Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Tim Ohlbrecht, who has made the jump to the NBA in signing with the increasingly interesting (and increasingly European-spiced) Houston Rockets – and whoa, are some Germany-based news outlets excited.

In reporting on the contract, which has the former Frankfurt Skyliners/Telekom Baskets Bonn/Rio Grande Valley Vipers big man locked in with Houston through this season plus a club option through 2014-15, Bild labels Ohlbrecht “der nächste Nowitzki” while getting positively giddy about the possibility of the 24-year-old matching up against Dirk (and sidekick Chris Kaman) when the Rockets face the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Der Spiegel meanwhile quotes recently-hired Team Germany head coach Frank Menz as stating that he was “impressed by Tim’s development in the U.S., particularly [in athleticism],” noting that “It shows great will and ambition to [get to the NBA] the hard way, through the D-League.”

Less than a week ago, Ohlbrecht’s agent Tyler Glass informed Sportando that his client had turned down a 10-day contract offer from the Boston Celtics; in hindsight, this appears quite the shrewd move by Glass, who perhaps knew of the much more attractive offer from the playoff-contending Rockets.

After four seasons with Giants Leverkusen and Brose Baskets Bamberg, Ohlbrecht declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft back in 2010, but his name went uncalled. He returned to the German Bundesliga thereafter to play with Bonn and Frankfurt in turn before reentering the Rockets system this season with the D-League Vipers; his stat line there includes marks of 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. And since 2008, Ohlbrecht has played summers with Team Germany.

Ohlbrecht appears to have benefited from Houston’s trades of Cole Aldrich and Patrick Patterson near to the deadline and should get some good minutes in entering the Rockets depth chart as no. 3 center behind Omer Asik and Donatas Motiejunas. He becomes the third German citizen in the NBA after Nowitzki and Kaman, and will become the eighth-ever German to play in the big league once he takes the floor.

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