They Aren´t Saying It, But The EWE Baskets Oldenburg Have Title Aspirations Plastered In Their Minds

The last time the EWE Baskets Oldenburg sipped and enjoyed the taste of sweet champagne winning their first and only Beko BBl title, FC Bayern Munich hulk John Bryant was a house hold name at Santa Clara registering 18 and 14 stats in his senior year, ex Fraport Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon was active in his first tour of duty in the Beko BBL and it wasn´t always easy to see who could smile wider him or his cousin Jimmy Mckinney and Chris Fleming had just completed his rookie campaign in Bamberg with no titles and was at the start of building that four peat. Oldenburg did have some severe lady luck and basketball god looking over their shoulder beating the Telekom Baskets Bonn in a series that seemed almost lost in 2009. However basketball can be a weird sport at times and in the end all that matters is how the ball rolls. It took Predrag Krunic two years to build a champion after coming on board in 2007 for the departed Don Beck. In those two years, Krunic was able to bring continuity into the club rapidly by holding important players and practicing that great mix of  American and Baltic basketball. After the title followed three less than satisfactory seasons where Oldenburg got worse each season. They were the best team in the 2009-2010 season finishing the regular season in first place, but couldn´t achieve anything in the playoffs losing unexpectedly to the future new Oldenburg head coach Sebastian Machowski and the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. In 2010-2011, they finished in fifth place after the regular season, but lost early again in the playoffs and in 2012 didn´t even reach the playoffs. It seemed like the air in the Oldenburg balloon had left as quickly as do German national players under Joachim Low who don´t perform well and never return. It seemed like that last team under Krunic had been put together wrong, as team chemistry was never built and the fire in the thunderbird had been doused by a north sea rain fall that had fallen upon the city. After one season under Sebastian Machowski, it seems like Oldenburg CEO Herman Schuller has done everything correct. The success came a lot quicker than most might have thought as the team reached the Beko BBL final last season being swept by Bamberg, but in three hard fought games where a few possessions here and there could have given Oldenburg a win or two and then who knows what could of happened. One never wants to get too confident, but the team performance by Oldenburg last season was no fluke. The Beko BBL gets more competitive each season, but why can´t Oldenburg stop the four peat of Bamberg this season. It is the second season of Machowski and it was the second season where Krunic took Oldenburg to the winners circle. Machowski has done something that usually gives winning teams the edge in the playoffs by keeping most of its players and keeping the team chemistry intact. Bamberg has been doing it for years and the formula for titles keeps giving additional hardware for Chris Fleming. Oldenburg have the talent on paper, experience and  heart to win it all this season. There possibly are not two more experienced American Beko BBL players on the same team than Detroit native Ricky Paulding and Julius Jenkins. Paulding may have the biggest basketball heart in the league and Jenkins the work ethic that many players strive to have. It will be interesting to see how the season develops for the club as they will pull out some wins against Bamberg, Alba Berlin and FC Munich. If many things do come together and the club is still playing basketball in June then anything is possible and they could possibly be the first team ever to win titles in two different buildings standing side by side.

Last season the EWE Baskets Oldenburg finished in second place in the Beko BBL and in Eurochallenge played a great season sweeping their group 6-0 and then in the Top 16 having a record of 5-1. They were  a bit unlucky in the Top 4 losing to Karyisaka 66-62, but gaining third place with a 84-76 win against French team Gravelines. After being a bit inconsistent at the start of the season in Beko BBL play, Oldenburg got stronger in mid December posting a 11-3 record. Their biggest wins of the season were sweeping Alba Belrin, Artland Dragons and s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. They also beat FC Bayern Munich. They also have been very solid on the road having a 7-5 record which they carried into their game in Frankfurt in mid April. After such a successful season, why should the team make any big roster moves? The club held onto 10 players only getting Serb Nemanja Aleksandrov and the club also held onto its German youth players and continue their positive development and cooperation of their Pro B team. The biggest strength of the team is the team chemistry that the team has which will give them clear advantages right from the start and their experience. The team also is deep at each position which will help them during their international competition. It also will be important for success like they had last season that they continue to play defense. Playing aggressive defense and forcing turnovers will lead them to getting easy fast break points. Strong defense is usually what gets an offense going, but quite frankly Oldenburg will score many points this season and should be in the top 5 in team points. It will be interesting to see how well the team learned from their sweep against Bamberg where they lost only by a combined seven points. Winning close games and taking control in crunch time will be vital this season for getting 2-3 or three wins more, but another year of experience will make guys like Paulding and Jenkins even more valuable during these circumstances. There isn´t much that could beat this team except cockiness, but Paulding and Jenkins won´t let any unwanted mental interference arise in the heads of their teammates. This season won´t be as easy and unnoticed as last season as teams will be more aware of what they can be. Teams will be gunning to stop many guys especially the crunch time experience of Jenkins, but the key and x factor of the Oldenburg game will be Chris Kramer. Nobody does as much as he does on the court and Sebastian Machowski knows that and will use his secret weapon accordingly. Oldenburg will end the season in the top 5 teams and in the playoffs anything is possible.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were able to hold 10 players including captain Ricky Paulding. He is a 30 year old 196cm guard/forward that is playing his 7th season with Oldenburg and can be seen as Mr Oldenburg. If he doesn´t get his number retired when his career is over then something is wrong. He has played 302 in an Oldenburg uniform and really doesn´t have anything to prove anymore. With his age, with his biggest goal is winning titles and seeing how many more battles he can win against his good friend Jimmy Mckinney on the court. Last season he played  44 games: 12.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 42.5%, FT: 82.2%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 13.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 81.6%. The team also held crunch time scorer Julius Jenkins who is 32 and is playing his second season with Oldenburg. After leading the second Bundesliga in scoring with 27 points with Nurnberg in 2005, he then played ULEB cup with Bree and then played five seasons with Alba Berlin winning the league title in 2008 as MVP and cup in 2009 as MVP and won two titles with Bamberg in 2012. He may be 32 as like Paulding titles is what motivates him. Last season he played  45 games: 13.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 74.5%; EuroChallenge: 17 games: 13.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 72.5%. Lebron James friend 28 Dru Joyce is playing his sixth season in Germany and second with Oldenburg.  He proved last season that he could lead the club into the final with his playmaking skills. Last season he played 46 games: 8.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 69.1%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 7.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 52.6%, FT: 69.2%.

The club also kept their Mr everything Chris Kramer who is a 25 year old 188cm guard that is playing his third season in Germany and second with Oldenburg. Kramer who once scored a basket sitting down on the floor at Purdue could be the long lost brother of Wurzburg guard John Little, because he is a pest on the defensive end and just does everything to win. He could give Quantez Robertson a run for the money in a sprint coast to coast. Last season he played 37 games: 10.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.1apg, Steals-4(1.7spg), FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 22.6%, FT: 77.6%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 8.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 72.5%. The club also kept Dominik Bahiense De Mello who has slowly found a new home in Oldenburg. De Mello who is a 28 year old 193cm guard and played six seasons in Frankfurt is your classic role player from the bench that can hurt you with his three pointer. DE Mello has a lot to prove this season after getting many chances last season to play, but shot only 18,8% from the parking lot. Last season he played  46 games: 2.1ppg, 1.2rpg; EuroChallenge: 17 games: 3.5ppg, 1.7rpg. 31 year old 201cm forward Konrad Wysocki is back for a second season in Oldenburg. After playing at Princeton, he played for teams like Ulm and Frankfurt and played three seasons in Poland for PGE Turow Zgorzelec. For lesser teams, he would be a star, but with Oldenburg, he is on e of many and just fulfills his role as an energizer from the bench. He is the typ of player that will get that rebound from that 15 kilo stronger player. Last season he played 42 games: 5.8ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 78.5%; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 7.1ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 77.8%. Robin Smeulders is playing his fourth season with Oldenburg and made a big jump last season from the season before averaging 16 minutes per game. He was a big force in Eurochallenge play scoring in double figures seven times and in Beko BBL play 11 times with 21 points against Phoenix Hagen. He was clearly the most improved Oldenburg player and still has much potential to improve his inside out game. At the center position the club kept Adam Chubb and Jannik Freese. Germany is like a second home for 32 year old Chubb who has played in Giessen, Bremerhaven, Artland and Alba Berlin. He also has experience playing in the ACB. He belongs to the top centers in the league that nobody talks about. He has vastly improved his rebounding, has  a nice touch around the basket and is the chef of the defense. Last season he played  45 games: 10.8ppg, Reb-4(6.8rpg), 1.2apg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 74.8%; EuroChallenge: 17 games: 10.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 64.7%, FT: 81.4%. 27 year old 211 cm center Freese is playing his third season with Oldenburg. After never getting a chance with Braunschweig and Giessen, he now belongs to a top team. He may not gte much minutes, but is part of the rotation and will be that practice pest. He has played 23 Eurochallenge games the last two seasons and now can play Euroleague qualifying. He bangs inside and can run the fast break which isn’t typical for his size. The club added one player with Nemanja Aleksandrov who is a 26 year old 210cm forward that brings 230 pounds to the scale. Despite his body shape, he is a type of forward center that causes mismatches. Some injuries have slowed his career, but he still has potential to grow. He has experience having played in Slovenia and Italy and last season played for  VOO Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): 19 games: 16.7ppg, 5.9rpg, 2FGP: 51.6%, 3FGP: 37.5%, FT: 85.4%, in Mar.’13 moved to Assignia Manresa (Spain-Liga Endesa): 10 games: 9.4ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 75.0%.


Since the 2005-2006 season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a weak 7-11 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. Last season Oldenburg swept the  season series by a total of only 4 points  as Oldenburg won a nail bitter 63-61 in Frankfurt as Adam Chubb contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds and Zach Peacock had 17 points for the winners. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners played like a champion, but lost in crunch time again 75-63 as Ronnie Burrell found the hot hand with 20 points and Zach Peacock contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds

This will be an interesting game as the Fraport Skyliners come off a bitter loss in Bayreuth while Oldenburg start their Beko BBL season coming off two Euroleague qualifying games with a win against Pescaro and a loss against Rytas Vilnius missing to qualify for the Euroleague. Frankfurt will be motivated to win their first home game and want revenge after losing both games last season by two points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg will either enter the Fraport arena with clear minds or still have the Euroleague qualifying in their memories. “Oldenburg is a great team. Maybe they will still be thinking about the Euroleague games. We have to minimize our turnovers”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners know that effort, effort and effort will be key to success this season. “They have a deeper team so we will have to out hustle them. But we have showed last season that we can beat anyone”, warned Johannes Voigtmann. The Fraport Skyliners welcome the EWE Bbaskets Oldenburg on October sixth.

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