If there are two things that Beko BBL fans and opponents can remember most about Florida native Julius Jenkins who is starting his eighth season in the Beko BBL and second with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg is his explosiveness and unlimited range of shooting which has dominated the league since years and can be compared to the shooting of Kyle Korver in the last years in the NBA. The other is his extremely noticeable rasta braids which was like an institution since he entered the league with Alba Berlin in 2006. The only thing missing at times on the court after hitting a three to win a game was that slick Milli Vanilli dance which would have fit perfectly to his extra ordinary appearance on the court. For some it may have been a shock this preseason when the EWE Baskets Oldenburg released first photos of Julius Jenkins with shaven hair where one could actually notice his ears which really stood out. Some may have wondered if Oldenburg had picked up a new player. Jenkins now was making competition with Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding who has been sporting that type of look for years after having more hair at the start of his Oldenburg tenure. After winning titles in Berlin and Bamberg and getting so close with Oldenburg last season reaching the final, the 2008 finals MVP might have wanted to make a change as some kind of good luck charm. It definitely took some getting used to watching Jenkins run up and down the court with less hair, but he was still his old self dropping shots as if there was no tomorrow. His teammate Ricky Paulding stole him the limelight with his crazy shooting clinic in the first half helping 2009 Beko BBl champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg to the comfortable 72-63 win against the Fraport Skyliners. Jenkins might not have had a 20 point game, but came from the bench with five points support and help under the boards with five rebounds and two assists. His new look is something to still get used to even if he is still the same player on the court. “He had told me last summer that he would cut his hair. I didn´t believe it until he sent me a picture. It was weird at first with his new look and change, but no matter what he looks like, you know what you get from him. When he gets hot, he is hard to stop”, commented Ex Purdue guard Chris Kramer. His teammate Italian Andrea Crosariol saw fotos of him before and had the perfect comparisons For Jenkins. “He looked like Bob Marley before, but now looks like the brother of Paulding”, smiled Crosariol. “We are used to his look now. He is always Julius. We are used to it”, stated 2004 Detroit Pistons draft pick. One guy who can always tell it like it is Fraport Skyliner Jacob Burtschi who sees advantages to the new Jenkins. “He looks younger and more clean cut. He is just a stud”,a dded Jacob Burtschi.
The Fraport Skyliner were reeling off a bitter loss in Bayreuth where they never really found a rhythm shooting bricks in the first half, and coming together in the fourth quarter, but running out of time. They wanted to return home and start of the home opener with a bang against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. They played a solid first quarter, let up in the second and third quarters and made a late run in the fourth quarter, but just ran out of time. “We had a very bad start in the third quarter and seemed to give up a bit. We made a comeback in the fourth quarter and I think that if we would have had a bit more time, that we could of made the game closer and even beat them”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg came into Frankfurt making their debut in the new season after having played in Euroleague qualifying in Vilnius beating Pescaro, but losing to Rytas Vilnius. The team might have been tired and not awake, but instead they came out played a pretty solid game that was led by a strong third quarter that built the foundation for the win. “This was a real battle this game. We knew that Frankfurt would play tough after their first loss and playing their first game at home. Frankfurt played very well in the first quarter, but we picked up our defense in the second and third quarter. They made a run in the fourth quarter and we didn´t want to finish the game the way we wanted too, but we are just happy and lucky that we came out of here with a win”, added ex Wurzburg guard Chris Kramer.
Italian Andrea Crosariol who is a 28 year old 211cm center that played at Fairleigh Dickinson (NCAA) before returning home to Italy. He played for top teams like Benetton Treviso winning a title with ex Skyliner Travon Bryant and played three seasons for Acea Virtus Roma (SerieA). He played in Italy from 2006-2013 and made his Beko BBL debut in Frankfurt subbing for the injured Adam Chubb. Crosariol is definitely earning his money for his one month contract playing 17 minutes and scoring seven points hauling down seven rebounds and blocking three shots. In the third quarter where Oldenburg was on that massive run, he was in the defensive zone swatting away three balls and looked like a typical defensive stopper something he prides his game for. “I just try to help my team in any way. On defense I knew that all were behind me. I had only two fouls so I knew that I could try for more blocks. I blocked inside tonight, but I can also come out to contest shooters”, stressed Andrea Corsariol. EWE Baskets Oldenburg CEO Herman Schuller was pleased with the experienced Italian who played at the 2007 European championships with Italy in Spain. “He is a very good substitute for Adam Chubb. We were missing Chubb on the rebounds tonight, but Andrea really helped us tonight”, added Herman Schuller. Crosariol also showed on offense his versatility and ability to score in traffic and also contributed to the sweet Oldenburg extra pass fest which was seen in many moments of the game. It will be interesting to see if the stay of Crosariol will be extended, because it isn´t known yet if Chubb will return in a few weeks.
4,510 fans wanted to see the first home game of the Fraport Skyliners as the 2004 Beko BBL champion started with Dawan Robinson, Andy Rautins, Quantez Robertson, Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg started with Dru Joyce, Ricky Paulding, Cris Kramer, Nemanja Aleksandrov and Andrea Crosariol. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg didn´t waste any time storming out of the start gate going on a quick 9-3 lead. Lebron James friend Dru Joyce used his experience waiting for right moment and found a cutting Crosariol to the hoop for an easy layup. Paulding then started his shooting clinic nailing a threepointer in Andi Rautins face, while Danilo Barthel connected on a three pointer and Aleksandrov also dropped a three pointer. The Fraport Skyliners stayed on the heels of Oldenburg with Barthel and Dawan Robinson baskets to cut the Oldenburg lead to 9-8. Frankfurt couldn´t match the Oldenburg talent, but were staying in the game through hustle and effort. However sharp shooter Paulding continued to be a thorn in the Skyliners back as he hit two three pointers in a row for the 15-11 lead. EWE Baskets Oldenburg CEO Herman Schuller knows the worth of his player Mr Oldenburg is. “I know how important Ricky is for the team. We have missed him three times in big games with the final game loss to Bamberg, Eurochallenge final loss and loss in Vilnius. He didn´t practice before this game and I am happy that he found his rhythm early”, added Herman Schuller. Paulding was his typical self after a win and big performance showing that special humbleness. “I felt good and was just taking my opportunities. Once you make a few, you get a good feeling”, said Ricky Paulding. Aleksandrov then hit a mid distance jumper as Frankfurt trailed 17-11. Robertson then looked for contact inside and scored on the penetration as Frankfurt trailed 17-14. Dru Joyce then blew by Konstantin Klein for an easy layup showing that he could of ran track at St Marys back in the day. Ex NBA player Rautins then showed his smooth stroke putting an outside shot through the net as Frankfurt trailed 19-17. New Skyliner Aziz N’Diaye then came into the game hitting his first field goal on a second chance attempt knotting the game at 19-19. Ex Skyliner Konrad Wysocki and Andy Rautins then traded baskets as the first quarter ended with the game tied at 21-21. “I wasn´t surprised with so much scoring in the first quarter. It was our first game and their first home game and all were ready to play. Their quick bigs were playing well and Rautins and Barthel hit shots. It just took us a while to get our defense going”, stressed Chris Kramer.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg started off the second quarter with a mini 5-0 run where 2009 Beko BBl cup winner Julius Jenkins was involved in both scores. Jenkins started the run with a big three pointer and then fed Konrad Wysocki for an easy layup. Oldenburg continued to have an offensive flow and continued their run by extending it to a 9-3 run to lead 35-26. After Rautins hit an off balance jumper to cut the Oldenburg lead to 26-23, Oldenburg got a three pointer from Joyce, mid distance jumper from Wysocki, Crosariol scored inside in traffic and Chris Kramer made a big play at center court stealing the ball from Rautin´s hand stumbling a bit on his break away run giving the defender the time to come back, but the Oldenburg guard went one on one and scored over the ex New York Knick showing an incredible dose of self confidence attempting to go for the score despite having a body in his face. The Fraport Skyliners were trailing 35-24 and Oldenburg was displaying an offensive rhythm something Frankfurt would have liked to have had, but instead were being forced to take tough shots. However the Fraport Skyliners took a chapter out of the Oldenburg run book going on a big 8-2 run to cut the Oldenburg lead to 37-32 and were back in the game. Frankfurt was exploiting the Oldenburg inside defensive passiveness by scoring inside twice with Rautins and Robertson while Barthel and Robinson made free throws. Oldenburg got some more points in the last minute from Robin Smeulders with a runner off the pick and role with Jenkins and Aleksandrov hit another open three pointer. Andy Rautins sent both teams into half time with a buzzer beater jumper as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg led 43-36. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 55% from the field and 47% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 30% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 17-16 rebound edge and both teams had eight turnovers a piece.
The third quarter continues to be the Achilles heel of the Fraport Skyliners as for some reason they come out flat while the opponent can extend their lead. The EWE Baskets went on a 14-2 run to lead 57-38 as Frankfurt was only able to muster two points in eight minutes of play. Chris Kramer started off the run with two consecutive buckets scoring first inside over Bathel like a center and then scoring on a give and go with Aleksandrov. Robinson then scored on a runner, but Oldenburg countered with Smeulders free throws and another bucket from Kramer as Oldenburg led 57-38. In this span, Oldenburg put up a wall in front of the zone in that despite big plays and three blocks by Crosariol, Frankfurt continued to gamble inside with penetration, but got denied. Nothing was clicking with Frankfurt and one can´t deny the size of the heart of Dawan Robinson, but despite taking over responsibility, he was trying to do too much, but no one was supporting him either in this sequence. Jenkins nailed a mid distance jumper then came two monster blocks from Crosariol on Tez and then Kramer on N’Diaye. Crosariol then made a tip in on a second own effort an dthen delivered a beautiful back door pass to ex Skyliner Dominik Bahiense De Mello. The Fraport Skyliners finally got a little role on offense closing out the third quarter with a 5-1 run as Konstantin Klein made a lay in and Jacob Burtschi dropped a three pointer. At the end of the third quarter the EWE Baskets Oldenburg led 59-43. “We had a huge third quarter which got us the win. We played great defense, got rebounds which led to easy baskets. Everyone was helping on defense and when we pressure the ball, we know that we have a big man to protect us”, stated Chris Kramer.
The shining moment of new Fraport Skyliner Aziz N#Diaye occurred in the first minute of the fourth quarter as he powered the Fraport Skyliners on a 4-0 run with two consecutive scores. He started with a hook shot over Crosariol and then did a monster block on Wysocki which started a fast break where he was at the receiving end with a vicious dunk over Crosariol as Frankfurt trailed 58-47. However just when one thought that Frankfurt would get back into the game, they allowed Oldenburg to gallop out on a 8-0 run to extend their lead once again to 66-47. In this run, it was Paulding again that boosted his scoring account with a three pointer over Rautins and a jumper coming off a screen. Joyce also contributed to the run with a jumper. Frankfurt however had some gas left in their tank going on a 9-0 run to cut the Oldenburg lead to 66-56. Barthel stroked home an open three pointer while Rautins and Robertson found space inside for simple buckets. Robertson nailed a three pointer and Klein made free throws as Frankfurt trailed 70-61. Frankfurt had a few more chances to make amends for Oldenburg misses, but Rautins and Robertson couldn´t connect on jumpers sealing the win for the 2013 Beko BBL finalist. “We let up a bit in the fourth quarter. We have to learn to close out games better”, added Ricky Paulding. “We had a run at the end, but it was too little too late”, stressed Jacob Burtschi.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Rickey Paulding with 18 points and Nemanja Aleksandrov added 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 14 points. Andy Rautins and Danilo Bathel steered 13 points a piece in the loss. The shooting of Oldenburg weakened in the second quarter as they finished with 45% from the field and 36% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners are still searching for consistency with their shooting as they shot35% from the field and 33% from outside. One can laud the defense, because allowing a team like Oldenburg only 72 points is a solid performance. Despite being 0-2 and Oldenburg looking a lot better in many facets of the game, the Fraport Skyliners were in this game and it is scary to think what this team will be able to do when they are 100% on. “We only played at about 70% of what we are capable of showing the last two games. We never give up. I think that as soon as we find a groove, we will be good and be a tough team to play against. We have to continue to limit our turnovers, talk more on defense and be more physical. We aren´t bad, but just still need to pick up many things in our game”, stressed Jacob Burtschi.