Having an unbelievable label thrusted upon you most usually is so tough to digest that it has had a difficult effect on players because having to live up to that assumption can be as difficult as it is for a Tim Tebow making the adjustment to baseball as there is simply so much media pressure on you. As for the labels, how many players have had that unfair comparison as being the next Dirk Nowitzki? It didn't only fall upon a guy like Tim Ohlbrecht who still did make it to the NBA, but to... [read more]
Having an unbelievable label thrusted upon you most usually is so tough to digest that it has had a difficult effect on players because having to live up to that assumption can be as difficult as it is for a Tim Tebow making the adjustment to baseball as there is simply so much media pressure on you. As for the labels, how many players have had that unfair comparison as being the next Dirk Nowitzki? It didn't only fall upon a guy like Tim Ohlbrecht who still did make it to the NBA, but to other guys as well in Germany. The Dirk Nowitzki label also has swayed over to other countries like Serbia where a player like Nemanja Aleksandrow got that label, but too many others as well. Having these player labels aren't always easy to get used to hearing over and over, but what does a player like Moses Ehambe (197-G/F-86, college: ORU) of SC Rasta Vechta think when he hears a label like 'considered by some as one of the best shooters in the world' and he turns around and expects Larry Bird or a Steph Curry to be standing there? Those two NBA legends would be worthy of that label, but would a Moses Ehambe? Well many might argue that label, but his consistent and accurate shooting from downtown over the years can't be denied. Ehambie is a 30 year old 197cm swingman from Arlington Texas that is playing his ninth professional season and second in Germany after playing his first with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in 2014. Over the years, his accurate shooting from the parking lot has consistently been at the 40% mark or higher which is a rate that isn't achieved by every player. Ehambie has played in many different leagues from the D-league to places like Spain, Venezuela and Japan. There was even a time from 2006-2012 where he shot 40% or better which for the most part was achieved with three different D-league teams that obviously garnered the interest of NBA GM's. The label of being the best shooter in the world seemed to have developed during his D-league time between 2008-2012 and the sniper wasn't unaware of this label. 'I have heard that before, but it isn't about what you hear, but what you believe. It means a lot to me when I hear something like that. It makes me feel good knowing people appreciate what I do after spending countless hours in the gym perfecting my craft', stated Moses Ehambe. Many have wondered why a guy like Ehambie never made it to the NBA considering the NBA is the prime place where a player who does one thing very well can find a home. 'My goal and passion is to get to the NBA. I'll continue to dream and work of reaching the NBA. The D-league is one route of reaching the NBA and at times faster than going the European route. My family and I decided that going the European route would be good. I feel that I have grown as a player and became more complete and just elevated my game on offense and defense', stressed Moses Ehambe. Back in 2011, he was with the New Orleans Hornets (NBA) during training camp and got that brief NBA air and got some words of wisdom that quickly broadened his basketball horizon which has not only helped him with dealing with his NBA dream, but also helping develop his game further. 'When I was cut from the New Orleans Hornets training camp, head coach Monty Williams told me that I had a gift shooting and that many can't do it. He told me that now I needed to show the world that I can play basketball. I felt that with Bremerhaven I showed that I can do more besides just shooting with rebounding, passing it in the post or penetrating and kicking. I am a complete player now instead of a stand still shooter. Who knows what will happen now. Maybe the NBA will take notice', stressed Moses Ehambe. As for now SC Rasta Vechta has taken notice and signed him and he belongs to a very talented group of guys and is close to averaging double figures in scoring and as usual is shooting over 40% from outside. If The NBA ever does come calling, Ehambie will be more than ready, but for now the ex ORU (NCAA) standout is focused on performing his role to the best to his ability for SC Rasta Vechta and possibly help bring this team a lot farther than many would ever have thought this season.
After two seasons of being in the Pro A, SC Rasta Vechta have returned back to the EasyCredit BBL, a place where they had their first experience three years ago, but seemingly was a bit too early as they were run over by their own too high expectations. Two seasons ago, they totally underachieved as they finished in 10th place missing the playoffs, but in a way helped them too really be motivated for last season where they literally blew away the competition winning the regular season with a 25-3 record and then mowing down Nurnberg and Gotha in sweeps. They had built an amazing 23 game winning streak from November 28 to April 25th. Of course in the eyes of their organization now, the only logical thing was too close out the season in the Pro A final against Science City Jena. However they were rudely beaten as their season ended on a sour note as they became the runner up in a very dominating season.
At first glance on paper, SC Rasta Vechta has more talent and experience than the team that competed in the easyCredit BBL three seasons ago, but they did a quite large house cleaning adding 9 new players with the likes of ex NBA player Scott Machado, sniper Moses Ehambe, inside presence Devin Searcy, talented Americans Rakeem Buckles and Frank Gaines as well as talented young Germans. They also kept a core base of players from last season with Derrick Allen and Christian Standhardinger. However even the most talented teams doesn't always ensure success as many other BBL teams have experienced at one time or the other like last season the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. If the team chemistry and harmony isn't developed then it can always become a long season. So far the club hasn't been able to translate their talent too many wins as they have started 1-5. A big problem has been their offense which has only averaged 76 points, a rate that for their talent is a bit under the norm. Basketball is a funny sport in that the little things usually decide games and without being totally outrageous, this club could be 4-0. They didn't defend bad at all against teams like Braunschweig and Bayreuth, teams they need to beat, but averaged only 62 points on offense and were close against Oldenburg losing 79-76. They did beat Phoenix Hagen in another close game 98-96 which helped their self-confidence. SC Rasta Vechta is a club a lot better than their record and should once they develop their team chemistry start winning. If they can be a surprise like Giessen and Wurzburg last season is more a reach, but they should be returning back to the BBL next season for sure.
The club held on to BBL dinosaur Derrick Allen who is a 36 year old 203cm forward from Gadsen, Alabama that just keeps chugging away playing in his 14th professional season and 12th in Germany. He was a rookie in Iceland and also played in Belgium. He has played for teams in Germany with BG Karlsruhe, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, Frankfurt (2007-2010), Alba Berlin, Bremerhaven and Braunschweig. He won a scoring title with Leverkusen, was runner up once with Frankfurt, is a three time BBL allstar and two time finalist with Frankfurt and Alba Berlin. He may not have the speed of his 10,7 track mark in 2009 in Frankfurt, but he still is able to get easy buckets inside with his ballerina moves or his fade away mid distance shot. The team also held on to German Christian Standhardinger who is a 27 year old 206cm forward that also has Filipino roots. He started his career with the DJK SB Muenchen junior team and then played three seasons with Ehingen before embarking on a USA journey playing at Nebraska and Hawaii in the NCAA: As a senior at Hawaii he averaged 17.9ppg, 8.4rpg. He returned back to Germany two seasons ago and had a solid rookie season with MBC. Last season with SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA) he played 36 games: Score-2 (15.8ppg), 7.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 29.5%, FT: 68.6%. His big strength is his unending energy and desire to get every loose ball and rebound and he is a constant double digit scorer. The team also kept Travis Warech who is a 25 year old 191cm guard from pine Brook, New Jersey that also has the German citizenship. He played at St Michaels (NCAA2) and at Ithaca (NCAA3) and is one of those rare players that has come from a division three program to play in the BBL. This is his fourth professional season and as a rookie, he played with Gotha, then played 22 games with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and last season played with the Hamburg Towers (Germany-ProA): 7 games: 7.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 46.9%, 3FGP: 18.2%, FT: 80.0%, left in Dec.'15, later that month moved to SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA): 24 games: 7.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 73.1%. He is a solid role player from the bench that fills up the stats sheet well for a guard and has range from outside.
Besides adding Moses Ehambe, the most notable new signing was ex NBA player Scott Machado. He is a 26 year old 187cm guard from Queens, New York that is playing his fifth professional season. He has ties to the Fraport Skyliners in which he was teammates at Iona (NCAA) with ex player Sean Armand and is basketball playground buddy with ex player Jordan Theodore. As a senior at Iona, he led the NCAA in assists with 9,9 in 2012. As a professional, he reached the NBA playing 6 games for the Houston Rockets. Despite racking up solid stats in the D-league, he never returned to the NBA, but came to Europe and played in France and Estonia before playing for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg (Germany-BBL) last season 15 games: 8.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 75.0%; Eurocup: 15 games: 5.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 38.3%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 80.0%. He is a strong playmaker that will be battling Jared Jordan for the assist title this season. The club also added American Frank Gaines who is a 26 year old 191cm shooting guard from Fort Lauderdale, Florida playing his fourth professional season. He played at IPFW (NCAA) where he averaged 20,0ppg in his last two seasons. In his first three professional seasons, he has seen the basketball world as he has played for two D-league teams, for two teams in Italy, in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and last season for King Wilki Morskie Szczecin (Poland-TBL) 36 games: 12.4ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.7%. He is a pure scorer that averaged 22,4ppg as a rookie in the D-league with Maine for Mike Taylor and can defend the positions 1-3. Devin Searcy is a 27 year old 208cm center with three seasons of BBL experience. He played at Dayton (NCAA) before turning professional and being a rookie in Japan. In his second season, he nipped NBA air with the Philadelphia 76ers before being released and moving to Russia to Triumph Lyubertsy. He then played 65 BBL games with Bremerhaven and was second and fifth in the league in rebounding in his two seasons there. Last season he played for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA): 6 games: 6.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2FGP: 54.8%, in Nov.'15 moved to s.Oliver Baskets Wuerzburg (Germany-BBL): 27 games: 5.4ppg, 3.6rpg, FGP: 50.0%, FT: 65.9%.
The team also added three Germans with most recently Philipp Neumann who is a 24 year old 209cm center that is a hardworking beast in the paint area. He won numerous titles with Bamberg, but never broke through and moved to Oldenburg in December 2013 and helped the team win the cup in 2015. Last season he moved to Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL): 34 games: 4.0ppg, 2.6rpg; Eurocup: 16 games: 5.5ppg, 4.2rpg, Blocks-5 (1.2bpg), FGP: 49.3%, FT: 68.8%. The club also added Niklas Geske who is a 22 year old 188cm point guard that started his career with SVD Dortmund II (2.Regionalliga). He played the last three seasons in the BBL with Phoenix Hagen playing 85 games and last season played 33 games: 5.8ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 84.5%. He is an intelligent player that is always attacking and has a good mentor with Machado who will make him better each day in practice. Besnik Bekteshi is a 191cm guard and only 23 as he seems to have been around for ages. He played his first BBL game at age 17, but never made his breakthrough with Ludwigsburg has he amassed only 22 games in three seasons there. He then missed the entire 2013-2014 season due to injury and played the last two seasons in the Pro A with Giessen helping them move up to the BBL in 2015 and last season with VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-ProA): 29 games: 10.2ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 77.7%. He is a great shooter and feared defender.
Three seasons ago, the Fraport Skyliners had two very entertaining games against SC Rasta Vechta sweeping the 2013-2014 season and winning the two games by only a combined point total of four points. In the first meeting in Frankfurt two days after Christmas, Frankfurt snuck away with a 70-67 win as ex NBA player Andrew Rautins played his last game for the team before getting injured and Jared Dubois sparked the team with 17 points while Jakob Doerksen had 19 points for the losers. In the return game in Vechta, Frankfurt won in the last few seconds 76-75 as a Quantez Robertson led to a buzzer beater by German Kevin Bright who led the team with 23 points. Ex Skyliner Richard Williams led the losers with 18 points. Both teams arrive on Sunday in the Fraport arena with two game losing streaks. The Fraport Skyliners have a lot to prove as they finally want to give a good effort again for 40 minutes. They stunk up the third quarter in Wurzbrug last week giving up an 18 point lead and a few days ago did the same in the third frame against Turkish squad Banvit in Champions League. It seems like Frankfurt is a huge whirlwind on the court where that harmony is missing. The club really needs someone to step up and lead the team like a Quantez Robertson possibly. SC Rasta Vechta lost their last two games and need to improve on the defensive end as they have averaged giving up 93 points in the last two games. It is a must win for both teams and it could be an ugly contest where heart will get the victory for whatever team shows it.
Matthew Reid(185-PG-84, college: Cameron, agency: Octagon Europe) is a 32 year old 185cm guard that hast he German/American citzenship and is playing his tenth professional season and first with the Artland Dragons. He started his career with Cerritos JC (NJCAA) and then played two seasons with Cameron (NCAA2) and as a senior played 26 games averaging 20.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.3apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3TP: 36.0%, FT: 81.0%. He turned professional in 2007 and played for the Schwelmer Baskets (Ge... [read more]
Matthew Reid (185-PG-84, college: Cameron, agency: Octagon Europe) is a 32 year old 185cm guard that hast he German/American citzenship and is playing his tenth professional season and first with the Artland Dragons. He started his career with Cerritos JC (NJCAA) and then played two seasons with Cameron (NCAA2) and as a senior played 26 games averaging 20.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.3apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3TP: 36.0%, FT: 81.0%. He turned professional in 2007 and played for the Schwelmer Baskets (Germany-Regionalliga).He then played two seasons with Saarlouis before moving to SC Rasta Vechta where he played from 2010-2012. He then gained further experience with RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB) and Herten (Pro B). He returned back to SC Rasta Vechta in 2014 where he played two more seasons before moving to Artland this season. He spoke to eurobasket after the big 95-69 win against SC Rist Wedel.
Matt thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Congrats on the huge 95-69 victory against SC Rist Wedel. This was the highest scoring game of the Artland Dragons this season with 17 three's and 30 assists. How perfect was this offensive demonstration? Yes it was a great game for us behind the arc and lots of team-play with dishing out 30 assists. SC Rist Wedel played 2-3 zone defense the whole game and we did a great job noticing it early and our shooters had a great night behind the arc. Coach Dragan did a great job with video and practice to prepare us for SC Rist Wedel and their zone defense they frequently play.
The game was dead locked at 41-41. What did head coach Dragan Dojcin tell the team to do better in the third quarter which resulted in the team breaking away and scoring 29 points?
Coach just told us to continue to be aggressive and take the open shots with confidence and to keep pushing the ball and try to get more fast break points and to still be aggressive on the defensive end of the floor.
What did the Artland Dragons learn from the first half that enabled you to give up only 28 points in the second half? We learned that even if we are not making shots in the first half to still come out in the second half and not second guess ourselves and shoot the ball with confidence and stay disciplined in our defensive concept and stay together as a team on the offensive end.
You match up against very skilled point guards each game and how was the battle against the younger Will Barnes who had 10 points, five assists and six rebounds. He has a hard task leading a team full of Germans.
Will Barnes has had a lot of success in his career playing in Germany and despite the injuries in his past I am happy to see him overcome them and to be back on the court and helping lead his team of young talented German players. They have a good team and definitely will surprise some top teams this season especially with Will Barnes playing point guard who can score 30+ points on any given night.
The Artland Dragons seem to be Up and Down when playing road games this season. Has the team found a defined identity on the defensive end? We realize that we have to be more consistent for 40 minutes on the defensive end of the floor and especially when playing on the road and we all know that we are one of the top teams in offense but our goal is to be one of the top teams in defense as well.
The Artland Dragons have a very talented team with experience. Is the team playing and feeling like a team that is the favorite in the Pro B north?
Coach has done a great job with putting this team together, my teammates are a great group of guys and we get along great with each other and we understand that even with all the talent we have on our roster, to win and have success each and every one of us has to make a sacrifice and do what needs to be done to help our team win games this season. So as of us thinking about being the favorite in the Pro B North, we will let the fans decide that and we are just focused on taking it game by game and preparing ourselves for our next opponent Rostock this weekend.
You are still looking for your first professional title. How hungry are you this season to make this a reality with the Artland Dragons? Words cannot express how hungry I am for the title this season, but I think this is the right mentality for every player to have before season starts.
How do you feel did the BBL year with Crailsheim help Chris Frazier who has been a big spark for the team? Chris has been playing awesome this season and I am happy to be passing the ball to him and not having to worry about chasing him off screens. He has brought a lot of great qualities to the team from his experience in the BBL and just to point out one of them is his high level intensity that he has in practice and in the games as well. He has learned and also played in that BBL atmosphere and he does a great job in leading by example on our team.
How rewarding has it been working with point guard Philipp Lieser? That is a very solid point guard duo for Pro B standards.
Phillip is a great guy on and off the court he is always in the gym working on his game and we talk a lot on what we can do as point guards to help the team be more successful.
After getting limited minutes in the Pro A with SC Rasta Vechta, how good does it feel getting good minutes this season with the Artland Dragons?
I think I speak for all players when I say it definitely feels great to play good minutes on the floor but its also is a great feeling to be a part of a winning team and compete everyday against some of the best players in the Pro A last season and being a part of SC Rasta Vechta last season was an experience I will never forget and was able to learn a lot and also made some great friendships that will last a lifetime.
You have been a scorer pretty much your whole life, but this season with so many scoring threats, are you concentrating mostly of being the best playmaker that you can be?
Coach and I talked a lot before season started and it just has a lot to do with what is my role on the team and we came to the conclusion that for his systems to work and for us to be a top team that I will have to organize the game and make right decisions and reads without turnovers and when or if the time presents itself to look to create for myself or my teammates Coach knows I can score the basketball but he trusts me to be a point guard first and when the shot clock is running down he feels its a added bonus that I am able to create and score if needed to.
You are averaging 6,2apg at the moment which is the most in your career at the Pro B level. Is your playmaking made easier with the unending talent that the Artland Dragons have this season?
Before season started I realized how great of a team we have and so many individually talented players I knew right away that it could be possible to average between 7-10 assist per game and so far so good. My teammates do a great job of knocking down shots when they are open.
You played four seasons with SC Rasta Vechta. What was your most memorable experience you had on the court as a player and off the court with your teammates? My most memorable experience on the court was winning 25 games in a row last season and the most memorable off the court was also last season with my fiance in our new home and having my teammates with their family and also coaches come over and enjoy an unbelievable thanksgiving dinner that I cant take credit for preparing but all the credit went to the awesome wives and fiances who did a great job with preparing that wonderful evening.
Your one of those guys that has been around forever. It seems like you will play for many more years, but how much of a push did Derrick Allen give you last season to keep having that drive to play into your thirties? I dont think I have never played with someone so professional and experienced in playing high performance level basketball like Derrick Allen. He taught me so many things last season as to being a leader on and off the court, the type of attitude and winning mentality that a player should bring to practice and games without taking a day off and all the way down the list to even giving me the right insight to staying disciplined to what type of food to put in the human body after the age of 30 during season and off-season. I still call him from time to time just to talk basketball. Looking at him still playing at a high level in his mid 30's is definitely motivation for me to keep grinding.
In your last season at Saarlouis you averaged 23.8ppg, 6.9rpg, 6.7apg, 3.5spg, FGP: 62.9%, 3Pts: 29.5%, FT: 77.8%. You then made the jump to the Pro B and SC Rasta Vechta. How vital was head coach Pat Elzie in helping you make the jump and average 20,0ppg and be second in assists with 5,9apg? Coach Pat Elzie always believed in my abilities and gave me a chance to step up and play in a higher league and I will always be thankful for him giving the opportunities he gave me in Vechta. I wish him and his new team in Itzehoe a successful season and I am sure he will have his team ready when we play them this season.
You played two seasons with Saarlouis with the one and only Ricky Easterling. He was very dominating and you were also a big time scorer. Did it ever feel like you were a bit in his shadow? Ricky is a great friend of mine and we had two great seasons playing with each other. From day one Ricky and I had an understanding that for us to be successful we had to figure out how we can be that dynamic duo and still win games. I never felt like I was in his shadow but I was just a new point guard that Saarlouis had signed to help get Ricky the basketball in areas where he can more effective with scoring the basketball.
Easterling is still playing and has a few years on you. What is your most memorable experience that you had with him?
I think the most memorable was me visiting him in Baltimore and we spent the whole summer working out 2-3 times a day for 5 and even sometimes 6 days a week .
He could easily secure a patent on the mid distance shot, which he said he developed it in high school. Do you remember him working countless nights in the gym continuing to perfect the shot when you were there? Man I remember countless nights of us just being in the gym working on mid-range game and different ways to score the basketball. He is a hard-worker and it definitely shows every time he steps on the court.
You played your rookie season with Schwelm. What do you remember was your wake up call to being a rookie in Germany where you knew that you were very far away from home in the states? I think I had more than a few wake up calls, but I can remember my first day arriving at my apartment in Germany and me just turning on the TV and CNN was the only english speaking channel and that's when I knew I was definitely far away from home.
You played two seasons with Cameron (NCAA2) after playing at Cerritos JC (NJCAA). How often did you hear that you would never make it as a player, but are still playing professionally today. What was key for you to have had such a long professional career?
I never really heard that I would not make it as player when i was playing in college. I was fortunate to have a great support system from my family and friends and even my youth coaches had confidence in my ability to play basketball. But I think the key to my long career so far is just I am never satisfied and I am always working on my game to be a better player and teammate. The last 10 seasons I've only taken maybe 2-3 weeks off to rest my body after a season and immediately after I started to train and prepare myself for the upcoming season.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose? Magic Johnson - Lebron James - Kobe Bryant - Shaquille O'Neal
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
I think when Lebron gets done playing he will definitely be topic of conversation to being the greatest player of all time. But as of now he still remains the best player in the world.
Over the last years, the Fraport Skyliners have celebrated homecomings from ex players rather more laid back when guys like Robert Garett, Dashaun Wood, Anthony King or Jimmy Mckinney returned back to their old stomping grounds. Granted Garett did help win the 2004 BBL league title and was an important member for Frankfurt, but somewhat in the shadow of the Bermuda triangle with Pascal Roeller, Chris Williams and Tyrone Ellis and the rest didn't win a title, but left somewhat of an imprin... [read more]
Over the last years, the Fraport Skyliners have celebrated homecomings from ex players rather more laid back when guys like Robert Garett, Dashaun Wood, Anthony King or Jimmy Mckinney returned back to their old stomping grounds. Granted Garett did help win the 2004 BBL league title and was an important member for Frankfurt, but somewhat in the shadow of the Bermuda triangle with Pascal Roeller, Chris Williams and Tyrone Ellis and the rest didn't win a title, but left somewhat of an imprint to their stays in Frankfurt. However no homecoming in the last years was as anticipated, talked about and emotional as the return of Jordan 'I believe' Theodore who returned back to the Fraport arena on October 26th almost five months to the day where he played his last home game in a Skyliners jersey. In his one season in Frankfurt, if Theodore was smart, he could of snatched himself a good ghost writer to help him write a book, because his season was simply brilliant and almost cinderella like as the always hard luck player who had never won anything in Turkey or France before Frankfurt, but with the Fraport Skyliners he did like the Romans doing his best Englewood, New Jersey impersonation of Veni, Vidi, Vici of coming, seeing and conquering leading the organization to it's third ever title with the Fiba Europe Cup, to the top 4 of the cup and semi-finals of the playoffs. His stellar play, stats and accomplishments easily rank him in the top three best point guards of all-time with Pascal Roeller and Dashaun Wood. Theodore took his stellar game to Turkey and so far has a perfect record of 4-0 and a surprising 3-0 record in the Turkish league considering nobody expected the team to start off so rapidly beating top clubs Darussafaka and Galatasaray, but Theodore like in Frankfurt has been the center of attention bringing his ace playmaking capabilities to every game and not disappointing. Now he was pumped to return back to an old stomping ground where he stated, 'The Fraport Skyliners helped me get to where I am today' and rack in his his fifth consecutive win of the season. He entered the Fraport arena averaging an amazing 27,0ppg and 9,0apg through the first three Turkish league games where he was the mastermind and was back in a special lab that helped him achieve greatness last season and he wanted to relive some of that magic again against his ex team Fraport Skyliners. Theodore has been unstoppable all season long and he wasn't about to give his ex team any presents, but showed his A game which is simply automatic done unconsciously or from force of habit as he dropped 25 points and dished out six assists as he put on the Banvit show defeating his ex team 86-70. With a few minutes left in the game, Theodore was on the bench and his night was over, the first Banit fans rushed over to the bench to congratulate him and he coolly just signaled to wait until the end of the game and then it would be their time. About 30 minutes after the game and still drenched in sweat he finally had time for me. 'It was very exciting to be back in Frankfurt. I wish there would have been more fans, but I understand it was a Wed game with people having to work the next day. It was just great seeing my ex teammates, organization, you, the fans and simply everybody', stated Englewood native Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall). Theodore and good friend and ex teammate Quantez Robertson were having some friendly ribbing concerning their Uno games and the Skyliner was happy to see his ex teammate even if he took them to school. 'It was fun to play against Jordan. We had been talking about this game all season long. He had a very good game. He was able to get to the rim very much and got them going in the second half', added Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt's point guards Max Merz and Kwame Vaughn had their hands full with the ex Skyliner. 'It is always nice playing against an ex teammate. He played a good game. We did a better job on him in the first half. You can't ever totally stop a guy like him, but we should of still done a better job on him in the second half', added Fraport Skyliner Max Merz.
Turkish team Banvit didn't waste anytime getting going in the first quarter as they blew open the game quickly taking the quick 6-0 lead as their offense was flowing quickly inside and out as 199cm swingman form Lithuania Gediminas Orelik drilled home a trey and then it was dej vu for many Skyliner fans as it was that well know finger tip lay in from Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall) that got Frankfurt thinking more and more on the defensive end. Frankfurt then was benefited with some loose balls that went their way as rookie Shavon Shields connected on a floater and Florida native Mike Morrison made a tip to cut the Banvit lead to 6-4. The difference in the game at that points was that Banvit had a healthy offensive rhythm while Frankfurt didn't, but continued to get timely loose balls that led to easy buckets as Morrison got another dunk while Theodore again showed how automatic his drive is getting by Morrison. Even though Banvit had the better rhythm, Frankfurt hung in and stayed on the Turks heal as Mahir Agva gave his all battling against the big men and was successful making a turn around hook shot to cut the Banvit lead to 12-10. 'It was difficult playing against their bigs. I just tried my best to box out as best as I could and just learn as much as possible. I know that I still have to get bigger in hopes that one day I can move bodies out of the way as easily as they did', said Mahir Agva. After a Robertson coast to coast drive for two, it was Banvit again getting easy buckets as Polish national player Damian Kulig made a hook shot and Theodore beat Frankfurt again on a drive laying the ball extra high of the glass for the 16-10 Banvit lead. However Frankfurt stormed back closing out the first quarter on a 7-2 run to trail only 18-17. In the run, Frankfurt was fortified by their inside game and sparked by Robertson scoring on a lay in, Agva executed on a hook shot and new Skyliner Ekene Ibekwe made a lay in as Morison served up a sweet dime. Banvit had one play left and it was no surprise that Theodore got the call finishing high off the glass again as their continued to be no remedy on how to shut down his drive. 'The first quarter was a bit rough on both teams as it was back and forth. I liked the pace of Theodore and how he controlled the game. He had a great knack of getting his guys involved, but also getting to the rim', stressed Hebeisen White Wing guard Eugene Harris. Banvit was shooting 54% from the field and 20% from outside while Frankfurt was shooting 57% from the field and 0% form outside. Banvit had the 8-5 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.
In the second quarter, the game remained tight as no teams could clearly break away from the other. However the Fraport Skyliners did get off to the better start in the second quarter going on a strong 6-0 run to grab the lead back and lead 23-18. In the run, Frankfurt got offensive aid from Morrison who once again was the beneficiary of a loose ball that came his way getting an easy lay in, Agva scored inside as Ibekwe made the extra pass and then it was Robertson making the perfect alley-oop pass for the Morrison throw down. Banvit then took a time out and came back out upping their defensive intensity and going on an important 7-0 run to retake the lead at 25-23. In the run, Banvit halted five consecutive Frankfurt possessions and got a 20 footer from Kulig, and four points from 211cm Slovenian beast Gasper Vidmar who played at numerous European tournaments for his country and won two league titles with Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-TB). Now the game went back and forth until the break with four lead changes. Cincinnati natives Robertson and Chappell traded baskets and then it was Shields knotting the score at 28-28 with a runner. Vaughn gave Frankfurt the lead back with free throws, but Turkish national player and 2013 Eurochallenge finalist Can Mutaf drilled home a trey for the Banvut 33-30 advantage. But Frankfurt fought back and Shields after another lucky second chance nailed a three pointer to tie the game at 35-35 at the break. 'It was a game of runs. Frankfurt got off to the better start playing better defense, getting to the free throw line and getting a Morrison dunk. After a Banvit time out they came back better and defended better packing the paint and forcing Frankfurt to shoot more from outside', stressed Eugene Harris. Banvit was shooting 50% from the field and 33% from the three point line while Frankfurt was shooting 53% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Banvit had the 15-11 rebound edge, but six turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as Banvit went on to win the frame 27-8 and led 62-43 after 30 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners got an early trey from Robertson to take their last lead of the game at 38-37, but then it was all Banvit as they silenced the Fraport arena rapidly going on a brutal 15-1 run to lead 52-39. In the run, Banvit got vital support from Chappell who nailed two three pointers with the latter getting a beautiful no look kick pass from Theodore. Theodore also scored on his usual coast to coast lay in and the team also got buckets from 2011 Eurochallenege winner with Krka Novo Mesto Edo Muric who connected on a 20 footer and Orelik made a step back trey. The Banvit fine tuned machine continued to run smoothly as they closed out the third quarter on a 10-4 run. They got more heavy support from their two Americans as Chappell nailed a three and made a tip in while Theodore as always created havoc in the paint with a lay in. Frankfurt couldn't get anything really going on offense. They did do a good job drawing fouls, but Morrison had difficulty connecting at a consistent rate. 'Key in the third quarter was defense. We were able to put up consecutive stops and we moved the ball well and outscored Frankfurt by 19 points. We didn't give Frankfurt any more easy lay ups, because they like to drive so we let them shoot from farther away', stressed ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall). 'Banvit had more energy than we did. We had too many turnovers as well. Theodore took over the game. We got down so much that it was difficult coming back', stressed ex Ehingen forward Mahir Agva. 'We didn't rotate well and had little communication on defense. We need to have fun on the court and come together more. We are a great club, but it's still taking time', warned Kwame Vaughn. Banvit was shooting 56% from the field and 41% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 30% from the parking lot. Banvit had the 21-18 rebound edge and only seven turnovers while Frankfurt had 11 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners rushed back cutting the Banvit lead to 13, but Banvit quickly pounched back on Frankfurt going on a 12-4 run to extend their lead back to 79-58 which soon then gave starters like Theodore their end to another normal day at the office as they took a seat on the bench to watch the last few minutes. Frankfurt started off the fourth quarter scoring 11 points to cut the Banvit lead to 67-54. In the run, Frankfurt was led by Kwame Vaughn that got aggressive and got to the free throw line twice, a 20 footer by Shields, massive Morrison dunk and an Antonio Graves trey. Frankfurt was doing a great job playing inside out basketball while Banvit missed some easy shots. However then it was time for Banvit to step back on the gas pedal sparked by the instant Theodore offense as he broke the back of Frankfurt with a trey and lay in as he stole the ball form center court from Agva and went coast to coast and all of a sudden Banvit was up by 19 points again. 'I was talking trash with Tez and Morrison all week long and didn't really know what to expect. I knew I was the focal point in their defensive set up, but I just took what the defense gave me. I opened up the game in the third and fourth quarters and I hit shots better. It all seems automatic now. I am playing at a high level and I feel like no one can guard me. I know that my team relies much on me so I just try to bring my game each night', warned Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall). Jordan hit his last three pointer of the game giving Banvit the 84-62 advantage and then his night was over. 16 year old German wunderkind Isaac Bonga came in at the 3.33 minute and helped Frankfurt close out the game on a 8-2 run. Ibekwe got to the free throw line three times nailing all six shots and Bonga closed out the game with a beautiful athletic steal where his long arms were in full force as he went coast to coast for the easy lay up. If any Banvit players will remember who Bonga is in 5 years when he possibly is flying in the NBA is unknown, but there is time in the return game for them to make a note of the German. 'We always preach team basketball. We continued to move the ball well and hit shots', added Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall). 'We came back with that Graves three, but Banvit continued to get offensive rebounds and hit shots and had momentum back and it was hard coming back', stressed Mahir Agva. 'We didn't fight anymore. We need to learn to step on the gas', stressed Kwame Vaughn. Banvit was led by Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall) with 25 points and Gediminas Orelik added 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Kwame Vaughn, Mike Morrison and Ekene Ibekwe with 13 points a piece. Banvit shot 56% from the field and 41% from outside while Frankfurt shot 48% from the field and 36% from the three point line. Banvit won the rebounding duel 26-22 and had 12 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 13 times.
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