The Miles Basketball Minute: A Mad Baller In The Body Of Zachory Peacock (Fraport Skyliners)

From 2007-2011, basketball life in Frankfurt was thrilling as the Frankfurt Skyliners reached the playoffs four consecutive seasons including a quarterfinal, two semi finals and a final where they were one possession away from a possible German title as they lost a heartbreaking fifth game in Bamberg. However the last two seasons, being a follower of the Frankfurt Skyliners has become increasingly delicate as not only has the club been out of the playoffs, but have been in danger of moving down due to their poor play. Last season, the team was in 17th place in December and thank a miraculous turn in play in the second half of the season almost made the playoffs losing  a must win game in Bonn on the last game day finishing in ninth place. This season, the fortunes of the 2004 Beko BBL team hasn´t been any better as they had a slow start and in February 2013 were as low as 17th place. It was unknown, if the team could ever pull themselves out of the dank cellar, but as of late, the team has rebounded winning six of their last seven games and now are breathing  a bit better at 14th place.

There are many reasons why the team has been playing more successful than in previous months. Much like last season where the team beat big time teams in the second half of the season, the same has occurred in the last weeks as the Fraport Skyliners have steam rolled past Alba Berlin, Bamberg, Bremerhaven and Wurzburg. The team continues to lay a foundation with their consistent, aggressive and Katzurian trademark defense in which they have let up an average of 66 points per game in the last five. Offense being their Achilles heel in the first half of the season where they had problems putting points on the board put too much pressure on their defense which resulted in more loses. A big key for the stability in the set offense and escape from the static offense has been American Dawan Robinson who really has stepped up leading the charge on offense often scoring in a Dashaun Wood like furry which was seen two seasons ago or doing the playmaking and just making the Frankfurt offense more organized than ever with a high range of options. Robinson penetrates like a Bull that has gotten lost in Philadelphia and wants to return back to the pastures of Spain. The team also didn´t have the right pieces and at the start of the season let go of American Dion Dowell who was inconsistent, didn´t see eye to eye with the coach and seemed to only play brilliant in Israel and American Ted Scott who was a scorer and simply too one dimensional for the coaching stomach of Muli Katzurin. The club reacted quickly and looked up the A5 to their neighbors Giessen and took advantage of their financial woes helping free up money there by acquiring Americans Ryan Brooks and Laquan Prowell. These two guys have been an important part to the success. One also can´t forget that it just took a little longer than usual for Katurin and the players to find that chemistry and have the roles defined which has become more and more.

If one had to choose one player that has been most responsible for the prosperity of the Fraport Skyliners, one could mention Ryan Brooks and Dawan Robinson, but the player that deserves the most credit is Zach Peacock. Peacock in a way is this years Jacob Burtschi who was a big factor in the turn around of the team in the second half of the season last season. Peacock is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Miami that has had to move to center this season, because Frankfurt was thin in that department. After playing at Georgia Tech and playing with numerous NBA players like Philadelphia 76er Thaddeus Young where he learned the passion for the game,  he came to Germany in 2010 and in the last two seasons played for teams like the LTi Giessen 46ers and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. In both places, he averaged double figures in scoring, but this season in Frankfurt he is averaging his highest points total currently with 14,8ppg and 4,9rpg. He really has had to step up more in the scoring department early on as Frankfurt simply didn´t have consistent scorers. Peacock has shown to be consistent from the start scoring in double figures in 23 of 26 games. His rebounding is down and is a topic among critics, but there have been games when he has been a monster on the boards like against Alba Berlin and Bamberg. He is often parked on the baseline far away from the rim and uses the mismatches and lets his fade away jumper do the talking. Let Zach Peacock shoot and then everything will be fine is the perfect way to describe the hope that everyone has in him. Peacock has led the team especially now in the last weeks showing his scoring qualities, but also his will to do the maximum to win games. Back in his rookie season, the Giessen team gave him the nick name the mad baller, because he was a rookie and very focused to do everything right on the court and never joked around. In the last game where the Fraport Skyliners won round 2 of the battle of Wurzburg where Peacock led the team with 21 points and as so often this season displayed a knack for scoring in bunches, but it was the last play of the game where he showed his team play. Peacock came out and played like a guard and blocked a three pointer from hot shooting Brit Mike Lenzly which helped lead to the win. Peacock isn´t a guy that will just coast on defense, but is able to make that big play when the team needs it most. It isn´t only the challenge to try to dance around a bigger Jason Boone inside with the ball, but to defend like a first class player. “I really have to work hard on defense. I love to guard the pick and role and the little guards. I love those challenges”, warned Zach Peacock. Six weeks ago, there was speculation and fear of not surviving and staying in the Beko BBL, but now the Skyliner horizon looks a lot rosier as the team most likely wont move down, but wont make the playoffs either. The amazing comeback by the Fraport Skyliners simply was started too late for any hope of reaching the promised land. There are still 5 games to play in the regular season and one thing is sure that the mad baller will first rest in Zack Peacock when he is back in Miami for the summer.

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