Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Predrag Lukic(NANHAI (Foshan) Longlions China) Basketball Is Basketball Everywhere

Predrag Lukic is a German/Serbian coach with extensive experience. He has coached most of his life in Germany for teams like TSV Quakenbrueck Dragons (Germany-2.Bundesliga) women team, ChemCats Chemnitz (Germany-DBBL) women team, evo New Basket Oberhausen (Germany-DBBL) women team,  MTV Wolfenbuettel von 2012 Herzoege (Germany-ProB), and Buergerfelder TB (Germany-Regionalliga). He made the big step to Asia in 2015 joining  BC Rise Sport Foshan (China, Guangdong province) and this season is an assistant for the NANHAI (Foshan) Longlions

(China-ABL). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball in China.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/aseanbballleague

 

Predrag thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment an how is basketball life for you at the moment?

 

Thank you too. I am now in my third year in China, Foshan City. That’s a 7,5 mio Population in the Guangdong province. An absolute Basketball province and City. Here you have, 3 CBA teams (GZ Longlions, Guangdong Tigers, Szenzhen Leopards) and now the new pro team Nanhai (Foshan) LongLions ABL League.So its a nice life for a Basketballer.

 

 

You have been in China for some years now. What have you learned to appreciate the most about the basketball there and the country?

 

Chinese people are hard working, have discipline and want to learn. That’s especially for Sport as a Coach a big plus.

 

 

You coached the last 2 years the BC Rise Sport Foshan (Highschool Team) youth program. What kind of experience was that for you and how do you feel did you grow as a coach?

 

That was a great new experience for me. Before I came to China, long years ago I had training with youth teams, than to come to a different culture, to train youth is a nice feeling, many new, interesting and different things I had seen. I have enjoyed it.

 

You coached in the past German teams like TSV Quackenbruck, Wolfenbuettel and  Buergerfelder TB. How was it different in general for you coaching young Chinese boys in comparison to young German players?

 

In the beginning, it was not very easy, because of the different culture, level, etc. But at least, Basketball is Basketball, everywhere.

 

 

What is the state currently of Chinese basketball. What strides has it made in the youth area and in the professional ranks in the time that you were there?

 

Basketball is number 1 in China. There are Many supporters. And I can see and feel, that every year its getting bigger and bigger.

 

 

You have a new coaching gig with the NANHAI (in Foshan) LONG LIONS. How did you get this job and what are you most excited about being able to do now coming from the youth area to the professional area?

 

Yes after two years coaching youth here, I got the offer from the club from president Mr. L.Peng. It´s nice to be able again to be in coaching staff of a pro team.

 

 

You will be competing in the up and coming ASEAN league. Ex NBA players have played here and former BBL player Chris Oliver. How has this league developed in the last years from your perspective?

 

I saw the finals last year (Hong Kong Eastern – Singapore), the league is very interesting with good imports and potential.

 

 

How do you see NANHAI (in Foshan) LONG LIONS doing this season? How much potential does the club have?

 

Our roster is made up of CBA Youth team dropouts, Imports and Young CBA players who have recently been cut (From GZ LongLions). We want to win and be competitive, but we also want to develop our players and our brand. The club goal in this first ABL Season are the Playoffs.

 

 

Do you see yourself having good input as an assistant and what will be your biggest goal from the bench in your coaching?

 

For sure. I am glad to be the assistant coach of this team and club, I will share my experience and help where ever it needs.

 

 

 

You have been some years now in China. Do you ever see yourself returning to Germany or could you see yourself staying for an extended time in China?

 

At moment my family and I are very happy in China. But of course, when the time comes, returning to Germany, home sweet home.

 

 

 

 

What have you missed most from Germany from the basketball side and from the culture?

 

Like I told you before, Basketball is Basketball everywhere in the World. But for sure, at least I missed my family, culture, friends, food, etc. But that´s it, we are professionals, that´s our life.

 

Thanks Predrag for the chat.

 

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Darion Atkins(Strasburg IG Basket) Since Turning Professional I Have Always Had To Prove Myself As Being A Scorer

Darion Atkins is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Maryland that is playing his third professional season and first with Strasbourg IG Basket (France-ProA). Last season he played with  Hapoel Unet Holon (Israel-Winner League) playing 37 games averaging 13.6ppg, Reb-3(8.3rpg), FGP: 59.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 61.6%. In his rookie season he played for the Westchester Knicks (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 8.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 55.9%. He played at Virginia (NCAA) form 2011-2015 playing a total of 123 NCAA gams and as a senior played 33 games averaging 7.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.4%, FT: 52.0%. He then played at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament playing 3 games averaging 20.0ppg, 10.3rpg, 3.7 bpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.0%, FTP: 85.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Basketball Champions League game against medi Bayreuth in Bamberg,

 

 

 

 

 

Darion thanks for talking to German HoopsWelcome to Germany. Is this your first time to Germany or have you ventured over the boarder since you joined Strasburg to explore?

 

 

This is my first time in Germany. I have realized that I am so close to Germany living in Strasburg and will visit again soon.

 

 

 

What do you know in general about Germany about it´s basketball and the country in general? Do you have any friends balling in Germany?

 

 

I know two people that are playing in Germany with James Robinson who I play tomorrow and is one of my close friends and Bryon Allen who plays with Oldenburg.

 

 

You are playing your first international club tournament after playing your first season in Europe last season with Israel. You had a solid start with 14 points and seven boards against Olimpija. How is this league different to the France Pro A and what do you want to gain here with your game?

 

 

The Basketball Champions League is different and unique. There are many good teams from different countries. It is very exciting to be a part of it. I hope just to help my team win as many games and get as far as possible as well as playing at a high level. I believe that if we stay humble, we could go far. Sky is the limit for our team. Teammate Zach Wright reached the final 4 last season with Monaco. I personally want to play well and prove that I belong. I still have a lot to prove.

 

 

You match against a very talented German team medi Bayreuth that crushed Rasa Radom in the first game. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to winning?

 

 

We can´t take any team lightly. I think it will be like in any other game in that the team who wants it more will come out with the win. We will have to come out the right way and if we play our game then everything will take care of it´s self and we will come out on top.

 

 

You joined a team that one could call the Buffalo Bills of the pro A. Is that inability to win final series something that is lingering within the club?

 

 

I actually have heard of that. Coach Collet told me about that when he was recruiting me. Coach has done the best job possible the last years to put together good teams, but they all came up a bit short. I hope that I can be part of a team that will finally get the job done in the final.

 

You are playing on a very talented basketball team that has many scorers and guys that can decide a game. What is your role on the team this season?

 

 

My role for Strasburg is to come in as a defender and rebounder that has a high motor. Coach Collet has a lot of confidence in me, but also on the offensive end where I will take that open shot and set good screens. I am a good piece to the puzzle.

 

 

Let´s talk a little about your game. Last season you broke out and had your first season where you averaged in scoring in double figures. To what NBA player would you describe your game and are you a different player than what you were at Virginia(NCAA) where your scoring wasn´t as present?

 

Since turning professional, I have always had to prove myself as a scorer. At Virginia(NCAA) I had that special role to defend and be a rebounder and be the best defender in the country. I want to prove that I can be a different player at the professional level. Coach Collet continues to have faith in my game at both ends and I will continue to work hard and implement the pieces the right way. I feel I can be that three and D player that can defend multiple positions 1-5 and be able to knock down open shots. I feel I fit well here and can be a contributing factor at both ends. Coach has really pushed me very hard and am very thankful for that. That is something I can´t take for granted.

 

 

 

 

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?

 

 

I feel that a hidden strength in my game is the ability to get my teammates on the same page and keep the moral up in tough times in a game. I am that guy that can put the foot down in certain situations in a game like when we need many stops in a row. I bring energy that helps my team win.

 

You are playing with veteran David Logan who has had a stellar and long career in Europe. What has impressed you most about his game besides his work ethic?

 

His work ethic is amazing. He is a great scorer and teammate that has played for such a long time. He teaches the intangibles on the court with communication and keeping all on the same page. We know that when the shot clock is down, we have to get him the ball because he will get you buckets. He plays his role very well and we rely heavily on his game. He also does a good job keeping the balance in that when teams key in on him, he knows how to get everyone around him involved.

 

 

Center Chris Otule has had a very interesting career and has fought against all odds and had a very good basketball career despite having only one eye. Did you know about this coming in or was it something you learned later and what has impressed you most about his story?

 

I didn´t know that about his eye until I heard it in conversations with him. He has an amazing story. It is a testament of his will and fortitude to keep playing the game and always adjusting. He is so dominant in the paint and unstoppable more often than not. He is very hard to guard. Sky in the limit for him. He is still young and has a lot of good things ahead of him.

 

Last season you played with  Hapoel Unet Holon (Israel-Winner League). What was your wake up call to playing your first season overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?

 

 

To be honest, I didn´t really think much of it. My dream was always to play in the NBA and if that didn´t happen then in Europe. I really didn´t think about it too much, but just came over and my finance was with me. I got my start in Israel and I loved my team. Even if our season didn´t end great, we still had a great season. No one thought that we would finish first or that we would gel. We had so many key guys go down, but other guys stepped up like Jordan Taylor and Tru Holloway. We were all on the same page and hung in there. Tony Younger was so invaluable for us.

 

 

Last season you went 1-2 against top European team Maccabi Tel Aviv, but had impressive stats with three double doubles and a 26 point 13 rebound game. Do games like this give you that confidence that you could play for a Euroleague team sometime down the road?

 

 

For sure I believe that down the road I could play for a Euroleague game. I feel I can play at that level and that I belong there. I don´t want to get ahead of myself or not be humble, but  that is what you do when you play big teams in big games and that is compete. All that is on my mind is too compete and the rest takes care of it´s self. My goal is still the NBA and I will continue to work hard every day on my craft and continue to develop in many areas and try to be the best player possible. What kind of work you put in is the type of player you become.

 

How important was Tony Younger for your first season abroad? How vital was it having that American who was playing in his 14th season in Israel?

 

Tony Younger was so vital for me and the team. He had answers to everything. His wisdom kept us level headed when we were down or got to high on ourselves when we were winning a lot. He helped bring up the team moral or checked guys when guys were getting off the same page. There are guys his age that don´t have his wisdom. Teams will win titles with a guy like him on board.

 

 

AS a rookie you played with the Westchester Knicks (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 8.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 55.9%. How was that one season in the G-League. Was there ever any feeling you might get that NBA chance during that season?

 

There was a small feeling at a time when I had played some good games, but I never got that call. In the G-league players are too individualistic. NBA teams look down their bench and think what special thing that G-league call up will bring. NBA teams already have their scorers, but will look to you for a special role. It was rough proving that you can play at that level. Important was not to show what you can´t do, because the NBA sees everything as they are present each night.

 

 

 

You played NBA Summer League from 2015-2017 with teams like the Spurs and Warriors. Every player always has the NBA dream, but after seeing what the NBA is about are you concentrating now more on Europe or are you still keeping that NBA door open?

 

The NBA door is still open for me. I just take it one day at a time. I will just continue to work hard and try to get better. If the NBA is interested is one thing, if not I will continue to focus on Europe.

 

 

You were teammates with Jimmer Fredette who averaged 37ppg in China last season. What kind of experience was it being his teammate and why do you feel couldn´t he make his NBA breakthrough?

 

He is a great player and scorer. That is what he does. He showed he could score in College, G-League and China. I don´t know why his career hasn´t kept him in the NBA. He is a player that can be a vital part of an NBA team that will shoot the crap out of the ball. I always thought that every ball he shot would go in. But he also can find his teammates if called to play the point. Everybody has their own opinion about players. I feel he could be successful in the NBA and if he doesn´t go back he will be successful wherever else he plays.

 

You saw so many great players in the G-league and also played with Thansis Antetokounmpo who´s famous brother plays for the Milwaukee. Bucks. Currently he is with top Greek club  Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens (Greece-A1). What thing in his game still stands out in your mind today?

 

I havent´t seen TA play since the G-league, but I remember him as being super athletic and was all over the place. He really knew how to use his energy well dunking and blocking shots. He has a high motor and could be an NBA player.

 

 

 

After never averaging more than 7,6ppg at Virginia, you then played at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament averaging 20.0ppg, 10.3rpg, 3.7 bpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.0%, FTP: 85.7%. How refreshing was playing this tournament and being so successful and do you feel like you were on some NBA team´s radars then?

 

 

It was refreshing. It wasn´t only refreshing putting up those stats, but just having the opportunity to play free and not have to think of anything else. I did take many defensive qualities from coach Bennett to the Portsmouth tournament, but I was able to play offense. At Virginia(NCAA) there were enough guys that could take care of offensive things where I wasn´t needed. I felt that at the Portsmouth Invitational I had the green light something I hadn´t had before. I had many NBA workouts after that and am sure that teams had question marks at my name.

 

 

You played at Virginia(NCAA) from 2011-2015. When you were a freshman you played with future NBA player Mike Scott who was a senior. How did you benefit most from his game as you started your NCAA career?

 

I tried to take things from his game like his seriousness, businesslike approach and how he approached each game. I knew then that my career wouldn´t go the same way his would even though I thought it could. He put his team on his back and even though I wasn´t the type of player that he was, I tried to implement his work ethic into my game. I didn´t get a chance as a junior, but my senior year I got my turn in the rotation and I decided to change things like dying my hair and my phone number. I came in with that last hurrah mind set The different mindset that I had worked out for the best.

 

 

Was beating Virginia Tech twice your senior season including your 16 point game one of your more memorable experiences as a player?

 

No that wasn´t my most memorable at Virginia. My junior year reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 and losing to Michigan State in New York at Madison Square Garden. We didn´t finish the way we would have liked my senior year, but were picked to go to the Final 4 at the start of the season. The atmosphere throughout the season was cool.

 

How did head coach Tony Bennet Groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

 

 

Coach Bennett gave me that mind set of having perseverance when facing adversity. My career didn´t go the way I wanted it to at Virginia, but I always stuck with it. That mindset molded and shaped me into the player that I am today. I face adversity in a positive way which goes a long way in basketball.

 

 

 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

 

I will keep it in the family and stick with Mike Scott

 

 

 

 

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?

 

 

Lebron, Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar

 

 

 

 

Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?

 

 

People will say down the road that Lebron is the greatest of all-time.

 

 

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

 

 

 

No I don´t. I believe that he always does all he can for his team to win. He is a beast.

 

 

 

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What players do you see playing a major role in the NBA?

 

 

Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, De´Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr

 

 

 

Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?

 

 

They will get going in the playoffs, but the Western Conference final will be the Warriors and Thunder.

 

 

 

How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?

 

 

The Cavs got the better deal now and the Celtics in the long run

 

 

 

Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?

 

The Thunder will reach the final and could win depending how well use their energy.

 

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

Blade Runner 2049. It was slow and dramatic, but I recommend it.

 

Thanks Darion for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Robinson (medi Bayreuth) I Understand My Path Is A Bit Different But I Will Continue To Work To Reach My Dream

James Robinson is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Mitchellville, Maryland that is playing his second professional season and first with medi Bayreuth (Germany-BBL) averaging 8,6ppg, 2,2rpg and 3,8apg. Last season as a rookie he played with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) helping them win the cup playing 16 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT-2(48.8%), FT: 75.8%; He also played in the Adriatic League playing 24 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 86.3%. Before turning professional he played at Pittsburgh (NCAA) form 2012-2016 playing a total of 137 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 10.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to German Hoops late in the summer about basketball.

James thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on signing with German BBL team medi Bayreuth. After winning the double with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) and having a very strong rookie season, what was your main goal to achieve in the off season in terms of finding a new team?

My main goal this off season was to continue to improve my game in every way possible while looking for an opportunity to play for a club that would help me to continue to grow as a player and as a person.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball.Has Dennis Schroeder been a guy that has impressed you with his game the last years?

I know Germany has a rich tradition when it comes to basketball. Recently, Schroeder has been one of the stars to come from Germany and yes I watched him play since he joined the Hawks. He’s an impressive player that feeds off of confidence and is now the leader of the Atlanta organization.

 

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Three´s Rain From The Sky As The Dragons Rhondorf Destroy FC Bayern Munich 85-64

Last season FC Bayern Munich were whipped in the Dragons Dome 87-63 and if one really wanted to stay on the safe side kept their distance not only from head coach Oliver Kostic, but also from assistant coach Demond Greene who were furious after the lack luster performance in the second half of the game. It really didn´t matter where Greene played in his professional basketball career if it was Wurzburg where he played with a very young Dirk Nowitzki before going to the NBA or in Leverkusen, Berlin or Bamberg, he was always a winner winning a BBL cup and silver with the German national team in 2005 at the European championships. So losing a game like that really hurt as he is in the stages of building his coaching resume as he is the head coach of their U-19 youth team that won the 2017 German title last season. FC Bayern Munich is a club that is used to winning and have a giant reputation of being the finest sports organization in Germany, but even if they aren´t the football department and only FC Bayern Munich 2, starting the season at 0-3 has been a disappointment especially where the BBL team has started out so well and have a good chance to dethrone Brose Bamberg this season. The Dragons Rhondorf have had their best start in five seasons since the 2012-2013 season where they won their first 11 games and this season won their first three games in fine fashion beating Wurzburg and Dresden on the road and disposing of the Bayer Giants Leverkusen easily in their living room. This was a game that Dragons fans had a whole week to look forward to and dream of another win like last season as the club has gelled very well in the first weeks with the potent offensive scoring of Kameron Taylor, electric playmaking of Viktor Frankl-Maus and solid play by the German role players that have stepped up when needed. FC Bayern Munich entered the Dragon Dome focused and motivated, but also in desperate need of getting that first victory of the season, but were denied again losing their fourth game in a row as three´s were raining from the sky as they were destroyed by the Dragons Rhondorf 85-64. Head coach Oliver Kostic has to slowly be concerned with the untypical funk that his team is in and how he is going to get them out of it. The Dragons Rhondorf played a very solid game for 40 minutes with only a few lapses as FC Bayern quickly fell behind and never recovered. After the big victory team star Kameron Taylor was relaxed and described why the team won, but when heard of the good start 5 seasons ago wasn´t shy to proclaim big goals after only 4 wins. “Having high energy is always key for us in winning. When we have high energy then good things happen, but when it´s down bad things happen. This way we control our destiny. We defended very well and once again took a lot of pride on ball pressure and keeping our man in front of us. We hit our shots today, attacked well and overal we played good team basketball. When you get easy points off your defense then the set offense becomes easier. We feel that we can go unbeaten this season. We want to win every game, win the title and move up to Pro B”, warned ex Seton Hill guard Kameron Taylor. It took a while for FC Bayern players to depart from the locker room and wonder if the bus ride home would be an eternity, but when they finally did top German player Karim Jallow reflected on the loss. “As soon as we realized our game wasn´t working early, we fell apart. Every guy tried to do their own thing and we had too many turnovers. One could say that it was one of those days where nothing worked, but then again we haven´t won a game yet and can´t make excuses. Rhondorf did a good job making shots. We have to find a way together and that starts on the practice court. We have two home games against Coburg and Schwelm and have to be better prepared”, warned Karim Jallow.

picture perfect 1819

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Dragons Rhondorf guard Kameron Taylor after leading his team with 17 points past FC Bayern Munich 2, 85-64

1,010 fans showed up on a balmy autumn night to check out the mighty FC Bayern Munich and no fans were disappointed. FC Bayern Munich had the first lead of the game at 1-0 with a Marvin Ogunspie free throw, but would never lead again as the Dragons Rhondorf started to take off and didn´t land until the 40 minutes were over. Ogunsipe was the only solid Munich player in the first minutes as he was aggressive getting to the rim while his teammates were half-hearted on the court which Rhondorf took advantage of as quickly three´s were raining from the sky as ex Telekom Baskets Bonn forward Thomas Michel connected as did top German pro B points guard Viktor Frankl-Maus and ex Speyer forward Yannik Kneesch as FC Bayern Munich fell behind quickly 11-3. Rhondorf was defending aggressively and did a great job limiting the play of Jallow and Bosnian talent Amar Gegic. Rhondorf continued to play with great passion continuing their great run scoring eight points and extending their lead to 19-4. Rhondorf did a great job on the offensive glass as Michel made a tip in and Frankl-Maus connected on his second trey. What made this huge lead even more difficult to believe was that no points had come from top scorer Kameron Taylor who left the floor after a minute with two quick fouls. FC Bayern Munich was fortune that 27 year old experienced German big man Tobias Korndoerfer nailed a trey, but that come back was short lived as Taylor came back on the floor and made seven unanswered points with a trey and lay in for the 26-7 lead. FC Bayern Munich was very lucky that ex Nordlingen guard Georg Beyschlag connected on a long three with a second remaining and got fouled making the free throw as Rhondorf had the commanding 26-11 advantage after one quarter. “FC Bayern Munich is a talented team, but we did a good job playing together. We fought hard and played good defense. The coaching staff prepared the players very well for the Munich plays taking away many options. Even with Taylor out for a long time, one could see that the team was working and could compensate his absence”, stated Dragons Rhondorf CEO Alex Dohms. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 47% from the field and 50% from outside while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 23% from the field and 29% from outside. Rhondorf had command of the boards 11-7 and only suffered one turn over while FC Bayern Munich had five turnovers.

In the second quarter FC Bayern Munich started off better finding their key players better, but halfway through the Dragons Rhondorf countered with a run going into the break with a 21 point lead. Jallow finally connected on a trey and found his touch last summer shooting 44% from outside at the U-20 European championships in Greece and wants to rebound from his 24% shooting from last season in the Pro B. 24 year old 206cm center Nemaja Markovic who played 62 Regionalliga games with FC Bayern Munich from 2013-2016 f made a tip in as FC Munich quietly had snuck on a 9-2 run starting with Beyschlag´s four point play from the end of the first quarter cutting the Rhondorf lead to 28-16. Gegic and Jallow were more aggressive and were rewarded with two easy baskets in the paint cutting the Rhondorf lead to 33-21. FC Bayern Munich was finally playing with heart something that had been hidden in the first quarter. However after a few minutes of losing intensity, the Dragons Rhondorf found back to their team play going on a 14-4 run to extend their lead to 47-25 as all of a sudden the game was a serious rout again. In the run, Rhondorf was fortified by Canadian energy bundle Kevin Thomas who made a beautiful spin move by Ogunsipre for an easy bucket and then scored in the paint again while Valentin Blass scored 8 unanswered points as he nailed two treys and then made a steal in the back court and went coast to coast to coast for the easy lay in and Yannik Kneesch made a lay in. After Jallow and Beyschlag traded buckets, Michel ended the second quarter with a huge three as FC Bayern Munich was staring at a nasty 50-29 lead for Rhondorf. “We continued to play well and were hungry even after Munich came back. We never lost control, but kept the lead. Blass hit big three´s and we communicated well on defense and had good rotations. This all something that one couldn´t have necessarily awaited so soon in the season since we had many guys practicing with BBL team Bonn, but that shows how well this team is functioning”, stressed Alex Dohms. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 50% from the field and 50% from the three point line while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 37% from the field and 21% from the three point line. Rhondorf led the rebound battle 22-14 and had five turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had nine turnovers.

In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf did a great job leading by as much as 27 points, but FC Bayern Munich never gave up cutting the lead down to 16 points after 30 minutes. The Dragons Rhondorf got on the board first with some fancy passing as a one touch pass became the extra pass enabling Michel to hit a trey. The three´s kept raining as Kneesch drilled home a trey and then came the play of the day as Frankl-Maus flicked up the perfect alley-op pass that Taylor slammed home showing just how athletic the Maryland native is as FC Bayern Munich had their biggest deficit of the contest at 60-33. However FC Bayern Munich didn´t let this seemingly gigantic lead seem out of reach stepping up their defense and just going from play to play and quietly on a 17-6 run to get back into the game trailing only 66-50. Gegic was dangerous at the start of the run getting two steals and finishing once. After having only five turnovers in the first half, they coughed up the ball five times in the third quarter which helped bring FC Bayern Munich closer. Ogunsipe hit a three while Gegic showed how you do it Balkan style making a nifty shovel pass to Beyschlag from the three point line cutting the Rhondorf lead to 63-41. 2017 NBBL champion Nelson Weidemann had been stone cold in the first half with zero points, but then gave scoring in bunches a new meaning as he scored seven unanswered points as he nailed two three´s as all of a sudden FC Bayern Munich had breathing room again and were back in the game. “We did a good job staying composed knowing that if we kept our high energy we wouldn´t let up. We controlled their energy not letting it disrupt us”, stressed Kameron Taylor. “We started to defend better and get good stops. We were more calm on offense”, added Karim Jallow. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 47% from the field and 42% from the parking lot while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 45% from the field and 33% from the paring lot. Rhondorf kept control of the boards 27-21 and had 10 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had 13 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter FC Bayern Munich made one more run early, but the Dragons Rhondorf slammed the door in their face with another run which they never recovered from. FC Bayern Munich started off the fourth quarter with a 5-1 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 69-55 as Weideman got free scoring with his quickness and left hand while Beyschlag connected on a 15 footer. However the Dragons Rhondorf then decided the game with a brutal 14-0 run to extend their lead to 81-55 and would never look back again. Frankl-Maus started the run with an easy lay in as there was no defense to combat him, the two North Americans Taylor and Thomas harmonized well as the latter was fed by Taylor for an easy back door lay in and Michel dropped the 12th Rhondorf three pointer of the game. Three Taylor free throws, a Thomas tip in and Kneesch jumper added to the misery of the opponent. FC Bayern Munich just collapsed in this phase as they lost total concentration and a Jallow airball his third of the game spoke volumes for the kind of the day the Bavarians were having. “I am not in rhythm. I have only been training with the BBL team and I left on a train at 6am to come here today. But that is no excuse. I have to find a way to get into the team rhythm. I tried to take responsibility, but it didn´t work. I will be only training with the Pro B team this week so I hope to get better integrated”, stressed Karim Jallow. FC Bayern Munich head coach Oliver Kostic knew that game was decided and let some of their NBBL players play with Niklas Kropp, Daniel Zdravevski, Matthias Grant and ex Fraport Skyliner Jim Gietz. All three kids scored as did Ogunsipe as FC Bayern Munich closed out the game nicely with a 9-4 run, but it was all too late as their fate had been decided long before. “We didn´t get tired at the end. We got too comfortable and started to let up a bit. We have to learn that we can´t let up like that especially later in the season. Then there will be no time for letting up”, warned Kameron Taylor. “We cut the lead down to 12 points, but then right away started to throw the ball away again as we got nervous. This can happen to a young team, but not so much”, warned Karin Jallow. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kameron Taylor with 17 points. Thomas Michel added 16 points while Valentin Blass contributed 14 points and Yannik Kneesch 12 points. FC Bayern Munich was led by Marvin Ogunsipe with 14 points and Georg Beyschlag and Nelson Weidemann chipped in with 10 points apiece. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 47% from the field and 39% from outside while FC Bayern Munich shot 43% from the field and 26% from outside. Rhondorf won the rebound duel 36-30 and had 15 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had 21 turnovers.

Brandon Lockhart(Rostock Seawolves) We Have Skilled Offensive Weapons But If We Want To Play For A Championship It Will Start With Our Defense

Brandon Lockhart is a 26 year old 185cm guard from St Louis, Missouri that is playing his third season in Germany and first with the Rostock Seawolves currently averaging 12,0ppg, 4,7rpg, 4,3apg and 3,7spg while shooting 50% from outside. He completed his third professional season and first with German team ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) averaging 12,0ppg, 3,8rpg and 6,2apg. As a rookie he played for BK Levicki Patrioti (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 34 games: Score-5(16.7ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5(4.3apg), Steals-1(3.0spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 78.9%. He played at Drury (NCAA2) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 12.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 6.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 77.1%. Two seasons ago he played for the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-ProB) playing 29 game averaging  16.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 5.7apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 81.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after he signed with Rostock in August.

 

 

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Brandon Lockhart in 2017 after a Frankfurt game when Brandon played for the ScanPlus Baskets

 

 

 

Brandon thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

Hey Miles, no problem. I am currently in Little Rock, AR spending some time with the family before I take off to Rostock tomorrow.

Did you experience any interesting new adventures this summer while challenging or did you just chill at home with family and friends and stay in shape?

 Whenever I return from across the waters, its rare that I am in one place for the entire summer. This summer I was lucky enough to visit California with some friends and also Gulf Shores, AL with my family.

I know with my dealing with so many players in the last years over the summer concerning their future, it is always easier and comfortable to enjoy the summer when you signed early. You signed a few days before August. Were you getting a bit nervous the last weeks or did you have everything under control?

Signing earlier is always more ideal but I don’t think I was at the worrying spot yet.. Last season I did not sign until near the end of August. So maybe if a few more weeks had went by, I would’ve started to get nervous.

This is our 12th interview in the last two seasons. If I had told you in April 2017 when we did our last interview that you would be joining the Rostock Seawolves what would you have thought?

 I would have found that hard to believe because before this season, I did not really have any interest from teams in the north.

In our last interview you stated “I feel like I can and I definitely want to play in the Pro A. This didn´t happen. When looking back how your personal summer search for a new team went are you a bit disappointed that this didn´t work out yet?

No, I am not disappointed. Just thankful that the management here in Rostock has given me this opportunity. Everything happens for a reason, so I believe this is where I am supposed to be this season.

The Rostock Seawolves are very high on your services and really took a while getting their point guard in you which is the most important position. How proud do you feel now knowing that they didn´t just quickly get any point guard, but got you?

 It’s always a good feeling knowing that a team picks you to be a part of their plans for an upcoming season.

What was most key in you joining the Rostock Seawolves? You had two huge reasons with the ambitious nature of the team wanting to move up to the Pro A and knowing you would be reunited with your ex teammate and friend Jordan Talbert. Were there any other important reasons that made your decision easier?

Getting to experience life in a different part of Germany played a small factor. I’ve always been in the south of Germany, so playing up north is something new and exciting. But the two reasons you mentioned were probably the biggest factors in me deciding to make the move here.

What was your first impression of head coach Ralf Rehberger. Did you notice his basketball knowledge and experience in the talks? He was assistant coach to German national team coach Artland Dragons some years ago?

First impression of Coach Ralf is that he is a good person and that he knows the game of basketball. I am hoping to learn a lot from him this season and just continue to grow as a player.

What is your first impression of the team on paper? It has some very interesting players with your self, Jordan Talbert, Jefferey Martin, Chris Frazier and Bill Borekambi as it main core of scorers. That is already 5 guys that can easily give you at least 10 points a game. Will this team have enough to play for the championship?

 Championships are usually won with defense. Even the most talented offensive teams know that they need to be solid on defense to win the big games. Yes, we have skilled offensive weapons, but if we want to play for a championship, it will start with our defense.

How excited are you to be playing in the Pro B north? You have a 6-1 record the last two seasons against north teams Iserlohn, Oldenburg and FC Schalke. Does this help put your self confidence at a new level simply because you have been so successful already against North Pro B teams?

I wouldn’t say that it changes my confidence positively or negatively because the teams I’ve played against in the past will be different. Every game is different and anything can happen. My confidence will always be there but I also know that just because I was successful against these teams in the past, it does not guarantee wins without working for them.

How excited are you to be joining forces again with friend Jordan Talbert. Do you think that he will be annoying you a bit at the start not letting you forget that you went 1-4 with the ScanPlus Baskets last season against his team PS Karlsruhe?

 Getting to team up with JT again is exciting because we have been successful as teammates before. LOL He more than likely will but it’s fine because he earned the right to with his teammates last season. But I am sure the majority of both our focus will be on winning games this season.

What did you miss most from his game and what are you looking forward to most seeing again from him on the court?

His ability to make the right play. He is the ultimate team player and when you have a someone like that on your team, it makes life easier for everyone.

Let´s talk about your game. You stressed in the Rostock Seawolves press release and in our interviews in the past that you want to improve each day. That is what I really like your game in that you are never totally satisfied with your game. What are your personal goals on the court this season?

This season I want to have less turnovers than I did last season. I also want to increase all my shooting percentages.

We have talked in the past about your assist average. I can imagine that this will be a season again like last where you won´t be scoring as much as with Nordlingen, but having that type of role like with the ScanPlus Baskets where you will be seen more as a playmaker. You averaged 6,2apg last season. Could you imagine averaging seven or eight assists on a consistent rate this season?

 I think its a possibility because of the scoring potential we have on this team. I’ve always been a pass first PG. So I don’t think 7+ assists a night is too far fetched.

You will be playing your fourth professional season and your back up at the point guard position will be Zaire Thompson who is 5 years younger than you, but has played in the NCAA one season with Fordham and played last season in the Pro A in Ehingen and already in the 12-13 season in the Pro A. Sometimes the basketball Bio´s of players can be so interesting, but considering all of this could you see being a type of mentor for this young talent?

I hope so! But I also want to learn things from him and the other players on the squad. Not everyone sees the game the same. So there will be areas I can help him improve, but I’m sure there will be times he helps me see something I might’ve missed.

You stressed in our last interview that you want to continue to work on these parts of your game shooting more off the dribble, whether it be from a pick & roll or iso situation. Because getting to the rim and finishing above taller and more athletic players is not the easiest thing. How happy have you been with your progress in these areas this summer?

 I definitely feel that I grew in those areas this summer. However, doing these things in a workout session versus a real game is different. So we will both find out when the season arrives. But I definitely think I improved this summer.

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?

 I did not really follow the NBA draft to know who could potentially be a sleeper. But I will be following the Boston Celtics closely because of Jayson Tatum since he is from the high school I attended.

Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?

With those two on the same roster, they will have a good season. Unfortunately they are in the same conference as the Warriors and they just don’t have enough weapons to compete with them I think. But not many do LOL

What was the last movie that you saw?

Gifted.

Thanks Brandon for the chat.

The NBA Is Always On His Mind As Jordan Sibert Moves From Greece To Weissenfels Looking To Mix Up The BBL With MBC

When one puts an eye on the impressive basketball resume of Jordan Sibert then one has noticed since he entered the NCAA in 2010 that he has been around huge talent and played in places that have been associated with getting talented players closer or to the NBA as well as exotic locations that would wet the mouths of many players around the globe for just to gain a chance like this. This season, the American who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio is in a place called Weissenfels that is as far as away from the NBA or possibly civilization as he may call it as Lebron James ever is from joining an organization like the Philadelphia 76ers. Sibert started his NCAA career in 2010 with Ohio State and played two seasons there playing a total of 49 games, but didn´t see any real minutes as he never averaged more than 3,0ppg and was teammates with NBA player Jared Sullinger and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 and Final 4. However his fortunes turned when he moved to Dayton(NCAA) where he played from 2013-2015 reaching the NCAA Elite 8 in 2014 and as a senior made his real breakthrough averaging 16.1ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 78.8% and was teammates with ex BBL players Dyshawn Pierre and Vincent Sanford. He turned professional in 2015 and right away got a taste of the NBA playing NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Orlando Blue) averaging 11.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. He then joined the Orlando Magic (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games averaging 13.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 87.1%. Last season he played his first season in Europe with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) playing 19 games averaging 11.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 87.9%. He also played 16 BCL games averaging 11.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 83.3%. Last season he was farther away from the NBA then his rookie season, but at least he was playing against much NBA talent and top Euroleague teams like Panathinaikos and Olympiakos Pireus and living in Thessaloniki that has 325,000 inhabitants and is a good replacement for paradise and probably a place that will surface in his thoughts this winter when it gets below 0 in the 35,000 populated Weissenfels and being on that while sandy beach will only a dream sequence. This season in his third professional season Sibert who credits his rebounding skills as something that still gets unnoticed on the court has landed in the German EasyCredit BBL and has the chance to be a leader and shine with his sniper qualities while still having the NBA in the back of his mind. However fans will see quickly this season that he isn´t a one dimensional player as he was able to widen his game as a rookie in the G-league and has continued to expand it last season in Greece. “I have to give a lot of credit to assistant coach Anthony Goldwire who played in the NBA and Europe. He always pushed me to be more than just a shooter. In college and coming out I had this stamp on me that all I could do was shoot the three. He pushed me to be more of a ball handler and use my athleticism better on the court. He also taught me that it´s on you to become a better player if you want to reach the next level. I know that I have more tools and I want to show that I am a more complete player”, warned Jordan Sibert. The American who describes ex Duke stand out Austin Rivers as being his toughest player in the NCAA that he ever faced may be a lot farther away from the NBA then the last two seasons, but knows that if he has a very strong season in Germany that he may get on the radar´s of NBA teams again. “I never thought the NBA is far away, but felt it was close. I feel like I just need enough good moments to get an NBA chance. I still feel the NBA is close now”, warned Jordan Sibert. One guy who not only has been instrumental in the basketball path of Sibert, but many others at Dayton over the last years has been head coach Archie Miller. “I know Archie since I´m 14. I have to give him a lot of credit for my success. He always pushed me to the limit and wanted me to be the best that I could be. He always believed in me”, warned Jordan Sibert. Sibert will be doing his best to continue to make his ex head coach Miller proud when he tries to successfully lead MBC to being a respectable team, but for that to happen it will have to require a lot of support from his teammates at both ends of the court.

The Mitteldeutscher BC is a club that somehow wants to belong in the EasyCredit BBL even if at times they have found themselves back in the Pro A in the second division. Since folding in 2004 after winning the Fiba Europe Cup and being only one of 4 German clubs with Alba Berlin, BG Goettingen and Fraport Skyliners that have ever won an international club title, the club battled back from being at the bottom to getting back to the second division and making it back to the BBL in 2009 through the guidance of young manager Martin Geissler. Since that time the club has had a roller coaster career moving down to the Pro A three times and moving back up to the BBL three times. The question now remains do they have the needed resources to stay for an extended time back in the BBL or not? Their return back to the Pro A was short last season as they dominated the German Pro A having a season record of 35-3 and coasting through the playoffs with a perfect 8-0 record blasting away the RheinStars, Kirchheim and Gotha as if they were a herd of men playing against boys. It was no secret that they were stocked with a type of junior BBL team and just had a lot more talent and depth than their opponents. They outscored their opponents on most occasions and just had a massive arsenal of offensive weapons which they loved to display as they were able to score 80 points or more 26 times. Their defense wasn´t too shabby either as they held clubs to 70 points or less 18 times. Now the club wants to make some noise in the EasyCredit BBL and not move right back down to the Pro A, but do they have the needed talent and depth this season to survive in the BBL?

When a club makes the jump from the Pro A to the EasyCredit BBL one often has to choose reality over the heart as keeping solid players instead of getting new great players just doesn´t cut it in the fast pace professional basketball business. Some guys just didn´t make the cut, but then again other players like top player Andrew Warren or Dominique Johnson found better opportunities elsewhere. The club however was able to hold three key players with Marcus Hatten, Sergio Kerusch and Djordje Panatalic that gave the club a good foundation and some team chemistry going into the season. Keeping a player like Hatten is just an added Christmas gift, because he surely could of played elsewhere for more money even at age 36, but he decided to stay in Weissenfels a place where he feels most comfortable. His love for the club is evident in that the 185cm point guard has played in 9 countries around the world and for 17 professional clubs, but played the longest with MBC as this will be his fourth season with the club as has remained very solid and consistent averaging 13,oppg and 5,0apg in that span. The ex St Johns standout has a huge load of responsibility on his shoulders, but one he will master as there is hardly a player with more experience than him in the BBL. Kerusch is a 28 year old 195 cm forward that is going into his fifth professional season and fourth in Germany as he played also with Artland and Bremerhaven. Last season with MBC he played 38 games averaging 16.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 75.2%. He is the most complete offensive player on the club and has a chip on his shoulder as he has never averaged more than 5,4ppg in the BBL. He wants to make his breakthrough this season and if successful could be the key player in their offensive between annoying some teams and not. However on August 22nd came the sad news that Kerusch had been diagnosed with Testicular cancer which will keep him out of action for months. Just how well the club will compensate his loss is something that could really make or break the club early on. Pantalic is a 34 year old 204cm forward/center from Serbia that is the heart and soul of the team and is playing his fifth season with MBC. He is a shot blocking monster that twice was second in the BBL in blocks and once fourth and averaged 1,5 blocks in his three seasons in the BBL. Last season for MBC he played 37 games averaging 9.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-3(1.3bpg), FGP: 64.2%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 82.2%. He will keep the team together mentally and on defense. The club also kept some of their German talents like Benedikt Turudic, Jonas Nidermanner and Alexander Herrmann that will be fighting for minutes as well as getting ample minutes from their farm team.

Besides reeling in Jordan Sibert, the club also added six other players including Americans Lamont Jones, Kruize Pinkins, Serb Djordje Drenovac and Germans Till Gloger, Malte Schwarz and Marc Liyanage. Lamont Jones is a 183cm guard born and bred in Harlem, New York and is playing his fifth professional season with experience in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Katar, Montenegro, and Finland. The American who played at well known school Oak academy as well as Arizona and Iona averaged 20 points or more in Japan and the Balkan league and the club hopes he can give suitable scoring punch in form of an Andrew Warren. Last season he played for KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 8 games averaging 15.8ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 88.2%; He played 13 BCL: games averaging 13.1ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 84.1%; In the Adriatic League he played 23 games averaging 13.9ppg, 1.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 77.6%. The question will be if he can make the next step at a higher level like the BBL. Pinkins is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Marianna, Florida that is playing his third professional season. The ex USF(NCAA) standout belonged to the top Pro A players the last two seasons as he averaged 15,5ppg and 9,3rpg. He was able to improve his offensive stats over his rookie season with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games: Score-2(17.9ppg), Reb-2(9.5rpg), 2.5apg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 74.5%. Last season he got Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Forward of the Year. He is a very physical player that is almost impossible to stop in the paint. He will be able to make the next step in the BBL and be a solid contributor in the MBC offense. Drenovac is a 25 year old 201cm forward that brings vast experience at his age having won 5 titles and 4 in Macedonia. He is a very smart and controlled player that some have compared to a young Dejan Bodiroga .Last season he played for  KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga) playing 17 games averaging 15.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 85.0%; In the Adriatic League, he played 21 games averaging 13.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT-3(88.9%); In the Eurocup, he played 4 games averaging 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg. His experience having played in Austria, Italy, Bosnia, Macedonia and the best league in Europe ACB where he averaged 8,1ppg will be very valuable to MBC as he will also be able to make the next step in the BBL and be a worthy contributor. Gloger is a 24 year old 204cm forward that has made a steady progression from the NCAA to the BBL via the Pro A. He played at Maine(NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing 116 games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 9.0ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 56.0%, FT: 63.2%. Last season he returned back to Germany and moved back to his home team Uni Baskets Paderborn (ProA) playing 30 games winning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Newcomer of the Year averaging 14.5ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 82.1%. He has a nice all-around game with great free throw percentages, but will need to be more of a force on the boards. He has got this far with hard work and also should be able to make the next step in the BBL and could be one of the big surprises on the team. Schwartz returns back to MBC where he played form 2011-2015 where he played 100 BBL games. The 188cm guard brings vast BBL experience as he has played 7 BBL seasons with teams like Phoenix Hagen, MBC and the last two with BG Goettingen amassing 217 BBL games. His hard-nosed defense and reliable three pointer will be a big plus from the bench. Liyanage is a 27 year old 198cm forward that returns back to MBC where he played his first BBL season in 2014-2015 playing 25 games averaging 3.1ppg, 1.7rpg. he also played 15 BBL games and three Eurocup gams with Alba Berlin. Last season he played with the Hamburg Towers (ProA) playing 30 games averaging 5.0ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1spg. he has made a career of being that solid role player where ever he laced up his sneakers and it won´t be any different with MBC.

So where will the journey of the Mitteldeutscher BC go in 2017-2018? The loss of Kerusch was a major shock and blow to the club The club will have to react somehow on the floor as other guys will have to step up and fill the void. Many may believe that the Mitteldeutscher BC are a prime candidate as one of the teams to move back down to the Pro A, but don´t underestimate this team. Head coach Igor Jovovic won 13 titles with KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica from 2009-2015 and came to Germany and prompt won the Pro A title with MBC. He is a coach that understands how to motivate his players and will make the new ones coming from lower leagues better. The club may not have huge scoring games often in the 90 plus region, but will have to develop a clear defensive philosophy early and let that carry over to their offense. The club has some very talented players that will have to perform on a regular basis from Hatten and Jones, but also get that needed input from the their new Pro A players Pinkins and Gloger. The depth from the bench could become a problem especially when key players are in foul trouble late in the game. If the club stays free from major injuries to other players, then this could be one of the big surprise teams in the BBL that will always play with a lot of heart and emotion for the complete 40 minutes. The Mitteldeutscher BC will land somewhere between 13-16 in the standings in May 2018.

 

The Fraport Skyliners Wake Up In The Third Quarter As Tai Webster Steers Them Past the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig 78-71

So far in the pre season and in the first two games, Fraport Skyliner guard Philip Scrubb has been exceptional and his scoring brought back memories to his days at Carleton(CIS) where he was that complete player, but also that consistent scorer that many deemed the greatest Canadian college player that ever played during his illustrious career from 2010-2015 where he won 7 titles and averaged 18,0ppg in his last three seasons. Many who see Scrubb as a type of savior this season as having that ruthless and annoying sniper like in the last years with Sean Armand and AJ English is missing and will need the ultimate Scrubb scoring production in many games this season. After dropping a solid 21 points in the victory in Jena and 25 points in the home win against BG Goettingen, the Canadian was brought down from his scoring crest in the disappointing 79-62 loss in Ludwigsburg as those southern German teams aren´t the most appetizing for the 2016 Fiba Europe cup winner as he last suffered such a drought in the 2016 BBL semi-finals 3-1 loss to ratiopharm Ulm where he averaged only 7,0ppg and his scoring diminished in every game where the only positive thing was his 7/16 shooting from downtown as at least his stroke hadn´t been totally dismantled, but his shots were simply cut down. Last Sunday, the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg also had done their scouting and did a super job taking Scrubb out of the game and just limiting his game. The Canadian finished with only six shots on 1/7 shooting. When you aren´t getting shots and when they aren´t falling, one tends to attempt to help out in other areas and he did hauling down six rebounds and dishing out three assists. However it is apparent when Scrubb isn´t an offensive presence, the Fraport Skyliners struggle and this will continue to be a big key of opposing teams to do in putting a dent in the Frankfurt offensive game plan. The Fraport Skyliners with a 2-1 record welcomed the 1-2 Basketball Lowen Braunschweig who roared into the Fraport arena with a bitter 76-73 loss to the Telekom Baskets Bonn and after a slow first quarter, Frankfurt erupted in the third quarter finding their game again disposing of Braunschweig 78-71. After the third win of the season, Philip Scrubb had rebounded from his poor Ludwigsburg game scoring 11 points, but for a second consecutive game, his shot was off the mark as he went 1/5 from downtown, but reflected on his game and was happy that the club had pulled out a hard fought win. “We came out slow on defense and they were getting easy lay ups and we had no offense. But in the second half we got stops and started to get out on transition and got easy buckets. I always try to come out aggressive in each game. It isn´t all about scoring. Tonight I wanted to be aggressive and not force anything and just make the right plays. Teams are starting to take away my catch and pop shot more, but that opens it up a bit for me being able to get in the paint and get other guys shots”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig played a very strong first half, but collapsed in the third quarter and never recovered. “It was tough playing in Frankfurt. They were tougher than we and were very physical in the third quarter. We missed too many plays and suffered too many turnovers”, stressed Braunschweig center Scott Eatherton.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has covered the Cinderella career of Deandre Lansdowne since he played in the Pro B with Herten via Pro A team Hamburg Towers. The American has adjusted well to the BBL as he dropped 11 points and dished out 6 assists in a 78-71 loss in Frankfurt

3,340 patrons turned out for a rare Wednesday night BBL battle as German national coach Henrik Roedl was on hand as was Finish national coach Henrik Dettmann. The Fraport Skyliners were without Niklas Kiel again while German Richard Freudenberg was back again. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig caught the Fraport Skyliners flat footed at the get go storming out to a quick 7-2 lead as ex SE Missouri St. (NCAA 26 year old American Jarekious Bradley showed his vast scoring qualities sneaking inside for an easy layup as Ex Hamburg guard Deandre Lansdowne supplied the dime and then nailed a trey. Lansdowne took advantage of transition getting a lay in. However Frankfurt quickly found a rhythm thanks to BBL rookie Tai Webster who got going as he tied the score at 7-7 scoring in the lane and nailing a jumper. Basketball runs dominated the first quarter as Braunschweig regained their composure going on a 6-2 run to retake the13-9  lead. In the run, they got vital production from ex Northeastern center Scott Eatherton who is a tough cookie to crack one on one as he blew by Mike Morrison from the wing, Lansdowne hit a free throw and ex Giessen guard Tim Schwartz connected on a trey. Both teams were battling back and forth as Frankfurt had a sudden spurt of offense taking the 14-13 lead as Jonas Wolfath-Botterman made an easy lay in after wonder child Isaac Bonga made a difficult pass in traffic and Webster scored again in the lane as he is almost unstoppable on the penetration. However Braunschweig ended the first quarter getting the lead back as Bradley finished a tasty tip in dunk and ex Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius guard Zygimantas Janavicius hit a tough off balance runner as Braunschwieg led 17-14. Frankfurt was led by Webster while Bradley carried Braunschweig. “We have been starting off slow in recent games. They shot very well not letting us get out on transition”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Philip Scrubb. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were shooting 57% from the field and 40% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 37% from the field and 0% from outside. Braunschweig had the 10-7 rebound edge, but four turnovers while Frankfurt only had one turnover.

In the second quarter, it seemed like the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig could easily lead by 10-15 points with the amount of mistakes the Fraport Skyliners were making, but in reality they never led by more than eight points as they just couldn´t break away from Frankfurt. Eatherton started off the second quarter with another tough finish a big speciality in his game this time over Wolfarth-Bottermann. Scrubb finally hit his first field goal of the game cutting the Braunschweig lead to 22-18. Whenever Braunschweig was threatening to break away, Frankfurt would crawl back giving an offensive answer. Trailing 26-18, Mike Morrison hit a rare 20 footer off a broken pay and Scrubb found an open Webster who dropped a trey to cut the Braunschwieg advantage to 26-23. The Frankfurt play at both ends was too inconsistent in that after a strong play followed a lousy play that always allowed Braunschweig to add on to their slim lead. Frankfurt also had some fortune as Mike Morrison hit free throws and Quantez Robertson played cherry picker as a third loose ball in the same sequence squirmed right to him allowing him to finish easily cutting the Braunschwieg lead to 28-27. But Braunschweig continued to score and keep the lead as Eatherton scored a lay up in traffic which followed another turnover by Frankfurt which led to a Bradley lay in and 32-27 lead. Frankfurt had a lack of concentration losing some easy balls before getting into the half court offense and had problems with their timing. Braunschweig had stepped up their defense and had become a pest in the passing lanes. Braunschweig played smart playing a zone against Frankfurt´s almost non existent ball movement and were going inside a lot finishing easily. Some of the blame on the offense lay on the shoulders of Tai Webster who was an ace finishing and creating for himself, but lacked finding his teammates better in the second quarter. After a Frankfurt time out Eatherton continued to wreck havoc inside scoring again and Bradley nailed a three for the 37-29 lead. Frankfurt didn´t let the second quarter go totally to waste going into the break with a strong 8-1 run to trail only 38-37. In the run, Frankfurt continued to have little team play and relied on their stellar 1-1 play as Wolfarth-Botterman scored inside, Webster made a fancy acrobatic lay in and Quantez Robertson scored inside with a second remaining. “We weren´t making shots. We were playing too individual as every guy was trying to make the big play. We have to trust our offense and then the easy shots will come”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were shooting 49% from the field and 29% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 11% from the three point line. Frankfurt rebounded better taking the rebound battle leading 17-15, but had seven turnovers coughing up the ball six times in the second quarter while Braunschweig had only six turnovers.

After a less than satisfactory first half, it was more than evident that the Fraport Skyliners would come out a changed team and did taking over the game as the turning point came in the third quarter as they charged out on a 15-0 run which hurt Braunschweig and they could never fully recover from. Eatherton actually got Braunschweig on the board first with a massive tip in where the intensity level of Frankfurt on the boards looked meek, but that would change quickly. Then out of seemingly nothing the Fraport Skyliners rattled off 15 unanswered points and halted 6 consecutive Braunschweig offensive possessions to lead 52-40. Scrubb got Frankfurt going nailing a trey as he waited for Bradley to get upinto the Fraport arena sky moved to his right and fired away. Then Wolfarth-Bottermann got easy points inside and Finish national player Shawn Huff nailed a trey as Frankfurt led 45-40. The run continued with a Webster lay in, free throws and a Huff jumper. Frankfurt was a new team that played very controlled on offense and hit their three´s better. Webster did a fine job doing the playmaking as there was less one on one play and more team play. “The second half was the best that Webster has played this season. He was more engaged and got into the plays better”, stressed Gordon Herbert. Key for the Frankfurt turn around was also their much improved defense as they became more physical and their good defense led to good offense. They forced turnovers and a good chunk of their 10 steals and 8 blocks in the game came in this sequence as Robertson blocked a Eatherton dunk and Wolfarth-Bottermann denied Lansdowne on the slam down. 23 year old 206cm ex Tenn Tech (NCAA) forward Anthony Morse halted the big Skyliner run with a fast break bucket. Braunschweig was playing catch up basketball now and couldn´t do that as their defense couldn´t get the fair amount of stops as Frankfurt now could score more at ease something which they couldn´t in the first half. All of a sudden, Mike Morrison was a monster in the paint making a huge two handed dunk and then a hard alley-op dunk for the 58-45 advantage. Bradley did a good job keeping his team in the game somewhat, but Huff and Morrison closed out the scoring in the third quarter as Frankfurt led 62-49. “Coach Herbert told us at half-time to focus more on the defensive end. We started playing harder defense and were locked in. Once we got stops and really dug in and rebounded better our offense also came better. We allowed 11 points. That is how we should defend each quarter”, said Philip Scrubb. “Frankfurt got us out of rhythm and we didn´t get the shots that we wanted. They shot better and got out on transition. Once we found our rhythm, it was hard to come back”, stressed ex Herten guard Deandre Lansdowne. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 49% from the field and 24% from the parking lot while the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were shooting 41% from the field and 25% from the parking lot. Frankfurt kept the rebound lead 27-21 and had 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, The Fraport Skyliners never relinquished the lead as the closest that Braunschweig got was cutting the Frankfurt lead to seven points. Frankfurt got on the board first as Mike Morrison brought a little Derrick Allen as he made a hectic hook shot, but Braunschweig countered with a mini 5-0 run as Bradley nailed another trey and Eatherton scored inside again cutting the Frankfurt lead to 64-54.After Wolfarth-Botterman free throws, Braunschweig conserved some last energy going on a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 67-60. In the run they got instant power from Janavicius, Lansdowne and Bradley. After the loss, Lansdowne warned that Bradley will make a lot of noise in the BBL this season. “He is a scoring machine. He can do it inside and out and play the positions 2-4. He is a very good passer and uses the mis-matches well. He will be a scoring killer”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. Braunschweig was never totally out of it as even after a Scrubb turnaround and Robertson free throws for the 71-60 lead, they continued to counter as German big man Lars Lagerpusch made a dunk and Janavicius scored in traffic cutting the Frankfurt lead to 72-64. After a mini Frankfurt 4-0 run as Huff scored and Robertson nailed free throws for the 76-64 lead, Braunschweig closed out the game strong with a 7-2 run, but the Eatherton lay in at 1.08 and Lansdowne trey with 30 seconds remaining wasn´t enough as Frankfurt wormed out of their den with the hard fought 78-71 victory. “They had a little run at the end, but we had confidence in our defense and got stops when we needed to. We built that confidence on defense in the third quarter through talking and team defense”, warned Philip Scrubb. “We lost confidence at the end. We had them on their heels, but we didn´t fully want it. I think we could have got a lot closer if we had pushed each other more, but we weren´t there mentally”, added Deandre Lansdowne. The Fraport Skyliners had six guys in double figures and were led by Tai Webster with 16 points. Quantez Robertson had 15 points while Mike Morrison had 14 points. Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann added 12 points while Philip Scrubb produced 1 points and Shawn Huff supplied 0 points. The Baskets Lowen Braunschweig were led by Jarekious Bradley with 21 points while Scott Eatherton had 16 points. Deandre Lansdowne produced 11 points and six assists. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 21% from outside while The Baskets Lowen Braunschweig shot 47% from the field and 30% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 32-30, but had 15 turnovers while Braunschweig coughed up the ball 16 times.