Pauldingburg is back: Rickey Paulding entering season 15 with six new teammates
OLDENBURG (Germany) - EWE Baskets Oldenburg are back in the Basketball Champions for the first time since 2018. They brought in six new players to face this challenge, but the team legend is still there.
Rickey Paulding will enter his 15th season with the club, having signed with the yellow and blue team back in 2007. He has overseen the biggest of successes for the club, and the fans love his commitment to the program so much that they are ready to rename their town to Pauldingburg.
Along with the powerful forward, coach Mladen Drijencic is also enjoying a long term stay in Lower Saxony. Drijencic took over back in March 2015, and is ready for another international push after not playing continental events in 2020-21.
Here's what coach Drijencic has on his board:
Max Heidegger is coming in to handle the duties at one and two positions. The American-Israeli player spent his first professional season with Bnei Herzliya, on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv, and it was a successful period for him because he averaged 18.2 points per game, including a 43-point outing in a win over Maccabi Haifa. He is 24 years old, stands at 6'3''/1.91m, and enjoyed a fine college career with UC Santa Barbara.
While Heidegger can find points from the backcourt, the 23-year-old Bennet Hundt will be there to find the impossible assists again. We have met him while he was with Brose Bamberg last season, and had games with double digit assists, a lot of them coming off of his left hand dribbles and penetrations.
Michal Michalak is another familiar face in the Basketball Champions League circles. The 27-year-old forward grew up with LKS Lodz, spent three seasons with Trefl Sopot, before going through Polski Cukier Torun, PGE Turow, Germani Brescia, Casademont Zaragoza, Anwil Wloclawek, Legia Warszawa and Mitteldeutscher BC. Michalak plays for the Polish national team, and was a part of the U17 team that finished second in the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2010.
TJ Holyfield is a 26-year-old power forward, but only entering his second season as a professional basketball player. The 6'8''/2.03m tall player spent three years with Stephen F. Austin, then redshirted the 2018-19 season and made the move to Texas Tech. In 2020-21, he played with Kauhajoki Karhu in Finland, averaging 14.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Alen Pjanic is a 24-year-old forward who is ready for his first experience out of Giessen. He spent the last five seasons with JobStairs Giessen 46ers, and has games with 20 points or 5 three-pointers in his curriculum vitae.
Tai Odiase will take the hole in the middle left once Rasid Mahalbasic left the club after four years of dominating the German League. Odiase is 6'9''/2.06m tall 26-year-old who played for Lenovo Tenerife, Lavrio, Greensboro Swarm and BG Gottingen in his professional career. Odiase averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in the easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga last season.