|Germany U18 coach Kay Blümel in Oldenburg|
The youth programme of EuroChallenge side EWE Baskets Oldenburg has been named one of only three bases for excellent youth development by the German Basketball Federation DBB.
Good news come in handy for the EWE Baskets with their season being rather turbulent so far.
While their EuroChallenge campaign has been more than solid with only two losses in ten games and good chances of progressing to the Quarter-Finals, the northern German club is struggling domestically.
In a battle of EuroChallenge sides they received a heavy beating by the Telekom Baskets Bonn in front of their home fans on Wednesday and are now just outside the play-off ranks on ninth spot.
The youth programme though, has only seen positive reports so far.
The Baskets Akademie Weser-Ems, which is how the programme is called, offers good practice and education conditions from the U16 up to senior level.
The second men's team of the club is about to win promotion to Germany's third division ProB and the U19 and U16 teams compete in their respective youth Bundesliga.
A cooperation with a school, providing support for the professional life of the teenagers is also in place, together with professional medical and coaching staff.
"Oldenburg for us is a real lighthouse in a part of Germany, which usually is rather a dark spot on our map" stated U18 national team coach Kay Blümel.
The long-time DBB coach and his colleagues will be on site regularly from now on for performance checks and individual practice with the most talented players from Oldenburg and the surrounding areas.
"We want to support our talented youngsters on their way to the first division in the best possible way" explains Youth Coordinator Ralph Held.
"Thanks to the close cooperation with the DBB it will be much easier to get the players ready for their roles on the youth national teams."
Oldenburg native Jan Wimberg is one positive example.
The 2.02 m tall wing player featured on the Germany side that stormed out to win their first four games at the U16 European Championship before crashing to five straight defeats and finishing 8th.
The best thing about it: Wimberg is born in 1996 and is eligible on the U16 level for one more year.