A day before game 3 between the Brose Baskets Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich, CEO Marko Pesic was displaying a friendly, but somewhat cautious smile in the Fraport arena after he witnessed the blowout win of his NBBL team against the Young Rasta Dragons as he knew that getting too confident about possibly getting that only club title of the season at the youth level was too early since the BBL team had a do or die game 24 hours later in Bamberg in hopes of saving their season. Instead the next day Pesic witnessed the third playoff loss to their archrivals in three years and second sweep in a row as he possibly was hoping for the NBBL magic of Frankfurt in the final where they destroyed IBAM would somehow have miraculously carried over to Bamberg. Or if Devin Booker who had had a solid game of 13 points, six rebounds and four assists could have inherited that major beast mode game of NBBL player Marko Pecarski who averaged 26,9ppg and 15,6rpg at the European Championships U16 in Radom (Poland) which most likely would have got FC Bayern Munich over the hump and forced a game four in Munich. But then again maybe it wasn´t so much that beast mode that was needed, but moreover that deadly sniper as the club couldn´t muster anything from downtown in game one shooting 2/16 and 3/21 in game three. Kyle Kuric could be that sniper and more that FC Bayern Munich was missing to help have gotten them by Bamberg.
No season is fully satisfying for any FC Bayern Munich club if the league title isn´t achieved. Maybe it´s something extra special that the football players are being served for meals that has made them so successful winning the last 5 Bundesliga titles, but then again one can´t deny the fact that the budgets that both have and what kind of players they can reel in just isn´t comparable, because if the basketball department had the money that the football team had, then you would have a starting five of top Euroleague players.
It may only have reached #42 in the American Billboard charts, but the classic Rolling Stones song “You can´t always get what you want” is not only a fan favorite at concerts, but one of those songs that even non fans will sing along to and would probably even be known in the most remote spots in Somalia or in the most smug igloo in Tasiilaq, Greenland. It is just overall a very well-liked song all over the world and about the only one that has got the big disapproval from the Rolling Stones for using their song for publicity has been US president Donald Trump who uses it after his speeches to public audiences. The Rolling Stones track “You can´t always get what you want” would fit perfect now in conversations in the NBA Western Confernce finals and the easyCredit BBL semi-finals as fans are witnessing that kind of “should be final” atmosphere already now. It may not be the case now, but not too long ago the San Antonio Spurs-Golden State Warriors would have been like the perfect NBA final had not both been in the same conference, but now with the injury to new NBA superstar Kwahi Leonard, fans are now wondering how badly the Golden State Warriors will slaughter the Spurs in game three and four and if a Steph Curry will pull a Klay Thompson. In the German easyCredit , one could chant the same song “You can´t always get what you want” in terms that the real final is already being played in the semi-final with Brose Bamberg against FC Bayern Munich. With all due respect to ratiopharm Ulm that were able to raise their game again from last season and steal the regular season show from Bamberg and Munich having the best record, but they will never be a better draw than these two teams who just are at a different level with their brand name. The song “You can´t always get what you want” is surely a perfect phrase for not only the Bamberg/Munich series, but also for fans and Per Guenther in that if ratiopharm Ulm can´t hold Raymar Morgan then one just has to accept it and team identity figure Per Guenther has been singing that song for years as he is still looking for his first BBL title after reaching 4 finals like the Buffalo Bills did with 4 Super Bowl finals.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Devin Booker in Strassburg, France
When one hears the big names of the German basketball clubs Brose Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich, one immediately expects easier outings in the Quarterfinals of the playoffs, but that was far from the case in the last 10 days as both teams struggled and one has to ask were these two teams just under worth or did the Telekom Baskets Bonn and Alba Berlin just step up their play to special proportions and just overachieved?
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Bryce Taylor after a game in Frankfurt
Who could forget the amazing one on one battle last season in the easyCredit BBL cup semi final in Munich between Jordan Theodore and Jordan Taylor as the Jordan´s produced a duel on the court that wasn´t near as great as the game 2 Thomas 53 and Wall 40 point performances this week in the NBA, but for German fans they gave their all as Taylor went on to the final leading his team past the home team FC Bayern Munich and gave Alba Berlin their third cup in four years while Theodore would get revenge on Taylor in the playoffs and win his title with the Fiba Europe Cup. However after the gratifying German cup win against FC Bayern Munich, their season abruptly ended there as mentally and physically they have been a totally different team which somehow carried into this season. Last season Alba Berlin closed out the season in poor fashion having a very unsatisfactory 6-6 record and then got majorly embarrassed by the Fraport Skyliners as they got swept out of the Fraport arena as the only thing missing from their flight home to Berlin was unearthing the supermarket bags to cover their faces as they landed back at Tegel in Berlin. Except for a very potent run from November to February this season where they won 12 of 13 games including 10 in a row, it has been a very inconsistent season and especially since that run, the club has played under their worth losing 9 of 14 games as many have been wondering what has happened to the once mighty Alba Berlin that once won 7 titles in a row? This poor run from February to the playoffs has that parallel from last season as they stunk up BBL buildings until the end of the season. There are some guys that have won cup titles with Alba Berlin like Elmeden Kikanovic, Ismet Akpinar or Akeem Vargas who has two and even Nils Giffey owns one, but he has something else that none of them have. Giffey is only one of 13 players that has ever won two NCAA titles with UConn and with ex ratiopharm Ulm guard Lee Humphrey the only two that have won two and balled in the BBL. Now would be the perfect time for Giffey to remember his title runs with Uconn in 2011 and 2014 with top point guards Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier and let some of that special inspiration carry over to his teammates, because if their play doesn´t drastically change to the better and become more consistent then Alba Berlin could experience back to back sweeps and getting the Munich broom treatment is a lot more bitter than that of Frankfurt.
He still has that bushy beard that started as a routine playoff beard a few years ago, but with time Danilo Barthel has seemed to have developed a fascination with the facial hair something that his mother may still be coming to terms with. But what is different, the Hedielberg native isn´t sitting on the bench next to the X block in the Fraport arena, but on the right side and the colors of the blue and white have turned into the bright red and even if the beginning letter to his team does begin with an F, many Fraport Skyliner fans have had a hard time adjusting to the FC instead of the Fraport. After 167 games in the jersey of the Fraport Skyliners from 2011-2016, Barthel made the logical step last summer and joined Germany´s most famous sports brand FC Bayern Munich where he got two things he couldn´t get with Frankfurt with more dough and BBL title aspirations. In his time with the Fraport Skyliners, fans will never forget his poster dunk over Patrick Ewing jr in 2012 or his neverending hustle under the boards where he received more elbows, bruises and bloody noses than any other Skyliner in the last years. This season with FC Bayern Munich, Barthel has seen less action than with the Fraport Skyliners, but done the best out of his minutes as he was averaging 8,1ppg, 2,9rpg and 1,4apg in 11 minutes and 16 minutes per game coming into the Frankfurt game. The German has received stiff competition from other German national player and power forward Maxi Kleber and so far has had to be second fiddle as the ex Wurzburg player has the starting job position. The 25 year old 211cm power forward who had his taste of the NBA in the summer of 2014 where he played NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat returned back to his old stomping ground and living room of the Fraport arena and helped his team round out another normal day at the office by toppling the Fraport Skyliners 77-57 as they rebounded nicely from their embarrassing loss in Bonn where they relinquished 95 points.
After the huge victory, most of FC Bayern Munich was already on the bus, but Barthel was still making the rounds of greeting old friends and well wishers and finally reached the locker room 35 minutes after the game had ended and was elated about his return back to Frankfurt. (more…)
There was an instance in Danilo Barthel´s third season with the Fraport Skyliners where a rumor was leaked that the big man who had found a liking to facial hair in his tenure with Frankfurt was not remotely amused by having any kind of confrontation with the insect that has eight legs and at times franticly moves about as nervously as a Paris Hilton does at home in her walk through closet when she doesn´t find the matching outfit for her nightly engagement at some kind of fundraiser. Even if one would have to be very unlucky to meet a tarantula in the Nord west centrum mall where Barthel lived during his 5 year tenure, the little creature surely could of found bondage to the German´s hairy beard. Sometime in the 2013-2014 season, the 207cm forward who has made dunking a normal daily occurrence as much as it is for an Anthony Davis to get a double double found a spider in his mail box, but it soon was revealed that it was a fake rubber spider and the secret of his dislike for the quick runners was slowly lifted. Who the prankster was that placed the spider in the mail box of Barthel was never revealed, but I would have bet my special George Gervin autograph on prankster Jacob Burtschi or the silent and innocent looking Johannes Voigtmann. One thing that Barthel was not scared to present was his sharp and improving basketball skills on the court as he continued to develop since coming to Frankfurt in 2011. Barthel may be the first guy that will be half way to Siberia by the sight of a spider before a Quantez Roberton can be on the break from Frankfurt to Auburn, but if Beko BBL teams came upon the idea to place a spider on a rim to keep Barthel away, they better think twice, because despite his fear of the little creature, the rim is the best friend of the German on the court. That is probably the only place where Barthel will forget how disgusting a spider really is because nothing in safe around the rim when the 25 year old German is on flight. Barthel has made some crashing dunks over his years as he continues his career with FC Bayern Munich this season, but before he could sign on the dotted line and be able to meet Uli Hoeness on a more regular basis and pick his brain about FC Bayern Munich basketball, one has to remember that there was a reason why he was able to move to the charming city of Munich and woo fans there with his skills and that was his development with the Fraport Skyliners from 2011-2016.
Sometimes just looking at the career stats and achievements of a young gifted player won´t always necessarily give you an overall picture of the person on the court, but then again when two seasons are as different as night and day, one has to wonder is a player only really made for a certain complicated system of a team? When looking at the young career of current FC Bayern Munich guard Justin Cobbs who is a 25 year old 191cm guard that calls Los Angeles, California home sweet home, he has played for 6 teams in just two years and is for the third time on the heels of winning his first professional title even if he still has to help contribute to 6 future wins with the mighty FC Bayern Munich. His whirlwind career started as a rookie where he was briefly with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa), then was the final cut of the Charlotte Hornets (NBA) and played a month with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) before ending his rookie cinderella story with the Fraport Skyliners where he helped lead the team from last to the playoffs and was close to winning the 2015 Eurochallenge bowing out to the scrappy Romanian team Rovinari. With the Fraport Skyliners, the guard was instrumental in the teams success as he played 27 games averaging 14.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 80.3%, 2.9rpg, Assists-4(6.1apg), FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 83.1%. He was a legitimate MVP candidate and instead of staying with head coach Gordon Herbert who gave him all the freedom he needed to prosper, he left for Turkey for the bucks. He started this season with Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-BSL) where nothing fell into place for the talented guard as he played only 10 games averaging 7,6ppg, 2,1rpg and 3,3apg. There he played for a 1-9 team before departing in December and probably the only good memories he spoke about was his Frankfurt days with then teammate Sean Armand. He moved to FC Bayern Munich in December and played BBL and currently is averaging 7,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 3,2apg and 10 Eurocup games averaging 5,2ppg and 2,1apg. He went from a rookie season from being a main option in Frankfurt to a Munich team with endless super stars and having to come from the bench for Alex Renfroe. Cobbs has started games and had his moments like in the cup semi-final hitting big buckets in ousting Bamberg and scoring 16 points against ratiopharm Ulm, Alba Berlin and MBC, but other than that has taken on his role quietly and just been professional about his situation. Even if he has played only a minor role in the Ludwigsburg series, the American now is focused on helping his team master the upset against Bamberg. Even if Cobbs has a lesser role, he now is on a stage where the little things could determine between a win and loss. Brad Wanamaker is the reigning Beko BBL MVP and there are many ex NBA players on the court, but Cobbs is always due for a big game and should Bamberg be up by many in games, Cobbs will always have his rookie memory of leading the Fraport Skyliners down 18 points at halftime to the biggest comeback in their history and clinching a ticket for the 2015 Eurochallenge final 4, so Bamberg will always be aware of his beast capabilities. Cobbs just needs a chance and more minutes to make a suitable impact.
Can three be a charm this season for head coach John Patrick and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg? It really doesn´t matter where MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick has coached in the last nine years in Germany, whatever team he was in charge of, he made better a feat which isn´t necessarily self-evident. With BG Goettingen, he made a second division team into a genuine Beko BBL team that made the playoffs on a regular basis and crowned his existence there with the 2010 Eurchallenge win. In all his time there, he had lesser known players and NCAA players that he groomed and one into a Euroleague player with Taylor Rochestie. He also discovered current Fraport Skyliner John Little and brought him to Goettingen as a rookie and today is the only player to have won two German international club titles. Next he moved to Bavaria and coached the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg which was a huge project at the time made it into another playoff team that defeated top team Alba Berlin in the 2011 playoffs and gave him in a short time legendary status. His possibly biggest challenge was saving the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in the 2012-2013 season keeping them in the Beko BBL coming in as a fireman and then in the last two years forming playoff teams that annoyed FC Bayern Munich and the Brose Baskets Bamberg. With Ludwigsburg, the experienced coach has had the best talent ever far eclipsing what he had to work with in Goettingen and Wurzburg the last two seasons as having an NBA player on the floor at all times like with Coby Karl, DJ Kennedy and Mustafa Shakur was about as typical in any game as seeing Jon Brockman hauling down an offensive rebound with his undeniable physicality. However in the last two seasons, the club just didn´t have that extra piece to the puzzle to get over the hump against FC Bayern Munich losing 3-1 in the quarterfinals two years ago and last year being swept by the Brose Baskets Bamberg, but playing them tough losing by eight points twice and once with five points. Now Patrick and co have that rematch again with FC Bayern Munich that at times are like night and day as they can stink up the arena and lose to a poor team like the Mitteldeutscher BC and on the next game manhandle the Brose Baskets Bamberg. Ludwigsburg played FC Bayern Munich very tough two seasons ago and Patrick surely can still remember that series where they had to replay a game. Can the MHP Riesen seek revenge and make the upset this season with the personal and character on the team?