Where Will The Bonn Journey End This Season With Matthias Fischer?

Every once in a while coaching era´s have to come to an end like Mike Taylor´s run did in Ulm or Doc Rivers did with the Boston Celtics. Somes era´s come to an end as in Ulm with Taylor as unexpected and unexplainable as the release of ex Fraport Sklyiner Dawan Robinson whose bright star shone under Muli Katzurin, but dimmed away under Gordon Herbert who didn´t give the Philadeplhia native as much freedom or expected as with Doc Rivers where their had always been the one or other rumour that he was on his way out. The same thing happened to Mike Koch who was dismissed from Bonn after last season. Koch who has a player resume to die for winning  4 Greek titles, German titles with Bayreuth and Leverkusen, a Euroleague and the 1993 EM coached Bonn from 2005-2013. In the last years, there were always rumours that he was on his way out, but instead management continued to have faith in him hoping for a title. Despite many high caliber players like Jason Conley, Jason Gardner or Tony Gaffney, he never won a title having to settle for second place three times with two final appearances 2008 and 2009 and a cup final. Koch has that staple of always finishing second, but he will never be forgotten in Bonn reaching 7 of 8 playoffs and may even have  a new duty soon being  a fireman and saving a another BBL team in need. Matthias Fischer is no unknown face to the German basketball scene. He started his coaching career with Rhondorf and was an assistant under Sasa Obradovic in Köln wining a cup and BBL title in 2006. He coached the Luxemburg national team and for three seasons Allianz Swans Gmunden where he won a meisterschaft and cup. Last season he got valuable coaching experience in Giessen what it is like playing half a season with nine Germans and two Americans. He is a coach that wants to present good team defense which sparks the offense which will have many different ways of annoying the opponent with fast break play with their athletic players to lead to easy baskets and a lethal set play offense with many options. His biggest strength is giving his players self confidenceThe club has won some close games so their nerves in crunch time are alert in the early going. This is the first real team that Fischer has where he has a real substantion higher budget an dit will be interesting where he can lead Bonn to this season. Despite the Beko BBl getting more competitive each season, the club has a very solid roster and the playoffs should be reachable.

Last season the Telekom Baskets Bonn finished the season in seventh place with a record of 18-16, but had to met 2009 Beko BBl champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. This was no easy task and they couldn´t get revenge for the five game series loss in the 2009 Beko BBL final and lost this series in a tough hard fought 5 game series as well. Despite changing Fischer with Koch, the club decided not to do a full shift house cleaning, but kept a healthy core of players from last season and implemented the new foundation with solid components. The most important player to remain was Mr pass Jared Jordan. Jordan is a 29 year old 188cm point guard from Harford that is playing his fourth season in Bonn having led the Beko BBL and Greek lead in assists once. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007, but has said goodbye to his NBA dream as he has accepted the European basketball and lifestyle. Last season he played 38 games: 10.1ppg, 3.5rpg, Assists-1(7.6apg), FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 69.8%; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 9.1ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-3(5.9apg), FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 55.2%, FT: 76.9%. His ally-op passes to Tony Gaffney go hand in hand like the blind understanding that Karl Malone and John Stockton had back in the day. The club also held onto 30 year old 192cm guard Benas Veikalis from Lithuvania  who will be playing his third season in Bonn. Last season he played  36 games: 11.4ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 83.3%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 9.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT-3(88.0%. His shooting is his biggest strength as he never shot under 40% in the Beko BBL in a season and his great understanding of the game and decision making make him very valuable. The club also kept Jamel Mcclean who is a 25 year old 203cm forward, but has moved to center with Bonn. This is his third professional season and second with Bonn. Last season he came in the second half of the season and made an impact right away playing  21 games: 13.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 59.3%, FT: 65.9%, 6.6rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 58.6%, FT: 69.6%. The Xavier graduate who also played in Belgium and Italy is a very physical player that wont make the same mistake twice under the basket. The team also kept durable and reliable Germans David Mccray and Andrej Mangold. Mccray is a 187cm guard and might only be 27 years old, but is starting his tenth professional season. He already played 39 BBL games between 2004-2007 with BG Karlsruhe and then played five seasons in Ludwigsburg and last season for Bonn played 8 games: 7.0ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 70.0%; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 5.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 41.7%. He is best known for his pit bull defense, but has grown as an offensive player and can score in bunches. Who could forget his 23 points against Hagen in 24 minutes. The only thing missing is being more consistent on the offensive end. Mangold is a 26 year old 190cm point guard starting his third season with Bonn and got his first real chance in the top german league under Michael Koch. After playing in Oldenburg, Hannover and Munich, he got into 26 games for the Artland Dragons in 2010-2011. Being reunited with his budy Tony Gaffney will surely spark his game as well. Florian Koch who is a 21 year old 197 forward also is back. He is a very versatile player that can play multiple positions and has a solid shot. Last season he played  7 games: 1.1ppg; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 3.7ppg, 3.0rpg, had also a licence to play for Dragons Rhoendorf (ProB): 23 games: 13.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 85.1%.

The club lost lots of scoring power with Kyle Weems and Robert Vaden and inside presence with Johannes Wolfarth-Bottermann, but Fischer did a good job compensating for these loses by possibily bringing in more versatily at other positions. The most important signing was Tony Gaffney who is a fan favorite in Bonn. After a preparing with Bonn in the pre season, he left shortly before the season to try his luck with the Memphis Grizzlies, but was cut. Gaffney who is the only player to have been on the roster of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and never played a game is a 28 year old 205cm forward from Boston. Last season he played for  FIATC Joventut Badalona (Spain-Liga Endesa): 23 games: 11.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-5(1.6spg), Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 64.5%. The ex Umass player who also played in Israel and Turkey is a high energy player and one of those players that fans especially come to watch. His athletic dunks will surely be featured in many top 10 plays this season. The club also got 33 year old 203cm forward from Lithuavnia Donatas Zavackas who has experience in Germany having played two seasons with Ludwigsburg. H eplayed at Pittsburgh(NCAA) an din countries like Poland, Ukraine, Italy and Spain. He also played for top European team : Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Last year he played for : VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL): VTB League: 24 games: 9.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 71.0%; Latvian LBL: 26 games: 9.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT-2(51.1%), FT: 88.0%; EuroCup: 12 games: 7.7ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 72.7%. He is a very good shooter and excels at mving without the ball and is always intense. The team also hauled in 25 year old 193cm guard Ryan Brooks who is known for having played at the same high school as Kobe Bryant. He is playing his fourth professional season after having played at Temple(NCAA) and has played mostly in Germany except for a season in Finland. Last season he played for  LTi Giessen 46ers (Germany-BBL, starting five): 19 games: 15.9ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg, 2FGP: 54.8%, 3FGP: 37.3%, FT: 75.4%, in Jan.’13 moved to Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL, starting five): 15 games: 13.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 73.7%. Brooks is very athletic that likes that mid distance jumper and will get Gaffney on the break more than once with his aggressive defense.  The club also brought in defensive specialist Kurt Looby who is a 29 year old 210cm center from Antigua, but also has the American citizenship. Looby played at Iowa and in countries like Greece and Poland. Last season he played for  Trefl Sopot (Poland-TBL, starting five): 34 games: 5.6ppg, 5.0rpg, Blocks-3(1.6bpg), FGP-1(66.1%), FT: 64.8%; EuroCup: 6 games: 3.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.2bpg. It doesn´t matter where he has played, but is always near the top in shot blocking. For some it takes four years to set NCAA records, but for Looby finished two year career at Iowa ranked seventh all-time in blocked shots with 96. The team also brought in Germans Steve Wachalski and Enosch Wolf. Wachalski is a 30 year old 202cm forward that is mostly known for being a very good shooter and has that special sense of game intelligence. He also is one of those rare players that went from 8 long hard years of Regionaliga/German second Bundesliga with Osnabruck to getting his first chance in the Beko BBl in 2010 with Bayreuth. He played the last twos easons with the Mitteldeutscher BC. Wolf is a 23 year old 216cm center and second longest in the league. He started his basketball career with BG Goettingen and is only a hand full of Germans that has won an NCAA title. He did it in 2011 with Uconn with NBA player Kemba Walker. Wolf has important NCAA experience and a nice mid distance shot and baby hook shot. It will be interesting to see how his potential and growth continues in Bonn.

It isn´t always easy to compare two different teams, but one would have to come to the conclusion that this Bonn team is stronger than last years team just on paper. The biggest strength on the team is keeping a part of the roster in tact as well as the experience on the team. There are many players that have Beko BBL experience and guys like Jordan and Gaffney are hungry to win their first titles in Germany. The team is very athletic and will want to use this strength to get out of big defensive plays and get easy buckets with many resulting in dunks. This will be a very interesting team on offense with the creative point guard Jordan finding good shooting opportunities for his players. The club has many good shooters, but also inside will be able to do damage with Gaffney and Mcclean. The defensive duo of Gaffney and Looby will annoy many Beko BBL teams this season. If this team can try to set a goal and keep teams between 73-78 points or even better, than they will win many games. The bench isn´t deep, but hungry as with Germans Mangold, Mccray, Wachalski and Wolf, guys who will always be fighting in practice for their minutes and want to prove their worth in games. The  xfactor on the team will be Jared Jordan. Every team will be gunning to slow him down. When he is on his game, then Bonn always ahs very good chnaces to win. If Jordan is slowed down, then it obviously becomes for difficult to win.

In the last Six seasons,the Frankfurt  Skyliners only have a 6-13 record. It doesn´t matter if Frankfurt played at the old gym or in the new arena in Bonn they have lost 11 games in a row there. The last time, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners won in Bonn, New England patriot Tom Brady had not sipped champagne yet as a third Super Bowl winner, Jurgen Klinsmann was still coach of the German national soccer team, Paul Potts was still selling cell phones and singing in front of the mirror and the terrifying Tsunami was only a few days old as Frankfurt won in Bonn on January 1st 2005 with a 79-67 win as Chris Williams exploded with 27 points and 16 rebounds.In the 2010-2011 season the Skyliners lost a tight 92-89 game shortly before the new year as Nic Wise took control in crunch time. The 20 point, eight rebound and seven assist performance didn´t help in the losing cause from Dashaun Wood. Frankfurt got revenge in the return date in the Ballsporthalle as they took apart Bonn 78-60 as Dashaun Wood led all scorers with 20 points and no Bonn player scored in double figures. In their first meeting in 2011-2012, the Telekom Baskets Bonn won 79-64 as Bonn was leading 41-34 at halftime and had a strong 22-12 third quarter that iced the cake for the win. Simonas Serapinas Led Bonn with 20 points, while the two ex Skyliners Justin Gray contributed 21 points and Jon Leuer 16 points. Frankfurt shot under 40% and were out rebounded badly. In the return game in Bonn, Frankfurt lost 81-62 not reaching the Beko BBL playoffs. The Skyliners had no method of stopping Chris Ensminger that had 24 points. Jermareo Davidosn added 18 points and Jimmy Mckinney had 13 points in his last game as a Skyliner. The Fraport Skyliners won the first game last season in Frankfurt 78-53 displaying the typical Katzurian defense and containing top point guard Jared Jordan to nine points and only two assists. Frankfurt was led by ex Skyliner Dion Dowell who had 17 points and Zach Peacock chipped in with 14 points. In the return game in Bonn, despite a 25 point, 11 rebound, five assist effort by Zach Peacock, Bonn won 81-75 as Benas Viekalis was hitting from everywhere except the bank of the Rhine river as he netted 22 points. Jamel Mcclean added 18 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn come to Frankfurt in third place with a 6-1 record and big win against eight time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin. Bonn has a six game winning streak after losing the first game of the season against FC Bayern Munich and they have found their rhythm very quick in the season. The Fraport Skyliners come into the game with a one game winning streak and a lot of self confidence. It isn´t difficult to come into the Bonn game with a game plan. “We have to control Jared Jordan and stop their shooters Brooks and Veikalis. We have to rebound very well against Bonn to win”, stressed Danilo Barthel. The Fraport Skyliners also will remember their pre season duel in Wurzburg that seek revenge. “Bonn has  a great team and one of the best point guards in the league. We remember the loss in pre season. We will have to control the rebounds and their shooters”, warned Jacob Burtschi.

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