The EasyCredit BBL may still be a dream and as far away for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen at the moment as it is for the New England Patriots not reaching the playoffs again, but one thing is for sure over the last years, the club has brought in very raw talent and some of those Americans have blossomed in their short time shooting the lights out and having head coach Achim Kuczmann leave the court with a content smile more than once. Back in the 2010-2011 season, the club reeled in highly talented Josh Young out of Drake(NCAA) and he immediately tore up the Pro B playing 11 games and averaging 26.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.0apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 79.0%. He then went on to a consistent BBL career with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Three seasons later, the club brought in Josh Parker who was also a rookie like Young and he came out of Dayton(NCAA) having been a decent role player there and he rapidly displayed that he was way too good for the Pro B as he totally dominated leading the league in scoring at 28.5ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-2(7.1apg), 2.2spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 80.3%. He had 15 games where he scored 30 points or more including massive scoring explosions against Dresden with 48 points and 44 points against Schwelm. He also displayed a knack of not only hogging the ball, but being a fine playmaker as he dished out 10 assists or more four times. After this unforgettable season, he also made the jump to the EasyCredit BBL with the Mitteldeutscher BC and then gained further experience in Turkey and Poland. This season the Bayer Giants have another raw scorer in Kerry Carter who isn´t a rookie, but playing his second season after playing briefly last season in the best league in Europe with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias and showed his mastery scoring nine points in 10 minutes against Real Madrid. This season he is averaging 25,7ppg and 4,6apg in nine games and still has a bit of catching up on Parker´s 15 30 plus games as he is at four, but so far Carter has shown that he is too good for the Pro B. Almost four years ago, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors held Parker to his lowest point total of the season at 11 and kept him honest at 3/15 shooting. Carter made his debut in the BCM in Frankfurt where NBA players like Alan Anderson and Carlos Arroyo have tested the rims and was looking to give another shooting clinic and did scoring 24 points and even if he did shoot the ball 26 times, he did display his versatility as he can do so much more than just score as he gave out 10 dimes, hauled down seven boards and had four steals, but it wasn´t enough to bring home the win as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors squeaked out a 83-80 win as Mahir hit them with 30 and the winning bucket with a few seconds remaining winning their first home game of the season and third game of the season. After the game, one could sense that Kerry Carter was more than perturbed about the loss and he had erased everything about his own game as he was nibbling too much about the loss. “My own game wasn´t good enough today”, sighed Kerry Carter. “Carter is a good player that is hard to guard. He is one of those players in that when he puts up a shot, it has a good chance of going in”, stressed Alaska native Travis Thompson. Not only Carter was disgusted with the loss, but so was assistant coach Hansi Gnad. “It was dumb how we lost and we can´t really let that happen. Frankfurt played clever at the end. They gave the ball to Agva and he finished. I remember doing that from my days”, added Hansi Gnad. “We made shots and Agva was a big presence. The game was up and down and we were lucky that we won. We knew that they would rush and we wanted to slow down the game. This was a big home win and we can build off the momentum”, stressed Travis Thompson.
The game had an interesting anecdote in that 53 year old Hansi Gnad who is the assistant coach of the Bayer Giants Leverkusen had a similarity with 25 year Fraport Skyliner Junior Travis Thompson. Both played at Alaska Anchorage(NCAA2) and Thompson had the distinction of passing Gnad on the all-time scoring record into second place on his last field goal which gave him 1667 points while the German ended with 1666 points. After the game, Thompson revealed that he had spoken to Gnad before the game to catch up on this record and their old school. “This was the first time that I had met him. We played for the same coach Rusty Osborne and talked about him and I told him about the new facilities there. He is in the hall of fame there and it´s cool that I passed him and to know how much he has accomplished. One day I will be able to tell my kids what I did. It´s a small world”, commented Travis Thompson. Both teams found a healthy rhythm early as both teams found their range. Ex Tuebingen center Mahir Agva found his rhythm right away sinking a baby hook shot, but Kerry Carter responded rapidly nailing a trey for the 3-2 Leverkusen advantage. Agva continued to make buckets getting a lay in and ex Ludwigsburg German Stefan Ilzhoefer scored on the fast break to extend the Frankfurt lead to 6-3. Ex Dresden Titan Damon Smith knotted the score at 6-6 as he sunk a trey. Both teams continued to score at a high rate as Thompson nailed his first trey of the day and German Konstantin Schubert leaped into the passing lane like a guard and went coast to coast for the lay in and Frankfurt led 11-6. Leverkusen didn´t let up and tied the score as Michael Kuczmann tested his 46% three point percentage scoring and ex Rhondorf Dragon Tim Schon born got aggressive scoring inside as no Skyliner challenged him. After Ilzhoefer and Carter traded buckets, it was Agva that made an offensive rebound and put back and Thompson made his second three of the game as 17 year old Isaac Bonga made the perfect unselfish pass as Frankfurt led 18-13. Frankfurt kept the lead with a Ilzhoefer trey and Agva hook shot. Young 17 year old German Niklas Pons made a pretty floater to add on to the lead as Frankfurt led 25-19 after one quarter. “We moved the ball well on offense and Agva did a good job in the paint scoring. We still had too many turnovers”, warned Fraport Skyliner Junior Lenny Okeke. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 52% from the field and 38% from outside while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen shot 41% from the field and 40% from outside. Frankfurt had the 10-9 rebound lead and two turnovers while Leverkusen had four turnovers.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen came out red hot in the second quarter getting back into the game going on a 9-3 run to tie the game at 28-28. In the run, they were aided by young German big man Martin Linnsen who got to the free throw line twice and Carter scored a trey and an off balance shot. The game remained very close now as the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were able to tie the game a few times, but never get the lead. Rookie American Brandon Nazione tied the game at 31-31, but Thompson once again supplied the hot hand nailing a three, but Kuczmann thought two can play that game also scoring from the parking lot dead locking the game at 34-34. Frankfurt continued to keep the lead getting valuable production from Agva who scored twice in the paint as Frankfurt led 40-36. Frankfurt kept their nose ahead as Schubert scored in buckets and Agva scored again inside as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 46-42 lead at the break. “Leverkusen went to zone and we had difficulty with that and they forced us to more turnovers. It was a back and forth game. I thought that we defended pretty well, but still didn´t do as good a job on Carter as we could off. We gave up too many open three´s”, stated Lenny Okeke. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 53% from the field and 38% from the three point line while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 43% from the field and 59% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 22-16 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Leverkusen had six turnovers.
The third quarter remained tight as no team could run away with the lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors started off with a quick 5-0 run as Agva made a running hook shot and Thompson made the extra pass to a streaking Schubert in the lane for the easy basket as Frankfurt led 50-45. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen then rushed out on a 8-0 run to snatch the lead back at 53-50. In the run, it was Carter who played at St Marys(NCAA) that did what he does best and this is scoring in bunches as he lit up the scoreboard with a trey and then made a steal and went coast to coast and got a free throw. 31 year old German Gotz Twiehoff added on to the run with a lay in. the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were the more consistent offensive team now and were getting more stops. They continued to keep the lead as hot shooting Kuczmann connected on another trey as they led 56-52. They were able to extend their lead to 59-54, as Nazione made his second crushing dunk of the game. Basketball is and will always remain a game of runs and that is what the Fraport Skyliners Juniors practiced as they scored 9 unanswered points snatching back the lead at 63-59. In the run, Frankfurt got ample support from Ilzhoefer who had the needed extra energy which also gave their defense a spark as he made a lay in in traffic and also scored on the fast break. Bonga and Agva also scored. Smith hit a shot clock buzzer beater, but Frankfurt still led 63-62 after three quarters. “We had good ball movement and were more aggressive and did a good job attacking the rim”, stated Travis Thompson. “We had too many untimely turnovers and that will always cost you on the road”, stressed Kerry Carter. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 53% from the field and 31% from the parking lot while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 53% from the field and 50% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 29-26 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Leverkusen had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, The Bayer Giants Leverkusen had a horrible start, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t take much advantage of their first five possessions that led to no points. Tim Oldenburg started off the fourth quarter sinking a 20 footer and then Frankfurt stopped four possessions, but could score themselves. After making their fifth stop on Leverkusen, Thompson then hurt Leverkusen with a trey extending the lead to 68-62. However Leverkusen then finally scored their first field goal of the fourth quarter as ex Rollins(NCAA2) guard Alexander Blessing nailed a trey cutting the Frankfurt lead to 68-65. Frankfurt then got some quick offensive spark with a 4-0 run as Ilzhoefer scored on an off balance shot and Garai Zeeb scored an acrobatic finger tip floater for the 72-65 Frankfurt advantage. However just when it seemed like Leverkusen was wilting before crunch-time had even arrived, Leverkusen didn´t get that killer scoring touch from Carter, but from Kuczmann who nailed consecutive three´s suddenly tying the game at 73-73. Frankfurt then upped their intensity a bit more and were aggressive getting to the rim as Bonga drew two fouls and Agva made a tip in for the 78-73 lead. Frankfurt then made two huge mistakes letting 188cm guard Alexander Blessig get an offensive rebound and put back back to back cutting the Frankfurt lead to 78-77. Agva then made free throws and Leverkusen had 25 seconds remaining in the game and every one knew Carter would get the ball and he did what all big time scorers do which was nail a three pointer tying the game at 80-80 with six seconds remaining. Frankfurt had the ball and enough time to win the game. They elected to get Agva the ball and he finished successfully inside like he had all game long and then secured the victory with a free throw. “We started out flat and it was a game of runs. On that last play, I thought we did a good job denying him the ball, but they made a good back door lob pass and he did a good job getting to the rim. We did a good job taking away all their other options and he did what he had to do”, stressed Kerry Carter. “They didn´t deny Agva the ball bad, but it was a good play from us”, smiled Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Mahir Agva with 30 points. Travis Thompson added 15 points while Stefan Ilzhoefer had 12 points and Konstantin Schubert had 10 points. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were led by Kerry Carter with 24 points and Michael Kuczmann added 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 30% from outside while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 40% from the field and 32% from outside. Frankfurt had the 41-38 rebound edge, but 20 turnovers while Leverkusen coughed up the ball 14 times.