Every season brings the Pro B new players, hopes and dreams to be played out as Isaac Bonga and American Marcellus Barksdale are two key players for both Frankfurt and Wurzburg that are experiencing new horizons in their careers. The one player is 16 year Isaac Bonga who is a 203cm point guard seen as the biggest German talent since Dennis Schroeder and 23 year old 196cm guard Marcellus Barksdale. Bonga had played all last season in the BCM in the NBBL league with Eintracht Frankfurt and made his pro B debut last weekend in Karlsruhe, but finally was ready to make his home pro B debut in Frankfurt. Barksdale on the other hand had a hectic summer where he didn´t get signed until very late where the rookie who hails from Lexington, Kentucky may have been feeling lower than a jockey does when he accidently slips form his horse during the famous Kentucky Derby. Not knowing if you will even be a professional basketball player right out of college most likely made his summer feel like two summers as the waiting and waiting probably took toils on his mind. However the American finally got signed in September 21 by TG s Oliver Wurzburg, but his excitement for that professional debut was put on hold as he was prohibited from being inserted in the first game, a wipeout in Elchingen losing 105-74 as his input was more than needed as his papers hadn´t been cleared yet. The legal work was finally taken care of and he could start his professional debut in Frankfurt. The Two B´s Bonga and Barksdale played their first professional games in the BCM as the 1-0 Fraport Skyliners Juniors faced the 0-1 TG s Oliver Wurzburg and for Bonga is was a wipe out while for Barkdale, it was a ve4ry sweet start to his professional career. Barkdale helped spank the Fraport Skyliners Juniors 80-67 giving the TG s.Oliver Wurzburg their first victory of the season. The first quarter was tight, but TG s.Oliner Wurzburg took over in the second and controlled the game until the end. After the win, the Lexington Native was all smiles and content with his 13 point, eight rebound, three assists and three steals. “It felt good winning my first professional game and it always feels good winning on the road. I look forward to keep to continue to grow as a player and with my teammates and hope for many more winning games like this”, said Marcellus Barksdale. He already showed in his debut that he can play the European style even if there was one aspect that will take some time and that he knows how to juggle when to shoot and when to pass the ball. “It is hard getting used to the footwork and putting down the ball as soon as I get it, but I have been working on this and I know that basketball is the same everywhere. I just take advantage of whatever the defense gives me and then make best possible play wheather it is scoring or finding my teammates”, stated Marcellus Barksdale. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg was the better team for 40 minutes and were two main components that led them by Frankfurt. “We were more aggressive on defense and won the rebound battle. These were two things we wanted to do well going in and did. We wanted it more than Frankfurt”, stressed Marcellus Barksdale. One has to give Fraport Skyliners head coach Eric Detlev credit that his words of wisdom stick in the heads of his players, but the only problem is that they aren´t always able to execute it on the court. “We always go in with energy and having self confidence something that coach tells us, but we didn´t play with the energy we normally do to be able to keep the game close for 40 minutes. We fought under the boards, but they did a better job rebounding”, added Fraport Skyliner Junior Konstantin Schubert.
With the Beko BBL having a double weekend game day with games within 48 hours, it was obvious that some of the key players like Max Merz, Niklas Kiel, Stefan Ilzhoefer and Mahir Agva would not going to play thus keeping the Fraport Skyliners Juniors a lot lot more youthful than usual. The only key players in the game were Garai Zeeb and Isaac Bonga and the rest had to up their roles more than usual. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got their first two buckets by these two key players as Zeeb made a big steal and went coast to coast for the easy lay up and Bonga got the perfect back door pass from Schubert for the easy lay in. Schubert who showed first glimpses of good maturity last season as a 17 year old as he had a 12 and 10 game against Lich and 16 points against Saarlouis tried to fill that giant void inside and got two baskets inside as Frankfurt led 8-4. However Wurzburg got big production from 19 year old Lukas Wank who played 25 pro A games for Science City Jena in the last three seasons who showed scoring ability scoring two in a row to tie the game at 10-10. Frankfurt kept the lead and got production from two more new young players with Niklas Pons who played with TV Langen and Cosmo Gruehn who last season played with USC Freiburg. The Fraport Skylines kept the narrow 18-16 advantage after one quarter. “It was easy for the young kids without some of the older guys, but they worked hard and know the system and play within the system. Frankfurt had some mistakes on defense letting up easy penetration, but overall it was good. They got a push from Schubert who hit some big baskets”, stated Fraport Skyliner Philip Scrubb.
The turning point came in the second quarter a few possessions in where TG s.Oliver Wurzburg rushed out on a 13-0 run and would never look back riding into the basketball sunset. Ex TBB Trier 2 German Tim Leonhardt and Cosmo Gruehn traded buckets, but Frankfurt still led 20-18, but not for long. Then as is so often the case in the game of basketball, a run was started which effected the game until the end. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg went on a 13-0 run to lead 31-20 to lead into double digits something they would mostly keep until the end. In the run, Wurzburg was fortified on offense by 11 points by Germans, but was started by Barksdale with an off balance runner. Then it went bang, bang, bang as Wank showed his precise shooting nailing two trey´s, ex Wedel guard Lennart Larysz drilled home a three and 30 year old ex Essen veteran Christoph Hackenesch made a reverse layup. This sudden run seemed by Wurzburg happened, because Frankfurt lost defensive intensity and missed rotations on the three pointers and lost their rhythm on offense. Frankfurt got a key three pointer from Jamin Knothe, but the thorn in the side of Frankfurt continued to be Wank who remained aggressive getting in the paint scoring adding six more unanswered points giving Wurzburg the 39-28 advantage. Wurzburg closed out the second quarter with a back breaking 6-2 run to go into the break with the 45-30 lead. In the run, the club got valuable production from 29 year old Sebastian Rauch who played 8 years with Gotha getting a tip in and lay in while Barksdale made a lay in. “The Frankfurt offense was sluggish and weren´t really getting great shots. Their defense was also struggling as they continued to let up easy baskets inside and on transition”, added Philip Scrubb. TG s:Oliver Wurzburg was shooting 67% from the field and 50% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 32% from the field and 7% from outside. Zeeb and Gruehn were 0/7 combined from outside. Wurzburg led the rebound battle 20-13, but had 12 turnovers and Frankfurt seven turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners came out with more energy in the third quarter and actually surprised the guests with a 10-3 run to cut the lead down to 48-40. German Georg Voigtmann who is the brother of ex Skyliner Johannes opened up the second half dropping a trey, but Frankfurt then rattled off 10 unanswered points to somewhat get back into the game. In the 10 point run, Frankfurt was aided by a Zeeb lay in, Knothe three pointer and Schubert free throws and lay in. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were unable to keep up this offensive pressure as TG s.Oliver Wurzburg slammed their own version of a 14-3 run back in the faces of Frankfurt to extend their lead to 62-43. In the first half it was Wank who showed his ability of scoring in bunches whereas now it was the turn of 19 year old Tobias Weigl who hurt Frankfurt three times scoring in the paint. Wurzburg continued to do whatever they wanted to inside scoring at ease as Barksdale, Larysz and Voigtman gave scoring in the paint a new meaning. At the end Wurzburg scored more than 60% of their points in the paint. In the last minutes, Frankfurt got some key buckets from energy bundle Lennart Okeke draining a trey and Gruehn making a lay in while Wurzburg got buckets from ex Artland Dragon Christian Hoffmann and still had the comfortable 66-50 advantage after 30 minutes. “We stuck to our game plan and didn´t want to relax and went in as if it was 0-0. We continued to share the ball and be aggressive”, added Marcellus Barksdale. “We started well, but couldn´t keep the energy. We didn´t have good ball movement, execution and had too much 1-1 going on”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg was shooting 58% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 37% from the field and 15% from the three point line. Wurzburg had the 30-20 rebound edge, but 16 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had little energy except for a last little push at the end to make the result look more reasonable. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg continued to have their offensive rhythm and was able to push their lead to 74-54 as they got valuable baskets from Christian Hoffmann who made a step back, Voigtmann connected on a put back and Barksdale nailed a 20 footer while Frankfurt got production from Okeke and a floater from Pons. Time was running down, but the Fraport skyliners Juniors closed out the game in fine fashion going on a 13-6 run to close out the game with their first loss of the season. Zeeb finally hit his first three pointer of the contest at the 36.30 mark of the game and also scored on a pretty drive where he threw the ball high off the glass. Gruehn also did something for his stat sheet scoring inside and nailing a trey while Schubert scored his points 15 and 16 inside. “We stayed aggressive and controlled the boards. We continued to share the ball well and just showed all game that we wanted it more”, stated Marcellus Barksdale. “We were a little tired at the end, but that shouldn´t have happened. We didn´t do a good job in the paint and close outs”, added Konstantin Schubert. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg were led by Lukas Wank with 18 points. Marcellus Barksdale added 13 points while Christian Hoffmann produced 11 points and Tobias Weigl had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Konstantin Schuebert with 16 points. Cosmo Gruehn added 13 points and Garai Zeeb added 11 points. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg shot 50% from the field and 40% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners shot 41% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. Wurzburg had the overwhelming 45-25 rebound edge, but had 22 turnovers while Frankfurt had 17 turnovers.