Johannes Voigtmann has flashed his overall game for Fraport Skyliners all season.

Johannes Voigtmann has flashed his overall game for Fraport Skyliners all season.

Sure the NBA is the main goal for any high level basketball player. But Johannes Voigtmann admits he’d be happy to become a Euroleague player.

“It’s the goal … but I don’t have to go to the NBA,” Voigtmann said on the Taking The Charge podast.

For those wondering, that strange sound coming from the Frankfurt region of Germany recently was a collective sigh of relief from Fraport Skyliners fans after their talented big man Voigtmann gave that answer.

“I have said it a lot of times, if (the NBA) comes to me and asked me if I want to play there I would say yes. Everybody wants to play in the NBA. It’s the best league. But I think my game fits pretty good to the Euroleague.”

He continued: “I’ve seen the Euroleague game on Friday (Brose Baskets Bamberg win versus Zalgiris Kaunas). It was impressive how Bamberg passes the ball. I love that kind of style. That’s what makes the Euroleague. You have super skilled players. You have smart players. I think that’s what I want to be.”

Many observers watching the German Beko BBL will call the 23-year-old Voigtmann the best center in the league – not the best German big man but the best center in the BBL.

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Voigtmann is currently averaging 13.7 points on 59 percent shooting from the field including 44 percent from three-point range (11-of-25). He is averaging 7.3 rebounds a game while also dishing out 2.9 assists – to 2.2 turnovers a contest – and blocking 0.6 shots a game in the Beko BBL, where Skyliners are 4th with a 13-5 record.
Frankfurt are undefeated in 10 games in the FIBA Europe Cup where JoVo is averaging 13.2 points (57%FG/9%3ptFG), 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 0.6 blocks.
Sure, Voigtmann can hit the three-pointer and has a very consistent mid-range jumper. He also can drive past his defenders if they come away from the basket to guard him. And he also is a good rim protector on defense.
But one of the joys of watching Skyliners games is the creativity JoVo possesses in the passing game.
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“Johannes is in my opinion the best passing center in the league and plays super intelligently,” Igor Perovic, who was the Walter Tigers Tübingen coach this season before stepping down, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

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When asked about his game and what he likes doing, JoVo said: “If you mean the 4 (power forward) or 5 (center), I can’t really answer that. I like the outside game a lot. But I know I have to get a decent inside game. I have to work on that.”

“I want to be tough to stop. I want to be a problem for the defense. For that it’s good if you have different options to go from high post and pass. Then you’re tough to guard and I want to develop that. I think I’m on a good way.”

Voigtmann said another focus of his work is his body.

“The biggest thing I need is a stronger body, and that’s what I’m working on. I started last year losing a big amount of weight. And next summer I want to put some more muscle on. We’ll see how it works, but I don’t want to get too bulky. I want to keep my flexibility to play from the outside too.”

Voigtmann is an integral part of Frankfurt’s long-term planning. The Eisenach native, who came to Skyliners from ProA club Science City Jena in 2012, is in the final year of a two-year contract extension he signed in May 2014 though there is an option for next season.

Voigtmann, whose 21-year-old brother Georg still plays for Science City Jena, is one of the main German pillars in a club that has consequently stayed its course of commitment to German players. The 24-year-old power forward Danilo Barthel and 24-year-old point guard Konsti Klein have played major roles in Skyliners’ success this and last season. And the next group of young Germans is slowly working its way into the team.

The 22-year-old power forward Johannes Richter has helped out the team in great ways over the past two seasons, especially when Frankfurt went through injuries. The 21-year-old Stefan Ilzhöfer has played 21 BBL games with his first game coming during the 2012-13 season. And 21-year-old Max Merz has 46 appearances, also making his debut in 2012-13. The 23-year-old Tim Oldenburg’s first of 8 BBL games came in the same season. The highly regarded 1997-born talents Niklas Kiel and Garai Zeeb both made their BBL debuts last season and the 19-year-old Jamin Knothe played his first BBL game this season.

Voigtmann said the club’s commitment to give young players a reward for hard work is an important factor in its ability to attract young talent. And the Skyliners coaching staff led by Gordie Herbert is willing to give young players responsibility.

“It’s awesome. We get so much responsibility. We get so many chances to play. We’re on the court when it’s game time. That’s what steps your game up,” he said.

“You need to be there when it’s tough. We get so many chances with Frankfurt. I would give any young player the advice to come to Frankfurt. Gordie is a great coach and he wants to make players better.”
Voigtmann is evidence of that.



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