Will Will Cummings Be Able to Do More Than Just Upkeep The EWE Baskets Oldenburg Long Tradition Of Good Point Guards?

Since arriving in the BBL in 2001 the EWE Baskets Oldenburg have stood for excellence as they have only missed the playoffs three times and in the last 16 years only once in 2012 where they most likely had the most talented point guard in their history with Bobby Brown, but even with all that ability, it doesn´t always translate into the positive leadership that will bring the club success. Over the years the team has had many good point guards like Doron Perkins, Jason Gardner, Bobby Brown, Julius Jenkins, Dru Joyce, Chris Kramer, Caspar Ware, Chris Kramer and Mickey Mcconnell. The club has won two titles in their 18 years with the 2009 BBL title where ex Arizona(NCAA) standout Jason Gardner had the reigns and the 2015 BBL cup title where Chris Kramer was calling the shots from the back court. Of course in the last 11 years one of the big reasons why the EWE Baskets have been so competitive and successful has been because of the presence and leader ship of EWE Baskets lifer and Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding who has been with the club since 2007 and helped keep the club on the map since then. With Mcconnell having departed, the club had to keep up the good point guard tradition and made a real coup with American Will Cummings. One has to give EWE Baskets manager Herman Schuller a lot of credit for being ab le to convince the American to come to Oldenburg to a team that wasn´t going to play in a serious international cup. In a way going to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg was a step backwards for Cummings because two seasons ago he played Basketball Champions League and last season won the Euro Cup with Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). It would only have been logical to play for a top Euro Cup team or even better make the next step to the Euroleague. After being ousted early in cup action, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg only have one more chance to win a title wiht the BBL league and with top teams Munich and Berlin battling for the glory, it will be very tough for them again this season to win a title even with a Will Cummings. But then again the American is hungry to do more than just upkeep the EWE Baskets Oldenburg long tradition of good point guards.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Aris guard Will Cummings after the 81-74 loss in Frankfurt in 2016 In BCL play

Will Cummings is a 26 year old 188cm guard  from Jacksonville Florida that is playing in his fifth professional season and first in Germany with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. After learning his early basketball steps at the Providence Christian School, the American headed north to Philadelphia and played at Temple(NCAA). As a freshman he averaged only 6,3 minutes per game averaging 1,4ppg per game and had top guards Khalif Wyatt and Ramone Moore in front of him. In his sophomore season he started 32 games and played 34 games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 68.5%. He scored in double figures six times including a 15 point effort against Rhode Island. His career really took off as a junior as he played 28 games averaging 16.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 77.8%. He was a Second Team Philadelphia Big 5 selection and exploded against UCF for 31 points. He saved his best for last as in his senior season he helped the team reach the NIT Final 4 playing 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 80.8%. He finished his career scoring in double figures in 28 of 36 games and had amazing streak in his last 19 games doing it 18 times. His best scoring game was 30 in a 73-67 win against Bucknell. He also scored 23 and 21 points back to back in victories against Uconn and Memphis. He more than held his own against future NBA player Ryan Boatright and Rodney Purvis. “Those back to back wins get thought about a lot. They are high on my list because I thought those two wins secured us into the NCAA tournament but we were robbed. Also, beating UCONN was on senior night. Having my whole family there was memorable”, stressed Will Cummings. As a result of his strong senior season he was selected to the AAC All-Tournament Team. A guy who was always there for him on and off the court was Temple(NCAA) head coach Fran Dunphy. “Fran Dunphy was the best thing that happened to my basketball career. He groomed me into a man and the tough player that I am today. I thank him for that”, stressed Will Cummings.

Before turning professional in 2015 he played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) playing 3 games averaging  6.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 4.3apg, 2.3spg and then in July played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas  with the Houston Rockets playing 4 games averaging 10.0ppg, 1.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.8spg. After his promising showing at the NBA Summer League he was signed by the Houston Rockets only to be waived shortly before the start of the season after appearing in 6 pre-season games. “NBA training camp was definitely and eye opener and showed me this basketball is business so it made me a lot stronger and mentally tougher to deal with my new lifestyle”, added Will Cummings. He joined the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%. He quickly showed that he had the ability to not only shine in the G-League, but to show his talent in the NBA, but never got the opportunity. “I definitely believe I deserved an NBA call up”, warned Will Cummings. With Rio Grande he scored in double figures in all 52 games showing an amazing consistency. He scored 20 points or more 31 times including a 32 point explosion against Austin, a 29 point explosion against Bakersfield and 28 points apiece against Los Angeles and Reno. After that first season in the G-league, he got his first taste of Europe playing briefly with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A) playing 4 games averaging  9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. He was swept in the playoffs by top team Milan scoring 13, 6 and 7 points and remembers this experience as one that gave him his introduction to European basketball. “My wake up call was playing against Milan in the first round of the Italian playoffs. Jumping right into an important and high level situation for your first experience forces you to learn quickly”, stressed Will Cummings.

He came to Europe in the late summer of 2016, but before he did that he wanted another go at the NBA dream and played NBA Pro Summer League in Utah with the San Antonio Spurs playing 3 games averaging 6.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg and NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas with the San Antonio Spurs playing 4 games averaging  4.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.3spg. After giving the NBA clubs another dose of his talent, he decided to further his career with top Greek team  Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) where he played 31 games leading the Greek league in scoring with 14.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 77.6%, and he also played very well in the BCL playing 18 games averaging 15.2ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 77.5%. One had to wonder how the American came to terms with the tough Greek names at the start, but he quickly came up with a way to communicate with ease. “The names weren´t that difficult to pronounce but I developed nicknames for all of them to eliminate me having to pronounce them”, added Will Cummings. He needed no adjustment period to the tough Greek league learning the european style rapidly. “As a point guard I believe the biggest adjustment is learning the defenses that are being played in Europe. I played in the D league for a full season so you get accustomed to the amount of space on the court. In Europe everything is more compact so you have to find ways to still be affective with less space”, commented Will Cummings. His secret to playing so smoothly and consistently in his first full year in Europe had to do with his mentality. “ I just try to be affective and make plays in each game to help my team win”, warned Will Cummings. He scored in double figures in 26 of 31 Greek league games including a 27 point game against Koroivos and 25 points against Lavrio. He played five times against top Euroleague team Olympiakos and got swept in the playoffs, but held his own in each game giving his valuable two cents scoring in double figures in each game. Ex BBL player and European vet Michael Jenkins who was close to making the NBA a few years ago took Cummings under his wing helping him with the adjustment time. “Mike helped me a lot getting adjusted to life in Europe. Showing me the in and outs of just living on your own for a long period of time out of America”, added Will Cummings. In the BCL he scored in double figures in 17 of 18 games including 21 point games against Strassburg, Asvel and Nymburk.

Last season the American who lists Allen Iverson and Chris Paul as his biggest role models growing up and has mixes of both player´s games in his, but stresses he has his own identity made the next jump in his career to Eurocup team Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) playing 30 BSL games averaging 8.7ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 39.1%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 75.3%, and played 22 Eurocup games averaging 9.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 17.8%, FT: 83.7%. He credits ex Greek national team teammate Vasilis Xanthopoulos for helping him making the next step to Turkey. “Going against Xanthopolous in practice helped me because he has such a great feel for the game. He makes you figure out ways to try and out smart him”, warned Will Cummings. Last season wasn´t an easy one as he had dominant scorer ex Florida(NCAA) stand out Scottie Wilbekin parked in front of him as his minutes were shaved down drastically from the season before. In Greece he averaged 25 minutes in the Greek League and 26 minutes in the BCL while in the Turkish BSL and Eurocup it was only 17 minutes. But despite having less minutes, the season brought him the second biggest international title in Europe with the Eurocup. He saved his best for last scoring 19 and 10 points in the final against Lokomotiv Kuban. Eurocup MVP Scottie Wilbekin remembers his time with Cummings last season fondly. “In practice we have made each other better. I already knew Will when he came. We had been teammates back when we were kids in AAU. It was fun to be able to play with him again”, added Scottie Wilbekin.

This season Cummings has that more main role again that he had two seasons ago in Greece with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Even though he is on a team that is filled with scoring power with the likes of Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding, Austrian national player Rasid Mahalbasic, Franz Massennat and Nathan Boothe, the American has set himself a part from them and been that scoring leader averaging 23,5ppg. This season the club opted not to play in a lower international cup competition with the Fiba Europe Cup and so he has at most one game per week and can focus extra well on his game and on his team. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg had an amazing playoff run two seasons ago beating Bayreuth and upsetting ratiopharm Ulm before succumbing to the last Bamberg title in the Trinchieri era. So why couldn´t another run happen this season with legend Paulding not getting any younger?  The American is still young at age 26 and still not in his prime and one can be sure that he will not only focus extra hard this season to help lead his team to wins as he showed  in the first two games with the blow out against Braunschweig and then the slugfest against ratiopharm Ulm, but also be very concerned about continuing to develop his game for another chance over the pond. “I don’t believe anything is really missing from my game to be in the NBA. I would like to be a more consistent pull up shooter but opportunity just has to be given”, warned Will Cummings. The EWE Baskets fans will have a lot of joy with the American as he will belong to the top five point guards this season in the BBL and be looking to hook on to his offensive consistency of two years ago in Greece along with upholding that fine EWE Baskets point guard tradition with success. Jacksonville Florida where he comes from has bred mostly NFL talent, but the 880,000 city did bred some NBA legends like Otis Smith and Dee Brown and when asked what he would like to know from Brown if he had dinner, the American knew exactly what he would ask him. “I would want to know most about his workout habits and what he did to take himself to another level”, added Will Cummings. He may not find any NBA players in Oldenburg, but with easyCredit BBL identity figure Rickey Paulding he could have the perfect dinner partner this season. After a dinner or two with Paulding and soaking up extra knowledge about basketball and life, he may not even have to go home to Jacksonville and need the Brown advice anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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