After reaching the Beko BBL playoffs year after year, it can quickly become a matter of course for a renowned organization like the EWE Baskets Oldenburg continuing to reach the post season each season as its is for NBA superstar Rajon Rondo to make at least one spectacular eyebrow raising pass each game. After four consecutive playoff appearances and winning the 2009 Beko BBL championship, the club missed the Beko BBL playoffs last season finishing in 10th place despite a very competitive roster. With the arrival of ex NBA player Bobby Brown last season, it seemed like a given that the team would not only reach the playoffs, but possibly reach the final, but the California native was unable to lead the club into the promised land in May. At the times the ex Sacramento King seemed more obsessed with his own scoring average than doing what was best for the team. His lethal scoring at times was so destructive it seemed that the best for the opponent could have been to blare out the famous Bobby Brown hit Dont be cruel in hopes that he might stop, but in the end his scoring wasnt even consistent enough to get the extra needed victories. Despite leading the Beko BBL in scoring last season and being in fifth place for best assist average, there were numerous games where his one on one play and ego got in the way in crunch time and he could have been wearing a Amare Stoudemire mask and no one would of noticed. This season new Oldenburg head coach Sebastian Machowski hauled in Lebron James friend Dru Joyce (183-PG-85, college: Akron) who is as much of a classical point guard as NBA legend John Stockton was back in the day. The Ohio native can score if needed, but in his four seasons in the Beko BBL with Ulm and Trier he has been second in assists twice and third once and would most likely choose the pass over a lay up on a 2-0. Oldenburg hopes that his non ego playmaking skills will lead the team back into the Beko BBL playoffs. Joyce knows what he can do and has the needed self confidence to be successful as a professional basketball player. I go out and try to be a good leader. I know that I am a pretty good playmaker that also likes to create and finish. Key for me also is to play good defense, warned Dru Joyce. One of the better and more underrated defenders in the Beko BBL is TBB Trier forward Nate Linhart who remembers Joyce well from Akron where they were teammates and from Trier. Dru has continued to develop his penetration and point guard skills the last years. He is a lot more physical and sees the court better. He has improved his pick and role play the most, stressed Nate Linhart. If the EWE Baskets Oldenburg reach the Beko BBL playoffs this season, then fans wont remember how cruel the offseason and long summer was.
Since their amazing 2009 Beko BBL title where they beat Bonn in a nail biting 5th game 71-70, the team has reached the playoffs the two following years, but missed them last year and for fans and critics have stayed behind their expectations losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs each time. In 2010-2011, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg finished the season in sixth place with a record of 20-14. The teams biggest wins were sweeping the Artland Dragons and wins against Frankfurt, Bremerhaven and Goettingen, but were swept by Bamberg and Alba Berlin. Oldenburg had done a good job again with getting strong individual players, but had no real knowledge of team basketball. In the Beko BBL playoffs, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg showed a spirited fight against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin coming back after being in the hole 0-2, they won the next two games including an exciting 80-79, win in game 4, but then had no power left in their thunderbird wings as they were destroyed 99-68 in the 0-2 arena.
After a serious house cleaning in 2010-2011, they were content to do it again last season as 10 players left. The first order of business was keeping 29 year old Rickey Paulding (12.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 79.5%)who will be playing his 5th season in Oldenburg, brought back 28 year old 207cm Serb Miljan Mastorovic who played in the ACB for Assignia Manresa playing 33 games: 6.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 64.9% who was the three point killer who was instrumental in the 2009 championship for Oldenburg and 24 year old 208cm German /Dutch Robin Schmeulders (: EuroCup: 6 games: 5.3ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 55.0%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 17 games: 2.6ppg, 1.6rpg. They have brought in strong players again led by Bobby Brown who brought 108 NBA games experience. The club hoped some of his albatross magic from the 2008 Beko BBL title would still be with him and rub off on the Thunderbirds team. But no such luck rubbed off on Oldenburg.
With so much hype before the season, the EWE Baskets simply werent a consistent force in the Beko BBL last season. After starting off the season with a two game winning streak, they then lost three games in a row. They had two three games winning streaks, but simply too little to be able to compete with the Bambergs, Berlins or Ulms this season One of their biggest problems was their lack of being able to beat any top playoff teams. They lost the season series to the Artland Dragons where David Holston was able to lead his team clearly over ex NBA player Bobby Brown. The club was unable to beat Bamberg or Alba Berlin or ratiopharm Ulm. Their biggest wins were against FC Bayern Munich and Bremerhaven. The team continued to be an enigma. Losing in Wurzburg can always happen, but only scoring 42 points when it was averaging 80 points a game just forces the basketball follower to say WOW. In the next game, they score 89 points against one of the top defensive teams in the league with the Brose Baskets Bamberg. They finished the season with a 3-4 record and missed the playoffs finishing in tenth place with a record of 16-18. Long time head coach Predrag Krunich was let go near the end of the season as he was unable to reach his players anymore.
The goal of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg this season is reach the Beko BBL playoffs and will need to help support the new 6000 seat arena which will be ready for use in the Spring of 2013. The first order of business was getting a strong coach and that was done with ex German national player Sebastian Machowski. Machowski has had a very consistent and strong short coaching career winning a cup in his second season in 2009 with SKK Kotwica Kolobrzeg. He then moved to the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig taking their program to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. With Braunschweig he also understood how to find the right mix of players to have success. With Oldenburg, he has made the next step going to a potential playoff team that has a higher budget than the Phantoms. Machowski is different to Krunich in that he seeks more communication with his players and doesnt rely on a standard system, but allows his players more freedom and that each player always has many options to be able to make their own decisions. Machowski did a good job keeping possibly more players than one might have expected with seven and getting four new components for the building of the winning team. Only one player is left from the 2009 title win and that is American Rickey Paulding who is starting his sixth season for the team and is the heart and soul of the team and can still hurt you with his offense. Adam Chubb remains who has become more of a beast under the boards this season simply because he needs to do more there. Power Forward Ronald Burrell returns who can still battle with the best of them and can be a deadly player that can make the extra pass. Ex Skyliner Dominic Bahiense De Mello returns for a second season and is looking for more minutes. The team also Jannik Freese who is an animal in practice, but is still searching for his Beko BBL breakthrough. The team also returns Robin Smeulders who is a solid role player from the bench and German Kevin Schmit. The team signed experienced American Julius Jenkins who has the most hardware on the team and gives that deadly scoring touch. The team brought in classic point guard Dru Joyce who is still developing as a player. Konrad Wysocki also returns back to the Beko BBL after three seasons in Poland. Wysocki can play the three four position and will give the team energy on both ends of the court. American Chris Kramer was also added wo is a work horse on offense and defense and sometimes one may think he likes defense more than offense. He led Wurzburg in scoring and can penetrate with the best of them. The biggest strength of the team is their experience and guys that have won titles. The team also is very athletic and will defend better than last season due to guys like Kramer and Wysocki arriving. With more freedom on offense, the team should have more joy for creativity in the offense. The team is very talented and can really only defeat themselves and not think too much about having to get back to the Beko BBL playoffs. With Chubb, the team only has one strong dominant center, so team rebounding will have to be on the agenda during every game.
Since the 2005-2006 season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a weak 7-9 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. Last 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. On Saturday The sixth in the standings with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg meet 14th placed Fraport Skyliners. The EWE Baskets started the season hot winning four of their first five games winning in Munich and in Wurzburg two very difficult places to win at, but since then have a 3-4 record seeming to be in a early season funk. There only big highlight this season so far has been their immaculate unbeaten record in Eurochallenge play. This will be another tough game for the Fraport Skyliners as every game is a game seven for them this season as they might be short handed again and Oldenburg is a stronger team than Wurzburg and rebound very well. Oldenburg is one of the quality teams in the league and made big changes from last season. They have a good roster with good inside out play. Oldenburg is more talented than Wurzburg and we will have to work hard. We have to dictate the game with our defense and not let them run and make easy points, stressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin. We have to come out aggressive on defense and execute on offense, added Quantez Robertson.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg are led by Adam Chubb who is a 31 year old 208cm power forward/center from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that is a Very athletic big man, runs the floor extremely well. Sound fundamental player who has good hands, fine low-post presence and is a good passer to players who are open or cutting to the basket. Can defend a center in the low-post as well as a power forward perimeter player. He is playing his ninth professional season and seventh in Germany.After starting his professional basketball career in Korea in 2004, he then played in Germany for Giessen, Bremerhaven, Artland and Alba Berlin before getting some valuable experience in 2010-2011 for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB): 34 games: 7.4ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 52.0%, FT: 69.4%. He won a Beko BBL cup for Artland and Alba Berlin. Last season for Oldenburg he played EuroChallenge: 12 games: 11.7ppg, 6.3rpg, FGP: 61.5%, FT: 73.7%; German League: 34 games: 12.4ppg, Reb-2 (8.5rpg), 1.7apg, FGP: 64.1%, FT: 77.2%. 31 year old 187 cm guard American Julius Jenkins is playing his first season in Oldenburg and has developed into one of the top players in the BBL after first being recognized in the 2004-2005 season as he averaged 27,1ppg in the second Bundesliga for Nurnberg. He played a season in Bree, Belgium getting ULEB Cup experience before coming to Berlin in 2006 where he since has become a household name. His best scoring season was 2007-2008 where he played 45 games: Score-3 (18.2ppg), 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 57.8%, 3FGP: 42.0%, FT: 81.4%. In 2009-2010, he played EuroCup: 14 games: 14.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 74.3%; German League: 35 games: Score-5 (14.8ppg), 1.7rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 44.3%, FT: 80.2%. He is an explosive scorer from the point guard or the shooting guard position; possesses the ability to score and create his own shot at anytime; Has very long arms and great leaping ability; unlimited range on the jump shot, which allows him to stretch the defense. You have to pray that he misses. You have to be physical with him and make sure the bigs hedge hard on ball screens, warned Omari Westley. With Berlin, Jenkins has won a number of awards such as Bundesliga All-Star Game -08 (MVP), Bundesliga Champion -08 (Finals MVP), Eurocup finalist 2010 and German Bundesliga Cup Winner -09 (FinalFour MVP). Last season in Bamberg he played Euroleague: 10 games: 10.4ppg, 1.4apg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 95.0%; German League: 37 games: 9.7ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 63.9%.
Ronald Burrell is a 29 year old 204cm power forward from Montclair, New Jersey playing hiss econd season for Oldenburg. After an NCAA career at North Carolina-Greensboro, he came to Europe in 2005 to France to play for Levallois SCB. He then came to Germany and played for Rhein Energy Cologne and the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He then played for Polish Euroleague team Asseco Prokom Gdynia winning 3 Polish titles and amassing 45 Euroleague games. In 2010-2011 in Poland, he played Euroleague: 9 games: 3.7ppg, 3.4rpg; Polish League: 34 games: 5.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 73.8%. Last season for Oldenburg, he played EuroChallenge: 11 games: 12.5ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 84.2%; German League: 29 games: 12.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 80.5%. Chris Kramer is a 23 year old 191cm from Huntington, Indiana that is playing his first season for Oldenburg. Kramer had a solid career at Purdue and in his senior year played 35 games: 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 74.7%. At Purdue, he won the Big ten tournament in 2009 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010. He also was the All-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.In 2010-2011 as a professional rookie, he played for Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League, starting five): 41 games: 13.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.8apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 81.9%. In June 2011, he signed at Mets de Guaynabo (Puerto Rico-BSN, starting five): 12 games: 8.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 69.8%. Last season for the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg he played 41 games: 11.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.0apg, Steals-2 (1.5spg), FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 73.9%. This past summer he played at the AirTran Orlando Summer League (Indiana Pacers): 3 games: 4.7ppg, 1.3rpg. Dru Joyce is a 27 year old 183cm point guard. He is the typical floor general who supplies leadership, court vision and points when needed. He returned back to the BEKO BBL last season to Trier after playing for Ratiopharm Ulm from 2007-2009. Each season, he was the second best assist man in the BEKO BBL. His best season in Ulm was 2008-2009 as he led the club into the playoffs playing 34 games averaging 10.1ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-2 (4.5apg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 73.0%. He is best known for playing along side NBA superstar Lebron James at St Marys and winning three high school titles. He played at Akron from 2003-2007 as in his senior year, he played 33 games averaging 10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3Pts: 39.6%, FT: 65.6%. In 2009-2010, he played in Poland forEnerga Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five), Polish League: 6 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.0apg; in Nov.'09 moved to Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK): 27 games: 7.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 75.9%. I played for two very good coaches. One was from Latvia and the other was from Belarus. It was a new situation for me since I had always played for American coaches. They both had different styles. I had some ups and downs in Poland, but I learned to always keep fighting when I was going through a rough time. You always have to be ready when called upon, stressed Dru Joyce. Last season for TBB Trier, he played : 34 games: 11.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 69.2%.
Konrad Wysocki is a 30 year old 201cm forward that returns back to the Beko BBL after three seasons in Poland. He started his basketball career in 2000 for Ivy league school Princeton where he played until 2004. He then turned professional playing for BG Goettingen and Erdgas Ehingen for moving to ratiopharm Ulm in January 2006 where he played until 2008. He helped Mike Taylor and ratiopharm Ulm reach the Beko BBL in 2006. In 2008-2009 he played for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners. Last season for PGE Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-PLK) he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 14pts, 6reb, 1ast, 1steal; EuroCup: 6 games: 9.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 64.3%; Polish League: 43 games: 9.0ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 60.7%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 74.3%. Rickey Paulding returns for a sixth season to Oldenburg. Paulding is a 30 year old 196cm guard/forward from Detroit, Michigan that is a exciting wing player. Natural position is small forward. Can play the 2 spot. Excels in the transition game, and is arguably one of the nation's most explosive leapers who can finish a play with highlight-reel ability. He played at Missouri from 2000-2004 with good friend Jimmy Mckinney. He reached the NCAA Final 8 in 2002. He was drafted by the by Detroit Pistons (NBA,2rd (54) in 2004. As a rookie, he played for Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel-Premier L.): ULEB Cup: 10 games: 9,2ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.6spg, FGP: 64.7%, 3Pts: 25.0%; Israeli Premier League: 22 games: 12.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 58.5%, 3FGP: 51.9%. In 2005-2006, he played for Adecco ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France-ProA): ULEB Cup: 12 games: 10.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 58.5%, 3FGP: 32.7%, FT: 70.4%; French League: 24 games: 9.7ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 69.8%. In 2006-2007, he played for BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA): FIBA EuroCup: 6 games: 16.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 65.8%, 3FGP: 37.5%, FT: 53.8%; French League: 33 games: 13.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 69.7%. Last season for Oldenburg, he palyed EuroChallenge: 12 games: 10.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 78.3%; German League: 34 games: 12.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 83.6%. He is a four time Beko BBL Allstar. 25 year old 207cm forward/center Robin Smeulders who has the Dutch/German citizenship is playing his third season in Oldenburg. He started his basketball career in 2004 for SG FT/MTV Braunschweig (Germany-2.Bundesliga) where he played until 2006. He then played four seasons at Portland (NCAA) where he played a total of 95 NCAA games. Last season for Oldenburg, he played EuroChallenge: 7 games: 4.3ppg, 4.3rpg; German League: 25 games: 4.5ppg, 3.9rpg. He has been with the Dutch national team since 2010 and last summer played Qualifications to European Championships 2013 -12: 8 games: 14.3ppg, 8.3rpg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.7%. Dominic Bahiense De Mello is a 27 year old 190cm guard that is playing his second season for Oldenburg. He started his career in 1999 for the Telekom Bonn Cadet Team. He then played for Rhondorf from 2001-2005. He then played for the Frankfurt Skyliners from 2005-2011 playing a total of 188 Beko BBL games and 214 total games. Last season for Oldenburg he played EuroChallenge: 12 games: 7.3ppg, 1.0rpg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 34 games: 4.2ppg, 1.5rpg. . Freese is a 26 year old 211cm center. .He played many years in Braunschweig, but never getting a real chance to showcase his talent until he got to Giessen in 2008. In the three years in Giessen, he played 76 beko BBL games. Last season for Oldenburg he played EuroChallenge: 6 games: 2.2ppg, 2.2rpg; German League: 17 games: 1.6ppg, 1.2rpg.
Karl Moore(203-PF-87, college: Culver Stockton) is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best... [read more]
Karl Moore (203-PF-87, college: Culver Stockton) is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande (NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to eurobasket about basketball and his next experience with the Crailsheim Merlins.
Karl thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome back to Germany. You have been only a short time in Crailsheim, but what has been the biggest difference there to when you were a rookie in Saarlouis? Hello Miles! Thanks for the opportunity. The biggest difference are the times that we practice. While in Saarlouis, I practiced once a day with the Pro B team during the night. Here In Crailsheim, I practice three times a day. Twice with the Pro A team and once with the Regionaliga team. Physically it is tough but mentally I cant say that it's something that I can't survive, because right now there is a person in Africa growing up in conditions that I can't survive.
In Saarlouis you had the best German regionaliga player of all time Ricky Easterling on your side. Will his explosive scoring mentality and ability always for some reason be in your thoughts because he made you a better player as a rookie? Yes, Ricky is one of the best players that I played with throughout my professional career. He has taught me so much on and off the court. From the first day that we met, he saw how much potential that I have as a player and only wanted to see the best for me. A scoring machine like him will never be forgotten about.
He was also a vital part in pushing you the last months as you were looking for a new team. A week ago he gave you advice to go back to Germany and go for the Crailsheim offer. Is he a friend for life? Yes, Ricky is a friend for life. When first hearing about the Crailsheim opportunity through Hans Beth (basketball-aid), Ricky was one of the few people that I contacted for advice upon taking the opportunity. I knew that the Crailsheim offer was going to be another sacrifice for me and my family. But when I looked at the opportunity within this opportunity to move up, I noticed that God was up to something. Sometimes in life when we are trying to figure things out, God has already worked it out.
You have signed with Crailsheim (Regionaliga) team which in a way is a step back, but there is a twist in that you can practice with the pro A team and this will promote your game as well as get the chance to possibly make their roster. If I recall correctly, didn't you always feel like that you could play in the Pro A?
Yes, during my rookie year, I averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds from off the bench while shooting 60% from the field in less then 20 minutes of game playing at the Pro B level. During that time, I strongly felt as if I can easily compete on the Pro A level.
You dominated at Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2) last season, but how hungry are you to demonstrate your basketball abilities in your third professional season?
Last season, I averaged 34 points a game out in Luxembourg at the N2 level. Before going separate ways with the club. I had an opportunity to play against an N1 club during a cup game. I finished that game with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 steals. Throughout my last two seasons, it felt as if I played with a chip on my shoulder which caused me to go hard for my team. Here I am in my third professional season and it feel as if I am in the underdog seat once again. The hunger is still there and it's go be interesting to see how far that it will take my God given abilities on the court once again as I help reach the club goals for this upcoming season.
How have the first few days been like in Crailsheim? Did you know any of the guys and how have the Pro A players taken you in?
The first few days for me in Crailsheim has been tough. My sleeping pattern is all messed and my body is trying to adjust to the three a day practices that I have to attend. Other than that, my time out here is going good so far. This club is very professional and family orientated, I feel as if we are one big family. I love the fact of that because back at home family is all I got. Last week was my first time meeting all the players. They have taken me in quickly. They seem to have a grasp of what I bring to the team and constantly give me advice throughout practice so that I can be up to speed with the team system.
You are playing with some very well known players that have performed at the BBL and Pro A level. Now that you are practicing with these very talented players how much is your self confidence rising in that you know that you can compete with them? I am a workaholic and within that territory comes confidence to compete on any level. Here in Crailsheim, while competing with these experienced guys in practice. I am still trying to figure out the team identity and players personal. In which causes me to think extremely a lot on the court which takes away from my ability. By next week, I am confident that I will have everything figured out in my head, which will then cause me to think less and the flow of things will become more smoothly.
You recently showed your abilities in an exhibition game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (BBL) in a 77-67 loss, but you held your own scoring 8 points in nine minutes. How happy were you with your own performance?
I wasn't happy with my own performance because we lost in a game that I felt was winnable. As a team we had made some mistakes in which we are correcting during practice. But I understand that it is still early and this is only preseason. With the great coaching staff that we have, the potential of this team will definitely be where it needs to be before regular season begin.
What have been the biggest differences in style that you have witnessed now at the BBL/Pro A level that you had never seen before as a professional? I don't see much of a different style but the players are much taller and stronger. Its like the higher the league the better the Germans are.
You played against many top players in Europe with guys like Chad Toppert or Alex Ruoff. Is at times difficult to calm your own emotions and not get too motivated about performing very well? To be honest with you I don't get excited when I am playing against top players. I know how to find motivation within myself regardless of how high or low the competition is. When out there playing against top players, my goal is grind harder than them. I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
What has it been like going against ex German national player Konrad Wysocki? He guarded Lebron James at the 2008 Olympics and at age 34 can still compete with the best of them? It was just another day in the office for me. He is getting up there with age but I believe that he still has the juice.
Patrick Flomo is a true professional and still lives above the rim at age 36. Is he a guy that you feel will be able to give you the right pointers as the season progresses? Patrick is a vet. He has been playing the game for quite some time. He even played Regionaliga as well before playing in top leagues. From the first day of practice, he gave me advice right away. Every right pointer that he has given me, I am quick to listen. He is one of the players that constantly stays on me during practice. I couldn't ask for a better teammate.
What things on your game are you working on in hopes that you can continue to be a consistent performer with the pro A guys and continue to compete for a role on the team of Thomas IIsalo? Let me start off by saying that coach Thomas is one hell of a coach. Very down to earth man. He understands the game of basketball inside out. I love his passion for the game in which makes me go harder when he feels as if we as a team is not playing to the best of our ability. Some of the things that I am working on is becoming a leader and being more under control with my quickness. I am an extremely athletic player in which causes me to be a little wild at times.
You obviously can't forget your duties with Regionaliga team Crailsheim 2. Could you feel some pressure down the road having to put up high consistent stats or can you erase those thoughts? Just because it's a regionaliga league, I don't think that it will just be a walk in the park but at the same time I don't feel under pressure at all. Coach Kai Buchmann is also a great coach and experienced being that he used to coach Pro A. He already gave me the blue print and I'm ready to go get it. Both clubs have one goal in mind which is to win nothing less than a championship. Throughout my last two professional seasons, I set all type of personal records to scoring 54 points in a game to grabbing over 20 rebounds. One thing that I haven't done yet was win a championship. I worked hard all summer before an opportunity was even given. Now it's time to go win that gold and hang a banner.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick? #1 LeBron James, #2 Michael Jordan, #3 Magic Johnson, #4 Wilt Chamberlain
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game? It puts him at #1 in my eyes.
When Shavon Shields (201-G-94) was born in 1994, his dad Will had just started his professional football career which would span 13 years and an amazing 12 pro Bowl appearances, but now 22 years later, his dad will be able to sit back and watch his son Shavon embark on a professional basketball career in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners. The club gave him a one year deal. His dad Will did the dirty work in the Kansas City Cheifs offense blocking and producing holes for the running backs... [read more]
When Shavon Shields (201-G-94) was born in 1994, his dad Will had just started his professional football career which would span 13 years and an amazing 12 pro Bowl appearances, but now 22 years later, his dad will be able to sit back and watch his son Shavon embark on a professional basketball career in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners. The club gave him a one year deal. His dad Will did the dirty work in the Kansas City Cheifs offense blocking and producing holes for the running backs like Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson to weave and gain yardage successfully while son Shavon will be responsible for scoring production as a rookie in Frankfurt. Shavon Shields (201-G-94) is a 22 year old 201cm forward from Olathe, Kansas that also has the Danish citzenship as his mother is Danish and had an illustrious college basketball career at Nebraska (NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing a total of 118 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 16.9ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.0%."Shavon was a 4 year starter at Nebraska in one of best divisions. He was captain there and comes from a big sports family. His play and academics are witness to a good charachter. He is an allrounder and tough. He does many small things not seen on the floor", expressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert. Shields was very consistent as a senior scoring in double figures in 26 of 29 games. He had some monster games against Purdue with 32 points, 28 points against powerhouse Michigan State and 28 points against ex Fraport Skyliner Anthony King's school Miami.
Shields started his basketball career at Nebraska in 2012 and as a freshman played 28 games averaging 8.6ppg, 5.1rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 67.6%. In his second season he played 30 games averaging 12.4ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%. In his junior season he played 31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 19.5%, FT: 82.7%. After finishing at Nebraska, he played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) in April playing 3 games averaging13.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.7apg, 2.3spg. Recently he played at the NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Orlando Blue): 2 games: 2.5ppg, 1.5rpg. "I spoke to coach Herbert about the program in Frankfurt. He said it was their goal to make players better and develop them further. He was overjoyed with everything happening in Frankfurt and I am looking forward to it. My task in college was to score and get to the basket. With Frankfurt I will do all that coach demands from me and what the team needs. I will give my best", stressed Shavon Shields.
Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been Danish U20 National Team -13, All-Big Ten Honorable Mention -14, Big Ten All-Sportsmanship Team -14, Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-District 7 1st Team -15, Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-America 1st Team -15, Danish National Team -15, CoSIDA NCAA Division I Academic All-District 7 1st Team -16, CoSIDA NCAA Division I Academic All-America 1st Team -16, All-Big Ten 2nd Team -16, and Big Ten All-Tournament Team -16.
Alex Foster(203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3... [read more]
Alex Foster (203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to eurobasket before the exhibition game August 25th against the Fraport Skyliners at Wiesbaden Airbase with all proceeds goingto the Basketball Aid foundation.
Alex thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your second season now with the RheinStars. When you look back at your rookie season and progression of your German, what was your most used German sentence? I always say 'eben so,' after someone wishes me 'ein schoenen Tag' at the grocery or bakery. A lot of my German teammates tease me for using that phrase, because I guess it's more formal than what they're used to. Or maybe it's because it's a Southern-German thing. My mom's family is Schwabisch.
Last season you were a rookie and new to a new culture and new club. Now in your second season what have been the biggest advantages that you have in comparison to last season around this time?
It's really nice coming back to the same surroundings in Cologne. I'm in the same apartment as last season and feel more like home than last season. The biggest advantage, however, are the relationships I'm coming back to. Especially with Coach Woltmann.
The club has been together for some weeks now. How has the preparation gone from your stand point? The club brought in four new players. How is the current team shaping up? Our preseason has been going really well. The club organized a new practice facility for us, in which we've been putting in the time and effort to take the club to the next level. The new guys have fit in seamlessly and we've spending lots of time together on and off the court.
In comparison to last season's team is this team as strong as last season's on paper? Stronger.
You played your first pre season game recently against Schwelm. How pleased were you with the team and on what areas does the new team still need to work on?
We still have lots of room for improvement, but it felt good to suit up together for the first time. There were some segments where we played really well, but going forward, I'd like to see us assert ourselves for the entire 40 minutes.
Last season Lakeem Jackson was a key point of the offense and this season the club got Hugh Robertson. What does he bring to the table that will help the team most? Hugh is a talented player and a natural leader. He's got all the skills to take over a game, but he also knows how to elevate the level of the team as a whole.
Amric Fields has come in to replace Aaron Jones. Fields had 16/7 stats last season in Slovenia. What has been your early impression of him and can he be a dominating Pro A player with consistency?
Amric is one of the most talented players I've played with. He's got athleticism to go with a smooth stroke, which makes him a nightmare matchup in practice and for the rest of the league for sure.
The club also brought in 202cm forward Robin Christen who has established himself in the Pro A with Essen and Hanau. How challenging has it been battling him in practice on a daily basis?
Robin can do it all. We definitely push each other in practice, but we have the most fun when we're put on the same team. We have a natural sense for finding scoring opportunities for each other.
216cm center German Dennis Heinzmann is a big German talent and project. How has his development been coming a long. Dennis is the guy on the team that everybody gravitates towards. He brings tremendous energy every day. You can't even compare where he's at now to the beginning of last season, when we matched up with him in Leverkusen. He's gotten so much better and I know will continue to develop into a dominant force in German basketball.
You and David Downs will lead the team this season. Do you feel any pressure that you have to step up your game a bit at the start to get the team and new players going?
I felt the pressure to get better all summer, which I did. Now back in Cologne, I feel confident enough to where I can worry less about my own game and focus on bringing the team together.
What has been your main focus in the preseason. What parts of your game are you working especially hard on? Defense. I always try to keep my matchup from scoring, along with helping my teammates within our defensive concept.
How confident are you that you will be able to raise your game even higher from last season? I improved my game this summer and have better players around me, so I'm very confident that I'll be able to play at a higher level. I feel that way about all my teammates too.
How excited are you about playing an exhibition game against the Fraport Skyliners on the Wiesbaden Army Airbase which is the headquarters of the United States Army Europe. Will this be one of the more unusual places that you have played a game before? I look forward to any chance to match up with a BBL opponent. Ultimately, that's the level our team wants to play at, so I'm excited to show that we can hang with those guys. I've also been hearing a lot of good thigs about the Army base and I hope we can show the service members our best. It's going to be a special game for sure.
The proceeds of this special game will go to the Basketball Aid which supports kids effected by cancer. The RheinStars jumped in for Northeastern who dropped out. How important is it for you to be a part of this important cause?
It's a personally important cause for me. My grandfather is currently battling cancer. I also lost a teammate to cancer in the 6th grade. I think what Basketball Aid is doing is great and I'm excited to be a part of it.
Your good friend from Emory Will Trawick will play for Rhondorf this season. Recently you showed him Cologne city. What has made this friendship so special? We've been through a lot together, so it's fitting that he's starting his professional playing career only 50 km away. I plan on watching him play as much as I can and I know we'll find time to hang out away from basketball too. He's a super smart dude so we can talk about anything and the conversation is always interesting.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
That's a tough question that I don't think can really be answered, but I will say that Lebron has won me over again. After 'The Decision' I was pretty critical of his self-indulgence, but I respect him as a player and leader again.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose? I'd make it my favorite players from my childhood: T-Mac, Nash, Dirk, and B-Roy.
What was the last movie that you saw? Captain Fantastic. You gotta see it!
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