When St Louis native Jimmy McKinney was a kid growing up in the now 318,416 populated city situated nicely along the Mississippi river he probably had to utter the words “I was born a year after their last World Series win in 1982”. Mckinney of course is referring to his favorite home town baseball club St Louis Cardinals who have won 11 World Series titles in their illustrious history, but he never was able to witness any Live mainly because the last two came when he was playing professionally in Germany. Their last title came in 2011 when he played with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and he was already there in training camp. The club actually tried their hardest last season to give the sharp shooter that rare opportunity to witness glory and champagne with a 12th title, but the San Francisco Giants eliminated them as he was still at home waiting for a job before heading to the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in December of 2014. Mckinney has worn many colors in his lifetime like the bright cheerful red of the ST Louis Cardinals as a kid and even as an adult as many players do supporting their favorite teams wearing the Cardinals cap when Mckinney was a rookie in 2006 playing for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners he was following the ST Louis Cardinals playoff run intensively and even wore it whenever he could even after a bitter loss in Bamberg early in the season. As a player he has also been wearing certain colors mainly because he had to as with the Deutsche Bank Skyliners white and blue was the norm where he played from 2006-2011, he then wore the white again with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg from 2011-2013 and last season was a Tiger and had the bright yellow colors as he played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. This season he has joined another team in Germany as he has never played in any other country and is sporting the interesting magenta colors of the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Mckinney is a 32 year old 192cm combo guard that prefers the shooting guard position and it doesn´t matter when or where you ask him something about shooting, 95% of the time he will refer to “knocking down shots” as what his goal is when he is on the court on offense. He had an illustrious career at Vashon high school and is a legend in St Louis as he won three titles there and was in good company as notable alumini from there included famous athletes like ex NBA player Anthony Bonner, and world class boxers Leon and Michael Spinks. He then played at Missouri (NCAA) from 2002-2006 playing a total of 123 NCAA games and as a senior played 28 games averaging 12.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.3apg, FG: 40.6%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 78.2%. He then played six professionals seasons with Frankfurt reaching the Beko BBL final in 2010 losing a heart breaker 5 game series to the Brose Baskets Bamberg. After two seasons in Bavaria with Wurzburg he came late to Tuebingen last season, but still displayed a firing stroke form downtown as he played 20 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 87.5%. He shot his best percentage from the parking lot last season as a professional. This season he was signed by the Telekom Baskets Bonn with a short term contract, but the American has played with urgency averaging 10,3ppg, 2,1rpg and 1,0apg and 39% from outside in seven BBL games and in Eurocup play averaged 10,8ppg and 1,0rpg while averaging 52% from downtown which has been a reason for head coach Matthias Fischer to keep him hanging around. On a team that is currently shooting very well from outside, Mckinney is an added weapon with his consistent shooting. It really doesn´t matter what color Mckinney is wearing, his consistency on the court lets him play well and wear it well already anywhere as his slick and suave touch hasn´t left since his Frankfurt days.
Last season Fischer topped the season before with a fourth place finish and reaching the semi- finals of the Beko BBL cup. They suffered a very bitter five game playoff loss to ratiopharm Ulm after being up 2-1 in games. Their biggest wins during the season were against the Brose Baskets Bamberg, FC Bayern Munich and sweeping the Artland Dragons.This season the club kept important pieces like Eugene Lawrence, Tada Klimavicious, Dirk Madrich and Andrej Mangold while bringing in new parts to the puzzle with Aaron White, Rotnei Clarke, Jimmy Mckinney and Isaiah Philmore and so far the team chemistry and harmony has fit and developed quickly as the team is in sixth place with a 5-2 record with their biggest win being on the road in Munich. They also celebrated big wins against Ulm and Wurzburg. They haven´t been as lucky in Eurocup play as they are 1-4. Their offense has been gelling as they average 85 points in the BBL and 83 points in the Eurocup, but their defense is still a work in progress as they give up 79 points in the BBL and 88 in the Eurocup. Head coach Fischer has preached team basketball form the start and the team has been able to get solid performances from many guys and the roles have been found early and injuries have not been a problem as of yet. Rebounding continues to be their sore spot as they average 29 per game as they have not one dominating giant, but three solid performers in Klimavicious, White and Madrich who will have to stay consistent.
The team held on to Tadas Klimavicius who is a 33 year old 204cm forward that is playing his second season with Bonn and has much experience with six seasons at B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas and 78 Euroleague games. Last season he played 37 games: 12.9ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 64.2%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 74.1%; Eurocup: 10 games: 9.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 55.2%. He is a smart post player with a great basketball understanding and pick and roll play. The club also kept basketball European traveler Dirk Madrich who is a 32 year old 212cm center playing his second season with Bonn that is his 11th professional team having had international experience in France with Strasbourg IG (France-ProA) in 2006-2007 playing ULEB Cup: 13 games: 4.1ppg, 2.8rpg; French League: 31 games: 4.5ppg, 2.7rpg. He had his second spring with Vechta two seasons ago at age 30 belonging to the top German players in the Beko BBL and played 34 games averaging 11.6ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 70.4%. Last season with Bonn he played 39 games: 8.2ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 24.5%, FT: 73.7%; Eurocup: 10 games: 7.0ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 52.4%. Has solid mid distance game and his physicality gets him easy points inside. Eugene Lawrence is a 28 year old 186cm point guard from Brooklyn, New York playing his eighth professional season and played at ST Johns(NCAA) from 2004-2008 and finished career at St. John’s ranked fourth all-time in assists (520), fourth in three pointers made (122) and fifth in steals (196). He has played in countries like Slovakia, Czech Republic and Ukraine before coming to Germany. Last season he played 39 games: 8.3ppg, 2.4rpg, Assists-5(5.5apg), FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 71.4%; Eurocup: 10 games: 7.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 6.2apg, Steals-2(2.2spg), FGP: 55.2%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 60.0%. He has amazing skill of knowing when to pass and when to finish as he almost always gets to the hole. The club also held young 23 year old German Floran Koch(last season 38 games: 2.6ppg; Eurocup: 9 games: 2.1ppg, 1.0rpg) and experienced 28 year old veteran Andrej Mangold who has been with the club since 2011 and is a superb back up point guard and the teams best defender that will give the opponents fits even long after the game is over when he is trying to enjoy his meal at Mcdonalds and can´t because he is involved with his thoughts on the plays that the German broke up. Last season Mangold played 38 games: 4.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.0apg; Eurocup: 10 games: 2.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg.
The club brought in new players with Aaron White who is a 23 year old 206cm forward that played at Iowa(NCAA) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 136 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 16.3ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 81.6%. Last summer he was drafted by Washington Wizards (NBA,2rd(49). He is an athletic player that loves to run the floor and can also step out and shoot the three. The team also landed Rotnei Clarke who is a 26 year old 183cm guard from Claremore, Oklahoma who is playing his third professional season. He played at Arkansas from 2008-2011 and then moved to Butler(NCAA) and as a senior played 33 games averaging 17.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 88.0%. As a rookie he played in Australia and last season played for Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 32 games: Score-4(17.5ppg), 2.4rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 55.2%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT-2(90.8%); EuroChallenge: 6 games: 15.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 45.2%, FT: 92.9%. He is a deadly scorer as 65 points in a college game with Arkansas proves and is an excellent free throw shooter. They also added 29 year old Polish 196cm swing man Michal Chylinski who played in France and Spain and the last five years with PGE Turow Zgorzelec (TBL). He has very nice moves and a decent shot. Has a good court vision, good athletic skills, and the size to guard the big perimeter players. He played at the Euro 2009 in Poland and 2013 in Slovenia. The team also added 26 year old 203cm forward Isaiah Philmore that was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up in Fallston, Maryland and also has the German citizenship. He played at Townson(NCAA) and then at Xavier (NCAA) from 2012-2014 and as a senior played 33 games: 9.3ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 70.6%. Last season as a rookie he played for Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany-BBL): 36 games: 3.4ppg, 1.6rpg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 5.0ppg, 2.8rpg.
In the last eight seasons, the Frankfurt Skyliners only have a 7-16 record. It doesn´t matter if Frankfurt played at the old gym or in the new arena in Bonn they have lost 12 games in a row there. The last time, The Frankfurt 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 in 2012-2013 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 Mclean added 18 points. In the 2013-2014 season the Fraport Skyliners lost both games as ex Skyliner Ryan Brooks scored a combined 40 points in both games leading Bonn to a 89-67 win in Frankfurt where he led all scorers with 19 points and Bonn dominated the boards and netted 13 three pointers. Frankfurt was led by Danilo Barthel with 17 games. In the return game in Bonn, the Fraport Skyliners stunk up the arena losing 74-54 as Brooks led all scorers again this time with 24 points while Barthel led Frankfurt with 17 points. Frankfurt were ice cold from outside netting just three three pointers, but dominated the boards 36-23. Last season the teams split as Frankfurt won at home 84-71 and were led by Sean Armand with 17 points and Danilo Barthel added 14 points while Bonn were led by Richard Mcconnel with 22 points. IN the return game, the Fraport Skyliners lost once again 76-70 as Bonn were led by Benas Veikalas with 18 points while Frankfurt were led by Quantez Robertson with 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners come to Bonn with a 9 game winning streak and added self confidence with every new win as they went to 4-0 in Europe Cup action with an easy 76-51 win in Leiden, Holland. The Telekom Baskets Bonn want to get on the winners road again and are riding a 4 game losing streak after two loses in a row in Eurocup and loses to Alba Berlin and medi Bayreuth. This will be a real test for the Frankfurt defense as Bonn average 82 points per game while give up 86 points, Frankfurt are on a roll and if can continue their unselfish and consistent team basketball will have very good chances to finally escape Bonn with a victory.