UnNews:Ratzinger returns to first pro team

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5 March 2008

PopeBasketball

Ratzinger doing what he does best on the court.

BONN, Germany — The Bonn Sturmbälle signed center Joseph Ratzinger, who was released Friday by the Vatican Legnamelupi.

The 49-year veteran signed a free-agent deal with the Sturmbälle, the team he started his career with in 1959. Ratzinger was traded to Vatican in 2005 for Karol Wojtyła, and has also played for Berlin, Münster, Munich, and Boston.

"It's great to be back," Ratzinger said Tuesday night. "I feel like I'm home again."

Ratzinger only played 10 games for Vatican this season. The Legnamelupi agreed to buy out his contract in order to let him play for a contender.

"Vatican was very gracious about working with me, and when Bonn said they wanted me, it was an easy decision," Ratzinger said. "I've been on a lot of bad teams, and now I'm at a point in my career where I'm looking to get off the bench."

It helped that Sturmbälle president Jürgen Rüttgers and assistant coach Wolfgang Clement are both old teammates of Ratzinger's, as is reserve guard Paul Göbbels.

"Joseph will give us a solid veteran presence in the locker room and add depth to our front line," Rüttgers said. "Having started his career here in Bonn, he understands the culture of our organization and what is expected."

Sturmbälle coach Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said that Ratzinger could play as soon as Wednesday in Lincolnshire.

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