Can Dru Joyce (EWE Baskets Oldenburg) Help Forget Bobby Don´t Be Cruel Brown This Season?

After reaching the Beko BBL playoffs year after year, it can quickly become a matter of course for a renowned organization like the EWE Baskets Oldenburg continuing to reach the post season each season as its is for NBA superstar Rajon Rondo to make at least one spectacular eyebrow raising pass each game. After four consecutive playoff appearances and winning the 2009 Beko BBL championship, the club missed the Beko BBL playoffs last season finishing in 10th place despite a very competitive roster. With the arrival of ex NBA player Bobby Brown last season, it seemed like a given that the team would not only reach the playoffs, but possibly reach the final, but the California native was unable to lead the club into the promised land in May. At the times the ex Sacramento King seemed more obsessed with his own scoring average than doing what was best for the team. His lethal scoring at times was so destructive it seemed that the best for the opponent could have been to blare out the famous Bobby Brown hit “Don´t be cruel” in hopes that he might stop, but in the end his scoring wasn´t even consistent enough to get the extra needed victories. Despite leading the Beko BBL in scoring last season and being in fifth place for best assist average, there were numerous games where his one on one play and ego got in the way in crunch time and he could have been wearing a Amare Stoudemire mask and no one would of noticed. This season new Oldenburg  head coach Sebastian Machowski hauled in Lebron James friend Dru Joyce who is as much of a classical point guard as NBA legend John Stockton was back in the day. The Ohio native can score if needed, but in his four seasons in the Beko BBL with Ulm and Trier he has been second in assists twice and third once and would most likely choose the pass over a lay up on a 2-0. Oldenburg hopes that his non ego playmaking skills will lead the team back into the Beko BBL playoffs. Joyce knows what he can do and has the needed self confidence to be successful as a professional basketball player. “I go out and try to be a good leader. I know that I am a pretty good playmaker that also likes to create and finish. Key for me also is to play good defense”, warned Dru Joyce. One of the better and more underrated defenders in the Beko BBL is TBB Trier forward Nate Linhart who remembers Joyce well from Akron where they were teammates and from Trier. “Dru has continued to develop his penetration and point guard skills the last years. He is a lot more physical and sees the court better. He has improved his pick and role play the most”, stressed Nate Linhart. If the EWE Baskets Oldenburg reach the Beko BBL playoffs this season, then fans won´t remember how cruel the offseason and long summer was.

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  two following years, but missed them last year and for fans and critics have stayed behind their expectations losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs each time. In 2010-2011, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg finished the season in sixth place with a record of 20-14. The teams biggest wins  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 in 2010-2011, they were content to do it again last 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  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. They have brought in strong players again led by Bobby Brown who brought 108 NBA games experience. The club hoped some of his albatross magic from the 2008 Beko BBL title would still be with him and rub off on the Thunderbirds team. But no such luck rubbed off on Oldenburg.

With so much hype before the season, the EWE Baskets simply weren´t a consistent force in the Beko BBL last season. After starting off the season with a two game winning streak, they then lost three games in a row. They  had two three games winning streaks, but simply too little to be able to compete with the Bambergs, Berlins or Ulms this season One of their biggest problems was 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. 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 continued to be an enigma. Losing in Wurzburg can always happen, but only scoring 42 points when it was averaging 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 finished the season with a 3-4 record and missed the playoffs finishing in tenth place with a record of 16-18. Long time head coach Predrag Krunich was let go near the end of the season as he was unable to reach his players anymore.

The goal of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg this season is reach the Beko BBL playoffs and will need to help support the new 6000 seat arena which will be ready for use in the Spring of 2013. The first order of business was getting a strong coach and that was done with ex German national player  Sebastian Machowski. Machowski has had a very consistent and strong short coaching career winning a cup in his second season in 2009 with  SKK Kotwica Kolobrzeg. He then moved to the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig taking their program to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. With Braunschweig he also understood how to find the right mix of players to have success. With Oldenburg, he has made the next step going to a potential playoff team that has a higher budget than the Phantoms. Machowski is different to Krunich in that he seeks more communication with his players and doesn´t rely on a standard system, but allows his players more freedom  and that each player always has many options to be able to make their own decisions. Machowski did  a good job keeping possibly more players than one might have expected with seven and getting four new components for the building of the winning team. Only one player is left from the 2009 title win and that is American Rickey Paulding who is starting his sixth season for the team and is the heart and soul of the team and can still hurt you with his offense. Adam Chubb remains who has become more of a beast under the boards this season simply because he needs to do more there. Power Forward Ronald Burrell returns who can still battle with the best of them and can be a deadly player that can make the extra pass. Ex Skyliner Dominic Bahiense De Mello returns for a second season and is looking for more minutes. The team also Jannik Freese who is an animal in practice, but is still searching for his Beko BBL breakthrough. The team also returns Robin Smeulders who is a solid role player from the bench and German Kevin Schmit. The team signed  experienced American Julius Jenkins who has the most hardware on the team and gives that deadly scoring touch. The team brought in classic point guard Dru Joyce who is still developing as a player. Konrad Wysocki also returns back to the Beko BBL after three seasons in Poland. Wysocki can play the three four position and will give the team energy on both ends of the court. American Chris Kramer was also added wo is a work horse on offense and defense and sometimes one may think he likes defense more than offense. He led Wurzburg in scoring and can penetrate with the best of them. The biggest strength of the team is their experience and guys that have won titles. The team also is very athletic and will defend better than last season due to guys like Kramer and Wysocki arriving. With more freedom on offense, the team should have more joy for creativity in the offense. The team is very talented and can really only defeat themselves and not think too much about having to get back to the Beko BBL playoffs. With Chubb, the team only has one strong dominant center, so team rebounding will have to be on the agenda during every game.

Since the 2005-2006 season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a weak 7-9 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. In 2010-2011, The two teams split the season series with Frankfurt losing  a bitter 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. Last  season, the two also split the season series and both 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. In the return game in Oldenburg, the Fraport Skyliners were going through their euphoric second half of the season and rode into Oldenburg with a lot of confidence winning  75-67 as the team held on to win a nail bitter. Despite 22 points from Bobby Brown, Skyliner Jermario Davidson out did him scoring 25 points, getting seven rebounds and making two blocks while Jimmy Mckinney contributed 16 points. On Saturday The sixth in the standings with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg meet 14th placed Fraport Skyliners. The EWE Baskets started the season hot winning four of their first five games winning in Munich and in Wurzburg two very difficult places to win at, but since then have a 3-4 record seeming to be in a early season funk. There only big highlight this season so far has been their immaculate unbeaten record in Eurochallenge play. This will be another tough game for the Fraport Skyliners as every game is a game seven for them this season as they might be short handed again and Oldenburg is a stronger team than Wurzburg and rebound very well. “Oldenburg is one of the quality teams in the league and made big changes from last season. They have  a good roster with good inside out play. Oldenburg is more talented than Wurzburg and we will have to work hard. We have to dictate the game with our defense and not let them run and make easy points”, stressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin. “We have to come out aggressive on defense and execute on offense”, added Quantez Robertson.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg are led by Adam Chubb who is a 31 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 is playing his ninth professional season and seventh 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 in 2010-2011 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. Last season for Oldenburg he played EuroChallenge: 12 games: 11.7ppg, 6.3rpg, FGP: 61.5%, FT: 73.7%; German League: 34 games: 12.4ppg, Reb-2(8.5rpg), 1.7apg, FGP: 64.1%, FT: 77.2%. 31 year old 187 cm guard American Julius Jenkins is playing his first season in Oldenburg and has developed into one of the top players in the BBL after first being recognized in the 2004-2005 season as he averaged 27,1ppg in the second Bundesliga for Nurnberg. He played a season in Bree, Belgium getting ULEB Cup experience before coming to Berlin in 2006 where he since has become a household name. His best scoring season was 2007-2008 where he played 45 games: Score-3(18.2ppg), 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 57.8%, 3FGP: 42.0%, FT: 81.4%. In 2009-2010, he played EuroCup: 14 games: 14.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 74.3%; German League: 35 games: Score-5(14.8ppg), 1.7rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 44.3%, FT: 80.2%. “He is an explosive scorer from the point guard or the shooting guard position; possesses the ability to score and create his own shot at anytime; Has very long arms and great leaping ability; unlimited range on the jump shot, which allows him to stretch the defense. “You have to pray that he misses. You have to be physical with him and make sure the bigs hedge hard on ball screens”, warned Omari Westley. With Berlin, Jenkins has won a number of awards such as Bundesliga All-Star Game -08 (MVP), Bundesliga Champion -08 (Finals MVP), Eurocup finalist 2010 and German Bundesliga Cup Winner -09 (FinalFour MVP). Last season in Bamberg he played Euroleague: 10 games: 10.4ppg, 1.4apg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 95.0%; German League: 37 games: 9.7ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 63.9%.

Ronald Burrell is a 29 year old 204cm power forward from Montclair, New Jersey playing hiss econd season for Oldenburg. 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. In 2010-2011 in Poland, 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%. Last season for Oldenburg, he played EuroChallenge: 11 games: 12.5ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 84.2%; German League: 29 games: 12.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 80.5%. Chris Kramer is a 23 year old 191cm from Huntington, Indiana that is playing his first season for Oldenburg. Kramer had a solid career at Purdue and in his senior year played 35 games: 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 74.7%. At Purdue, he won the Big ten tournament in 2009 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010. He also was the All-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.In 2010-2011 as a professional rookie, he played for Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League, starting five): 41 games: 13.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.8apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 81.9%. In June 2011, he signed at Mets de Guaynabo (Puerto Rico-BSN, starting five): 12 games: 8.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 69.8%. Last season for the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg he played 41 games: 11.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.0apg, Steals-2(1.5spg), FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 73.9%. This past summer he played at the  AirTran Orlando Summer League (Indiana Pacers): 3 games: 4.7ppg, 1.3rpg. Dru Joyce  is a 27 year old 183cm point guard. He is the typical floor general who supplies leadership, court vision and points when needed. He returned back to the BEKO BBL last season to Trier after playing for Ratiopharm Ulm from 2007-2009. Each season, he was the second best assist man in the BEKO BBL. His best season in Ulm was 2008-2009 as he led the club into the playoffs playing 34 games averaging 10.1ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-2(4.5apg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 73.0%. He is best known for playing along side NBA superstar Lebron James at St Marys and winning three high school titles. He played at Akron from 2003-2007 as in his senior year, he played 33 games averaging 10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3Pts: 39.6%, FT: 65.6%. In 2009-2010, he played in Poland forEnerga Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five), Polish League: 6 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.0apg; in Nov.’09 moved to Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK): 27 games: 7.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 75.9%. “I played for two very good coaches. One was from Latvia and the other was from Belarus. It was a new situation for me since I had always played for American coaches. They both had different styles. I had some ups and downs in Poland, but I learned to always keep fighting when I was going through a rough time. You always have to be ready when called upon”, stressed Dru Joyce. Last season for TBB Trier, he played : 34 games: 11.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 69.2%.

Konrad Wysocki is a 30 year old 201cm forward that returns back to the Beko BBL after three seasons in Poland. He started his basketball career in 2000 for Ivy league school Princeton where he played until 2004. He then turned professional playing for BG Goettingen and Erdgas Ehingen for moving to ratiopharm Ulm in January 2006 where he played until 2008. He helped Mike Taylor and ratiopharm Ulm reach the Beko BBL in 2006. In 2008-2009 he played for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners. Last season for PGE Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-PLK) he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 14pts, 6reb, 1ast, 1steal; EuroCup: 6 games: 9.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 64.3%; Polish League: 43 games: 9.0ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 60.7%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 74.3%. Rickey Paulding returns for a sixth season to Oldenburg. Paulding is a 30 year old 196cm guard/forward from Detroit, Michigan that is a exciting wing player. Natural position is small forward. Can play the 2 spot. Excels in the transition game, and is arguably one of the nation’s most explosive leapers who can finish a play with highlight-reel ability. He played at Missouri from 2000-2004 with good friend Jimmy Mckinney. He reached the NCAA Final 8 in 2002. He was drafted by the by Detroit Pistons (NBA,2rd(54) in 2004. As a rookie, he played for Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel-Premier L.): ULEB Cup: 10 games: 9,2ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.6spg, FGP: 64.7%, 3Pts: 25.0%; Israeli Premier League: 22 games: 12.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 58.5%, 3FGP: 51.9%. In 2005-2006, he played for Adecco ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France-ProA): ULEB Cup: 12 games: 10.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 58.5%, 3FGP: 32.7%, FT: 70.4%; French League: 24 games: 9.7ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 69.8%. In 2006-2007, he played for  BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA): FIBA EuroCup: 6 games: 16.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 65.8%, 3FGP: 37.5%, FT: 53.8%; French League: 33 games: 13.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 69.7%. Last season for Oldenburg, he palyed EuroChallenge: 12 games: 10.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 78.3%; German League: 34 games: 12.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 83.6%. He is a four time Beko BBL Allstar. 25 year old 207cm forward/center Robin Smeulders who has the Dutch/German citizenship is playing his third season in Oldenburg. He started his basketball career in 2004 for SG FT/MTV Braunschweig (Germany-2.Bundesliga) where he played until 2006. He then played four seasons at Portland(NCAA) where he played a total of 95 NCAA games. Last season for Oldenburg, he played EuroChallenge: 7 games: 4.3ppg, 4.3rpg; German League: 25 games: 4.5ppg, 3.9rpg. He has been with the Dutch national team since 2010 and last summer played Qualifications to European Championships 2013 -12: 8 games: 14.3ppg, 8.3rpg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.7%. Dominic Bahiense De Mello is a 27 year old 190cm guard that is playing his  second season for Oldenburg. He started his career in 1999 for the Telekom Bonn Cadet Team. He then played for Rhondorf from 2001-2005. He then played for the Frankfurt Skyliners from 2005-2011 playing a total of 188 Beko BBL games and 214 total games. Last season for Oldenburg he played  EuroChallenge: 12 games: 7.3ppg, 1.0rpg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 34 games: 4.2ppg, 1.5rpg. . Freese is a 26 year old  211cm center. .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 three years in Giessen, he played 76 beko BBL games. Last season for Oldenburg he played  EuroChallenge: 6 games: 2.2ppg, 2.2rpg; German League: 17 games: 1.6ppg, 1.2rpg.







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