The Rickey Paulding Appreciation Week With Maik Habelt: No Matter Where You Hear Basketball And Oldenburg You Immediately Think Of Rickey Paulding

Maik Habelt has been connected to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg for 20 years. He has worked as a scouter for the easyCredit BBL team and also for their Pro B farm team. He has seen so many EWE Baskets games in his life and observed Rickey Paulding (196-SF-1982, college: Missouri) every weekend for the last 15 years. He shared his memories about Rickey Paulding

Thanks Maik for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

I’m currently enjoying the summer break and following the BBL Playoffs . After my break, I want to go back to basketball, which is why I’m very happy to be working as a scouter again.

Talk a little about your history with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. When did you start to follow the team and you also worked for the farm team

My first contact was in 2002 when I went to a home game and since then I have fallen in love with the sport and this club. 2 years later there was the opportunity to start there as a scouter and to help out with the farm team. There, Thomas Glasauer and later Mladen Drijenic brought me closer to the team. I accompanied the team at away games and took on more and more responsibility at home games. It was an incredible time with many great stories. I’ve had the privilege of meeting great people on and off the court. I was allowed to celebrate the climb to the Pro B and two championships. And I also got the chance to be part of the German national A2 team and the U18s and U16s.

As a fan who has worked with the EWE Baskets Organization, how tough was this season? How grateful are the fans for all the hard work and effort with Ingo Freyer?

It wasn’t an easy season. Especially considering it was Rickey Paulding‘s final season. Why now, why in Rickey’s last year. Mladen tried a lot but couldn’t bring success anymore. Ingo tried to make things very easy and got the players on his side. I think with a bit of luck he would have gotten us into the playoffs as well.

5 months ago basketball life in Oldenburg looked very sad. Now you have super head coach Pedro Calles. How positive does the future of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg look now?

Pedro is rightly one of the best coaches in the BBL. I got to know him in Vechta and he has very clear ideas about basketball. Right now, in year one after Paulding, he can usher in a new era.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Rickey Paulding?

His smile and coolness. He is always super friendly and polite when you meet him.

What was your first impression when you saw him on the court?

The boy can jump.

How important has Rickey Paulding been for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg? Where would they be without him?

That’s a very difficult question. All I know is that Rickey has played a big part in Oldenburg developing into a top 5 location over the past 20 years. He was important for the bond between fans and club. He showed some players that you can build something long-term in Oldenburg. No matter where you hear basketball and Oldenburg, you immediately think of Rickey Paulding.

The guy made so many incredible buzzer beaters especially against ratiopharm Ulm. What is your fondest moment with him on the court?

Final 2009 in game 4 against Bonn. He made this game. Brought the series back to Oldenburg and with it the chance for the championship.

Talk a little about his connection to the fans. I’m sure that you have a special story with him?

He was the fan favorite in Oldenburg, although that always made him uncomfortable. But at his last home game against Wuerzburg, he took his time and fulfilled every fan’s autograph request. He wanted to give something back to the fans and found it a great honor.

What kind of legacy do you believe will he leave in the EasyCredit BBL? Do feel that there will ever be another American that will be able to reach his longevity in that league?

He showed that something like this is possible. Rickey shaped the league in his own way. He was one of the most popular players in the league. He didn’t want to be a big star, he just wanted to play basketball and do his best.

Closing words for Rickey.

For me it was the greatest honor to meet Rickey. He was a role model for all of us. He made Baskets Oldenburg what it is today. No matter where you met him, whether in the EWE Arena or at his son’s games in the Haarenuferhalle, he was always polite and always smiling. Thanks Rickey

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