EWE Baskets Oldenburg

Fraport Skyliner Lifer Legend Quantez Robertson Slaps The EWE Baskets Oldenburg With Buzzer Beater 75-74 Win


The last weeks have been extremely painful for the Fraport Skyliners and fans as the team has been losing and losing so much that it´s almost February 2019 and they were still seeking their first victory in the new year. Currently the club was hiding behind an embarrassing 8 game losing streak and desperately looking to crawl out of their always growing hole, but the opponents didn´t get any easier as they had to battle 2015 easyCredit BBL cup champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg. They have witnessed an amazing season as withdrawing from international club duty this season has done wonders as they have been able to concentrate on the BBL and came into Frankfurt with a 13-3 record and sitting in second place behind FC Bayern Munich with the second best offense and defense in the league. For some Skyliner fans coming to see their team may not have been high on many wish lists, but to see Rickey Paulding step on the Fraport arena floor again and do his magic was definitely worth the ticket. Time continues to fly even on the basketball court and the Detroit native isn´t 30 anymore, but 36 and still playing like a 28 year old as he is in his 12th season with the club. A few days ago the seven time BBL allstar who had many battles in Frankfurt with his friend Jimmy Mckinney in the last years was rewarded with a contract extension and handed a loyalty ring for his faithfulness and loyalty to the EWE Baskets for never leaving the club. The American BBL identity figure came to Frankfurt having played 460 BBL games and amassed a total of 6,242 BBL points and was ready to not only battle the Fraport Skyliners again, but also against their identity figure Quantez Robertson who is in his 10th season with Frankfurt and both combined for 29 points and dropped some amazing shots over each other, but the guy standing tall and having the biggest smile after 40 minutes was Quantez Robertson who led a comeback and slapped the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the face with a buzzer beater 75-74 win.  After the big win Robertson was content and not eagerly emotional since he had left all his energy on the court after the buzzer beater, but he still had enough gusto to talk and smile about his duel with Rickey Paulding. “We battled all day long. I made a couple tough shots over him and he did the same against me. It´s always fun battling a guy like that”, stated ex Auburn(NCAA) standout Quantez Robertson. After the loss, EWE Baskets Oldenburg legend Rickey Paulding hid out in the dressing room together with teammate Franz Massenat and one could of thought they might never come out, but actually they were waiting for teammate Karsten Tadda who had been occupied with doping controls. As always Paulding was very professional the way one should be after such a bitter loss. “I know what Tez brings to the table. I am happy for his career in Frankfurt. I hope he can play longer with Frankfurt than I did with Oldenburg. The people in Frankfurt really like him”, stressed Rickey Paulding. “I could really feel those two guys going at it. There is a reason why Paulding has played so long and we see Tez make those shots every day”, warned Trae Holder.


EasyCredit BBL Playoff Preview 2018: Alba Berlin-EWE Baskets Oldenburg 3-0

Who could forget the refreshing and amazing playoff run of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg last season that made many a fans mild spring evenings so much more enjoyable as the 2009 BBL champion gave the word exciting a new meaning with some of their spectacular finishes that for some basketball fanatics would have made great scripts for future basketball movies. They may not have defeated a Munich or Alba Berlin in their run, but finished off two of that season´s big surprise teams with the scrappy medi Bayreuth club and the powerful offensive machine of ratiopharm Ulm. If someone had yelled into Ricky Pauldings face before the start of the playoffs with the words of “hey Ricky you guys will beat Bayreuth and Ulm and reach the final”, the first reaction of the Detroit native probably would have been “Say what” with that undeniable mischievious expression, but after a few seconds after grasping exactly what the fan had said would have probably carefully nodded up and down while inside had that why not feeling with his self confidence already being raised with that audacious remark by the basketball fanatic. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg really came to life last season in the playoffs disposing of big surprise team medi Bayreuth and title favorite ratiopharm Ulm and a big reason was the consistent scoring thrust from Ricky Paulding and the overall feisty and “I live filling up the stat sheet” Chris Kramer. Paulding slowly got going against Bayreuth scoring in double figures in three of the four games and had 18 points in game 4. But it was in the series against Ulm where he played from another planet as his 34 years of age didn´t show as he dropped 24 and 28 points in game one and two, 19 points in game 3 and saved his best for last netting 27 points in the thrilling 78-75 game five win. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg ran out of gas in the final getting swept by Bamberg despite a Paulding playing very solidly. A year later the EWE Baskets Oldenburg are back in the playoffs with a 35 year old Paulding and still sporting that fresh warm smile. This season he won´t be doing his magic against a Bayreuth or Ulm, but against the mighty Alba Berlin who may have won their share of cups in the last years, but haven´t won the BBL title since 2008 and haven´t been as close with talent and chemistry to winning again as they have been this season. Will the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Ricky Paulding start a new Cinderella run this post season? As a fan, you would  love to see another historic Paulding run with another string of amazing upsets, but the only upset this season will be if Oldenburg can somewhat control Luke Sikma.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Alba Berlin forward Luke Sikma after dropping 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the 90-84 loss against the Fraport Skyliner

After two seasons of finishing in sixth place, Alba Berlin returned this season with a new coach with Aito and MVP with Luke Sikma that led them to a second place finish. The club started off well winning seven of it´s first 8 games, but then had a drought period in November where they lost three of six games. But after that they were nearly unstoppable winning 18 games in a row and then lost a bit of concentration losing in Giessen on the second to last game day. In the big winning streak they beat their top opponents Bamberg and Munich and got revenge for their loss in Frankfurt destroying them at home by 37 points. When you lead the league in scoring buckets with 90 per game and lead the league in least points given up per game with 74, you obviously are doing something right.


Rashid Mahalbasic (EWE Baskets Oldenburg) I Am A Real Austrian And Won´t End With This Disgrace Against Germany

Rashid Mahalbasic is a 27 year old 211cm center that was born in Jesenice (Slovenia), but also has the Austrian citizenship and plays for the Austrian national team and is playing his first season with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Mahalbasic started his basketball career in 2006 for the Worthersee Piraten (A Bundesliga) where he played until 2009. In the 2009-2010 season he played for Bosna ASA BH Telecom Sarajevo (Bosnia-D1, starting five): DNP, in Oct.’09 moved back to kelag Worthersee Piraten (Austria-A Bundesliga, starting five): 27 games: 18.4ppg, Reb-2(8.6rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 64.4%. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-TBL), in Dec.’10 loaned to Tofas Bursa (Turkey-TBL) playing 10 games averaging 3.7ppg, 3.0rpg, in Mar.’11 signed at KK Split (Croatia-A1) playing 13 games averaging 5.0ppg, 2.3rpg. In the 2011-2012 season he played for Zlatorog Lasko (Slovenia-Telemach League) playing 2 Slovenian League games averaging 4.0ppg, 1.0spg, 1.5bpg; IN the Adriatic League he played 3 games averaging  4.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0bpg. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-TBL) playing 36 games averaging 11.0ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 58.0%, FT: 68.7%; In the Euroleague he played 10 games averaging 9.1ppg, Reb-5(6.8rpg), 1.3apg, FGP: 58.2%, FT: 59.1%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for CEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 18 VTB United League games averaging 11.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 63.5%, FT: 72.2%. In the NBLleague he played 29 games averaging 10.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.0apg, FGP-2(68.8%), 3PT-1(66.7%), FT: 62.2%; In the Eurocup, he played 18 games averaging 11.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 60.6%, FT: 69.0%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for BC Astana (Kazakhstan-D1) playing 33 VTB United League: 33 games averaging 14.6ppg, 6.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 77.8%. In the  EuroChallenge he played 12 games averaging 13.1ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 62.8%, FT: 73.6%; Kazakhstani D1 playing 11 games averaging  8.2ppg, Reb-2(6.5rpg), 2.4apg, Steals-2(2.0spg), FGP: 53.7%, FT: 51.4%. In the 2015-2016 season he played for BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB) playing 27 games averaging 12.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 15.4%, FT: 73.1%; In the Eurocup, he played 20 games averaging 11.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 61.6%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 58.1%. Last season he played with  Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-BSL, starting five)playing 9 games averaging 11.2ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 71.4%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 78.3%, in Dec.’16 moved to Betis Energia Plus Sevilla (Spain-ACB) playing 22 games averaging 10.1ppg, Reb-4(6.6rpg), 1.8apg, FGP: 57.5%, FT: 71.2%. He spoke to German Hoops the day after the brutal 90-49 loss against Germany in a 2019 World Cup qualifying game.



Rasid thanks for talking to German Hoops-. Normally this week you would be preparing for a Basketball Champions League game with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but instead are with the Austrian national team preparing for 2019 World Cup qualifying games against Serbia and Germany. What is your general opinion about having the qualifying games during the regular season?


At first I thought it would be an advantage not seeing the best players playing, but I was wrong. We showed that we were one of the worst teams. We weren´t prepared. We simply don´t have the quality of players to prepare for three days and then be ready.


The Miles Basketball Minute: BBL Final Preview Brose Bamberg-EWE Baskets Oldenburg 3-1

With the shot clock winding down in game two and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg a wink of a blink starring at a possible 0-2 series hole and about to witness thousands of hearts gasping and  coming to life bursting through each chest, it was Mr hustle and Mr “I once hit a shot at Purdue sitting down” Chris Kramer that found Rickey “Mr Oldenburg” Paulding   the franchise´s money ball wrapped up in the corner with as good as no place to go, but somehow firing away a last second desperation shot that took the game into OT totally changing the series and the rest is history. Nine days later the 2009 BBL champion weaseled their way back to another final disposing the season big surprise team ratiopharm Ulm and giving that whole organiazion another long summer to thin k of excuses why they can´t win a championship and if they should bond with the Buffalo Bills for comfort who have lost 4 Super Bowls. Obviously the whole EWE Baskets Oldenburg club have to get credit for this season´s playoff success, but two guys that really stand out are the two brothers from another mother Chris Kramer and Mr all and legend Rickey Paulding who had another standout series and were instrumental in their team being able to get by the favorites ratiopharm Ulm. One can marvel all you want about Kramer as he is all over the court and his defense pressure in game two also was vital for the team turning the series around, but the Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Lebron James all in one is Paulding. Even if this comparison is majorly exaggerated, but in Oldenburg the American from Detroit is in his own basketball universe where he stands above even these players in the hearts of fans there. Paulding not only had a solid series in upsetting Bayreuth, but was masterful in the ratiopharm Ulm series as in five games he averaged 22,0ppg, 3,0rpg, and 4,0 apg while shooting an amazing 49% from the parking lot. His leadership and Larry Bird type hot shooting was seen most in game two where he sprayed 28 points in the unforgettable comeback and 107-103 OT win and when it absolutely counted most in the do or die game 5 in the unfriendly atmosphere in Ulm where he nailed 27 points and drilled home 5/6 trey´s and gave the word timely a new name as he made himself another step more immortal in Oldenburg. Paulding recently got his contract extended in Oldenburg until 2019, but before one wants to even dream about the next 2 years, fans in Oldenburg want to see Paulding and co bring a third title to Oldenburg. Those Larry Bird paralle´s   aren´t so twisted in that Bird only won 3 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and if the youth of fountain that Paulding is as his play seems to be getting better with age making that wine sweetest this season with his actions on the court, he will eclipse his 12 years in Oldenburg and hang on a 13th season down the road and then he will be even with Bird and 13 seasons wearing the same jersey.

Most of basketball Germany except Oldenburg had ratiopharm Ulm getting into the final in a sweep or four games, but losing in five games was something that even Ulm manager Thomas Stoll would never have imagined in his wildest dreams.


The Miles Basketball Minute: BBL Semi-Final Playoff Preview EWE Baskets Oldenburg-ratiopharm Ulm 3-2

Witnessing those special basketball playoff head to head battles is something that is always appetizing for any fanatic watching the intense focus of both guys giving 180% on both ends of the court until full exhaustion. The NBA has had these amazing and unique duels seemingly forever as it is always a pleasure to look back on these NBA legends making history. In the 60´s, you had the fierce battles between the two best centers of all-time with Boston Celtic Bill Russell and Mr 100 points Wilt Chamberlain with the Celtic winning in 1964 and 1969 in seven games amassing 11 titles in his career while Chamberlain only could boast having two NBA rings. In the 70´s a fondly remembered duel was Chamberlain against New York Knick Willis Reed who had 37 and 38 points in the first games, but only four points in game seven, but it was enough to win the 1970 final despite Chamberlain averaging 23 points and hauling down 24 rebounds in the series. The 80s had two unforgettable duels with the most famous possibly the 1984 classic Bird vs Magic encounter where both owned the court where their teammates could have easily taken the bench and watched the two legends fight it out to the finish which Bird won in seven and the 1988 match up between Isaiah Thomas and the bad boys of Detroit against Magic and the Lakers and despite 43 points by Thomas in game 6, the Lakers won the title. In the 90´s few will forget the 1992 battle between Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler and the Trailblazers pitting the leagues best two shooting guards, but Drexler´s supporting cast couldn´t match Jordan´s as the Bulls won. In this decade the 2012 duel between Lebron James and Kevin Durant is a classic as the best player on the planet finally won his first NBA title with the Miami Heat while Durant  might get his first in a few weeks. Even if the easyCredit BBL is far from the NBA, even here there have been incredible head to head battle over the years and last season in the quarterfinals, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg faced off against up and coming team ratiopharm Ulm as the last three games were decided by a combined total of only 9 points. Two BBL identity figure players Ricky Paulding and Per Guenther had the games of their lives where Per Guenther dropped 35 points and dished out nine assists in game two  while Paulding had 26 points in the loss. In game three, Paulding dropped 30 points in the win while Guenther had 16 points and eight assists. In game 4, Paulding had 16 points in the 80-79 loss while Guenther was held in check with six points, but his front court of Raymar Morgan and Augustine Rubit combined for 45 points to send Oldenburg into summer vacation. Now a year later and with Paulding at age 34 and Guenther at age 29 and not getting any younger, both are back again facing off against each other on a big stage for the ticket to the final, but despite Pauldings loss last season to Guenther, he still leads their head to head title chase at 2-0 while the German has the Buffalo Bill phobia with 4 final appearances and still yearning for that first title.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Chris Kramer of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg after winning the 2015 BBL cup

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg marched into the quarterfinal playoffs not getting buried in the mega hoopla of the surprising successful medi Bayreuth season and jumped on them taking a 2-0 series lead seemingly quicker than Oldenburg legend Ricky Paulding could ever utter the phrase “Ich Bin Ein Oldenburger” in Japanese.


The Miles Basketball Minute: BBL Playoff Preview: EWE Baskets Oldenburg-medi Bayreuth 3-2

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Rickey Paulding after a win in Frankfurt

German Bavarian town Bayreuth is known for it´s famous Festspiele which goes about a month from late July until late August and something the city gears up for early on as well as music lovers from all around the world get excited about already in May, but this season the basketball fanatics from the 72,000 populated city actually have something very special to get all psyched about and that’s playoff basketball. The basketball is very popular in that area so why not adopt the March Madness theme from the States and name it May madness in Bayreuth. The last time that the club was in the BBL playoffs, American president Bill Clinton was having a secret relationship with Monica Lewinsky that the world would first get wind of when the team was back in the second Bundesliga, Kevin Garnett played a solid rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and wasn´t a household name yet and young medi Bayreuth German Moritz Trieb wasn´t even born yet.  The year was 1996 when fans experienced playoff basketball the last time there and now they are back and hungry to make serious history again. This is the biggest basketball news story in Bayreuth since the rumored arrival of NBA superstar Kevin Durant in November 2011 that never happened.

For the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, it has been an underachieving season so far with the biggest news story of the season being the recent contract extension of Oldenburg son and legend Ricky Paulding. The well known speech from John F Kennedy in Berlin where he uttered the famous and unforgettable words “ich bin ein Berliner” may be more than 53 years old, but that remains something that every kid learns about in the history books from Englewood, New Jersey to Brisbane, Australia and Rickey Paulding recently let “Ich bin ein Oldenburger” slip his tongue and got standing ovations for minutes in the EWE arena in Oldenburg after the contract extension was announced. Paulding’s 4 words won’t ever get the world wide press or rememberance as Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner”, but in Oldenburg Paulding will always be their Kennedy. The reason for the long standing ovations and fuss about Paulding was on account of the announcement that he will remain in Oldenburg until 2019 which would give him 12 years in the BBL with one team which is as seldom seen in the BBL as it is teammate Brian Qvale attempting more than one trey a game which he did against the Telekom Baskets Bonn this season and hit both and brings his total of three point attempts in 6 professional seasons to only 14. It is just not a given in todays age of where money rules and the game is a business that a player will remain with one team for that long a period. At the end of this contract extension he will have eclipsed the longevity of Fraport Skyliner legend Pascal Roller who was 11 years with Frankfurt. With the EWE Baskets Oldenburg he has won two titles including the 2009 BBL league title and 2015 cup. He has been a 6 time BBL allstar and is in the top 5 all-time in scoring in the BBL. His middle name could be prolonged to Rickey Mr Oldenburg and consistency Paulding as he gives that name a special new meaning as he has averaged double digit scoring every season in the BBL and is having his best scoring season averaging 16,0ppg showing that he isn’t slowing down with age as he is 34 years old.


‘Ich Bin Ein Oldenburger’ Rickey Paulding Remains Their Kennedy Staying Until 2019

The well known speech from John F Kennedy in Berlin where he uttered the famous and unforgetable words “ich bin ein Berliner” may be more than 53 years old, but that remains something that every kid learns about in the history books from Brooklyn, New York to Perth, Australia and yesterday Rickey Paulding (196-F/G-82, college: Missouri) let “Ich bin ein Oldenburger” slip his tongue and got standing ovations for minutes in the EWE arena in Oldenburg. Paulding’s 4 words won’t ever get the world wide press or rememberance as Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner”, but in Oldenburg Paulding will always be their Kennedy.The reason for the long standing ovations and fuss about Paulding was on account of the announcement that he will remain in Oldenburg until 2019 which would give him 12 years in the BBL with one team which is as seldom seen in the BBL as it is teammate Brian Qvale attempting more than one trey a game which he did against the Telekom Baskets Bonn this season and hit both and brings his total of three point attempts in 6 professional seasons to only 14. It is just not a given in todays age of where money rules and the game is a business that a player will remain with one team for that long a period. At the end of this contract extension he will have eclipsed the longevity of Fraport Skyliner legend Pascal Roller who was 11 years with Frankfurt.


Vaughn Duggins (EWE Baskets Oldenburg) I Can Play A Lot Better And Will Try To Prove That When I Get Back On The Court

Vaughn Duggins is a 29 year old 190cm guard from Pendleton, Indiana that is playing his sixth professional season, fourth in Germany and second with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Last season with Oldenburg he played 36 games: 14.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.5%; Eurocup: 18 games: 11.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 83.7%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with  Wright St. (NCAA) where he played until 2011 paying a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played  33 games averaging 18.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 82.2%. In 2011, he started his professional basketball career in Germany with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played until 2013 and in his second season played 33 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 82.0%. He then played two seasons in France with  Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA): 31 games: 10.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 85.9%; Eurocup: 10 games: 10.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.2% and Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA, starting five): 32 games: 14.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.3%; Eurocup: 12 games: 11.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 78.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball recently during holiday time..

Vaughn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you and how have you enjoyed the Christmas time in Germany this season?

I’m currently at my apartment in Oldenburg. The Holiday season in Germany is always amazing. Now that I’m able to share it with my wife and son, it makes it even more special. My mom, Paula, came to visit as well so I have gotten to spend a lot of time with all of them.

You have experienced some Christmas markets over the years in Germany, but where did the Christmas market rank in my all-time favorite city of Hamburg?

The Hamburg Christmas market is high level, and it is always great to experience what each city does differently. It is definitely in my top 3, but Tübingen’s Christmas market has always had a special place in my heart and, together with Oldenburg’s, is my favorite.

You had surgery on your ankle recently. How did that go and how has it been the last weeks not being able to play?

Surgery went amazingly well. I was in great hands with foot/ankle specialist Dr. Preis in Wiesbaden. I am feeling better every day and God-willing, I will be on the court faster than anticipated. The last few weeks not playing has not been fun. I am very competitive and not being able to be on the court with my teammates hurts.


Willie Dean(BK Ventspils)There Is This Misconception In Europe That Once A player Turns 30 That He Can´t Play Anymore But I´m Living Proof That That Isn´t The Case

Willie Dean is a 36 year old 188cm point guard that is playing his 14th professional season and second with  BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL). He has played in 11 countries in Greece, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, France and Latvia. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Boston College(NCAA) and then moved to Purdue where he played from 2000-2003 playing a total of 91 NCAA games and as a senior played  30 games  averaging 17.8ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 78.2%. Last season he played for STB Le Havre (France-ProA) playing FIBA Europe Cup: 9 games: 13.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 58.7%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 84.6%; French ProA: 15 games: 9.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.4apg, 2FGP: 50.6%, 3FGP: 12.5%, FT: 87.0%, in Mar.’16 moved to BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL) playing 18 games: Score-2(15.9ppg), 3.6rpg, Assists-2(5.1apg), Steals-3(1.8spg), FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 81.3%. He spoke to German Hoopsbefore the Champions League game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg.





Willie thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Oldenburg. You don´t have the fondest memories losing a Eurochallenge quarterfinal best of 3 to the EWE baskets in March 2013 with  Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague). What memories do you have of this series?


I remember that we were in the game, but Rickey Paulding had a big game that got them through it.



Who was more annoying on the court Julius Jenkins or Ricky Paulding? Jenkins had big games in game one and three and Paulding steered 24 points in game three.


The most important game was game three where Paulding showed up. We had done a good job keeping him quiet for the first two games, but his contribution in game three allowed them to advance.



What memory do you have of ex teammate big man Miro Todic from that team?


Miro was a real good dude. I remember him as being very versatile and he could play the positions three and four and stretch the floor. He was a very good physical player.



You started your professional career in 2003. Have you seen any other places in Germany or has Oldenburg been the only place you have spent time with?


I played against the Artland Dragons when I was with Bulgarian team Lukoil.



You are 36 years old and still putting up stats as if you were 28. What motivates you to keep going and going?


I love to play the game of basketball. There is this misconception in Europe that once a player turns 30 that he can´t play anymore. I am living proof that that isn´t the case.



Besides keeping your body in shape why do you believe that you have been able to have such a long career?


I think that part of it is luck. Nobody can predict injuries and basketball is just an unknown thing. You go to play each day hoping for the best and too always come out after each game without a serious injury.


Often a player´s game goes down with age. What has been your secret to having the fountain of consistency in you?


I noticed that the older I got, the more that I had to do in the summers in terms of fitness. When I was younger, I could take off longer periods of time. When your older you have less time to be able to come back. You are more susceptible to injury as your body isn´t used to getting back to that high intensity.



You won four titles in Bulgaria and one in France and Italy. What drives you on to keep playing? Does winning titles increase a bit more with age?


Basketball is a team game. The teams success is measured by how much you can accomplish. I believe that individual awards don´t belong in basketball. Basketball isn´t an individual sport, but a team sport. I never understood why they give individual awards to players in a game that is a team sport.


You have played in 11 countries for 14 teams. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter? What do you say to critics who might suggest that you change too much during seasons from one team to another that might be on account of your character? I guess you could say it hasn´t hindered teams from various countries to offer me jobs.


Every team that I ever played for wanted me to stay. The reasons for me not staying with teams over my career had nothing to do with my character. In many cases, they weren´t able to afford me further at that moment. It was nothing against me, but just part of the business.


You are playing for a team with a rich basketball tradition. What kind of experience has it been for you playing for this team and does one feel the tradition in and around the city?


It´s a very small town so everybody knows about the team. There is a lot of pressure on the team to hold down the tradition, but we are up to the challenge and we work very hard together each day to keep the tradition up.


BK Ventspils have a 10-1 record in the LBL league. What has been the secret to being at the top? Does the competition level suffer a bit to really give the team tough opponents on a regular basis?


You would think so, but that isn´t the case. When you have the best record, everyone is out to get you and prove you wrong. Many teams find that extra energy to compete against us which is something you wouldn´t have thought possible when looking at their roster.


BK Ventspils is 3-4 in the Champions League and playing better than their record shows. What has been the biggest difference in this competition in comparison to the LBL league?


The biggest difference is the budget of the teams. In Germany teams might be able to afford 6 Americans while in the LBL league maybe 2-3 Americans. The teams are also deeper in the Champions league.


In the 2013-2014 season you played the majority of the season with  Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB, starting five): 20 games: Score-5(18.4ppg), 4.8rpg, Assists-4(7.0apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 83.9%, in May’14 moved to EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-SerieA): 1 game: 2pts, 1ast. You came and won. In the short time you were there what did you feel was so special about that constellation of players?



The special thing about the Milan team was their depth. We had very good Italian players like Melli who is with Bamberg now and we had American keith Langford. He was pretty dominant then and still playing well today. We also had a very good coach.




In the 2010-2011 season you won the France Pro A with Sluc Nancy. How much fun was it playing with diminutive point guard John Linehan? Where do you rank him in all-time best guard teammates as a professional?


He is probably the best full court defender I have ever seen. He made guys not want to dribble the ball at him. Guys would be resistant to bringing the ball up the court.



You were with the Washington Wizards (NBA) in preseason in 2007. What kind of experience was that for you and did you feel you realistically had a chance of making the team?


I know that basketball wise I should have made it. It was just the wrong time for me. It was a time when Gilbert Arenas was about to enter free agency and the club wanted to open up as much cap space as possible. They didn´t keep anyone. Not even guys from the previous season. For me it was a great experience learning from guys like Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Hayward.



You won the Bulgarian title from 2008-2010 with Lukoil Academik Sofia. Which title was most difficult to win?



The first one was the most special. We had accomplished two things that season that had never been done before in Bulgaria. We had an undefeated season and reached the last 16 in ULEB Cup.



You put up huge stats in this time. Was this your strongest phase as a professional in terms of your game?



I think my strongest season was with Volgograd where led the VTB in efficiency was first in assists and second in scoring.


What was your wake up call to being a rookie in 2003 in Europe with Ilysiakos Athens (Greece-A) where you knew that you were very far away from home?



My wake up call was not getting paid all the time. That was one of the reasons that I never went back to play. But loved Athens and it was the most fun I had in Europe. The Greek league don’t have their finances in order.



You played three and a half years in Russia. What was the craziest experience that you ever had there with weather?


We went to play in Siberia and it was -40C


You started your college basketball career in 1998 at Boston College and then transferred to Purdue where you played from 2000-2003. How did head coach Gene Keady groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Keady preached discipline and details. He enforced it and made you aware of it. He helped me develop further as a player at Purdue.



What memories do you have of then freshman David Teague? He won the scoring title in Germany in 2010 and once lit up Alba Berlin for 35 points. Did you already notice then that he had a scoring gene growing in him?


Yes he always had that’ scoring instinct from the first day that he came. I saw him as a recruit. He was a great scorer and was pretty tall for a two guard which allowed him to shoot over smaller defenders.



Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that made the NBA?


The best guy I ever saw, I didn´t play against. I was red shirted and saw Jamal Crawford put on a show at Michigan. I knew form that game that he would be going to the NBA.



If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?


I like big men. My top three would be Kareem, Hakeem Olajuwon and Jordan.


Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?



He and Magic are the top two most versatile of all-time for me.


Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?



I see him at the top with Tim Duncan, Karl Malone and Kevin Mchale.


What was the last movie that you saw?


I saw two documentaries Vaxxed and 13th.


Thanks Willie for the chat.





The Fraport Skyliners Practice Conservativeness Instead Of Aggressiveness in Crunch-Time Falling To The EWE Baskets 80-77

Players come and go each season so developing an identity with one player over a longer period of time in the EasyCredit BBL at times can be as difficult as it is for Oklahoma Thunder fans for getting used to the fact that a Kevin Durat isn´t getting fed any longer from Russell Westbrook, but moreover from sniper Steph Curry. Of course there are so many exciting players to watch each weekend as so many bring their own special rare spice to the court, but there are really few players left that have been around in the league for a long time except for guys like Julius Jenkins and Immanuel Mcelroy who are riding out their stellar careers in Jena, but there are also other guys like  Rickey Paudling and Quantez Robertson who battled each other head to head since 2009 and just coming to the arena to watch them duel is worth the price of admission as they have been top players in the league for years. Together they have amassed 19 years and this season Paulding is in his 13th season and Robertson is in his eighth professional season. They have had some very interesting battles over the years as Robertson usually is on the floor having to stop the others team best players as well as supply his freak athleticism as well as his all-around play as he can fill up the stats sheet deep the way Tom Brady can NFL records. Paulding on the other hand is the bona fide leader that has been one of the most consistent offensive performers in the BBL since his arrival in 2007. His overall play and character have made him one of the BBL identity figures for years. Paulding is 34 and Robertson is 31 and it is hard to believe that between them, they only share three professional titles, but knowing the competitiveness of both guys and will to keep performing at a high level, they will probably play some more years.