Frankfurt Skyliners

Richard Freudenberg Watches The Fraport Skyliners Three Point Crunch Time Party Overpower Science City Jena 69-61

me and immanuel mcelroy

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber´s first encounter with Immanuel Mcelroy in the locker room after he won the 2005 BBL cup with Rhein Energie Köln in Frankfurt


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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing BBL identity figure Immanuel Mcelroy of Science City Jena after 69-61 loss in Frankfurt

The highlight for Easter for any child is too be able to go into the yard and explore and hunt for those chocolate easter eggs that are already melting in their mouth, but if you are an old school BBL basketball fan in Frankfurt the gigantic highlight on Easter Monday is entering the Fraport arena and seeing two real professional basketball dinosaurs playing together and still playing the game they love with Julius Jenkins and Immanuel Mcelroy. Which one of these BBL legends would come away with the most chocolate eggs if they would have a contest is difficult to determine, but it would definitely be a very competitive match. You obviously cant compare these two BBL veterans to future NBA legends, but their longevity, importance and play in the German BBL can be compared to the likes of the Lebron´s and Melo´s of the league. These two BBL players just keep coming back and don´t want to retire. Jenkins is 36 and Mcelroy is 37 and still going strong. Their longevity speaks for itself as combined they have played up to this season a total of 630 BBL games and 201 international club games and share 10 titles between them. The massive experience doesn´t end there as there is also Wayne Bernard who rounds out the trio as he is 35 and is only playing his 5th BBL season but 9th straight season in Germany and can boast 136 BBL games going into this season. Jenkins and Mcelroy have been BBL identity figures for over 10 years and it will be a sad day in German basketball when these two retire, so there were probably quite a few Skyliner fans that were hoping that this wasn´t their last appearance in Frankfurt. However the Frankfurt fans only had Immanuel Mcelroy to observe as Julius Jenkins was out with an injury and saw how Science City Jena dominated in the first half, but fell apart in the second half as a hot shooting Jenkins was dearly missed as they lost 69-61. After the defeat, Mcelroy was stretching his sore muscles and if his words of retirement were really genuine after the loss was hard to tell, but if he keeps battling guys like Quantez Robertson on a regular basis who make him go to his limit then this might have been his last game in Frankfurt. “It is always fun to play  against a competitor like Robertson who does everything on the court. I respect him a lot and how he competes at both ends of the court”, stressed ex Alba Berlin guard Immanuel Mcelroy. For Quantez Robertson, it is no different in that he is only 4 years younger than Mcelroy, but has had numerous battles with the ex Braunschweig player over the years. “It is always fun to play against him, because he competes at both ends of the court. We both know each others moves well and try to trick the other one”, stressed ex Auburn star Quantez Robertson.


Josh Mayo Is Tiny But Not Archibald Leading The Telekom Baskets Bonn To 74-73 Tightrope Win Over the Fraport Skyliners

One of the two hardest things for any ex Fraport Skyliner to do when he returns back to his old stomping ground is to not enter the first door on the right after coming through the glass door of the catacombs of the Fraport arena, but actually taking the third door and when entering the arena not taking that first left but actually taking the longer stroll to the bench on the right. Ex Fraport Skyliner Johannes Richer may have started his career with the  Franken Hexer 2nd team (2.Regionalliga) in 2009 and played two seasons with the Brose Baskets Bamberg where he never made his break through, but it is fair to acknowledge that his most prosperous time as a professional came with the Fraport Skyliners from 2013-2016 where he played a total of 57 BBL games and 20 international club games and crowned his three seasons last spring winning the Fiba Europe Cup in Chalon, France. He also made his break through with Frankfurt in the 2014-2015 season where he helped clobber the Bakken Bears twice including his 15 point six rebound game in Frankfurt where he came off the bench for the injured Johannes Voigtmann and denied the Danish Bears honey on that night. The 205cm power forward/center was able to improve his minutes each season, but wasn´t able to make his full break through with Frankfurt and fled for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. However in Bonn, the big man continues to wait to get more trust from head coach Predrag Krunic as he is averaging only 2,5ppg and 1,3rpg. The only consolation prize that Richter is fighting for is a third consecutive trip to the playoffs something that the his ex team Skyliners are in jeopardy of reaching this season. Frankfurt entered the game having won two of their last three games, but digesting a tough OT loss in Bremerhaven while the Telekom Baskets Bonn had lost two of their last three games, but had beaten playoff candidate Ludwigsburg 90-86 last weekend. The Fraport Skyliners controlled the game, but an unfortunate turn of events at the start of the fourth quarter where Quantez Robertson was hit harder with fouls three,four and five then it is when Tom Brady gets sacked in the red zone which propelled Bonn to come back and squeeze out an exciting 74-73 win. After the win ex Skyliner Johannes Richter was beaming about returning back to Frankfurt and reflected on his lightening 4-0 run that he hit Frankfurt with. “I felt comfortable playing here today. It has been an up and down year for me. I always try to give as much energy as possible and help my team. I have to take the positives with my season. I think I have developed my game as with Bonn they focus more on defending the shot from the four whereas in Frankfurt it was more of defending the inside”, stressed Johannes Richter. Telekom Baskets Bonn head coach Predrag Krunic was thrilled after the victory and after hearing a positive homage to the great play of Johannes Richter and that he should get more minutes, the Serb coach was only able to blurt out “I am lucky that he is with us”, smiled Predrag Krunic.


-5- A. J. English / FRAPORT SKYLINERS  / -13- Yorman Polas Bartolo / TELEKOM BASKETS BONN

The story of the game wasn´t only the early fourth quarter exit of Fraport Skyliner captain Quantez Robertson, but the hot scoring of Bonn point guard Josh Mayo who may be in his seventh season, but continues to play as if he has a gigantic chip on his shoulder and still needs to prove his worth despite having been a ruthless scorer wherever he has played if it was Latvia, France, Italy or Turkey.


Tyrone Ellis (Northern Arizona Suns) My First Impression Of Chris Williams On The Court Was He Can Do Everything

Tyrone Ellis is a former professional player from Dallas, Texas that currently is head coach of D-League team Northern Arizona Suns. As a player he had a stellar career in Europe showing that a player can make a career coming from a NAIA school from Southern Nazarene playing in countries like Germany, Italy, Turkey and Spain. In 2004 he helped the Opel Skyliners win the BBL league title. He played for three Spanish teams Girona, Cajasol Sevilla and Asefa Estudiantes Madrid playing six seasons in the best league in Europe. He also played for teams like Eldo Basket Napoli and  Besiktas ColaTurka Istanbul . He retired in 2012 and went into coaching being an assistant for D-League teams Tulsa, Reno, Grand Rapids and Bakersfield. He spoke to German Hoops about the death of former teammate Chris Williams and coaching the Northern Arizona Suns.

Ty thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and how is your basketball life treating you at the moment?

No problem Miles, my pleasure. I’m currently on the road trying to finish up the season strong.

Before we talk about your coaching career, we have to talk about your ex teammate and friend Chris Williams who passed away recently. How did you hear about it and what was your first thought?

Our friend, Marlon Garnett, sent me a text after my game around midnight. Marlon played with Chris in Iran. I was confused, hurt, and in disbelief. I am still mourning my friend’s death. I don’t want to believe he is gone.

me interviewing tyrone ellis 2005 after berlin win[1190]

Postgame interview back in 2005: TYRONE ELLIS and MILES SCHMIDT-SCHEUBER after the Opel Skyliners eliminated Alba Berlin from the 2005 BBL Play-Offs

Chris Williams was 36 years old and just suddenly past away due to blood clotting. Did you have any more contact to him the last years? When you remember having your last conversation with him?

Yes, Chris and I kept in touch. He was the best man in my wedding. The last conversation I had with Chris was when I got this job. He called to congratulate me and tell me how proud of me he is.


The Fraport Skyliners Heat Up In The 4th For Chris Williams Disposing BG Goettingen 81-67

If one would have spontaneously asked Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson if the numbers 34 and 35 had any special mathematical meaning, the ex Auburn star would probably have given his typical Tez smirk and replied, “were those some of the most points that NCAA teams won by in the first round of March Madness”? Actually Robertson was involved with one of these numbers last weekend. Last weekend it was a story of two tales concerning the basketball fate of the Fraport Skyliners and BG Goettingen as one team destroyed their opponent while the other team stunk up the building. 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen got severely rattled at home 101-66 to this season´s big surprise team medi Bayreuth as the Bavarian team had five players scoring in double figures and Americans Demon Brooks and Joseph Lewis combined for 43 points as the club won the rebound duel and dominated in the paint shooting at a high percentage. The Fraport Skyliners on the other hand rebounded from a bitter loss in Ludwigsburg manhandling the Basket Lowen Braunschweig 92-56 as they led from the get go never looked back as the club was led by Shawn Huff with 17 points and Quantez Robertson and Shavon Shields added 16 points apiece. Frankfurt dominated the rebounds and spread the ball around the way a team led by Gordon Herbert should. One hot team Frankfurt was meeting cold team BG Goettingen, and the Fraport Skyliners were able to get revenge from their loss in Goettingen earlier in the season as they had a strong fourth quarter disposing of BG Goettingen 81-67. After any game in Frankfurt it is customary for the players of Frankfurt to sign autographes for the fans and after 15 minutes the last two Americans left were Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison who were joking around and were in such good spirits that they could easily moonlight with their own sitcom once their playing days are over. “Having a sitcom would be fun. I would be beating up Mike all the time. All Mike is doing on road trips is eating and drinking juice. Sometimes I just need to get away from him”, joked Quantez Robertson. However when talk came about the two numbers 35 and 34, the Ohio native joked that math wasn´t his strong suit in school. “I wasn´t good at math. From those two numbers you mentioned, I remember 34 being my old baseball jersey in school and 35 was just out there”, smiled Quantez Robertson.


19.03.2017 / Basketball BBL / -4- Kwame Vaughn / FRAPORT SKYLINERS  / -11- Darius Carter / BG GÖTTINGEN

Even if there was a game to be played, Skyliner fans of old had one thing on their mind and that was Skyliner legend Chris Williams who had surprisingly passed away four days ago at only the age of 36 due to blood clotting to the heart. Williams played only two years with the Skyliners, but in those two years was instrumental in the team winning a their only league title to date in 2004 and reaching a league final in 2005. He belonged to the top power forwards in the BBL and was named league MVP. He also will be remembered as possibly being the best player in the history of the organization. The club organized a minute of silence before the tip off and there was one person who was extremely sad and probably had millions of thoughts flowing through his mind in that minute which probably felt like 10 minutes. That person was Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who had coached Williams for one season and remembered the Alabama native very well despite having coached him 13 years ago. “I was thinking about the kind of person he was. He was a great teammate and was very sociable. His death really shocked me. His death made me realize just how short life can be. I still remember exactly where he was on the floor when he made that amazing cross over dribble and dunked the ball in the final. Tyrone Ellis helped him become a better professional and taught him how to build his career better”, stressed head coach Gordon Herbert. Fraport Skyliner guard AJ English was pleased about the win knowing that coach Herbert wanted a better performance in the second half, but at the same time shocked how quickly a life can end when confronted with the Chris Williams death. “Alex Ruoff kept them in the game. He hit some difficult shots. I remember watching him as a kid when he was at West Virginia. We stepped it up in the fourth quarter, got defensive stops and kept moving the ball and made shots. We started slow, but picked it up in the fourth quarter.  I saw Williams face the last days as there was a lot of talk, but didn´t know who he was. It is very sad how he died. I know the feeling as I have lost guys like that. For BG Goettingen it has been a tough season and after being destroyed at home by medi Bayreuth last weekend, they stayed with Frankfurt for 30 minutes, but lost control of their energy in the fourth quarter. “We ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. Frankfurt made a big run and on defense they pressured us much and we turned the ball over too much and made everything uncomfortable for us. That was a very sad story with Chris Williams. His sudden death puts life and basketball in perspective. It´s not always about winning and losing”, stressed BG Goettingen forward Adam Waleskowski.


Frankfurt Skyliner Legend Chris Williams With The Heart Of Gold Passes Away At Age 36

me and chris williams 2005

Chris Williams and Miles Schmidt-Scheuber, 2005

It didn’t really matter what you called Chris Williams (199-F/G-80, college: Virginia) some called him big smooth or chris cross, but one could have come up with thousands of names for his amazing athletic game as he owned the paint area as he was nearly unstopable, but today the former Frankfurt Skyliner passed away due to blood clotting to the heart at the age of 36. It didn’t matter where he played in school or in the pros, he was a winner putting up great stats everywhere he went and won titles in Australia, Germany and Korea in a 11 year professional career. In Germany, fans will remember him as not only one of the top power forwards in the BBL, but one of the best players in the league from 2003-2005. He was instrumental in the Opel Skyliners winning the 2004 BBL league title and reaching the final in 2005 as he formed the dangerous and very feared Bermuda triangle with American Tyrone Ellis and German national player Pascal Roller.

One guy that remembers him still is current Colgate assistant coach Michael Jordan who had a standout career in Europe and battled Williams with the Artland Dragons from 2003-2005. “Chris was a good player but an even better person. We had some good battles and good times in Europe. He will be missed”, stressed Michael Jordan. Williams wasn’t only top on the court, but was a genuine great guy that always wanted to help the best way he could and had a heart of gold. Ex Licher Basket Baeren guard Jermale Jones was best friends with Chris William’s brother, but remembers Chris in only the best way. “Chris was such a great guy. He was always willing to help people no matter what it was. He was a giver in all aspects. Chris is a guy you would want to be friends with because of his personality and the way he carried himself. Chris tried to help me in every way to help me sign my first deal overseas but it was hard for him to get me a job cause I had no experience at the time and just last summer he was trying to get me signed in the China league. He always wanted to help”, stressed Jermale Jones.


Isaac Bonga Unleashes First Professional Triple Double Leading The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Into The Pro B Playoffs Past Nordlingen 83-59

It was shortly before High Noon in the German Pro B league as the top 8 teams in the two brackets south and north were looking forward to battle it out in the Playoffs and wanted to end the regular season in fine fashion while the bottom four teams in both brackets were looking to glide into the playdowns with some force hoping for their poor season showing to be rewarded with better play in the very important last weekends of the season determining who would stay in the Pro B or who would step down into the fourth league the regionaliga. The Giants Nordlingen came to Frankfurt with a lot less pressure as they knew their fate of having to play in the Playdowns while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors not only had a do or die game, but also had to hope for some help from team BG Karlsruhe who were playing against TG Wurzburg and or Weissenhorn who were battling the Dragons in Rhondorf. The only goal that the Frapoort Skyliners Juniors was to win and reach the playoffs would be a reality if at least one team Weissenhorn or Rhondorf lost. In the first meeting in Nordlingen, Frankfurt gutted out a nerve wracking 64-63 victory where German youngster Cosmo Gurehn once again showed his big man passing qualities finding other German Stefan Ilzhoefer for the winning bucket in the last minute. Back then, Frankfurt hadn´t hadn´t had their complete roster and hadn´t returned Alaska native Travis Thompson either, but still won. Thompson returned in December and has been anything short of brilliant, but his hot shooting has carried the team in his 13 games as he has scored in double figures in every game and had some huge games against the Dragons Rhondorf with 32 points on eight trey´s and scorched Leipzig last weekend for 33 points on almost perfect shooting going 8/9 from the parking lot. However the Giants Nordlingen had their own secret weapon in American rookie Terrence Smith who quietly is having a great season as well as he has scored in double figures in each game including explosions against Lich with 28 points and hit FC Bayern Munich for 24 points. In the first meeting against Frankfurt, the Russellville, Alabama native smith was close to a double double having had 16 points and nine assists in the bitter loss. Both Thompson and Smith were extra focused and motivated to carry their teams to victory, but Thompson had an off night as the stellar play and milestone belonged to Garai Zeeb who hit Nordlingen with 22 points while Isaac Bonga recorded his first triple double as a professional notching 10 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists leading the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to a massive 83-59 rout of the Giants Nordlingen securing a playoff meeting with top Pro B North team Lok Bernau while the 26 points of Terence Smith remained a side note.

After the win one of the first things Garai Zeeb does is go visit his family and friends in the stands and when he had gotten his last hug, had a big smile on his face about reaching his second playoff in a row with Frankfurt. “We came into the game knowing their strengthes and did a good job on one on one defense and when a man got beat our help was there. On offense we had too much running around in the first half, but had better structure in the second half and played calmer helping us get the win”, stressed ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb. The Giants Nordlingen wanted to get into the playdowns with some force and momentum, but couldn´t handle the unending offensive weapons of Frankfurt and just caved in in the second half. “Frankfurt made shots and spread it out on defense. We lacked communication and rotations were missing on defense. Frankfurt rebounded very well. When Frankfurt missed, they got the rebound”, stressed Alabama native Terence Smith.


Quantez Robertson Pokes And Steals The Fraport Skyliners Past s.Oliver Wurzburg 79-76

The one guy is a legend and as present in the German basketball world with his black attire as is legendary actor Jack Nicholson when he is in the front row in the Staples Center at Lakers games while the other guy is one of 1000´s of Americans playing out his dream of being a professional basketball player and one of the fewer making the slow steps up the professional basketball ladder from league to league and from level to level. The legend is none other than Dirk Bauermann who has to be considered as the German Phil Jackson in terms of what he did in the 90´s winning 9 titles with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen as well as being coach of the German national team and winning the 2005 Silver at the European championships with Dirk Nowitzki in Belgrad. After leading FC Bayern Munich into the BBL in 2011, his attempt at winning a title failed and he disappeared from Germany for four years coaching  Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius,  Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB) where he was forced to insert the eccentric club CEO into games and had a short stint with the Iranian national team. He returned back to the Fraport arena a place where he won many games, but lost the 2004 BBL title with Bamberg and now was leading the charge with another Bavarian team s.Oliver Wurzburg and came in as the savior, but so far has experienced something he has rarely seen as a coach in Germany losing as he is still looking for his first win as he was 0-5. The other guy coming with Bauermann was American Vincent Sanford that came to Germany late joining s.Oliver Wurzburg farm team  in November and right away was a spark averaging 17,7ppg, 4,6rpg and 2,9apg while shooting 40% from downtown helping the team to a 5-4 record. The American is one of those guys that has had to prove himself his whole career as he played 54 games for the well known Georgetown(NCAA), but averaged only 1,8ppg,and transferred to Dayton(NCAA) where he had more of a role and solidified himself as a solid NCAA player averaging 12,3ppg and 9,6ppg in his last two seasons. However despite reaching the NCAA Elite 8 in 2014 and having good stats didn´t grant him a free pass to a top league as he had to claw himself up the professional ladder playing with Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League): 13 games: 22.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 73.0% and last season played with Barrancabermeja Ciudad Futuro (Colombia-Liga DirecTV, starting five): Liga DirecTV-1: 20 games: 14.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 3.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT-2(42.9%), FT: 76.8%. Now in his third professional season and after 9 Pro B games, he suddenly saw himself suit up in an easyCredit BBL game against Tuebingen scoring 9 points in 14 minutes and a week later had 13 points in 17 minutes against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, There are basketball worlds between Bauermann and Sanford, but both had the same goal and wanting to win that first game with s.Oliver Wurzburg. However both didn´t leave the Fraport arena with smiles, but moreover with sullen expressions as they lost a tough 79-76 battle to the hands of the Fraport Skyliners. Bauermann was not only disgusted with his 6th loss in a row, the most that he had lost in a row in Germany and also for being called for a technical foul late in the fourth which turned the game in  favor of Frankfurt. Sanford was unable to match the personal success of his last games as he credits a lot to Bauermann as he had one point on 0/3 shooting in 9.12 minutes and was far form 100%. “I have no excuses, but I couldn´t really dribble as I have been playing with a broken hand. You have to take the good ones with the bad ones. Bauermann has helped me see the game differently in the BBL. He has helped me a lot mentally”, stressed Kentucky native Vincent Sanford.


25.02.2017 / Basketball BBL / -23- Quantez Tez Robertson / FRAPORT SKYLINERS / -9- Maurice Stuckey / s.OLIVER WÜRZBURG 


The Fraport Skyliners came into the contest against s.Oliver Wurzburg riding a three game losing streak having lost badly to Bamberg and Munich and then being embarrassed in Turkey against Pinar Karsiyaka ending their Champions League season. Frankfurt came into the game with a lot to prove, but were having problems with being able to play consistent for long spurts, but were able to overcome a nine point deficit in the fourth quarter as s.Oliver Wurzburg were putting up prayers left and right as if Larry Bird had haunted the Fraport arena and stayed calm and showed their big strength having those fighting mentality qualities, buckled down on defense and won with heart and pride. “Key today for pulling out the win was staying together during the ups and downs in the game. They hit tough shot after tough shot and we had our backs to the wall, but we always stuck together. We played Skyliner basketball until the end and executed down the stretch”, stressed Iona(NCAA) guard AJ English. s.Oliver Wurzburg hoped their basketball woes would come to an end with legendary German head coach Dirk Bauermann, but instead the team still has the big goose egg looking for that first win. After the loss a dejected Jake Odum(Indiana State) exited the locker room and one could feel his disappointment as his soft voice described the game loss. “It went down to the wire. It was very disappointing that we couldn´t come away with the win. It has been very tough not being able to win a game in two months. Most of us aren´t used to losing like this. We have been getting better in practice, but haven´t learned how to finish games. I put a lot of blame on myself for not doing my job. I credit the Skyliners for making plays when it counted”, added Jake Odum.