it was a good situation for the team and myself.
Usually in Belgium each team has at least one very good American or more and the rest players from Belgium. Liege has lesser known Americans this season, but have a solid record at 5-4. What has been the secret of the success so far? Does team chemistry sometimes outweigh individual talent?
Our secret to success has been a total team effort. We try to take a lot of pride in playing defense and getting stops. I think on any team that chemistry outweighs individual talent but with that being said I feel we still have great players on this team.
Currently you are the top scorer of Liege. When you stepped on the court at the first practice and saw the talent that you had, did you think that being a player that takes more responsibility than others might be a role you would take on?
I don’t think it was taking responsibility, I just knew if I played at the level that I am capable of playing I would be a good asset for this team. I just want to do what it takes for this team to win!
What is your early impression of the Belgium league? How would you compare it to the Beko BBL? How are the styles and competition different?
I really like this league a lot. Its been great competition every night. The Ethias League compared to the BEKO BLL would definitely be the amount of teams in the league. I feel they are very familiar leagues, both style and competition wise.
You are rebounding very well, but your three point shooting is down. Is that area where you are focusing more on improving now?
I have always taken pride in being a great shooter and I’ve always shot the three point well, it’s still early in the season. Plenty of time to get my three point percentage up.
You scored 30 points against Kangoeroes in a 104-101 shoot out. Do your teammates see you now as the go to guy on the team?
To some degree yes, but at the same time we have five guys averaging double figures. Late in games I feel my teammates have confidence in me to get a bucket if we need one.
You guys lost to Spirou 97-70 recently that has very good players like ex Euroleague player Demond Mallett. What is the main focus for Liege in every game against more talented teams so that they can have a chance to win? How much does heart and effort play a big role for a team like Liege?
If you don’t bring heart and effort to any game you play you shouldn’t be playing. I feel we can beat any team in this league. Thats why you play the game.
Usually it is the Americans that carry a team on European teams and Liege has two other Americans Chris Ferguson and Kenneth Simms that both played at the NAIA level. The yhave delieved solid stats this season. Has your strong play taken some of the pressure of them being able to possibly play more relaxed?
Kenneth and Chris are both great players, both could of easily played Division 1. We all have confidence in each other and our coach is great at getting his players to play relaxed.
What has been your impression of big man Ioannis Iarochevitch. He is a Belgium national player. Is he the future of Belgium basketball?
Ioannis is a great player. He can shoot the three, post up, take you off the dribble and rebound. Does a lot of good things on the court to help our team. I definitely see him as the future of Belgium basketball.
In Bremerhaven you had German Doug Spradley as head coach and in Belgium you have Italian Fulvio Bastianini. What has it been playing for him and what have you been able to learn from him so far?
Coach Fulvio does a great job of getting the best out of his players. Gives his players complete confidence in their abilities. I have learned a lot from him. Excited to play for him here at Liege.
How do you like living in the Benelux region and Liege? You are very close to Germany and Holland.
I love the city of Liege, it is a very nice city.
Have you followed your ex team Eisbaeren Bremerhaven? They have had a very rough start to the season.
I have checked on them a couple times. Hope they can get it turned around.
There are only two players left on Bremerhaven from when you played there with Anthony Smith and young German Jonathan Malou. What is your memory of Malou on the court and how much potential does he have?
From what I remember from Jonathan was he was a very strong physical player. Had a great work ethic. If he continues to put the work in I think he has great opportunity to be a great player.
Have you discovered the famous Liege waffle yet or the atmosphere at Standard Liege soccer games?
I have got to experience both! Both are great!!
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Mike for the chat.
Michael King is a 35 year old 196cm guard from Baltimore, Maryland that is looking to jump start his professional basketball career again. He played at George Washington from 1997-2001. In his senior year he played 32 games averaging 11.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 27.4%, FT: 68.4%: Finished collegiate career as George Washington’s 18th all-time leading scorer with 1,327 points. In his first four professional years, he stayed in the States playing in the NBDL and CBA leagues. His dream to reach the NBA didn´t happen, so he decided to go to Europe. In 2005-2006, he played in Greece for Iraklis Thessaloniki playing 12 games averaging 17.5ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 76.0%. In 2006-2007, he played for AEL Limassol (Cyprus) playing 15 FIBA EuroCup games averaging 11.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 42.9%, 3FGP: 31.2%, FT: 79.4%. In 2007-2008, he played for Olimpia GE Larissa (Greece) playing 10 games averaging 15.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.4apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 71.0%. In 2008-2009, he continued to play for Larissa playing 16 games: averaging 15.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 76.7%: and in the EuroChallenge Cup averaging 16.6ppg, 2.6apg, 3.8rpg 2FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 92.0%. In 2009-2010, he played in the Beko BBL for EnBW Ludwigsburg playing 33 games: 10.8ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 70.8%. In 2010-2011 he played for DASH Peristeri GS Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): 15 games: 13.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 79.2%, in Feb.’11 moved to STB Le Havre (France-ProA, starting five): 10 games: 10.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 72.7%. In 2011-2012 he played for : Ikaros Kallitheas (Greece-A1, starting five): 7 games: 9.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 13.3%, FT: 83.3%; left in Dec.’11 due to financial problems with the Club, in Feb.’12 moved to InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A, starting five): 11 games: 11.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Michael thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how was your thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving was great and it was a time for me to enjoy my family and friends. I’m home in Maryland now.
You sat out last season and would like to continue your career. Were the offers for last season just not good enough that you decided to sit out the season?
I had offers in the beginning of the season of 12-13 but due to a death in the family I decided to stay home and be by my mothers side
How tough has it been not being able to strap on the jersey for a team somewhere? How have you been able to mentally cope with your inactivity?
It has been tough in the beginning because I know I have a lot to give to any team that I would play for. I have been staying in shape and working out every day. I know what it takes to be successful in Europe
You are 35 years old. What is the most difficult thing in your training regime now with age always playing more of a role how you stay fit basketball wise?
Yeah I am 35 now and I still do the same things I always did as far as workouts. I’m an active player when on the court, so I run a lot. Age is not a factor, it’s the mental part that gets players
When you look back over the last year, what have you missed the most from playing on the court?
What I have missed over the last year of playing ball is being with team mates and competing for a championship
You have played in 9 countries over your basketball career and between the 2010-2102 seasons bounced around four teams. Did the travel and moving around have a toll on you the last years?
Bouncing around In the years of 10-12 didn’t have an effect on me in my eyes. I just wish that the teams that I left for the other had better financial situations then. I would have never left
You have a very good basketball IQ. I can imagine this is a strength that never changes even with age. Is this something one can still practice by watching videos? I am sure you watched videos and just many games in the last year just to be up to date with the basketball world.
I stay in tune with European basketball because I played there. I have a channel that has euro league and euro cup games on every week. I’m the type of player that will watch video on the guard that I play that week to a point that I know if he likes going to his off hand and how many dribbles he likes to take before shooting
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I’m a good point guard and sets up my teammates
If you could sell yourself to any team in the world how would you do it in a few sentences?
I would sell myself to a team in a short sentence is to say that I’m a good leader, a good shooter, a good person and an all around player
What is your memory of the 2009-2010 season where you played with Ludwigsburg? The club missed the playoffs despite having talent. Was the team put together wrong or what were the main problems for not having success?
That 2009-2010 season was kind of difficult because of the misfortune with our team. I think that Ludwigsburg front office did a great job at putting the pieces together. In basketball your team just have to get hot at the right time. We started of fast and slowed down at the end.
Where would you rate ex teammate Michael Haynes in terms of athletic ability with all teammates that you have had in your career?
I would rate Mike Haynes at #1. His athletic ability is crazy
Would you like to play in Germany again? The league is getting more and more competitive each season.
I would love to play in Germany again! I had a great experience playing there.
In an interview we did four years ago you stated that playing in Greece was your best experience so far. What will you never forget from playing against the top Euroleague teams in Greece?
My experience of playing in Greece against the top two teams in Europe was very enlightening. I had two opportunities to beat them but came up short
Do you ever look back on your George Washington days and think what might have been with NBA had you not got hurt your junior year?
Sometimes I think about when I got hurt in college. But even after I got hurt I had opportunities at playing in the NBA. I just got caught up in what they call “The Numbers Game.” That’s when you like a player but there is no room to put him on your team
Sarunas Jaskikevicius was the smartest player that you have ever played against. Which player was the toughest guard in your professional basketball career?
Sarunas is the smartest point guard that I’ve seen in Europe
What dreams do you still have as a professional? To go to a team to win a title is probably 100% in your mind, but what about going to a young team and just help the young kids develop?
The things that I still want to do as a professional is to win a championship but if there was a opportunity to go to a younger team that would be ok to. But the fact remains that I will be still trying to win a championship
What are your aspirations after your playing career? Could you imagine getting into coaching or in what basketball capacity would you like to get into or might you go a totally different route?
After my basketball career I would go into coaching. I have been around enough good coaches to learn how to win as a coach. I have came across great coaches from the US TO EUROPE!
Where will the basketball journey of the Washington Wizzards end this season?
I don’t know what the Washington future would be for the rest of the season
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Michael for the chat.
In the last 30 years there have been many very very entertaining and well made NBA commercials that have made one boring evening watching a Charlotte Bobcats-Washington Wizards game even more worth while to watch as well as delaying the yawning and rubbing of the baby blues and turning the channel to Seinfeld reruns. Some of the classic NBA videos that have made the air waves that have remained unforgettable and plastered in the minds of basketball aficionados have been the Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Converse commercials where choosing a weapon was vital, or the amazing Nike commercials supported by Vince Carter or Jason Williams as for some learning the tricks like their basketball hero´s was as important as it is for inspiring break dancers in the 80s to know the Michael Jackson moon walk step by step or the Michael Jordan and Mars Blackmon segments with the famous saying could it be shoes, its got to be shoes or the NBA with their always amusing where amazing happens. The Kobe and Lebron puppet commercials bring another dimension to the commercials where one doesn´t always have to be human to get the point across. Other players surely dream of taking the roles of a Kobe or Lebron and dreaming is allowed and imagine if there was to be made a special Beko BBL commercial with sharp shooters Andrew Rautins of Frankfurt and David Bell of Phoenix Hagen making a video in the Fraport arena. The two names might not have the mega high profile of the NBA stars of today and yesterday, but with these two guys one could surely make a very entertaining video. Bell dressed up as baby hulk as his resemblance and body structure reminds one of the green monster, while Rautins is posing as Ferris Bueller who is ready to skip a day of basketball practice and just fire away and yell bombs away from all over the arena battling with the baby hulk Bell to see who can hit more shots even from the balcony or from the entrance to the catacomb. Anyway before any of these two guys dream of making a video like this, the guys first had to hit shots from the floor as two of the leagues best three point shooters met for the first time and Aziz N´Diaye with 16 points and Mark Dorris with 25 points stole the show from the two sharp shooters. Rautins finished with 13 points in the win after being limited to four points in the first half and David Bell had 17 points. It didn´t really matter which player you asked, each guy had their own Rautins-Bell commercial version. “I think if they did a commercial it could be never ending, because they both hit three pointers all day long. They would be shooting that commercial the whole day, because both are great shooters”, stressed injured Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. Rautins was thinking old school when confronted with a possible commercial. “I think we would make a commercial like the old Mcdonalds commercials with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan playing horse. I really respect his game. Bell is a great shooter”, explained Andrew Rautins. Mark Dorris might of taken in to much of the Fraport Skyliners video to begin the game with Quantez Robertson doing his thing on the Frankfurt airport runway. “I think they would make a commercial at the airport shooting into moving planes”, smiled Cincinnati native Mark Dorris. It might only have been December 1st, but Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi was already in the Christmas spirit. “Those two guys should make a commercial like the current NBA one with Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant”, added Jacob Burtschi.
The game had so many interesting stories again as it was the break out game of Senegal big man Aziz Ndiaye, the 39 points contributed by the Fraport Skyliners bench, the amazing Phoenix Hagen come back in the fourth quarter and the unbelievable contested shots that Quantez Robertson buddy Mark Dorris was hitting all night long. Without starting point guard Henry Dugat available due to injury, Mark Dorris has had to take over a lot more responsibility and he almost was able to win the game at the end. Dorris came to Germany in 2009 via a solid NCAA career at Marshall and dominated the Pro A with Cuxhaven averaging 18,3ppg and arrived in the Beko BBL in Hagen in 2010 and is playing his third season for head coach Ingo Freyer after playing his second season in the Beko BBL in Ludwigsburg. Dorris is one of those guys that can light up the scoreboard with the likes of a Davin White or a David Bell, but the only difference is that he makes the most difficult shots that could almost warrant a special patent for the Ohio native. Dorris was relatively upbeat after the game and for him it was just another day at the office and with one more basket could have decided the game for Phoenix Hagen. “I just try to give what is needed for my team to get into a good rhythm and get the win. We had some good looks at the end and you just have to make those shots and we didn´t”, explained Mark Dorris. Besides penetrating to the basket, Dorris loves to wheel and deal in the zone and then take off balance shots over players which is helped extremely by his athletic ability. “He is a tough cover that knows how to get to the hole, can shoot and has so much athletic ability. He jumps so high when he shoots that he is tough to stop”, warned Jacob Burtschi. Bell who´s shooting clinic was left in the shadow by Dorris knows what the American is capable of doing. “Dorris played great. He has done it so many times for so many years in this league. We see him make these shots everyday in practice. It was great for us that he executed so well”, stressed David Bell. His friend Quantez Robertson also knows from the Cincinnati playgrounds of what Dorris is capable of displaying with the basketball. “Dorris has an endless motor. He always goes hard on offense and defense. When he finds his spots, then he hits tough shots”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Fraport Skyliner Andrew Rautins who usually likes to shoot out the lights from outside also found some room to penetrate and score and might have taken something from the game of Dorris. “Dorris was feeling it today. We didn´t do a good job containing his penetration. He played a solid game”, warned Andrew Rautins.
The Fraport Sklyiners came into the game with a two game winning streak and perched in tenth place with the chance of moving into the playoff places with a win. They had defended better the last two games against Artland and Tuebingen giving up 70 points and knew that they would have their hands full with high scoring run and gun team Phoenix Hagen. After letting Phoenix Hagen stay with them shot for shot, the Fraport Skyliners stepped it up in the second quarter and Phoenix Hagen then was forced to play catch up basketball all night long what they adjusted well to and almost turned around the game in the last minute had shots fallen. But once again the Fraport Skyliners got support from the whole team which was key for keeping the winning streak alive at three games. “We had a total team effort. Our bench contributed 39 points and that really helped us win. You need a strong bench to be able to win games better. If we can keep this up then we will be in good shape the rest of the way”, warned ex Syracuse guard Andrew Rautins. Phoenix Hagen came into the game riding on a two game winning streak and wanted to gain more leverage in the playoff places, but came up short despite a very very hard fought effort that almost paid dividends at the end with a victory. “It wasn´t easy playing without Henry Dugat, but this is something that we have to adjust to. We didn´t start out as aggressive on offense as we should have. We did a good job sticking to our game plan the whole game, but not with the sense of urgency in the first half that we should have”, stressed Oakland, California native David Bell. Phoenix Hagen assistant coach Steven Wriedt gave his two cents to the reasons for the loss stating that the second quarter was key for the Fraport Skyliners going in the right direction to securing the early roots for the win. “Frankfurt did a good job to pull away in the second quarter. We did a good job on Jacob Burtschi and Andrew Rautins, but that opened it up for Aziz Ndiaye who had too many easy buckets”, explained Steven Wriedt. “I think our bench did a great job as each guy contributed in different ways. After Burtschi got foul problems other guys stepped up. Our will was great. We didn´t play great basketball, but our will was very important. We struggled with turnovers having 8-10 too many”, expressed Frapport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert.
4,610 fans came into the Fraport arena to witness the return of ex Skyliner Bernd Kruel who is playing his last season and the question was if Phoenix Hagen would be able to play there preferred run and gun basketball and make meat out of so many other opponents. Phoenix Hagen got going quickly as Larry Gordon hit a midrange jumper from the baseline and David Bell said hello to Konstantin Klein nailing a three pointer in his face as Frankfurt trailed 5-2. However Frankfurt recognized early that they would be able to get a smooth flow in their offense inside and out as Barthel scored inside after getting a quick feed from Klein and Klein then nailed his first three pointer of the first quarter as Frankfurt led 7-5. Barthel and Bell then exchanged baskets as Phoenix Hagen trailed 9-7. However the first quarter belonged to Klein who dropped two more bombs and Frankfurt led 17-9. Phoenix Hagen did a supper job containing Rautins often double teaming him, so Klein opted to step up hitting his open shots. Phoenix Hagen then went on their first run of the game of 10-2 to dead lock the game at 19-19. Phoenix Hagen may have dominant shooters, but their inside duo of Dino Gregory and Keith Ramsey aren´t too shabby either as they scored consecutive buckets inside, Bell hit a jumper and Dorris an off balance shot. Nikita Khartchenkov who started his basketball career in 2003 with TV Langen hit a jumper as well. Los Angeles native Jarred Dubois had the last shot of the first quarter found open daylight and finished with his left hand as the Fraport Skyliners led 23-21 after one quarter. “Konstantin Klein really stepped up and hit big shots. The first quarter was pretty even as teams traded shot for shot”, explained Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 60% from outside while Phoenix Hagen was shooting 50% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 9-7 rebound edge and three turnovers while Phoenix Hagen had two turnovers.
The second quarter was the professional basketball birth of 25 year old 213cm center Aziz Ndiaje of Senegal who dominated the second quarter with 12 points and his play seemed like day and night to previous games where at times he looked like a lost little kid in a play pen filled with big men. He scored on his first touch and on his second touch as rookie Dubois fed him nicely as Frankfurt led 27-23. Kevin Bright then hit a pretty catch and pop jumper from the corner and Dorris then was at his normal self connecting on another seemingly impossible off balance shot as Frankfurt led 29-25. Rautins then scored on a rare penetration as his outside shooting was more than limited. Phoenix Hagen continued to hang in the game not allowing Frankfurt to break away by connecting on their shots as David Bell hit from downtown again and Larry Gordon used the massive mismatch against Ndiaye making him dizzy with his dribbling and then hitting a jumper over the big man as Phoenix Hagen completed a 7-2 run to trail only 31-30. However the Fraport Skyliners didn´t let this comeback dampen their game as they raced out on a 8-0 run sparked by six points by Ndiaye who got increased confidence with every new touch making a reverse layup and put back over Gregory and Barthel made a monster dunk as Frankfurt led 39-30. Frankfurt closed out the second quarter with some big buckets from Ndiaye who made a tip in and Ramon Galloway floater. Dorris closed out the second quarter with another floater in traffic, but Frankfurt led 45-34. The story of the second quarter was Aziz Ndiaye who had 12 points and was more than instrumental for Phoenix Hagen being down by 11 points. He had his ups and downs as he also had five turnovers, but all in all it was refreshing to see the positive turnaround in his game. The big man was the last to leave the dressing room and had much to tell the reporters after his rebirth game. “I wanted to come out with energy and just be aggressive. I was able to use mismatches and coach knows that I like to play with my back to the basket and we had been working much this week in practice to get me in good position. I like to roll and catch and finish and my teammates did a great job finding me in the paint”, commented Aziz Ndiaye. “Ndiaye had a good game. He was a force in the paint. He took advantage of us taking away shooters Rautins and Burtschi and played a good game”, said Mark Dorris. “It was the break out game of Ndiaye. He has been working very hard in practice. He did good job getting to the right place so we could get him the ball in good position”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 43% from the three point line while Phoenix Hagen was shooting 42% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 18-14 rebound edge and Frankfurt had eight turnovers while Phoenix Hagen had seven turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners continued to keep the lead in the third quarter despite Phoenix Hagen being a thorn in the side of Frankfurt never giving up and even cutting the lead to two points, but they couldn´t regain the lead as Frankfurt was able to get a comfortable lead again. Mark Dorris got Phoenix Hagen on the board first with a left handed lay in in traffic to cut the Frankfurt lead to 45-37. After a Johannes Voigtmann dunk, Phoenix Hagen closed out their 8-2 run to trail only 47-42. Dorris hit another jumper and then Larry Gordon made a steal and played run and gun as he closed out the fast break with an open three pointer as he had so much time sitting on the three point line and then shooting. However each time Phoenix Hagen was threatening on the comeback, they got slapped in the face by the Fraport Skyliners executing on offense as Andrew Rautins hit a three pointer in the corner and Konstantin Klein extended the Frankfurt lead to 52-42 with a lay in. One thing Phoenix Hagen didn´t do was lay down and give up as they continued to demonstrate heart and execution going on a 10-2 run and making basketball life so hard for Frankfurt as they trailed only 54-52. In the run Dorris scored twice as did Bell with a lay in and three pointer. However as has been the case in the last games against Artland and Tuebingen and Hagen there were always different hero´s that stepped up. In the last minutes it was rookie Jarred Dubois who led Frankfurt on a 14-4 run steering 11 points to the run. He hit inside on the penetration and dropped a three pointer. Ndiaye also had a giant dunk which was set up by German Danilo Barthel who showed his team play opting not to challenge the defense with a three pointer, but finding the open big man under the hoop. After three quarter, the Fraport Skyliner had a comfortable lead again 68-56. “Jarred Dubois hit big shots that helped us keep the lead”, added Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 45% from the parking lot while Phoenix Hagen was shooting 45% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 27-21 rebound advantage, but 12 turnovers while Phoenix Hagen had nine turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners went into the fourth quarter with a fine12 point lead, but saw it shaved down to two points and were lucky to escape their own living room with a victory. Two bench players gave their respective teams energy in the first minute as Nikita Khartchenkov hit free throws and a jumper while rookie American Ramon Galloway from Florida scored inside, made a big steal and fed Barthel for a big dunk as Frankfurt led 72-61. Despite the comfortable Frankfurt lead, one was never 100% confident that Phoenix Hagen wouldn´t make one last run especially when a Mark Dorris was hitting from all over on the court except from the top of Skyliner mascot dunking kong´s head. After Rautins made a slick steal and went coast to coast for the dunk, it was Dorris who continued to score in bunches making an off balance shot and then making a steal and dunk as Frankfurt led 76-68. Galloway then used his quick first step in the set offense went inside and made a reverse lay up as Frankfurt led 78-68 with three minutes to play in the game. However Phoenix Hagen had one last grasp of energy and used it best by going on a 9-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 79-77. Phoenix Hagen played practical team basketball as Larry Gordon made an offensive rebound and put back, Keith Ramsey blocked Voigtmann, Gordon hit a huge three pointer and Dorris withdrew from shooting and found 37 year old ex Skyliner Bernd Kruel back door as all of a sudden a seemingly won game for Frankfurt looked like Phoenix Hagen would take the momentum and win. A Ndiaye turnover and Dubois unsportsmanlike foul made the game a tick to exciting at the end. Dubois and Gordon traded free throws as Frankfurt led 81-79. It looked like Frankfurt would throw away the game as Ndiaye missed two free throws and Andrew Rautins one free throw, but Frankfurt was lucky as those missed shots and a turnover wasn´t punished by Dorris and Bell who took the last two shots, but missed. “Finishing games continues to be our Achilles heel. We have to improve this and do a better job finishing better”, warned Andrew Rautins. “We never want to lose. We fought until the end and many guys stepped up, but it just wasn´t enough”, stressed David Bell. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Aziz Ndiaye with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jarred Dubois had 15 points. Andrew Rautins chipped in with 13 points, Konstantin Klein with 1 2points and Danilo Barthel added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Phoenix Hagen was led by Mark Dorris with 25 points. David Bell chipped in with 16 points and Larry Gordon added 16 points also. Frankfurt shot very well from the field at 52% and had 40 points in the paint. Having 39 point contribution from the bench was more than vital and was the true X factor for the Fraport Skyliners in the win. “Our biggest strength as a team was our bench. Ndiaye had a big game giving us points and rebounds, Dubois had a big second half and Klein great first quarter. Each guy on the team performed well”, stated Quantez Robertson.
Larry Gordon(Phoenix Hagen) If We Are Down 10 Or Up 10 During The End Of A Game, If We Stay Focused And Concentrated And Play Our Basketball, We Are Always In A Position To Win
Larry Gordon is a 26 year old 196cm forward that is playing his second season in the German Beko BBL for Phoenix Hagen. Last season for Phoenix Hagen he helped the team reach the playoffs playing 37 games: 12.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 83.2%He played at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2005 to 2009 playing a total of 116 NcAA2 games. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 15.7ppg, 10.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 75.7%. He was a CCAA Player of the Year and NCAA D2 Finalist in 2009. In 2009-2010, he came to Europe as a rookie and played for Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 36 games: 14.0ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 75.8%. He played for ECE Bulls Kapfenberg (Austria-A Bundesliga) the last two seasons and in his last season played 38 games: 14.7ppg, Reb-3(8.4rpg), 1.8apg, FGP-3(65.2%), 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 77.1%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Larry congrats on the 85-80 win at home against the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg. Early in the season you beat Bayreuth and Vechta in crunch time and recently lost to Bremerhaven in crunch time, but won the last two games against TBB Trier and Ludwigsburg in crunch time. Are the nerves of Phoenix Hagen now after two months at the end of games in an area that you are content with?
Yea I think we are finally understanding as a team that no matter if we are down 10 or up 10 during the end of a game, if we stay focused and concentrated and play our basketball, we are always in a position to Win.
Can you understand why people are all nervous that without point guard Henry Dugat the offense wont be able to function. Do people forget the ability that a Mark Dorris brings to the court?
I really don’t we have a lot of other capable players on our team, as well as 4 players who have played this style last year. Losing one player doesn’t stop how we play.
Phoenix Hagen most likely would not have beat Ludwigsburg without the services of Bernd Kruel who scored 12 points in 13 minutes. Have you ever seen more of a player like him who just goes out and does his job without any complaints? Kruel is playing his last season, but one doesn´t see his age at all
Oh yea Storch came up big for us. He is a humble dude and just waits for his opportunities. He has a lot of experience and high basketball IQ, great to play with.
Giving up 80 points is a good effort, but how do you rate the Phoenix Hagen defensive performance with 12 steals and 80 points given up?
We had a few mis cues on defense and gave up key offensive rebounds that led to scoring. But overall I think we played good defense last game, we held their leading scorer to no field goals in the whole game. I rate it a 7
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners. What do you remember from the big shoot out last season in Frankfurt that Phoenix Hagen was able to win?
All I know is we were getting beat throughout the whole game and put up one final run in the 4th that secured us the victory.
The game sees Jacob Burtschi playing against his ex team as well as Bernd Kruel playing against his old team. What kind of game can we await? The Fraport Skyliners are slowly getting a rhythm on defense.
It’s going to be a tough exciting game, one thing I’ve learned this season so far is that you can´t over estimate any team and you can´t count out any team. I think at any given night, it’s anybody’s game. But the team that wants it more will Win.
The two match ups of the game will be Andrew Rautins against David Bell and Jacob Burtschi against Larry Gordon. What memories do you have from playing against him and Bremerhaven last season?
Burtschi is a tough dude, battles on the rebounds and has a really good shot from 3pt. He shooting over 50% on the season, it’s going to an interesting game
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The Hangover part III.
Thanks Larry for the chat.
Jay Threat is a 24 year old 180cm point guard from Richmond, Virginia that is playing his second professional season and first in germany with the MLP Academics Heidelberg. He started his basketball career with George Mason and then transefered to Delaware State where he played from 2009-2012 an din his senior year played 26 games: 8.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 6.0apg, Steals-1(3.0spg), FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 26.4%, FT: 82.1%. He played a total of 89 NCAA games. Last season as a rookie he played for Ungmennafelagio Snaefell (Iceland-Dominos League): 28 games: 18.5ppg, 5.3rpg, Assists-1(8.9apg), 1.9spg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game until Crailsheim.
Jay thanks for talking to German Hoops again. It is getting colder in Germany, but really after playing in Iceland last season, is this weather still very much more comfortable then what you encountered last season?
Wassup Miles. YES it is getting cold! but its still way warmer than iceland.
Congrats on the 66-60 win last weekend against Giessen. They are a team that want to get back up to the Beko BBL quickly. What was key for getting the win and how key was it containing Myles Hesson on the night?
Thanks. It was a big win for us to get on the road. I think every teams goal should be to move up to the BBL. We just didnt want to give Hesson any easy looks, we didnt do anything special.
The first two months has been crazy up near the top of the Pro A standings as Heidelberg is holding their own in third place with a record of 8-3, but from position four to nine, all teams have a record of 6-4. How have you experienced the first two months in the Pro A?
It has been a crazy start to the season with the race at the top. I think teams were trying to figure themselves out and how they wanted to play.
Heidelberg has a 8-3 record and have started the season well. What has been key mostly for getting off to such a good start?
I feel like we have started out ok considering all the injuries we’ve faced. But we know we should be 10-0 and are not satisfied at all. Were starting to pick it back up by refocusing on coach’s philosophy.
Recently the club was giving up many points, but in the last two games the team has given up an average of 63 points. What adjustments has the team seemed to have done on the defensive end?
We are a solid defensive team we just got a little lazy the past couple games and we have since refocused. Our big offensive game just overshadows our defense sometimes.
On offense the team is shooting very well from outside. It seems like the team relies most on the perimeter. Will the Heidelberg inside game get more active as the season moves along?
Braxton Durpee and Devin White have faced some injuries as well and started off a little slow but as they come long and we get stronger inside to go along with Micheal Jost.
You have had no problems adjusting to the German pro A. You are averaging 18,4ppg and 7,4apg and 3,8rpg. Is there anything in your game that has been more difficult to adjust to in your game that isn´t seen in the stats?
I’ve had no problems at all besides a couple injuries myself. I wish I could get a few more calls from the refs though lol
How important has German Nico Adamczak been this season. He is known as a shooter, but what other qualities have sparked the team?
Nico has been great! He balances out the scoring load which makes it hard for teams to load up on me a Shy Ely. Nico is a good rebounder and is a team captain.
You probably knew after the first day of practice that Shy Ely would be a very important player for Heidelberg, but besides hiss coring and 63% from outside, what has impressed you the most in his game that has developed since the first day of practice where you were present?
Shy’s consistency is what most impresses me on a daily basis. He’s one of the hardest working players ive played with. An all-around player, gets it done on D not just offensively.
The next game is against potential playoff team Crailsheim. This is one of the many 6-4 teams at the moment. What kind of game can we await?
Just started scouting them today so i dont know much but it should be a good one.
Where will the journey of the Washington Wizzards end this season?
My friend Eric Maynor plays on that team and Washington is the closest team to my hometown so for those reasons alone I hope the make the playoffs.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVDs I watched were Troy and Gladiator. Two of my favorite movies:
Thanks Jay for the chat.
Brian Qvale is a 25 year old 210cm center from Williston, North Dakota that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL with Medi bayreuth. He played at Montana (NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 116 NCAA games and in his senior year played 32 games: 14.9ppg, 8.8rpg, 3.0bpg, FGP: 62.6%, FT: 64.5%. In 2011-2012, he started his professional basketball career with Aliaga Petkim (Turkey-TBL): 32 games: 8.9ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 56.5%, FT: 58.3%. Last season he played for : Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): 31 games: 9.8ppg, Reb-4(6.1rpg), Blocks-2(1.1bpg), FGP-2(65.3%), FT: 66.7%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.3ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.0apg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 71.1%, FT: 57.1%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against SC Rasta Vechta.
Brian thanks for talking to German Hoops again. A tough 81-59 loss against Alba Berlin last weekend. After beating them the last two times in Bayreuth, Alba Berlin gave a spirited performance in a hostile enviroment. What were the main reasons for not being able to get the win?
They were a very physical team and pushed us out of some things we were trying to do on offense. We just got into a hole early and were not able to get out of it.
You have seen the three best German teams this season with FC Bayern Munich, Bamberg and Berlin. Where would you rate the play of Alba Berlin compared to the other two teams? Are they at eye level with Munich and Bamberg?
I think they are all good teams that have deep rosters, play physical, and are talented. I think a game could go either way between those 3 teams.
David Logan had a strong game with 20 points, dunks and three point shots. You have seen top players like Casey Jacobsen or Malcolm Delaney. Does a David Logan have MVP chances this season in the Beko BBL?
I’m not expert in choosing a MVP and I still haven’t played against every team in the BBL, but I think he is a good player and the race between the MVP candidates will be decided later in the season.
After a very good start into the season, medi bayreuth have been struggling having lost six of the last seven games. Is it more a mental thing now, or more things not being done on the court or a combination of both?
We have had some tough injuries to our team and we have had a tough schedule. We lost some games we had chances to win, we just need to keep working hard and things will turn around for us.
How much does the team miss Kevin Hamilton? Apparently the team is looking for a replacement for him, but replacing a Hamilton isn´t easy to do.
Kevin will be back for our next game and we look forward to having him back.
You are the most consistent player on the team at the moment averaging 12,8ppg, 6,0rpg and 1,7bpg. How have you been able to heighten game throughout the season?
I don’t enjoy talking about my personal play, I just try to do the best for my team and give my best effort every day in practice and in games.
What has been your impression of Sead Sehovic? He has quietly done his role. Did you know his half court shot would go in?
Sead fits into our team well. He came here, learned our plays quickly, and really helped us. He works hard and does whatever the team needs him to do. As soon as he shot his half court shot, I thought it looked good but didn’t think it actually had a shot at going in!
The next game is a tough road game at new team SC Rasta Vechta. They are the classic scrappy team that can beat anyone on a good day. What kind of game can we await?
We need to play good defense, focus on rebounds, and get back in transition. I think it will be a physical game because I know we want to win and will fight until the end.
What are you looking forward to most about tasting at the Bayreuth Christmas market?
I’d have to say the crepes
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
There are important position players for basketball teams and then there are very important position players for clubs that make their team go go go and are as important for the success as that field goal kicker is for an NFL team making that crunch time kick like a Adam Vinateri, that NHL goalie that has to preserve that win at the end despite being shorthanded with a penalty like a Patrick Roy did, or that relief pitcher for Baseball teams that come in and have to help preserve the win with smart thinking decision making and shutting down the opponent with the right pitches in the last innings like a Mariano Rivera. In basketball the point guard position is a very vital aspect for a team being successful especially on the offensive end and in the last years two of the best examples of two guys that were as crucial for the prosperity of their team at the point guard position as cheese is for pizza were the W&W duo of Dashaun Wood for the Frankfurt Skyliners in the 2010-2011 season and Davin White for Phoenix Hagen last season. Who could forget the MVP season of Wood where he made filling up the stats like Monta Ellis that season a common occurrence. Frankfurt would not have reached the fifth game of the Beko BBL playoffs against Alba Berlin without the Detroit native. His road runner sprints to the hoop that season were as common as Danilo Barthel´s flights to the basket this season. Last season, Phoenix Hagen had a Cinderella type season reaching their first playoffs. Most will agree that it was a team effort in that David Bell was just as vital as a Adam Hess or Mark Dorris for reaching the promised land. However there was one player who was a level above the rest and that was Davin White. Last season the Arizona native had a MVP type season playing 36 games: Score-1(17.2ppg), 2.3rpg, 4.2apg, Steals-1(2.0spg), FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 68.4%. He was eurobasket guard of the year and was a first team selection. Like Wood, White also was infected by the road runner bug and could get to the rim quicker before one can shout Volme in Hagen. He didn´t have quite the explosive and consistency of Wood in Frankfurt, but Phoenix Hagen wouldn´t have made the playoffs without their point guard. This season Phoenix Hagen has to do without White who is playing for Lukoil Academic Sofia (Bulgaria-NBL). Phoenix Hagen has a new replacement for White with henry Dugat. He is six years younger than White and can score like White. So far Dugatis averaging 11,5ppg, 2,8rpg and 2,4apg and is shooting an astounding 47% from the parking lot. He played in lower leagues like Mexico and Sweden recently, but still needs some time to get used to the more sophisticated level in the Beko BBL. Despite not having the stats of White yet, White believes that Dugat has the potential to be one of the top guards in the league. “If anyone could replace me in Hagen it would be Henry. He reminds me of when I was younger very athletic but he is a scorer and the way Hagen plays he fits in perfect, and he shoots the three really good. So it will be interesting to see what he does there. If he stays healthy he could get new comer of the year. They have a guard with a winning attitude they will be fine with him at the helm”, stressed ex Phoenix Hagen guard Davin White. It will be interesting to see how the development of Dugat will continue as well as that of Phoenix Hagen. Dugat won´t bring Phoenix Hagne to the playoffs on his own and will need team support, but the club will need a consistent Dugat sooner or later for consistentsuccess.
Since coming into the Beko BBL in 2009, Phoenix hagen has continued to support run and gun basketball and nothing changed last season as they kept practicing it in games, but they also defended a bit better than in previous years as they earned their first playoff berth finishing the 2012-2013 season in eight place with a record of 18-16. They gave a great fight in the first round of the Beko BBl playoffs against the Brose Baskets Bamberg winning game two in Hagen, but were unable to win the series as the depth and experience of the Freak City team was just too much. There were many reasons why the club made the playoffs last season. Having a strong playmaker with Davin White who decided many games with his play, but also was able to put his scoring on the back burner when his shot wasn´t falling and was able to find his teammates. The team chemistry was developed very early in the season and with early success came for team confidence. Their offense also seemed to grow from other years as with a month before the end of the season, the team scored 80 plus points in 18 of 30 games and average 86 points a game. One could even be as unfriendly and mention that the team didn´t play defense in order to conserve energy for their offense. They continued to play run and gun, but seemed to play with a bit more consistency than in the past and the club also has found the word DEFENSE in their vocabulary. They were able to hold offensive teams like Oldenburg and Tuebingen to under 70 points and the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg who weren´t the strongest scoring team, but are capable of breaking out especially with a then fit Jimmy Mckinney who logged 34 minutes and was held to eight points. Not sustaining any severe injuries was also a plus for the team chemistry. Head coach Ingo Freyer preaches offense and last season the difference to the first three seasons, it seems like they are playing a type of Euroleague offense compared to BBL offense the last years.
This season Phoenix Hagen had to say farewell to key players Davin White and Adam Hess as well as role player Abe Lodwick who was a type of glue guy coming from the bench that was capable of making big hustle plays. A big part of future success this season could be the importance of being able to hold six players from last season while adding three new parts to the roster this season. The most important player the club kept was Larry Gordon who is a 26 year old 197cm forward playing his fifth professional basketball season. He played his first three seasons in lower leagues Holland and Austria and last season made a very good transition to the stronger Beko BBL playing 37 games and averaging 12.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 83.2%. He received a Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Honorable Mention. Gordon is a very versatile player that can do just about everything on the court. He defends positions two to four, rebounds well and scores on a consistent rate. He is Phoenix Hagen´s best player. The team was also fortunate to be able to keep David Bell. Bell is a 32 year old 187cm guard that is the only basketball player on earth that looks like baby Hulk and can shoot out the lights on the court. The Oakland California native has a lot of experience having played in the D-league and in Holland, Switzerland or Finland and last season played 37 games: Score-5(15.7ppg), 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 39.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 90.1%. If he isn´t consistent then it is harder for the team to win. He great combination of shooting and penetrating and drawing fouls is his trademark. Another important player that they held on to was Mark Mr fantastic Dorris who is a 27 year old 188cm guard from Cincinnati, Ohio that could probably open up a special school with his friend Quantez Robertson entitled, “The dunking flight school”. He played at Marshall(NCAA) and since turning professional in 2009 has always been in Germany playing for Cuxhaven, Ludwigsburg and now his third season in Hagen. Last season for Hagen he played 30 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 75.0%. He is a scoring guard that loves to dance into the lane and finish with a mid distance jumper.
The team also kept defensive specialist Dino Gregory. Gregory is a 24 year old 200cm forward/center from Baltimore, Ohio that played with NBA player Grevis Vazquez at Maryland. After playing for the : Sundsvall Dragons in Sweden as a rookie, he also made a good transition tot he Beko BBL last season playing 37 games: 7.3ppg, 6.0rpg, Blocks-1(1.6bpg), FGP: 55.6%, FT: 60.0%. He is very athletic and fits perfect into the playing style of Ingo Freyer and is a very good leaper and rebounder for his size. It will be important that the club establish more of an inside game, so there is more variation in the team game. He won the last two seasons Eurobasket.com Swedish Basketligan All-Defensive Team -12, and Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Defensive Team -13. The team also kept German Ole Wendt who is a 21 year old point guard that comes from the Paderborn school of basketball. He belongs to the next generation of German basketball players. Last season he played 37 games averaging 3.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.6apg. He made a tremendous step last season and already shows a remarkable ability to lead a team at such a young age. He is a great defender that just doesn´t lay off his man. He has played for the German U-18 and 20 teams and the next step is the A German national team. The team also kept German basketball dinosaur Bern Kruel who is playing his 21ist professional season and 17th in Hagen. The 210cm center is 37 and this will be his last season. Kruel is an old school player that isn´t athletic, but can score and pass out of the post. He has seen it all as a professional and won a Beko BBl title in 2004 with Frankfurt. The club brought in three new players with Henry Dugat, Keith Ramsey and Nikta Khartchenkov. The most important order of business was finding a player that could replace top point guard Davin White. Dugat is a 26 year old 183cm point guard from Dayton, texas that played at Baylor. He is an NBA level PG with a 41 inch vertical – Quick, athletic guard. Known for highlight-reel quality drives, dunks and blocks. Finished seventh all-time with 158 career 3-point field goals made. Finished career fourth all-time at Baylor with 152 career steals. H eplayed most of his career in Mexico and his first in Europe last season with LF Basket (Sweden-Basketligan, starting five): 36 games: Score-2(20.4ppg), 5.8rpg, Assists-3(4.8apg), Steals-1(2.0spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 82.7%. The team also brought in a side kick for Gregory and to keep company in the zone with Keith Ramsey. He is a 26 year old 205cm power forward/center from Tennessee. He played at Missouri and as a professional in Spain, Sweden and Israel. Last season he played for Ironi Kfar Hamaccabia Ramat Gan (Israel-National League) playing 31 games: 12.7ppg, Reb-4(10.6rpg), 2.0apg, Steals-5(2.5spg), 1.3bpg, FGP-1(66.4%), 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 57.1%. His athletic and strong defense will make him a formidable duo with Gregory. The team also brought in Nikita Khartchenkov who is no stranger to Germany. He is a 26 year old 201cm forward that ahs the German/Russian citizenship. He started his career in 2003 with TV Langen and then got experience playing for BC Khimki-2 Moscow. In Germany he is a journeyman having played for Braunschweig, Chemnitz, MBC, Lepizig and Nurnberg. He also played a season in Romania. Last season he played for Uni-Riesen Leipzig (Germany-ProA): 13 games: 15.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.8apg, 2FGP: 42.3%, 3FGP: 36.6%, FT: 78.9%, in Jan.’13 moved to Nuernberger Basketball Club (Germany-ProA, starting five): 18 games: 14.6ppg, 2.3rpg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 83.6%. His best quality is his deadly shooting and his unorthodox shooting technique makes it hard to defend. He already showed an early knack for dropping bombs from outside nailing 15 three pointers as a junior.
Head coach Ingo Freyer is coaching his fifth season in the Beko BBL with Phoenix Hagen. He had a nice playing career playing for the German national team, in Italy and winning the Korac Cup with Alba Berlin in 1995 has made a solid transition to coach coaching three seasons in Wedel and now is behind the helm for his 7th season with Phoenix Hagen. He is the bonafide players coach that gives his players freedom. Experience in the Beko BBL has improved his coaching as last seasons playoff appearance the first since 2004 was no fluke in an always more competitive land growing Beko BBL. He has given the name run and gun a totally new meaning in the Beko BBL as sometimes just seeing their guards shoot, shoot, shoot makes one think that one is on the playground. Important was keeping consistency within the roster, but this season the team will be on the radar of teams and wont have that surprise factor as last season as no one predicted their good finish. The good last season gives the returning players very much confidence and that should be a big help this season. A big part of where Phoenix Hagen will be how consistent Henry Dugat will be. It is never nice to put so much pressure on one player, but Davin White was the best performing player on that team since they entered the Beko BBL in 2009 and he carried the team last season and in a way with the many role players this season will need a leader like that again. It also will be interesting if Phoenix Hagen can erase the notion that reaching the playoffs last season was a fluke, but one thing is for sure, getting there this season won´t be any easier as team continue to get more competitive each season.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners swept the season series in 2009-2010 with Phoenix Hagen stomping all over them in Hagen 93-64 as Derrick Allen led all scorers with 22 points, Aubrey Resse chipped in with 18 points and Grayson Moyer had one of his best games as a Skyliner with 15 points and five assists. In the return game in Frankfurt, Phoenix Hagen lost 89-76. Skyliner captain Pascal Roller led Frankfurt with 18 points and five assists and Derrick Allen produced 17 points. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners outrebounded Phoenix Hagen 66-49 in both games. Last season, the Skyliners also won the season series with a 90-85 win as Jermaine Bucknor led the team with 19 points and six rebounds and 92-53 romp at home getting 24 points and eight rebounds from Roger Powell and only six points and seven assists from Dashaun Wood. In the first game in the 2011-2012 season, the Fraport Skyliners romped Phoenix Hagen 83-65 as fans saw the last Beko BBL game of Jon Leuer who erupted for 27 points and Jimmy Mckinney had 21 points. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners stomped all over Phoenix Hagen 92-47. Five players scored in double figures as the team was led by Devin Gibson with 16 points. Last season Fraport Skyliners lost the first game against Phoenix Hagen in their own living room in embarrassing fashion 107-102 as they their opponent gave them a display of how to play run and gun basketball. Phoenix Hagen shot an amazing 51% from the field and 60% from the three point line. In the return game in Hagen, the Fraport Skyliners had their nerves under control in crunch time slipping by Phoenix Hagen on the road 81-78 as Frankfurt was led by Dawan Robinson with 25 points and ex Giessen players Ryan brooks chipped in with 14 points and Laquan Prowell with 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners enter the game against Phoenix Hagen with a two game winning streak and want to get up to 500 at home with a win to get to a record of 3-3 in their own living room. “We have to play very good transition defense. Our staple this season is solid defense and we will have to do that”, stressed Andrew Rautins. Phoenix Hagen also enter the game with a two game winning streak having defeated TBB Trier and the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg. Fraport Skyliners Jacob Burtschi will be extra motivated to battle against his ex team. “The blue print of Phoenix Hagen is run and gun. They lost Davin White and I don’t think that they are as strong as last season. They did add more athleticism and depth inside. They can lose by 30 or beat a top team by 20 points. We have to slow them down and play our game”, warned Jacob Burtschi. The duel of the game will be sharp shooters Andrew Rautins and David Bell. I think we will see a nice shooting clinic between Rautins and Bell, but Rautins will win”, smiled Quantez Robertson.