The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Don´t Find Themselves Yet Go From The Photo Shoot To The Court Losing To Giessen 69-66

It seemed like ages ago when the Fraport Skyliners Juniors last played an official Pro B home game as one has to go back more than six months ago where they actually beat Lok Bernau 76-61, but didn´t return back home as they were unable to move on in the playoffs as they were manhandled 88-59 in the do or die game in Bernau thus ending their season. The loss in Bernau also happened to be the last games for some key players last season as sniper sharp shooter Travis Thompson went east to the Dresden Titans getting a more lucrative offer and will face his ex-team twice this season, Stefan Ilzhoefer was unable to make his breakthrough in the BBL with the Fraport Skyliners and moved south west to the Gladiators Trier and will attempt his mission back to the BBL with a strong pro A season, Rilwan Bakare went back home to Chicago and is waiting by the phone for his next opportunity and the team identity figure Tim Oldenburg who had been with the club since 2010 and gotten a few minutes in the BBL, Eurochallenge and Fiba Europe Cup decided to hang up his jersey and retire to focus on his other career on the German police force. With the new season started, there were some new faces that fans had to get used as Isaac Bonga was still on board as he is continuing to develop into a top basketball professional, but some new faces included Richard Freudenberg who had won the 2015 NBBL title against Frankfurt with FC Bayern Munich and won MVP hitting his future team for 24 points and  played 2 BBL games with the Bavarian side and last season had an uneventful season in the NCAA with St Johns as the club was stocked with too many shooters thus keeping him at the end of the bench. Another new face was American rookie Alex Fountain who takes the place of Bakare in the front court and played 104 NCAA games at Houston Baptist (NCAA) and as a senior averaged  7.3ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 73.2%.Fountain didn´t suit up because he hadn´t been cleared to play by the league yet. Another new face was club Giessen who took the place of Lich who closed up shop and now is the official new farm team of BBL club Giessen 46ers. With some Fraport Skyliners like Quantez Robertson, Shawn Huff and Philip Scrubb on hand on break from a practice session gave support and witnessed a very entertaining season opener that showcased a tale of two halves as Frankfurt controlled the first half and then fell apart in the second half as Giessen stormed back winning 69-66 with great team defense. After the victory, Pro B rookie and ex Sacramento St. (NCAA) forward Nick Hornsby was all smiles after his monster game scoring 12 points, hauling down 10 boards, dishing out five assists and getting three steals. “We played aggressive and together and played with a lot of intensity and exceled at what we knew we were good at. We executed very well in the second half”, stressed Giessen rookie Nick Hornsby. For Frankfurt newbie and German veteran Tobias Jahn who played for teams like Hanau, Langen and Ehingen and spent 5 years in California in the NCAA2 with Cal Poly Pomona found some time to reflect why they were unable to play better in the second half. “This was our first time together tonight. We literally had our photo shooting and then our first game. We played ok in the first half, but in the second half us not knowing each other showed. We had many open three´s in the first half, but none more in the second half. When they figured us out in the second half, we were unable to find a solution. We didn´t collapse, but Giessen did a good job taking away our strengths and we didn´t find right decisions”, warned Tobias Jahn.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Giessen forward Nick Hornsby who made his professional debut netting 12 points, hauling down 10 rebounds, dishing out 5 assists and getting three steals.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t waste any time in the first quarter jumping all over Giessen going out on a quick 11-2 lead.



Chris Hortman (EN Baskets Schwelm) It´s Not About Height Or Size But About Heart And Pride

Chris Hortman is a 28 year old 190cm guard from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that will be playing his second season in Germany and first with the EN Baskets Schwelm. Last season he played for the TVI Basketball SWAP Ballers Ibbenbueren (Germany-Regionalliga) playing  26 games: Score-1(25.0ppg), 9.7rpg, 5.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.9%. He got vast experience in the states before turning professional playing at various schools like  Milwaukee Area Tech JC (JUCO), Missouri Valley (NAIA),  Wisc.-Stout (NCAA3) where as a senior he played 27 games averaging 14.7ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 85.5%. He also played with the  Gold Coast Rollers (Australia-SBL) in 2014 averaging 28,6ppg. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.

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

Hey miles thanks for the opportunity to talk. Rght now I am in Schwelm, Germany and had a really successful summer with working out with my trainer  and building my own training company swish dreams elite in Denver Colorado.

Usually Americans are still in the States in July enjoying the last weeks of summer with family and friends before heading back to Germany. You were already in Germany in July. Was it difficult leaving everyone so early and what really brought you back so early even if your Regionalliga season ended on April ist.

Yes it is difficult every time leaving family and friends to come to a new land with new customs, but I felt it was very necessary to leave early and get a head start on the season learning the plays, building a relationship with the head coach  and meeting the staff and the city to prepare for this next major step in my career.

Congrats on signing with the EN Baskets Schwelm. How excited are you to be playing in the Pro B with this club and what is your biggest goal on and off the court?

Thank you. and yes I am very excited to have moved up leagues with the EN Baskets Schwelm into the Pro B league. My biggest goal on the court is to just show my skills as a basketball player and show that I belong. Also on the court continue to learn the European style of play and off the court I’m currently working on learning more German so I can more effetely communicate and express myself with my teammates and members of the community.


Dexter Werner (Lok Bernau) My Physicality I Developed While Playing Football Has Been A Big Advantage for Basketball

Dexter Werner is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Bismark, North Dakota that will be starting his professional career in Germany with Lok Germany. He just finished a stellar career at N.Dakota St. (NCAA) where he played from 2013-2017 playing a total of 105 NCAA games. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 12.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 61.2%, FT: 73.7%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.

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

Summer has been great. I just got back from spending a few weeks visiting some family in Denver and I will spend the rest of my summer in Bismarck and Fargo.

Four months ago you were toying with football and the NFL and now you can call yourself after all a professional basketball player as you will start your professional career in Germany with Lok Bernau. How serious did you take that Pro Day work out at North  Dakota State?

I took the Pro Day workout very seriously. I looked at it as another chance to compete and showcase my athletic ability. I was confident that only good would come of it no matter which sport that was in.

At the Pro Day you witnessed drills that were made to display that explosiveness along with strength and speed with the likes of shuttle runs, 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump and standing long jump. What kind of impression did you leave and did you get any feedback form NFL scouts?

 I think I definitely performed well with all of the pro day drills. I was able to show some of my athletic ability that may go unnoticed at first glance. I received feedback that I ran and caught the ball well for not having played football in five years.

Even though you are a professional basketball player now how much of an influence was a guy like NFL player Carson Wentz of your hometown Bismark for you as a professional athlete?

Carson is a great role model for a lot of young athletes in North Dakota and all across the country. I had the pleasure of getting to know him a bit throughout our time at NDSU and I think he will continue to have an impact on young athletes throughout his professional career.


Gilles Dierickx (Artland Dragons) Being Around NBA Guys Showed Me How Hard You Have To Work To Make It

Gilles Dierickx is a 25 year old 213cm center from Belgium that is playing his second professional season and first with the Artland Dragons(PRO B). Last season as a rookie he played for three teams with Arcos Albacete Basket (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 2 games averaging 9.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.5bpg, in Nov.’16 moved to Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven (Germany-Regionalliga) playing  5 games averaging 13.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 2FGP: 72.2%, FT: 73.9%, in Dec.’16 signed at Melco Ieper (Top Division I) playing 10 games averaging 12.4ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 46.5%, FT: 78.9%. He went to school in the states starting with  FIU (NCAA) in 2011 and then moved to Washington(NCAA) playing only 28 games in two seasons. He finished his college career at Seattle Pacific (NCAA2) playing 31 games averaging 11.4ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 56.0%, FT: 61.0%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about basketball.

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

 I am currently in Quakenbrück already, I decided to come a bit early to get adjusted to the new environment before preseason starts and get some individual work outs in with the coaching staff. My summer has been good, I’ve been working out and took some time off with family.

You played at three NCAA schools and as a rookie played in Spain, Germany and Belgium. Do you already feel like a basketball globetrotter at the tender age of 25?

Definitely a little bit, I think all those experiences helped me become the person that I am today.

How confident and lucky do you feel that you will complete the whole season with your new team Artland Dragons and not continue your basketball globetrotter ways this season?

 I feel very fortunate to be with the Artland Dragons, for this season I definitely wanted to be in a stable situation the whole time and not be moving from one place to the other.


KJ Sherrill (Dragons Rhondorf) Aaron Nelson is a great player, but I don’t feel pressured to follow in his footsteps

KJ Sherrill is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Cleveland,North Carolina that is embarking into his third professional season. He started his basketball career at Charlotte (NCAA) in 2009 where he played until 2012 playing a total of 75 NCAA games. He then moved to Augusta St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played 32 games averaging 14.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 76.7%. He started his professional career with the Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) playing 27 games averaging 7.9ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 60.8%. Last season he played with the  Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 18 games averaging 14.8ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 68.4%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about basketball.

KJ thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going?

I am currently in Germany visiting my girlfriend; this summer has been pretty good so far.

You already have returned to Germany in early July shortly after July 4th. Usually Americans don´t return until training camp in August. Are you back early this season because you are extra focused on having a great third professional season with the Dragons Rhondorf?

I am back to Germany this early so that I and my girlfriend can take a few trips before I have to report to Rhöndorf. I am much focused as well to start my 3rd season with the Dragons.

Congrats on signing with the Dragons Rhondorf of the Pro B. How was this summer´s transfer period after having a very strong season with Herten. Was Rhondorf the best offer that you got?

The summer was a bit stressful not knowing which team I would sign with next. But I continued to work out daily and remain positive knowing that my agent would find me a good team, which he did. So I’m very thankful to be a part of the dragons.


James Milliken (Lok Bernau) I Always Had A Chip On My Shoulder Playing against Kris Dunn

James Milliken is a 24 year old 188cm guard from Siler, North Carolina that will be playing his rookie season in Germany with Lok Bernau. He started his basketball career with Cowley County CC (JUCO). He then made the jump to the NCAA to  Creighton and played 65 games from 2014-2016. In his junior year he played  30 games averaging 9.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 77.6%. In his senior year he played 35 game averaging  9.7ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 70.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball earlier this summer.

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

I am in Raleigh North Carolina at the moment and it’s been going pretty good!

Congrats on signing with SSV Lok Bernau. How relived are you finally be a professional basketball player. Were the last 16 months from your last NCAA game against BYU were you scored 10 points an eternity?

Yes it felt like the longest I’ve been away from basketball in my life so I was definitely relieved.

How difficult were the last 16 months? Last summer you were let down by an agent and had to sit out the season. Were there ever moments were you wanted to quit? What kept you positive?

No I never thought about quitting I knew it was going be a process to go out finding agents on my own so it was a learning experience and I think that having that year off it made me better and more aggressive.


CJ Oldham (Bayer Giants Leverkusen) My Aim Is To Be An Extension Of The Coach

CJ Oldham is a 26 year old 203cm forward that was born in Berlin, but grew up in the States and also in Germany. He started his basketball career at Akron in 2010, but played only 17 NCAA games in two seasons. He then transferred to Gannon(NCAA) in 2012 playing a total of 57 games and as a senior played  30 games averaging 5.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 52.1%, FT: 73.2%. He started his professional basketball career in 2015 with BSG Bremerhaven (2.Regionalliga) playing 7 games averaging 14.6ppg. Lasts eason he played for the  Kongsberg Miners (Norway-BLNO) playing  31 games averaging 9.9ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6spg, Blocks-5(1.0bpg), FGP: 57.5%, FT: 75.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about Basketball.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing CJ Oldham dad Calvin before a Alba Berlin game against the Fraport Skyliners in the old Max Schmeiling arena in Berlin in 2007

CJ thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer coming along?

I appreciate the opportunity to get a chance to talk with you. At the moment I am in Erie, Pa where I finished my college career. Summer has been great so far. I got a chance to spend time with my girlfriend, family, and friends after being away during my season.

Congrats on signing with the German pro B team Bayer Giants Leverkusen. You are coming from the first division in Norway from Konigsberg. After being a rookie with BSG Bremerhaven, how important was it for you to come back to Germany and play for a team?

Germany has always been like a second home to me. It’s a place where I grew up and learned a lot. To have the opportunity to come back to Germany to play is really exciting, especially Leverkusen where I spent many years.

Your dad Calvin has been affiliated with many teams in Germany like Bayreuth, Ulm, Alba Berlin or Bremerhaven. After being in the Bremerhaven organization you now are with Leverkusen where your dad once coached as well. What was the deciding factor that made you sign with this traditional team?

Leverkusen is a great club to play for and having a previous relationship with both the head and assistant coach made it an even better choice. I have known Achim Kuczmann and Hansi Gnad since I was young and I know having them as my coaches will help me improve as a basketball player.