Much has happened in the past five years since the 10,7 time that Derrick Allen achieved on a Frankfurt track as he came one possession from winning his first BBL league title with Frankfurt being denied in Bamberg, playing two seasons for top German team Alba Berlin where he got to know the perks of head coach Luka Pavicevic and why Gordon Herbert is his twin in work ethic and played with the road runner equivalent in basketball point guard Dashaun Wood and then left Germany for the first time in eight years moving over the boarder to Belgium to present his slick ballerina moves and returned back to Germany last season to Bremerhaven where he played for the Eisbaeren which in English is a polar bear something that he would never see back home in Alabama, but could visit in the zoo there. This season Allen who can be called a German basketball country trotter as he also played with BG Karlsruhe and Leverkusen at the start of his career is playing in Braunschweig. Allen was 29 years old when he posted the time of 10,7 seconds in the 100 meter category in preseason and back then I was joking that the Alabama native could be a dark horse Usain Bolt opponent in the 2012 London Olympics. He probably has lost a few tenth of a second on a 100 meter sprint, but when the 203cm forward is off to the races in transition then he can still get up the floor with the best of them even now in 2014. Just how Frankfurt Skyliner legend Pascal Roller perfected the fast break three pointer or Boston Celtic legend Kevin Mchale the fade away jumper, Derrick Allen has perfected his dancing in the zone that resembles a ballerina going work that has made numerous defenders get as dizzy as patrons getting onto the Drop of fear ride at Wonderland Park in Texas. He may not out dance the world famous ballerina dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, but on the basketball court in Germany it has done damage since 10 years. Allen has used his ballerina moves to near perfection and it is something he learned through the years, that one could almost warrant a patent for the Derrick Allen ballerina move in 2009. “All the post moves that I use, I got from watching different big men, while I was growing up. I think, I used them so much is because most of the post guys I go against are 10-20 kilo’s heavier than me. So I got to use my quickness, and fakes too keep the defenders off balance, but I hope I will be able to use those moves more this season”, stressed Allen. The 34 year old American had his lowest scoring season last season, but is still a pest to defend on the court and seems to be getting better by age. “His game is so unorthodox and he just out works his opponent on every play wheather it’s a loose ball, rebound or steal. He is always first to the ball”, said ex Maccabii Tel Aviv guard Ricky Hickman. However it isn’t his sprinting in the open court or his ballerina dancing that has kept him active at the age of 34, but his unbelievable relentless work ethic that has kept him on the court and not on the couch on the weekends watching NBA basketball in the States. He didn’t start to work hard when he started getting older, but has been doing it since the start as his dedication and focus to the game of basketball is immaculate as he is the real definition of a professional. Because of his hard work, his stats haven’t suffered with age, but continued to stay consistent which has enabled him to get interest from clubs each off season. Last season with Bremerhaven, he played 34 games: 11.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.5%, FT: 69.5%. This season with Braunschweig he comes from the bench backing up American Tim Abromaitis and is averaging 8,0ppg and 3,2rpg and as always has a superb percentage from the field at 55,6%. After being in the top 10 in scoring for many years in the Beko BBL and even being the league scoring champion in 2007 with Leverkusen, Allen doesn’t have to put up 16 and 8 stats each weekend. His experience, work ethic and advice that he can give the kids is more than worth his pay check. He hasn´t slown down as this season he is averaging 10,0ppg and 4,3rpg while shooting 59% from the field. His highlights this season have been scoring in double figures 12 times with two double doubles and a season high 25 points against Oldenburg. It will be interesting to see how much longer he will play, because from the fitness level, he could probably play until he was 50, but after a certain point family becomes the first priority for a player with age. The side kick of Allen who is playing his 11 year in Germany is Immanuel Mcelroy. Mcelroy like Allen gives the club important experience and is a mentor for the young players. Mcelroy like Allen is from the south from Texas, around the same age of 35 only four months older, played a season at Alba Berlin, but has won 5 titles in Germany to 0 with Allen. Mcelroy won 2 cups with Cologne and one league title and won a cup and league title with Alba Berlin. Like Allen, Imac as he is called may be 34, but still belongs to the top defenders in the league and is always good for filling the stat sheets. He is playing his fourth season with Braunschweig and last season played 33 games: 10.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 77.1%. This season Mcelroy is averaging 7,4ppg, 3,4rpg and 3,1apg. He has scored in double figures eight times and best scoring game was 20 points. Another difference to Mcelroy and Allen is that he started a family when he was already in college and doesn´t seem to slow down with age and kids. Seeing these two guys play together on a team is a gem and should be cherished as long as possible, because one never knows when the ballerina moves and famous Imac smerk wont be on the court anymore.
After being in the Beko BBL middle ground for many years with Emir Mutapcic, Sebastian Machowski came in 2009 and did a fantastic job leading the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig to three consecutive playoff appearances including two semi finals and a cup final in 2011 in Bamberg. He had only had two years of coaching ability in Poland for SKK Kotwica Kolobrzeg (Poland-DBE), but was able to win a cup. In Braunschwieg he had the special touch building a harmonious team chemistry early with a solid core of Americans with Kevin Hamilton and Brandon Thomas and adding the needed puzzle parts with guys like Marcus Goree, Kyle Visser or Lamarr Greer over the three year period. However after he was lured to Oldenburg, the playoff run by the organization ended two years ago as the team ended in 13th place with Greek mastermind Kostats Flevarakis and even with the aid of future NBA player Dennis Schroeder, the team already had their summer vacation booked in May. Last season was the second consecutive season that the team didn’t reach the playoffs as the team finished in 15th place. Last season the club brought in a new feel with Raoul Korner who finally made the jump to a top level Beko BBL after winning titles in Holland and Austria and coaching three Dutch Allstar Games. However the team wasn’t able to make any noise last season as they were lounging in no mans land and were unable to get a big winning streak going as inconsistency had been a sort of staple last season. The team had shown that it could play all styles of basketball and had impressive wins against ratiopharm Ulm , winning a shoot out against Phoenix Hagen, Bonn and the Artland Dragons. However they also had extreme difficulty not winning close games. They have lost 12 games by five points or less and take five wins from those 12 close loses and they would have reached the playoffs. The main problems was not having that vocal leader, not having more durability from the bench the inability of developing the German players to the Beko BBL level last season and perhaps that lack of professionalism in certain aspects off the court from the club as ex Braunschweig player Robert Kulawick had to experience doing more team promotion than resting his body between practices.
This is the second season since Dennis Schroeder left for the NBA and that is long forgotten, but the biggest change that the club made was changing the team name from New Yorker Phantoms to Basketball Lowen(Lions) Braunschweig. As is so often the case in the Beko BBL, Braunschweig who missed the playoffs decided to build a new team this season instead of keeping a share number of players and keeping that identity in the team. The club held six players including Kyle Visser who is a 29 year old 211cm center rom Grand Rapids, Michigan that played with Chris Paul at Wake Forest reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2007. He played the first time in Braunschweig from 2007-2009 and then again during the 2010-2012 seasons. Two seasons ago he played for JuveCaserta (Italy-SerieA): only pre-season, in Dec.’12 signed at Radnicki Kragujevac (Serbia-A League): Adriatic League: 10 games: 3.2ppg, 2.2rpg. Last season he returned back for a third time and played for Braunschweig playing 33 games: 13.2ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 62.5%, FT: 70.3%. The team also kept young German Lucas Gertz who is a 24 year old 196cm shooting guard. He has immense game intelligence a guy that you can always count on on the court. Last season he played 6 games: 1.0ppg, has also the license to play at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 14 games: 8.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 60.6%. The club also held on to Maurice Pluskota who is a 22 year old 208cm that started his basketball career in 2009 for BSG Bremerhaven (2.Regionalliga) and played 5 Beko BBL games for Bremerhaven and last season played for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (BBL): 23 games: 2.0ppg, 1.8rpg, has also the license to play at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 19 games: 16.6ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.0spg, Blocks-5(1.4bpg), FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 60.2%. He is a very dynamic player that likes to use his physical presence under the boards. Martin Bogdandov is a 22 year old 183cm point guard that plays with instincts and started his basketball career in 2008 with Central Hoops Berlin(Regionaliga 2) and last season played for the Baskets Braunschweig (Pro B) playing 9 games: 14.6ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.8apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 65.2%, 3FGP: 22.0%, FT: 54.5%. Dominique Johnson was also held who is a 22 year old 194 cm guard that started his basketball career in 2010 with Bremerhaven and last season played for New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (BBL): 6 games: 0.8ppg, played also at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 25 games: 9.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 64.8%.
The club brought in six new players with four Americans and two Germans. The team signed Dru Joyce is a 30 year old 183cm point guard that won three high school titles at St Marys in Ohio with Lebron James. He played at Akron(NCAA) and is playing his eighth professional season and seventh in Germany. He played a season in Poland, two in Ulm, two in Trier and the last two in Oldenburg. Last season he played Eurocup: 10 games: 8.2ppg, 1.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 76.0%; German League: 43 games: 7.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 75.6%. He is a classic point guard that leads a team and hardly makes mistakes a reason for any team to want him. Trent Lockett was also hauled in who is a 24 year old 196cm guard form Minnetonka, Minnesota that is playing his second professional season. He played at Arizona St. (NCAA) form 2009-2012 and then moved to Marquette (NCAA) playing 35 games averaging 7.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 75.2%. Last season as a rookie he played for the Reno Bighorns (D-League) playing 48 games averaging 11.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 74.5%. His athletic and rebounding ability are his biggest strength and should make numerous highlight films. Tim Abromaitis is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Farmington, Connecticut that is playing his third professional season after playing his first two in France. He has great fundamentals and elegant moves. Can shot from everywhere on the court, and long arms allow him a very high, almost unstoppable ball release. Not so quick, neither so athletic, but has a bright future, above all at Euroleague level. He played at Notre Dame from 2007-2012. Last season he played for Strasbourg IG (France-ProA): 39 games: 7.2ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 60.3%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 86.8%; Euroleague: 10 games: 7.5ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 58.3%; Eurocup: 6 games: 5.7ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 66.7%. Nicolai Simon is a 28 year old 190cm guard that is playing his first season in Braunschweig. He has much experience in Germany having played five years in Ehingen, one year in Paderborn, two with Tuebingen and two with Bayreuth. Last season with Bayreuth he played 23 games averaging 6.6ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 80.0%. Sid Marlon Theis is a 21 year old 204cm power forward playing his first season with Braunschweig. He played his whole career with Ehingen and last season played 35 games: 5.2ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 70.8%, played also at TuS Urspringschule (2.Regionalliga): 9 games: 8.7ppg. He brings high intensity and physicality that he wants to test at the BBL level. Cornelius Adler is a 26 year old 196cm swing man that returns back to Braunschwieg where he started his career in 2006 with SG FT/MTV Braunschweig (2.Bundesliga). He also played in Ehingen, BG Goettingen(7 BBL games) and three a half years in Nurnberg. Last season for Nurnberg he played 32 games: 14.5ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 77.6%. He has a great understanding of the game and can score. Braunschweig has another great starting five, but will the bench be enough for the plays. Raoul Korner also stated that the team wants to defend better than last season, but so far with the exception of a big 77-66 win against the Brose Baskets Bamberg, the club had problems keeping the opponent under 80 points. In eight of their first 10 games the team has suffered more than 80 points. Since the 84-72 loss in Frankfurt, Braunschweig has defended better keeping opponents to under 80 points 11 times. Their big focus continues to be defense and they were able to win more games in the last months because they could keep the points down and because they have been able to score 80 plus points on a consistent rate. Their biggest wins since their loss in Frankfurt last December was beating FC Bayern Munich, Artland, Oldenburg and sweeping Bremerhaven. The peculiar thing has been that they have been able to win crunch time games as much as lose them which has made them unpredictable.
The Fraport Skyliners have had very very fond memories of Braunschweig as they have a 17-3 record since March 11th, 2006 as Braunschweig won 81-76 then. They also haven´t lost at home since 2002 having won the last 13 games in a row. The two most memorable games were from the 2008-2009 season. Who could forget the 68-58 win in the cup game which brought Frankfurt to the TOP 4 in Hamburg. That game displayed the best performance by guard Adam Emmenecker who came out of his shell and proved he has no nervous shooting hand as he left captain Pascal Roller on the bench as he had the hot hand leading the team with 13 points. However in the regular season game in Braunschweig, Roller got his revenge as he led the team to a 55-53 win as his last minute clutch jumper paved the way to the win. In 2009-2010, Frankfurt swept the series winning 81-77 as Frankfurt came from behind to win as Aubrey Reese poured in 21 points and prevailed at home 71-62 as Derrick Allen steered 18 points to the triumph. In the 2010-2011 season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners pulled out a thrilling 94-91 win at home. Frankfurt fought back in the fourth quarter as they came back from being behind 90-87 and close out the game on a 7-0 run as Skyliner captain Pascal Roller hit a huge three pointer and Dashaun Wood a shot. Frankfurt did a fantastic job distributing the ball as seven players scored in double figures led by Pascal Roller and Kimmo Muurinen with 13 points a piece. Frankfurt dominated the boards 38-24. In the return date in Braunschweig, Frankfurt pulled out a nail bitter 68-67 as Frankfurt was down 67-65 and Frankfurt won the game on their last possession as Dashaun Wood scored on a penetration and got the free throw to fall. Kimmo Muurinen led Frankfurt with 20 points. In 2011-2012 the Fraport Skyliners won the first meeting of the season in Braunschweig winning 76-70 as Jermareo Davidson added 26 points and Michael Thompson 22 points. The Fraport Skyliners won the second meeting in an exciting 81-80 win in OT as Dennis Schroeder had almost won the game in the regular time with big buckets in the lane at the end. However the Fraport Skyliners kept their cool in their living room winning. Michael Thompson led the Skyliners with 16 points and Tim Ohlbrecht steered 15 points and 11 rebounds to the win. In the first meeting in the 2012-2013 season, the Fraport Skyliners won a nail bitter 61-59 as ex Skyliner Ted Scott sealed the win with free throws and German Nils Mittman missed a three pointer to win the game. In the second game in Braunschweig, Braunschweig won 73-66 with the help of a big second quarter by Dennis Schroeder who had 13 points and led the team with 18 points while Immanuel Mcelroy had 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Devin Gibson with 13 points and Johannes Voigtmann had 12 points. In the first game last season, the Fraport Skyliners rolled past Braunschweig 79-53 as they could get nothing going. Frankfurt was led by ex NBA player Andrew Rautins that had 26 points. Ramon Galloway added 11 points and Johannes Voigtmann contributed 10 points. Braunschweig was led by James Florence with 16 points and Isaiah Swann added 12 points. In the second game, the Fraport Skyliners lost another crunch time game 82-81. Danilo Barthel led Frankfurt with 25 points while Braunschweig was led by Isaiah Swann with 23 points and Kyle Visser added 18 points. In the first game this season Frankfurt won 84-72 led by Sean Armand and Danilo Barthel with 22 points a piece while Braunschweig was led by Derrick Allen with 16 points and Dru Joyce with 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners meet Braunschweig on April 12th.