Can Rickey Paulding´s Smile Be Elevated To Another Level With Another EWE Baskets Oldenburg Title This Season?

Flashing that big smile and showing those glistening whiteys as if one had always heeded the warning of mom to never skip a night of brushing your teeth or just come off the set of a Crest commercial is something that basketball players are projected to do after a hard 40 minute battle that resulted in a huge victory. No guys have displayed their pleasure of winning in the form of a excited smile over the years in the Beko BBL better then guys like former Fraport Skyliner Jimmy Mckinney who will now drop shots with the Telekom Baskets Bonn, ex Rhein Cologne point guard Michael Hakim Jordan who actually should of tried his go at Hollywood after his few masterful scenes in the German documentary Phoenix in Der Asche, but instead is an assistant at Colgate university which name is also the name of a well known American tooth paste company and Rickey Paulding who is also known as Mr Oldenburg or if the city should ever be renamed then it would be fitting to call it in typical German manner Pauldingburg as he has made the comfortable city in north Germany his home since 2007 and never turned his back. The former NBA Draft Pick of hometown team Detroit Pistons is also a guy who can smile with the best of them. His enjoyment and smiling were at their all-time high in 2009 when the EWE Baskets Oldenburg won their first league title at the expense of the Telekom Baskets Bonn in a tough 5 game series. However between 2009-2015 a span of almost 6 years, the American went without a title, but reached a final against the Brose Baskets Bamberg a few years ago. However last season, which was a season to forget in the regular season, but still came title number two as Oldenburg masterfully disposed of Bamberg at home in the cup final as Paulding was smiling again as if there was no tomorrow. At the age of 33, Paulding isn´t getting any younger and for those that have been caught in a cage for a few years will notice less hair on top, but he can still play with the best of them. If there is a time where he might be slowed down is when he is playing with his gang of kids, but on the floor especially in the shooting department he has risen as in his first four seasons he shot under 40% from the parking lot, but 40% or better in the last four seasons in the Beko BBL. Last season he played 36 BBL games averaging 11.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 80.0%; Eurocup: 10 games: 9.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 86.7%. There isn´t a more consistent player in the BBL as he has averaged 12,0ppg in his eight seasons in the Beko BBL. It really doesn´t matter if the basketball fan is in Bernau, Trier, Rosenheim or Schwenningen, Paulding is liked everywhere and is a winner. As is the case each season the club has put together another very potent roster that has to reach the playoffs, but does it have the goods to beat one of the big 3 of Munich, Bamberg or Berlin in a 5 game series? The club hopes that last season´s fireman Mladen Drijenic will carry over the euphoria from the cup win and that Scot Macado will be the point guard that can successfully lead the charge. Their best chance will be in the cup again where you have to qualify in the top 7 and then play two amazing great games to win that coveted cup. If Paulding can win another title is unknown, but one thing is for sure if Oldenburg would ever start their own version of a walk of fame in front of city hall then Mr Paulding would get one and sit between legendary producer Dieter Bohlen and comedian Wigald Boning.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg have reached the playoffs in seven of eight seasons since Rickey Paulding has been with the club. The only really unforgettable season was the 2011-2012 where nothing went right as the team finished in 10th place and marked the end of the Predrag Krunic era. Their strongest season was the first of Sebastian Machowski reaching the final in 2013, but the club tailed off a bit the last two season finishing in fourth and seventh last season after the German coach was dismissed in April. Last season the club was swept by Alba Berlin 3-0, but the series was a lot closer than the series score indicated as they had their chances should of won game one and were very close in game two. It was one of those cases where the basketball god wasn´t always sheading an eye on them and it just wasn´t meant to be. The team played under their standards as consistency was a big problem and losing their desired point guard in Tywain Mckee after a month put a big damper in their game and they never fully recovered from the loss. Their biggest wins were against Bamberg early in the season with new point guard ex NBA player Casper Ware, but who wasn´t able to step in the shoes of Mckee and they swept ratiopharm Ulm.

This season the EWE Baskets Oldenburg as always have the roster to make the playoffs and lost key players Julius Jenkins and Adam Chubb, but have held a few guys from last season Paulding, Nemanja Aleksandrov, Chris Kramer, Robin Smeulders and young talents Dominic Lockhart and Jan Niklas Wimberg. Chris Kramer is a 27 year old 191cm guard from Huntington that like Paulding has found a home in Oldenburg and is playing his fourth season there. He played at Purude once making a shot sitting on the floor, in the D-league with FT Wayne and with Wurzburg. Last season he played 36 games averaging 7.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 68.8%; Eurocup: 9 games: 6.0ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 23.1%, FT: 78.6%. He is on the same level of a John Little as a guy that is totally annoying to play when they defend. Nemanja Aleksandrov is a 28 year old 210cm forward from Serbia that was once compared to Dirk Nowitzki, but couldn´t succumb to injuries for a long time. He will be playing his third season with Oldenburg and last season played 34 games averaging 10.3ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 91.0%; Eurocup: 9 games: 9.6ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 86.4%. He has a dangerous inside out game and is known for hitting big three pointers. Robin Smeulders is a 28 year old 207cm forward that has been in Oldenburg since 2010 and is playing his sixth season there. He couldn´t eclipse his strong seasons between 2012-2014 as he was lost a bit in the shuffle of the large rotation last season as he played 31 games: 4.8ppg, 3.4rpg; Eurocup: 10 games: 3.3ppg, 1.8rpg. He is a legit rebounder and will hit the three at leisure. The club also held onto youngsters Dominic Lockhart who is a 21 year old 198cm guard playing his third season there and also won two consecutive pro B titles as a double licence player for the Baskets Akad.Weser-Ems/Oldenburger TB. Last season he played 21 BBL games averaging 1.0ppg, 1.2rpg; Eurocup: 9 games: 1.0ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg, played also at Baskets Akad.Weser-Ems/Oldenburger TB (ProB): 29 games: 9.7ppg, 5.6rpg, Assists-5(5.3apg), 1.9spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 80.2%. He has all the abilities for a modern point guard especially having size, but will he get minutes this season? Wimberg is a 19 year old 206cm forward that belongs to the biggest German talents at his position from the year 1996. This will be his second season with the BBL team and last season he played 5 games: 0.8ppg; Eurocup: 2 games: 0pts, 1.5rpg, played also at Baskets Akad.Weser-Ems/Oldenburger TB (ProB): 30 games: 10.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.2apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 72.0%, played also in NBBL.

The club brought in 7 new faces to bolster the rotation starting with highly talented point guard Scott Machado. He is a 25 year old 188cm guard from Queens, New York that is playing his fourth professional season. He led the NCAA in assists with 9,9 in his senior season at Iona and set up ex Fraport Skyliner Sean Armand time in and time out again. He played six NBA games with the Houstin Rockets and had a 10 day contract with the Golden State warriors in his rookie season. In the last two years he got further experience playing in the D-league, France and Estonia. Last season he played for BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Estonia-Alexela KML, starting five): VTB United League: 30 games: 15.2ppg, 4.3rpg, Assists-4(7.7apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 73.5%; Estonian Alexela KML: 19 games: 11.2ppg, 4.5rpg, Assists-2(4.3apg), FGP: 35.3%, 3PT: 24.5%, FT: 81.8%; Baltic League: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.5apg, Steals-2(2.1spg), FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 72.0%. He wants to get back to the NBA after a solid Summer League with Washington and will have good teammates in Oldenburg to help him. Vaughn Duggins is a 28 year old 190cm guard from Indiana that returns back to the BBL after two years in France. He played at Wright State and two seasons with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Last season he played for 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%. His shooting and position versatility is his strength on the court. Brian Qvale is a 26 year old 2010cm center from North Dakota that is playing his fifth professional season and second in Germany. He played his first two seasons in Turkey and Belgium. In his third season he played with Bayreuth and last season with the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), released in Oct.’14, later that month signed at Tofas Bursa (Turkey-TBL, starting five): 27 games: 11.3ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 64.9%, FT: 76.3%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 9.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 63.9%, FT: 75.0%. This past summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Charlotte Hornets): 5 games: 6.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 58.3%. His biggest strength is his ability to make his shots inside and finding the open man out of the post.

It is hard to believe that German 201cm forward Philipp Schwethelm is only 26 years old since he has been around for ages playing his first BBL game and Eurocup game as a 16 year old in the 2005-2006 season with Cologne. He has had a solid career playing two seasons with Bremerhaven, one with FC Bayern Munich the last three with ratiopharm Ulm and last season played 42 games: 5.2ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 66.7%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 5.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 66.7%. He played at the 2010 world chmapionships in Turkey and 2011 European championships in Lithuania. His three pointer is feared and can defend with the best of them. The club also added Klemen Prepelic who is a 22 year old 191cm guard from Slovenia playing his first season in Germany. He recently played at Euro 2015 playing 6 games: 9.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.2apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 78.3%. Two seasons ago he played in Turkey and last season for : Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Telemach League, starting five): 12 games: 14.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 86.8%, 1.8rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 35.3%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 90.5%; ; Eurocup: 13 games: 7.2ppg; Adriatic League: 21 games: 10.8ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 79.1%. Dennis Kramer is a 23 year old 211cm forward that has the German/American citizenship and as a rookie last season played with TBB Trier (Germany-BBL): 25 games: 2.2ppg, 1.6rpg. He played at San Diego (NCAA) from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games: 11.3ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 71.2%. He is the modern four player in that he will drill home trey´s and also do dirty work inside.

Since the 2005-2006 season, The Frankfurt Skyliners have an up and down record against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg. In the 2005-2006 season, there was a 98-75 loss in Oldenburg seeing 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, Frankfurt won the season series with a 80-70 win in Oldenburg and a 76-70 win at hom. 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 the 2011-2012 season, 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. In the 2012-2013 season Oldenburg swept the season series by a total of only 4 points as Oldenburg won a nail bitter 63-61 in Frankfurt as 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 75-63 as Ronnie Burrell found the hot hand with 20 points and Zach Peacock contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds. Two seasons ago Oldenburg won the season series winning in Frankfurt 72-63 as Rickey Paulding scorched Frankfurt with 18 points and Frankfurt was led by Quantez Robertson with 14 points. In the return game in Oldenburg, it was the phase of the season where Frankfurt had the crunch time blues and lost 68-66 as Oldenburg was led by Rickey Paulding with 21 points while Frankfurt was led by Dane Watts with 22 points. Last season the Fraport Skyliners clobbered Oldenburg at home 93-74 as Frankfurt was led by Justin Cobbs with 17 points and German national player Johannes Voigtmann chipped in with 16 points. Oldenburg was led by Rickey Paulding with 17 points. In the return game in Oldenburg Frankfurt got their revenge after losing a close game in crunch time the season before winning this time 83-81 as they were led by a potent Justin Cobbs with 19 points and 10 assists. Aaron Dornekamp added 22 points and Oldenburg was led by Rickey Paulding with 18 points.

Can the Fraport Skyliners return back north and repeat with another win after disposing rudely of the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven 67-59 as Gordon Herbert has quickly found a healthy defensive scheme. It wasn´t the most beautiful of games, but Frankfurt were able to play just a bit more ugly defense for 40 minutes that carried them to victory despite a horrible third quarter where they scored only three points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg on the other hand stunk up the Audi Dome in Munich being hammered by FC Bayern Munich 82-56 as the game was already decided at halftime. The score doesn´t tell the whole story as they outrebounded FC Bayern Munich and shot one three more, but had eight turnovers more and allowed their opponent to reach the free throw line too much. Its still early, but they will have to find some spunk in their offense if they want to survive against the Fraport Skyliners on Wednesday. Frankfurt will live off its defense this season and let it spark their offense. Frankfurt will be ok offensively as soon as the German twin towers of Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel return, but until then teams should take advantage of the Frankfurt injury problems even if the current roster still has potential to score between 70-80 points. Oldenburg really will have to take advantage of the home court and get a good start. Frankfurt will grind, grind and grind on defense until John Little and Quantez Robertson fall apart which they wont anyway and use every chance to get quick points on the break.

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