German 16-year-old talent Isaac Bonga drives to the basket in the pre-season for Fraport Skyliners. Photo: Fraport Skyliners

German 16-year-old talent Isaac Bonga drives to the basket in the pre-season for Fraport Skyliners. Photo: Fraport Skyliners

It was quite a 24 hours for Isaac Bonga as the 16-year-old star talent first made his easyCredit BBL debut for Fraport Skyliners and then guided the club’s second team to a victory in their ProB opener.

Bonga, who signed with Frankfurt this off-season on a four-year contract, entered Skyliners’ BBL season opener on September 23 with 28.8 seconds left for his professional debut. The 2.03m point guard did not register any stats but was still excited about playing in front of 6,850 fans at Freak City in Bamberg.

“It was a great feeling for my first BBL game. I was a little bit nervous but I tried to do my best,” Bonga told heinnews after the 84-55 defeat.

“Just coming in the game was the biggest memory. It was a special feeling just because of the crowd. And I hope it will happen again.”

Even though Bonga won’t turn 17 years old until November 8, it seems all but a certainty that he will get in more action this season. When asked about playing time for Bonga, Skyliners GM Gunnar Wöbke said a week earlier: “It’s up to him. If he earns the playing time, he will play.”

Skyliners also have a long tradition of giving their youngsters plenty of chances to earn their stripes in the BBL. This season Bonga is due to practice with the professional team and mainly play for Frankfurt’s ProB team Fraport Skyliners Juniors as well as the team’s U19 NBBL team.

“I am just showing what I can do at practice. I may be a little young but it doesn’t matter in the end, and I hope I can play some games,” Bonga said.

When asked what he was going to be working on in the ProB, the young talent added: “I’m working on my body to be stronger to be better on my defense – on close outs, for example. I think that’s my strongest weakness. I think when my body is there, I’ll be ready to play.”

Bonga will predominantly play point guard along with some time at off guard. And he expects to be a leader for the third division team.

“They told me I would be kind of a leader in ProB. I think I’ll play 25-35 minutes, more than BBL. I have to do my stuff,” he said. “I’m gonna watch my turnovers to keep them down. Also my assists and rebounds. That’s one of my biggest strengths. My slashing game and kicking out so I can create for others. I’m looking for assists.”

A day after the BBL game in Bamberg, Bonga started the team’s ProB game at PS Karlsruhe Lions – along with 20-year-old Mahir Agva, 19-year-old Niklas Kiel, 21-year-old Stefan Ilzhöfer and 22-year-old Max Merz. That quintet all earned playing time for Skyliners against Bamberg.

Against Karlsruhe, Bonga played 32:56 minutes and scored six points, missing all four of his three-pointers while shooting 2-of-8 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Bonga also picked up three rebounds, one assist, one block and four turnovers.

Bonga played a big role in the victory as he scored to make it 58-53 with 1:24 minutes left in the game. The team never played a single pre-season game with the line-up, so it’s fair to expect Bonga to perform increasingly better the rest of the season.



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