Reggie Lynch(EWE Baskets Oldenburg) Remembers The First Encounter With Rickey Paulding Feeling Like A Reporter Talking To A Legend

Reggie Lynch is a 27 year old 207cm center from Edina, Minnesota playing his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. This season has been a whirlwind as he has seen many countries and teams with GS Iraklis Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) and  Gevi Napoli Basket (Italy-Serie A) before coming to Oldenburg. He began his professional career in 2018 with BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Estonia-Alexela KML) playing 29 VTB United League games averaging 7.0ppg, 4.0rpg, Blocks-1(1.9bpg), FGP: 45.7%, FT: 68.8%. In 2019-2020 he played with Urania Basket Milano (Italy-Serie A2) playing 26 games averaging 11.3ppg, 6.5rpg, Blocks-1(2.6bpg), FGP: 54.2%, FT: 59.1%. Last season he balled with Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia-VTB) averaging 7.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0apg, Blocks-1(1.9bpg), FGP: 61.1%, FT: 72.5%; and averaged  5.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 58.8%, FT: 72.2% in the Eurocup. He began his career at Edina high school and then played a total of 114 NCAA games with Illinois State and the University of Minnesota. He spoke to after the 88-69 loss against the Fraport Skyliners.

Thanks Reggie for talking to What was it like seeing the last head to head battle of two legends Paulding and Robertson. For a guy who has only been in Germany a few weeks, could you feel a special aura on the court with them?

It felt like two legends going at each other. I remember when I came to Oldenburg that there had been a lot of talk about Rickey. It really is amazing how long he has played for one organization. It was really nice being a part of this today.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg suffered a tough 88-69 loss. It was a game that had no meaning for either team. Oldenburg was saved and Frankfurt most likely will move down. Frankfurt had lost so much in the last months. Did you sense like they really wanted it today?

I always try to avoid feeling for a team like Frankfurt that is at the bottom of the standings. You always take a breath and don´t think that a team like that can play well. You have to put those kind of feelings out of your mind. They can always come out with that dog mentality. We didn´t underestimate them. We just weren´t able to match their intensity. We played their game when we should of played our game.

Do you take some blame that Frankfurt really were in control in the paint area as the Frankfurt bigs really produced?

I wish I could of got them more out of rebound position. They got too many rebounds. I made up with shot blocking, but you can´t block everything. We were unable to bring that extra level of speed.

Your in only your fourth professional season, but already playing in your fifth country overseas. Do you sometimes feel like a basketball globetrotter?

I feel like a globetrotter but not in a bad way. There are many NBA players that will never play overseas and experience cultures. They miss out on many countries. I want to see as many cultures as possible. I wouldn´t mind coming back to Oldenburg. I really like it here.

You came very late to Oldenburg on March 30th after playing in Greece and Italy. What was your biggest motivation to finish the season in Germany. With COVID and the war in the Ukraine you could of easily packed up and gone home to spend extra time with family.

I was in Russia last season. This season I wanted to experience other places and went to Greece and Italy that were warmer. There I ran into issues with management and not getting sufficient playing time. It tuned into a hectic season. I always stayed positive and didn´t take any days off. I was always ready. I remembered Will Cummings telling me about Oldenburg and how much he loved it. That was the reason I came.

There are only a few games left. You haven´t seen many minutes. What is your personal goal of how you want to finish the season?

I want to win games and make an impact on the court. I want to protect the paint, block shots and be an offensive presence and be a threat.

What has it been like being teammates with Rickey Paulding. Have you been able to have a real meaningful conversation with him yet?

The first time I met him was when I arrived in Oldenburg. Right away I felt like a reporter talking to a legend. I had so many questions to ask him. I had to ask him why he had played so long there. He just said that the fans and city totally embraced him. He loves Germany. His kids were born here. It all makes sense for him to stay so long there.

You’re a 207cm center. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

I have shades of Serge Ibaka and Hassan Whiteside. You know guys that play the pick and roll, have a good mid range shot and have a good touch around the rim. But most importantly the number one thing is shot blocking.

You can score and rebound and are an incredible shot blocker. Whatever strengths does your game possess?

My athleticism plays an important role. I can drive, have spin moves, use the hook shot and have the mid range shot.

You averaged more than 3 blocks in the NCAA. What kind of shot blocker are you now and what kind do you want to become?

I feel like I´m the exact same shot blocker that I was in college. The difference is that I´m more skilled now. In college there were many guys that would drive to the basket for the lay up and didn´t care that I was there to block it. Now it is harder to get blocks because the players are smarter. I want to be able to block dunks, three´s and step backs. I just hope that I can keep my athleticism for second jumps for a long time.

After playing your first three seasons with one team per season, your playing with three teams this season. What did you learn from your experiences in Greece and Italy this season?

In Greece I learned a lot about how management works, the physicality, smartness and the players. In Italy the players are smarter and in Greece more physical. Germany is a mix of both. Alba Berlin is a very smart team and Frankfurt also play smart, but are also physical. It was a great opportunity for me to gain so much experience in three countries this season. I gained a lot in knowledge and became a smarter player.

In Greece you played very well against Euroleague team Olympiakos with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. What do you feel is still missing from your game to be able to make it to that level?

I have to become a little more aggressive on offense. Sometimes I rush to much. I need to slow down  a bit and take my time. I also need to cut down on offensive fouls. If I do that then I can expand my offensive game. Defensively I´m already a very good shot blocker. I can become a better rebounder. I have to learn when to go for blocks and when not to. Sometimes I will miss offensive rebounds when I try for a block.

You averaged 5 blocks in your last three games in Greek first division. Do you ever dream about a triple double with points, rebounds and blocks?

I was close to a triple double in college a few times against St Johns and Niagara. It is hard to do at the pro level. It is the easiest to get blocks near the end of games when were up 10 points and guys are just driving to the basket for quick baskets.

Last season you had a solid season with Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia-VTB) in the VTB and Eurocup. How do you feel did you develop further as a player playing in two top leagues in Europe?

I played very well against Kuban in my rookie year in the VTB: I think they liked my play and that is the reason they took me. I played with many very good players like Drew Gordon and Will Cummings. I set screens better, improved my mid range and stayed with 2-3 fouls per game. I also feel like I became better at getting assists.

In 2019-2020 you played with Urania Basket Milano (Italy-Serie A2) averaging 11.3ppg, 6.5rpg, Blocks-1(2.6bpg), FGP: 54.2%, FT: 59.1%. What kind of an experience was it playing for Milan´s second team? Were you able to watch some Euroleague games of Milan and get a better taste of that organization?

We played Armani Milan in an exhibition game and got beat badly. It was a great experience to see how they played. I played a lot of minutes in the second division Italy which was very good for me. Plus living in Milan one of the best cities in the world was amazing.

As a rookie you played with BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Estonia-Alexela KML) averaging 7.0ppg, 4.0rpg, Blocks-1(1.9bpg), FGP: 45.7%, FT: 68.8% in the VTB League, 10.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.5apg, 2.5bpg, FGP: 53.6%, FT: 66.7% in the Estonian League and 13.4ppg, 5.8rpg, Blocks-1(2.2bpg), FGP: 59.1%, FT: 79.3% in the LatEstBL league. What was your wake up call where you knew that you were very far away from home?

My wake up call was getting to Estonia. Before that I had been only in the United States for 22 years. Then all of a sudden I was in Estonia. I had never heard of it. It was hard to realize that I was in a new land. I was overwhelmed the first few months. I realized years later how amazing Tallin had been. I didn´t appreciate my time enough there. If I ever get a good situation to return back to Tallin, I won´t hesitate. I really enjoyed my time there. It was nice to start my career there and play in a high league like the VTB. I got a different feel of the competitive levels as I also played in the lower league in Estonia where we would beat teams by 30 points.

How important was it having American Landon Lucas as a teammate your rookie season? Was he like a mentor in the early going?

I wouldn´t say that he was a mentor, but I got valuable perspective from him and he helped me understand what it took to become a professional player. It was good to be there with a guy like him who had already had one pro season under his belt.

In your third VTB League game you had 11/5/3 stats against Euroleague powerhouse CSKA Moscow losing by 27 points. What memories do you have of facing against the greatest American Euroleague player Kyle Hines? Do you remember any battles against him inside?

Everybody talked about him leading up to the game. I anticipated him to be a Lebron James. I didn´t think that he was that great. In hind sight I know why. They were playing against an Estonian team, so they probably weren´t trying so hard. We still lost by 27 points. They were on another level. I don´t remember him scoring against me. He didn´t have to do much.

You played two solid seasons at Illinois State(NCAA). What memories do you have and do you ever wonder how your career may have gone had you remained there?

Yes I have wondered what could have been, but no matter what, I had no regrets going to Minnesota. I wanted to be closer to home and play in front of family. I played with great players at both schools. Guys that have continued to play professionally overseas and in the NBA.

What memories do you have of your NCAA run as a sophomore? Was the win against Green Bay one of your most memorable there and will you ever forget the 50-49 loss to ODU?

That wasn´t my most memorable game. At that point in my NCAA career, I really had no idea where I was in my career yet. I didn´t understand yet what type of player I was. I was still dreaming and didn´t know I would be a pro one day. I was living in the moment and trying to play each game as best as I could. Every game was very exciting for me. The loss to ODU stung, but we didn´t feel like we missed out on winning the championship. You can´t dwell on loses to much. You have to get ready for the next one.

You then played at Minnesota from 2016-2018.What memories do you have of the 81-71 victory over Penn State where you had 11 blocks? Were you in the defensive zone that day?

This was one of those games where Penn State felt the need to take desperate shots coming into the paint and attempting lay ups. Every time a guy came down and I was getting ready for the block, I was thinking why are you doing this? One after the other were coming at me and I was making blocks. I was in the zone. But I also had a lot of support from my teammates. They were screaming more than I did. Richard Pitino loved my blocks.

How tough was your senior season that ended half way through with injury? What positives could you take from the season?

Before the season started we were nationally ranked for the first time in a long time. We had huge expectations. But we suffered many injuries. Amir Coffey, Nate Maso, I and other guys got injuries. It got out of hand and we weren´t able to live up to expectations. The great thing is that we are all still playing professionally today.

How did head coach Richard Pitino groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Richard Pitino is my favorite coach of all-time. But I have to say that if I had the chance to play longer for Ingo Freyer then he could become my favorite. I really like his attitude. He doesn´t yell to much or is too quiet. He is very visible. He has done a good job helping me become more of a versatile player. Richard Pitino was very down to earth. He understood that we had lives. He made sure we had fun, but when it was time to work, everything off the court remained there. He gave me the freedom to block shots, dunk and just make plays. It was also cool when his dad Rick Pitino spoke to us.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Bakary Konate?

For sure me. But there were days when he had just come from the weight room, it was tough to play against him. But I could block him and use my athleticism for the dunks.

Who is the toughest guy that you faced in the NCAA at your position that reached the NBA?

Fred Van Vleet was definitely the toughest.

Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Nate Mason, Paris Lee, Drew Gordon, Will Cummings, Chavaughn Lewis

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

Kobe, Jordan, Lebron, Steph Curry

There are so many great centers that have played the game like Russell, Chamberlain, Duncan, Kareem

 or Shaq. Who is the greatest for you?


Did you see the sequel to the classic movie Coming To America? Shouldn´t they have left it alone?

I didn´t see it. From what I heard, they should of left it alone.

Thanks Reggie for the chat.

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