Life can always have unexpected turns like winning that so much desired lottery, getting that pay raise despite less than adequate work effort or for example being able to get along with the father in law as Ben Stiller does in the Fockers after many years, but in the basketball world unforeseen events also occur at any moment like a Ron Artest changing his name to World Peace, a Kobe Bryant actually getting benched or how brilliantly Beko BBL team ratiopharm Ulm has mastered the season after Mike Taylor with a rapid resurgence and having such a sweet Cinderella season with midnight about as far away as Paris Hilton is from ever taking a ride in a taxi. One could also say that the unpredictable has happened in Oldenburg this season where a potential top 3 team before the season has fallen to position 9 with the opportunity of the playoffs slowly eroding in the spring moonlight. The club felt a change was needed so successful pooh bah Predrag Krunich had to pack his bags, but even since this event, the team only has a 1-3 record and continuing questions linger about what is wrong with this 2009 beko BBL champion. The current season despite ex NBA player Bobby Brown who doesn´t listen to “Don´t be cruel” shouts or a stellar supporting cast has been as surprising with their record much as the many top seed upsets at the 2012 NCAA tournament or “The Artist” winning at the 2012 Academy awards as a black and white film in an era where high tech and 3D production rule as much Lionel Messi currently does on the soccer pitch. “It has been a very disappointing season for Oldenburg which is probably one of the reasons why Predrag Krunich had to go. On Easter Sunday, kids can be trading easter eggs, but Skyliner forward Jacob Burtschi who does the dirty work on the court is a guy that wont ge lost among the trading easter eggs on Sunday, because he will only wear the Frankfurt blue and white “It is never good to get 5 star type players. You also need guys who will do the dirty work which they don´t have at the moment. It could be very tight for them reaching the playoffs. It depends how the other opponents due in the playoff race”, commented Lti Giessen 46er Achmadschah Zazai.
Since their amazing 2009 Beko BBL title where they beat Bonn in a nail biting 5th game 71-70, the team has reached the playoffs the last two years, but for fans and critics have stayed behind their expectations losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs each time. Last season, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg finished the season in sixth place with a record of 20-14. The teams biggest wins last season were sweeping the Artland Dragons and wins against Frankfurt, Bremerhaven and Goettingen, but were swept by Bamberg and Alba Berlin. Oldenburg had done a good job again with getting strong individual players, but had no real knowledge of team basketball. In the Beko BBL playoffs, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg showed a spirited fight against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin coming back after being in the hole 0-2, they won the next two games including an exciting 80-79, win in game 4, but then had no power left in their thunderbird wings as they were destroyed 99-68 in the 0-2 arena.
After a serious house cleaning last year, they have felt content to do it again this season as 10 players left. The first order of business was keeping 29 year old Rickey Paulding(12.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 79.5%)who will be playing his 5th season in Oldenburg, brought back 28 year old 207cm Serb Miljan Mastorovic who played in the ACB last season for Assignia Manresa playing 33 games: 6.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 64.9% who was the three point killer who was instrumental in the 2009 championship for Oldenburg and 24 year old 208cm German /Dutch Robin Schmeulders(: EuroCup: 6 games: 5.3ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 55.0%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 17 games: 2.6ppg, 1.6rpg). “Just looking at their roster, you know that they will be at the top. They will belong to the top”, warned Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak. This season, they have brought in strong players again led by Bobby Brown who brings 108 NBA games experience. The club hopes some of his albatross magic from the 2008 Beko BBL title will still be with him and rub off on the Thunderbirds team. One never knows exactly what Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin is thinking, but his eye brows rose after describing the unending capabilities of Oldenburg. “Oldenburg have improved their inside game. Oldenburg is aiming high and are a top 4 team for me. They are simply impressive on paper”, warned Muli Katzurin. “Oldenburg will be very solid this season. The addition of Brown gives them a steady scoring pg, and Chubb brings a low post pressence and a very good leader on and off the court. They will have a lot of success”, warned John Bynum.
With so much hype before the season, the EWE Baskets simply haven´t been a consistent force in the Beko BBL this season. After starting off the season with a two game winning streak, they then lost three games in a row. They have had two three games winning streaks, but simply too little to be able to compete with the Bambergs, Berlins or Ulms this season. Since the new year, the team has a weak 5-9 record. One of their biggest problems has been their lack of being able to beat any top playoff teams. They lost the season series to the Artland Dragons where David Holston was able to lead his team clearly over ex NBA player Bobby Brown a shis team. The club was unable to beat Bamberg or Alba Berlin or ratiopharm Ulm. Their biggest wins were against FC Bayern Munich and Bremerhaven. The team continues to be an enigma. Losing in Wurzburg can always happen, but only scoring 42 points when it avergaes 80 points a game just forces the basketball follower to say “WOW”. In the next game, they score 89 points against one of the top defensive teams in the league with the Brose Baskets Bamberg. They have a pretty easy schedule left in the last five games with only two playoff teams, but then again the inconsistency of this team will most likely bring hardship then the desired wonder.
One of the biggest signings this summer in the Beko BBL was Bobby Brown. Brown is a 28 year old 188cm guard from Los Angeles that is a very athletic combo guard with great scoring and leaping ability. He brings 108 NBA games experience having played for the Kings, Timberwolves, Hornets and Clippers. Last season, he played for Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-PLK): 4 games: 23.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.3apg, 1.8spg; Polish League: Euroleague: 6 games: 10.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 87.5%; Polish League: VTB League: 5 games: 12.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 38.5%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 56.3%; left in Dec.’10, same month moved to Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1, starting five): Greek League: 29 games: 11.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 67.9%; EuroCup: 9 games: 14.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 75.0% . The club hopes some of his Albatross magic from the 2008 Beko BBL title will still be with him and rub off on the Thunderbirds team. “Brown has a nice resume. He won his only time in Germany with Alba Berlin and he will want it again with Oldenburg. He is a top level player with NBA experience. He is tough to guard and with all the players around him like Paulding makes it all the more difficult”, stressed Muli Katzurin. When Skyliner captain Marius Nolte hears the name Bobby Brown only the basketball player comes to mind. “Brown is an excellent player and his name stands for success. We will see how well he can lead Oldenburg. When I hear his name I don’t think about the singer Bobby Brown. That is not my kind of music”, joked Marius Nolte. “Bobby Brown the singer comes to mind for sure, but when you step on the court all the thoughts about the singer go to rest because his game does the talking. As far as the song goes I would say my prerogative cause at times it seems that he does what he wants to do”, joked John Bynum.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg added a lot of substance this summer getting some ex Beko BBL players with Adam Chubb and Ronald Burrell. Chubb is a 30 year old 208cm power forward/center from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that is a Very athletic big man, runs the floor extremely well. Sound fundamental player who has good hands, fine low-post presence and is a good passer to players who are open or cutting to the basket. Can defend a center in the low-post as well as a power forward perimeter player. He will be starting his 8th professional season and 6th in Germany.After starting his professional basketball career in Korea in 2004, he then played in Germany for Giessen, Bremerhaven, Artland and Alba Berlin before getting some valuable experience last season for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB): 34 games: 7.4ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 52.0%, FT: 69.4%. He won a Beko BBL cup for Artland and Alba Berlin. Ronald Burrell is a 28 year old 204cm power forward from Montclair, New Jersey. After an NCAA career at North Carolina-Greensboro, he came to Europe in 2005 to France to play for Levallois SCB. He then came to Germany and played for Rhein Energy Cologne and the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He then played for Polish Euroleague team Asseco Prokom Gdynia winning 3 Polish titles and amassing 45 Euroleague games. Last season, he played Euroleague: 9 games: 3.7ppg, 3.4rpg; Polish League: 34 games: 5.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 73.8%. The team also got talented Kenny Hasbrouck who is a 25 year old 191 cm guard from Capital heights, Maryland who is a smooth, mature, creative off guard, plays game with great confidence, composure and pace, tremendous all-around talent with great leadership qualities and is a big game player. The American played at Siena and will be playing his third professional season after playing in the D-league and last season playing for the Miami heat in preseason before playing for Meridiano Alicante in the ACB playing 20 games: 10.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 74.3%.
Predrag Krunic mostly has had the right feel for getting the right players from the east block and might have found another player with Sead Sehovic who is a 22 year old 199cm forward that is most likely the most talented young player in Montenegro for his At 201cm he plays equally well at PG, SG, and SF. Can dunk the basketball almost from the free throw line at age of 17. Has great handles for his size and can score from anywhere on the court. Can shoot in transition, off the dribble, and off the catch. He played for top Montenegro team BC Buducnost Podgorica since 2007 and last season played Adriatic League: 26 games: 5.9ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 77.6%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 8.5ppg, 1.5rpg. The club also hauled in Germans Jannik Fresse and Christopher Razis. Freese who is 211cm is a Beko BBL veteran at the age of 25.He played many years in Braunschweig, but never getting a real chance to showcase his talent until he got to Giessen in 2008. In the last 3 years, he played 76 beko BBL games and last season averaged 4,1ppg and 2,7rpg. The team also brought in Razis who is a 22 year old 193cm guard that was born in Switzerland, but also has the Cyprus citizenship. He is a point guard who can play at the off guard as well. Nice ball handler with good Point guard abilities. He has very high level Basketball IQ, he can always find the open man in offence. He can hit the 3-pointer as well as the two pointer from any given spot in the court. Christopher has excellent attitude on and off the floor. He is very coach able and basketball lover he can work out many hours per day as he really targets the sport and he sees him self seriously into the court, in the short term future. He is persistence and always optimist in and out of the court. He is perfectionist and tries always to get the maximum out of his ability. He needs to improve his defense, especially on the man-to-man. Last season, he played for Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-Division A): Cyprus League: 2 games: 0pts, 1.5rpg; : EuroChallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 0pts, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg, in Nov.’10 moved to Ydra Asfalistiki ENAD Agios Dometios (Cyprus-Division A): 10 games: 3.8ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0spg.
The team recently signed Jay-R Strowbridge who is a 24year old guard from Ardmore, Alabama. He played NCAA ball at Nebraska, Jacksonville State and Oregon playing a total of 102 NCAA games. He started this season as a rookie in the D-League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers averaging 8,8ppg, 2,0apg and 3,5rpg.
Since the 2005-2006 season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a weak 6-8 record against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg. In the 2005-2006 season, even five years later stick in the minds of many as in the 98-75 loss in Oldenburg saw Malick Badiane get ejected after kicking a chair and in the last game of the season, Frankfurt had to win to stay in the league and did 70-58 thanks to 22 points from American Kavossy Franklin. In the 2006-2007 season, won the season series with a 80-70 win in Oldenburg and a 76-70 win at home despite 30 points from Ricky Paulding.In the 2007-2008 season, the teams split the season series as Derrick Allen combined for 48 points in the two games. In the 2008-2009 season, the teams split the season series as Frankfurt totally crushed Oldenburg 84-53 at home, but lost 66-58 on the road. Oldenburg got the last laugh in the quarterfinals of the playoffs winning the series 3-1. In 2009-2010, Frankfurt lost a nail bitter in Oldenburg 63-61 and 75-69 at home despite 26 points from Derrick Allen.Last season, The two teams split the season series with Frankfurt losing abitter 70-67 game which they led for most of the game, but let it slip away at the end while they won at home 76-71 fueled by 24 points by Dashaun wood. This season, the two teams met in the first game of the season as Oldenburg jumped all over Frankfurt 72-53 as Frankfurt had a horrible shooting day as Oldenburg was led by 17 points by Ronald Burrell.
This will be a very intense battle as both teams are fighting for the playoff places. The Fraport Skyliners finally want to win again as they have lost the last 6 games in Oldenburg dating back to the fall of 2006 where they won for the last time. The Fraport Skyliners will be looking for their third win in a row while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg are looking for their second win in a row“ Frankfurt is unbelievably deep and solid at each position and if they can get their ball movement going at any time, then they will put many points on the board. Key to winning the game will be keeping Bobby Brown in check and controlling the rebounds which should be a strength with so many bigs”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “This will be a big game with two teams fighting for the playoffs. This is a must win situation as both teams will give their all. We have to continue to defend well and keep an eye out for Bobby Brown and Adam Chubb”, stressed Skyliner forward Jacob Burtschi. “If Frankfurt can continue to play physical and defend well then they will have good chances to win. It will be a tough game and Frankfurt will have to out play them”, added ratiopharm Ulm forward Dane Watts. “Oldenburg has the talent of a final 4 team with good quality players. We will need to stop Bobby Brown. It is never easy to play there, but it will be a tough game, but we will give our best”. Stated Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg host the Fraport Skyliners on April 7th.