Every Team Craves For A Player Like Chris Kramer (EWE Baskets Oldenburg)

Early in his second professional season and first in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg, Chris Kramer was part of the infamous Justin Gray buzzer beater loss in Frankfurt quietly led his team in scoring with 16 points and showed his versatility in so many other aspects of the game as he retrieved 5 rebounds and dished out two assists as well. If it hadn´t been for his strong play in the fourth quarter where he led the s.Oliver Basekts back on a furious come back on a 10-2 run where he scored in the penetration three times looking like a second Dashaun Wood who was returning to haunt Frankfurt in a new uniform, it may never have come to the last possession play where Frankfurt was able to win the game. In many ways, he was the best Wurzburg player on the court in this loss. In basketball language, that game seems like a very long time ago, but since then Kramer has achieved very much like helping Wurzburg kick out 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin in 2012 in the playoffs and last season his first with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg help them reach the 2013 Beko BBL final losing a hard fought three game series by not more than seven points combined to Bamberg. In a way, Kramer is like a John Goldsberry of Bamberg, a floor general that knows how to run the offense, but doesn´t need to score to make the team win. It doesn´t matter wherever the Indiana native has been, he has always been a winner. At Purdue, Kramer played a total of 133 games and never averaged more than 7,2ppg which he did his freshman year, but he was the quintessential quarterback that got the offense going and just was able to help all over on the court. At Purdue, Kramer led the Boilermakers to the NCAA tournament all four years and was always good for making something memorable happen on the court like hitting a shot from his knees against Arizona at March Madness in 2007, or his vibrant dunk over a Penn State player sparking Purdue to their first ever Big Ten Tournament win. Just like Justin Gray did against Kramer and Wurzburg in 2011, the American took matters into his own hands not dishing the ball to Jujuan Johnson on a 2-1 break, but heading to the hoop alone and sending the 14,000 plus fans into ecstasy with a thunderous dunk. “Kramer is my boy. He was a tough player. He played injured as a freshman. He was an incredible defender. He was tough and ferocious like a bull dog. He was responsible for a lot of the success that Purdue had which got them back on the map”, stressed ex Purdue teammate and 2010 Beko BBL top scorer David Teague who is the cousin of Atlanta hawk Jeff Tague. Since coming to Oldenburg, he has matured very well and been an important player and has shown despite many stars like Rickey Paulding or Julius Jenkins, he has no problem adapt playing with big name players something he was used to at Purdue where he had teammates like current NBA players like Carl Landry, Robbie Hummel, or Etwaun Moore. Last season for Oldenburg he played  37 BBL games averaging  10.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.1apg, Steals-4(1.7spg), FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 22.6%, FT: 77.6%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 8.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 72.5%. This season, he averaged 19,5ppg in two Eurochallenge games and currently is averaging 9,8ppg, fourth on the team, top rebounder at 4,5rpg, second in team assists at 2,7 and first in steals at 1,4. Especially on defense, is where he prides his game on where he is a pest. His never die attitude on defense has been irritating opponents in the Beko BBL since his arrival in 2011. Many see him as the best point guard duo in the Beko BBL with Lebron James friend Dru Joyce. Most little kids crave ice cream after getting their tonsils out or for desert and all beko BBL teams crave a player like Chris Kramer for their team.

Last season the EWE Baskets Oldenburg finished in second place in the Beko BBL and in Eurochallenge played a great season sweeping their group 6-0 and then in the Top 16 having a record of 5-1. They were  a bit unlucky in the Top 4 losing to Karyisaka 66-62, but gaining third place with a 84-76 win against French team Gravelines. After being a bit inconsistent at the start of the season in Beko BBL play, Oldenburg got stronger in mid December posting a 11-3 record. Their biggest wins of the season were sweeping Alba Belrin, Artland Dragons and s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. They also beat FC Bayern Munich. They also have been very solid on the road having a 7-5 record which they carried into their game in Frankfurt in mid April. After such a successful season, why should the team make any big roster moves? The club held onto 10 players only getting Serb Nemanja Aleksandrov and the club also held onto its German youth players and continue their positive development and cooperation of their Pro B team. The biggest strength of the team is the team chemistry that the team has which will give them clear advantages right from the start and their experience. The team also is deep at each position which will help them during their international competition. It also will be important for success like they had last season that they continue to play defense. Playing aggressive defense and forcing turnovers will lead them to getting easy fast break points. Strong defense is usually what gets an offense going, but quite frankly Oldenburg wills core many points this season and should be in the top 5 in team points. It will be interesting to see how well the team learned from their sweep against Bamberg where they lost only by a combined seven points. Winning close games and taking control in crunch time will be vital this season for getting 2-3 or three wins more, but another year of experience will make guys like Paulding and Jenkins even more valuable during these circumstances. There isn´t much that beat this team except cockiness, but Paulding and Jenkins won´t let any unwanted mental interference arise in the heads of their teammates. This season won´t be as easy and unnoticed as last season as team will be more aware of what they can be. Teams will be gunning to stop many guys especially the crunch time experience of Jenkins, but the key and x factor of the Oldenburg game will be Chris Kramer. Nobody does as much as he does on the court and Sebastian Machowski knows that and will use his secret weapon accordingly. Oldenburg will end the season in the top 5 teams and in the playoffs anything is possible.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were able to hold 10 players including captain Ricky Paulding. He is a 30 year old 196cm guard/forward that is playing his 7th season with Oldenburg and can be seen as Mr Oldenburg. If he doesn´t get his number retired when his career is over then something is wrong. He has played 302 in an Oldenburg uniform and really doesn´t have anything to prove anymore. With his age, with his biggest goal is winning titles and seeing how many more battles he can win against his good friend Jimmy Mckinney on the court. Last season he played  44 games: 12.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 42.5%, FT: 82.2%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 13.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 81.6%. The team also held crunch time scorer Julius Jenkins who is 32 and is playing his second season with Oldenburg. After leading the second Bundesliga in scoring with 27 points with Nurnberg in 2005, he then played ULEB cup with Bree and then played five seasons with Alba Berlin winning the league title in 2008 as MVP and cup in 2009 as MVP and won two titles with Bamberg in 2012. He may be 32 as like Paulding titles is what motivates him. Last season he played  45 games: 13.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 74.5%; EuroChallenge: 17 games: 13.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 72.5%. Lebron James friend 28 Dru Joyce is playing his sixth season in Germany and second with Oldenburg.  He proved last season that he could lead the club into the final with his playmaking skills. Last season he played 46 games: 8.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 69.1%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 7.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 52.6%, FT: 69.2%.

The club also kept their Mr everything Chris Kramer who is a 25 year old 188cm guard that is playing his third season in Germany and second with Oldenburg. Kramer who once scored a basket sitting down on the floor at Purdue could be the long lost brother of Wurzburg guard John Little, because he is a pest on the defensive end and just does everything to win. He could give Quantez Robertson a run for the money in a sprint coast to coast. Last season he played 37 games: 10.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.1apg, Steals-4(1.7spg), FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 22.6%, FT: 77.6%; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 8.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 72.5%. The club also kept Dominik Bahiense De Mello who has slowly found a new home in Oldenburg. De Mello who is a 28 year old 193cm guard and played six seasons in Frankfurt is your classic role player from the bench that can hurt you with his three pointer. DE Mello has a lot to prove this season after getting many chances last season to play, but shot only 18,8% from the parking lot. Last season he played  46 games: 2.1ppg, 1.2rpg; EuroChallenge: 17 games: 3.5ppg, 1.7rpg. 31 year old 201cm forward Konrad Wysocki is back for a second season in Oldenburg. After playing at Princeton, he played for teams like Ulm and Frankfurt and played three seasons in Poland for PGE Turow Zgorzelec. For lesser teams, he would be a star, but with Oldenburg, he is on e of many and just fulfills his role as an energizer from the bench. He is the typ of player that will get that rebound from that 15 kilo stronger player. Last season he played 42 games: 5.8ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 78.5%; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 7.1ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 77.8%. Robin Smeulders is playing his fourth season with Oldenburg and made a big jump last season from the season before averaging 16 minutes per game. He was a big force in Eurochallenge play scoring in double figures seven times and in Beko BBL play 11 times with 21 points against Phoenix Hagen. He was clearly the most improved Oldenburg player and still has much potential to improve his inside out game. At the center position the club kept Adam Chubb and Jannik Freese. Germany is like a second home for 32 year old Chubb who has played in Giessen, Bremerhaven, Artland and Alba Berlin. He also has experience playing in the ACB. He belongs to the top centers in the league that nobody talks about. He has vastly improved his rebounding, has  a nice touch around the basket and is the chef of the defense. Last season he played  45 games: 10.8ppg, Reb-4(6.8rpg), 1.2apg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 74.8%; EuroChallenge: 17 games: 10.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 64.7%, FT: 81.4%. 27 year old 211 cm center Freese is playing his third season with Oldenburg. After never getting a chance with Braunschweig and Giessen, he now belongs to a top team. He may not gte much minutes, but is part of the rotation and will be that practice pest. He has played 23 Eurochallenge games the last two seasons and now can play Euroleague qualifying. He bangs inside and can run the fast break which isn’t typical for his size. The club added one player with Nemanja Aleksandrov who is a 26 year old 210cm forward that brings 230 pounds to the scale. Despite his body shape, he is a type of forward center that causes mismatches. Some injuries have slowed his career, but he still has potential to grow. He has experience having played in Slovenia and Italy and last season played for  VOO Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): 19 games: 16.7ppg, 5.9rpg, 2FGP: 51.6%, 3FGP: 37.5%, FT: 85.4%, in Mar.’13 moved to Assignia Manresa (Spain-Liga Endesa): 10 games: 9.4ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 75.0%.

Since the 2005-2006 season, The Frankfurt Skyliners have a weak 7-12 record against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg. In the 2005-2006 season, even five years later stick in the minds of many as in the 98-75 loss in Oldenburg saw Malick Badiane get ejected after kicking a chair and in the last game of the season, Frankfurt had to win to stay in the league and did 70-58 thanks to 22 points from American Kavossy Franklin. In the 2006-2007 season,  won the season series with a 80-70 win in Oldenburg and a 76-70 win at home despite 30 points from Ricky Paulding.In the 2007-2008 season, the teams split the  season series as Derrick Allen combined for 48 points in the two games. In the 2008-2009 season, the teams split the season series as Frankfurt totally crushed Oldenburg 84-53 at home, but lost 66-58 on the road. Oldenburg got the last laugh in the quarterfinals of the playoffs winning the series 3-1. In 2009-2010, Frankfurt lost a nail bitter in Oldenburg 63-61 and 75-69 at home despite 26 points from Derrick Allen. In 2010-2011, The two teams split the season series with Frankfurt losing  a bitter 70-67 game which they led for most of the game, but let it slip away at the end while they won at home 76-71 fueled by 24 points by Dashaun Wood. In 2011-2012, the two also split the season series and both teams met in the first game of the season as Oldenburg jumped all over Frankfurt 72-53 as Frankfurt had a horrible shooting day as Oldenburg was led by 17 points by Ronald Burrell. In the return game in Oldenburg, the Fraport Skyliners were going through their euphoric second half of the season and rode into Oldenburg with a lot of confidence winning  75-67 as the team held on to win a nail bitter. Despite 22 points from Bobby Brown, Skyliner Jermario Davidson out did him scoring 25 points, getting seven rebounds and making two blocks while Jimmy Mckinney contributed 16 points. Last season Oldenburg swept the  season series by a total of only 4 points  as Oldenburg won a nail bitter 63-61 in Oldenburgas Adam Chubb contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds and Zach Peacock had 17 points for the winners. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners played like a champion, but lost in crunch time again 65-63 as Ronnie Burrell found the hot hand with 20 points and Zach Peacock contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg won the first game of the season. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg won the first game of the season 72-63 as Ricky Paulding led the team with 18 points and Nemanja Aleksandrov chipped in with 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 14 points while Andrew Rautkns contributed 13 points as did Danilo Barthel.

Since Christmas, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg have been playing spirited basketball having a 4-2 record. Currently they have lost their last two games including a crushing 92-65 loss in Munich and this week missed reaching the Beko BBL top 4 losing at home against the Brose Baskets Bamberg 90-83. They have a void inside as ex ACB player Adam Chubb is still out and Italian center Andrea Crosariol played out his short term contract and now is playing in one of the most fascinating cities in Europe with Umana Reyer Venezia (SerieA). The Fraport Skyliners continue to be a team that could make out a longer walking wounded list than a Christmas list for Santa from a seven year old. Captain Marius Nolte, ex NBA player Andrew Rautins Konstantin Klein and Stefan Ilzhoefer are definitely still out while the chances of Kevin Bright don´t look good and Andrew Rautins is day to day. If Dane Watts will suit up for his first game will be known after the last practice before the game in Oldenburg depending how good his fitness is and if the team will sign him until the rest of the season and give up their last license for the season. The Fraport Skyliners are coming off a 15 day rest and will be very motivated to try to break their three game losing streak as they still haven´t won in 2014 yet. Their last loss was a 83-77 hard fought defeat in Quackenbruck where they were the better team for three quarters, but couldn´t withstand the three point shooting clinic of Chad Toppert in the fourth quarter. It seems like the Fraport Skyliners will be more shorthanded than against the Artland Dragons so they will have nothing to lose and just fight, fight, fight until the finish and hope for the best. “The last two weeks were very good for the team. We were able to take important steps in many areas of our game. We worked on the little things that are important in games  We worked hard on execution, rebounding and transition defense which hurt us against Artland. Getting the ball inside will be key, but Philipp Neumann is a very good player and we will have to work on using the mismatches and getting Johannes Voigtmann the ball”, stressed Fraport Skyliner forward Danilo Barthel.

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