Will This Be The Last Time The Fraport Skyliners Experience Maik Zirbes In The Green Of TBB Trier?

There always comes a time when young German players will move from lesser teams and smaller markets to bigger teams and bigger markets. For some players like Tibor Pleiss or German wunderkind Dirk Nowitzki going from a Cologne-Bamberg-Oklahoma City or Wurzburg-Dallas happens quicker than for other players. Players like heiko “Give me the ball at Ostbahnhof if you want” Schaffartzik going through six Beko BBL teams to finally land back where he started at with 8 time Beko BBL team Alba Berlin and finally getting minutes or German national player Philipp Schwethelm landing with the most famous German sports name FC Bayern Munich via Rhein Energy Cologne and Bremerhaven take a little longer to get to that most desired luxury address. There is one Giant German talent who wears the green and happens to seem to be almost as big as the famous American jolly green giant who is the symbol for a Minnesota valley canning company is TBB Trier 205cm center beats Maik Zirbes. There have been rumors that he may be headed to Bamberg next season if Tibor Pleiss goes to the NBA. With only a few games left in the beko BBL regular season, many diehard TBB Trier fans who will miss the playoffs will be enjoying every last moment with Zirbes in the paint as Bamberg fans will with Tibor Pleiss. The 22 year old German is playing his third season with TBB Trier and has increased his minutes, points and rebounds from last season. “Maik has developed the most for sure. He works extremely hard and has gotten results. He is getting better with his back to the basket but his pick and roll defense is getting better as well”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. Pleiss made the adjustment from Cologne to Bamberg, but could Zirbes also make the adjustment to a bigger market? “ I think Maik can do whatever he puts his mind to. He has a great work ethic and I am sure he will succeed where ever he goes. In my opinion he just has to stay patient and continue to improve each aspect of his game and don’t listen to what everyone is saying about his game.he can and will succeed no matter where he decides to play at next season”, expressed John Bynum. If Zirbes does depart, he will be dearly missed and always remembered as a guy who always came to play and wanted to learn, but Bynum doesn´t believe the rumor until something is official is stated. “My nicest memory on the court has to be his block last season against Bonn. And as far as off the court, he was my personal driver for the whole season when I had trouble with my license and he is always smiling for sure. He is a great teammate on and off the floor and he works hard and has gotten the results this season because of his work. As far as the rumor goes I don’t know anything about the rumor. They are good as nothing until it happens”, warned John Bynum. The question is, can Zirbes follow Pleiss one day to the NBA? “I think he has potential to play in the NBA but it is up to him how far he wants to take it. He has caught attention of people this season and now it is up to him to not just be satisfied but to get better and take advantage of the door possibly being opened”, stressed John Bynum. Zirbes helped his market value today as he got two Beko BBL awards as Best German budding star and most improved.

Before coach Henrik Roedl came in 2010, TBB Trier had been known to be a team that likes to acquire Americans, have talented stars like Tommy Adams, Caleb Green or Chris Copeland, but unable to put it together as a team. The team was lucky not to be deregulated in 2008 as they finished in 17th place. From 2006-2010, TBB Trier averaged to import six Americans each season, but in the 2009-2010 season, the club had only five Americans as if they had some premonition that a tall skinny German ex Tar Heel was going to come and show special and not always seen love for German players giving them impact opportunities on his team. TBB Trier always had very skilled American players, but the teams didn´t play as much team basketball. “We have never had a kind of team like we had last season and this season. We have had good people the last two years that have known how to play with each other. It is very important that each player can play with each other. We didn´t have that before Rodel came”, warned Maik Zirbes. The ex North Carolina Tar Heel also has showed his heart for developing German talent like Maik Zirbes who is on his way to becoming the top German center in the future. Since Rodel came coach, the team has learned to play defense and play more team basketball despite a slimmer budget and talent than in recent years. “Coach Roedel has done a great job giving young German players playing time which I profit from. I think that every coach in the Beko BBL should work like that. I have learned so much from him. He gave me the chance to play and let my self confidence grow. I like how he talks with me and treats me”, added Maik Zirbes.

Last season TBB Trier were on course for a playoff spot, but had some misfortune in the latter part of the season finishing in 10th place with a 17-17 record. The club lost five of their last seven games which was vital for them not reaching the promised land. Their biggest win of the season was against Oldenburg and Braunschweig and they were able to sweep The Telekom Baskets Bonn. Their biggest strength was their defense as they were able to keep the opponent to 70 points or less in 17 games. The team didn´t have the most talent or have the deepest roster, but they played with a lot of heart and never wanted to leave the court as the loser. The big strength of head coach Henrik Roedel was that he was able to utilize the most out of each player to give to the success of the team.

TBB Trier built some positive team chemistry last season and Henrik Rodel did a smart thing by keeping seven players from last season with top scorer Phillipp Zwiener, Lebron James friend Dru Joyce, the heart and soul of the team John Bynum, Serb inside out terror Dragan Dojcin, German beats Maik Zirbes, Oskar Fassler and Luxemburg product Samy Picard. With a few vital components missing, TBB Trier added American forward Nate Linhart, three point snipper EJ Gallup who will play his last game against the Fraport Skyliners as he heads back to the States to go into coaching and young German talents Andreas Seiferth and Joshiko Saibou. “ TBB Trier have an overall good team. Zirbes was a beast on the offensive glass and seemed to get his hands on every ball. He is a stud that could be an NBA player. Joyce controlled the tempo of the game and was good on ball screens and Gallup really can shoot the ball and spreads the floor well with Joyce penetrating and Zirbes down low”, warned s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg guard Chris Kramer. With a less stocked line up this season, TBB Trier is careful about making any defined predictions. “Our goal is to equal the success of last season”, stressed TBB Trier board of directors Ralph Moog. The question will be can TBB Trier match their success from last season? “ We will not give a standings goal for this season.The league is a lot stronger than last season so it would be wrong to talk about the playoffs. The most important thing for us keep developing as team”stressed Henrik Roedel. TBB Trier has got off to a slow start at 3-6 and were resting in 15th place when they met Frankfurt at the end of November 2011. They have beaten Bremerhaven, Bayreuth and BG Goettingen. They let two games get away as the lost In Hagen and gave Giessen an early Christmas present by seemingly handing them a win in their own living room. After their win against Frankfurt, they suffered a five game losing streak losing some close games against Alba Berlin, Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich losing by only a combined total of 15 points. In 2012, they have been playing like a team stuck in the middle of the standings and even for a time were near the bottom, but the team got some big wins against playoff teams FC Bayern Munich and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.Positive continues to be that they defend for a passion and continue to give up little points, but often have problems finding ways to put points on the boards. “I think our biggest problem has been notable to put points on the board. We haven’t been able to score on a consistent basis, because our defense has been solid but if you can’t score somewhat then your not going to win games”, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “Our strength is our defense. We know each other so well on the court and everyone wants to defend well. If you don’t play defense then you sit on the bench. Nobody wants to disappoint coach, because we know how important defense is for him. That is why we give so much effort on defense”, warned Maik Zirbes. Even with the slow start, TBB Trier have a strong will to win and could be a thorn in the side of most teams on any given night. “Our goal is like last season, just taking it one game at a time and giving all we have to win each game”, warned Maik Zirbes.

In the last Six years, The Skyliners have a record of 7-6 against TBB Trier with 2-2 at home and 2-2 on the road. Frankfurt lost the last two games in Trier 74-64 in 2008 on the last day of the season where teams were jockeying for playoff places and Frankfurt ended up getting The Bayer Giants Leverkusen in the quarterfinals. In 2009-2010, TBB Trier played a very energetic and spirited game winning 78-70 despite a monster game by American Derrick Allen who registered 29 points and 10 boards. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost the first game of the season in Trier 71-67 as Jimmy Mckinney and Qarraan Calhoun were missing due to injury. It was your typical season opening game as both teams were nervous and missing way too many shots. The game was tied at halftime 26 all. Frankfurt had fire power in the third quarter, but went down in the fourth quarter scoring only nine points as Frankfurt had no nerves in crunch time to win. Derrick Allen had 19 points and eight rebounds and despite TBB Trier was without top scorer Chrs Copeland, the team got needed production form Jamal Shuler, Brian Brown and George Evans to conserve the win. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost the first game ion Trier71-67 as Ex Skyliner Derrick Allen contributed 19 points and eight rebounds and Frankfurt won at home 71-69 winning the game with Pascal Roller free throws. Derrick Allen led Frankfurt with 17 points. Last season, Frankfurt swept the season series. They won at home 72-55 as Pascal Roller led the home team with 17 points. The return date in Trier was an exciting battle as Frankfurt clawed out a 69-61 win as they came from behind going on a 10-0 run in crunch time to prevail. Dashaun Wood led the charge with 18 points and Jimmy Mckinney added 11 points. In their first meeting this season, TBB Trier came out with a 64-54 victory as defense played a key role. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jon Leuer and Jimmy Mckinney with 14 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners enter the game against TBB Trier looking to win their fifth game in a row while TBB Trier is looking to snap their four game winning streak. TBB Trier is in 14th place and need to be careful not to land in the basement as EnBW Ludwigsburg and the Lti Giessen 46ers only have one win less. This will be a game that will feature one thing. “This will be a defensive battle”, warned Sklyiner guard Jimmy mCkinney. “It is always tough to play Trier at home. They have lost some close games at home as well as won a few close games. We will have to stop what they like to do and play for 40 minutes”, stressed Jacob Burtschi.

The name Maik Zirbes has always been seen as a guy that could develop into one of the top German centers and currently he is showing how strong he as he is third leading TBB Trier in scoring. He was born in Traben-Trarbach is a huge talent and has been able to increase his playing time each season. He started his basketball career in the TBB Trier youth programs and in 2008-2009 he played 12 games averaging 1.3ppg and in the summer of 2009 played at the World University Games in Belgrade (Serbia) playing 6 games averaging 5.5ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, FT: 64.7%. Last season, he averaged 7.4ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 60.9%, FT: 73.3% “He is a big body with soft hands and will help them under the boards. He is very talented”, warned ex TBB Trier forward Chris Copeland. Dru Joyce is a 26 year old 183cm point guard. He is the typical floor general who supplies leadership, court vision and points when needed. He returns back to the BEKO BBL after playing for Ratiopharm Ulm from 2007-2009. Each season, he was the second best assist man in the BEKO BBL. His best season in Ulm was 2008-2009 as he led the club into the playoffs playing 34 games averaging 10.1ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-2(4.5apg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 73.0%. He is best known for playing along side NBA superstar Lebron James at St Marys and winning three high school titles. He played at Akron from 2003-2007 as in his senior year, he played 33 games averaging 10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3Pts: 39.6%, FT: 65.6%. In 2009-2010, he played in Poland forEnerga Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five), Polish League: 6 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.0apg; in Nov.’09 moved to Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK): 27 games: 7.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 75.9%. “I played for two very good coaches. One was from Latvia and the other was from Belarus. It was a new situation for me since I had always played for American coaches. They both had different styles. I had some ups and downs in Poland, but I learned to always keep fighting when I was going through a rough time. You always have to be ready when called upon”, stressed Dru Joyce. Last season for TBB Trier, he played 35 games: 12.9ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-3(5.5apg), FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 74.4%.

Phillip Zwiener is a 26 year old 198cm forward who started his basketball career as a 17 year old in 2002 for TSV Lesum-Bremen (2Bundealiga). In 2004-2005, in his last season for TSV Lesum, he played 29 games averaging 14.4ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 57%, 3FGP: 28.1%, FT: 77.3%. He then got rewarded by getting signed by German power house Alba Berlin. Zwiener didn´t take off like an Albatros as he played on the Spree for five years playing only 114 BEKO BBL games, 15 ULEB Cup games, 4 Eurocup games and 2 Euroleague games. He never was able to develop into a important player because the club had so many talented players and always had the pressure to have to win. He was able to win 2 BEKO BBL cups and 1 BEKO BBL championship with Alba Berlin. Despite not playing so much in Berlin, German national coach Dirk Bauerman always had an eye on him and invited him to play at the 2008 Olympics in Bejing. “I am not surprised by the development of Phil. He just didn´t get much time in Berlin. He got valuable experience and now is getting his chance to shine in Trier. His time in Berlin was very valuable as he was playing for one of the most respected teams in Europe and was able to play behind some great players and learn from them and play Euroleague. He will only get better”, warned John Bynum. “Phil never had a real chance in Berlin, because there were so many talented players there. He is a good player and is proving it now with TBB Trier. If he keeps working then he will improve. I am sure his goal is to return back to the German national team”, warned Dru Joyce. “Zwiener is currently one of the best in the league. He is running the team and has done a good job. He just needed the chance to play which he didn´t get in Berlin and now he is getting that chance”, commented Quentin Pryor. Last season for TBB Trier, the German played 30 games: 12.8ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 74.2%.

Dragan Dojcin is a 35 year old 205cm power forward from Serbia. He is playing his second season with TBB Trier and his fifth season in the BEKO BBL. He is a Left handed power forward that is very quick. He has a very good shoot from the distance and can play under the basket. He played in Slovenia and Serbia before going to Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): EuroCup Challenge: 10 games: 10.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 50%, 3PT: 40%, FT: 82.1%; Ukrainian League: 30 games: 9.4ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 76.7%. In 2006-2007, he played for Panionios Forthnet Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): FIBA EuroCup: 15 games: 8.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 42.6%, 3FGP: 37.8%, FT: 64.3%; Greek League: 26 games: 8.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 59.0%, 3FGP: 46.0%, FT: 56.0%. He played for Alba Berlin from 2007-2010. His best season was 2009-2010 where he played EuroCup: 14 games: 4.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.5apg; German League: 36 games: 5.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 67.6%. He won the Slovenian cup in 2004, BEKO BBL title in 2008, BEKO BBL cup in 2009 and reached the Eurocup final in 2010 with Alba Berlin. Last season with TBB Trier, he played 34 games: 7.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 56.9%.

Nate Linhart is a 25 year old 201cm forward from Gahanna, Ohio that is playing his third professional basketball season and first with TBB Trier. He played at Akron(NCAA) from 2005-2009 and played with TBB Trier teammate Dru Joyce. In his senior year, he played 36 games: 10.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 44.3%, 3Pts: 32.8%, FT: 81.3%. In 2009-2010, he played for BSC Raiffeisen Furstenfeld Panthers (Austria-A Bundesliga, starting five): 44 games: 11.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 59.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 76.1%. Last season, he played for the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 50 games: 10.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.9apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 73.8%. John Bynum is a 33 year old 191cm guard from Visalia, California. He is a good fighter, fast and good in offensive playing. He is great athlete who can shoot the ball with consistency from 3 and finish with authority on the break. He is tremendous defender on the ball and is looking (class act off the floor). He has played in countries like England(All Star slam dunk winner 2002), Norway and Cyprus, but his heart has belonged to Germany the most as he is starting his seventh season in Germany. He has played for clubs like BSG Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga), COOCOON Baskets Weiden (Germany-2.Bundesliga), USC Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) and Proveo Merlins Crailsheim (Germany-ProA). He also has had BEKO BBL experience playing for Bremerhaven and Paderborn where he played a total of 65 games before coming to TBB Trier. In 2009-2010, he played for Proveo Merlins Crailsheim (Germany-ProA, starting five): 27 games: 16.9ppg, 7.1rpg, Assists-3(5.4apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 62.8%. Last season for TBB Trier, he played 35 games: 6.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 64.3%.

Oskar Fassler is a 23 year old 198cm guard who also comes from the Alba Berlin fraction. He played for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin (Regionalliga) from 2004-2006. He joined Alba Berlin in 2006 and played there until 2009. He also was a young player that didn’t get a real chance as he was sitting on the bench. He only played 22 BEKO BBL games. In 2009-2010, he started with Alba Berlin and then moved to Science City Jena (ProA, starting five): 12 games: 9.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 77.8%, also played at Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (1.Bundesliga): 4 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg. Last season for TBB Trier he played 25 games: 5.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 59.1%He was a part of the German U-18 and U-20 teams and played at the European Championships U20 Division B in Targu Mures (Romania) -08:(Champion): 7 games: 3.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4apg. The club picked up big German talent Andreas Seiferth who comes form the Alba Berlin school. Seiferth is a 22 year old 206cm power forward/center. Last season he played for : ALBA Berlin (1.Bundesliga): German League: 5 games: 0.6ppg; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 0pts, 1reb; EuroCup: 5 games: 1.0ppg, 1.4rpg, had also a license to play at ALBA Berlin II (Regionalliga): 20 games: 15.4ppg, Reb-2(10.7rpg), 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 67.4%. Samy Picard is a 23 year old 195cm forward from Luxemberg who is playing his playing his third season with TBB Trier. Last season, he played 25 games averaging 2,8ppg. He started his career with the Musel Pikes (DBBL) in 2005 where he played until 2009.This past summer, he played the Qualifications to European Championships Division B 2011 -10: 3 games: 15.0ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT-2(89.5%). The team brought in Beko BBL rookie James Washington who is a 24 year old 187cm guard from St Louis, Missouri and is friends with Skyliner Jimmy Mckinney. He played at W.Illinois (NCAA), Indian Hills CC and at Middle Tenn.St. (NCAA) the last two years. Last season as a senior, he played 32 games: 14.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 86.4%


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