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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oakland baseball anchored by area talents

As the Oakland baseball team begins play at the Summit League Tournament Thursday, one thing to remember is the team is being carried by Oakland County talent. Head coach John Musachio doesn't always get the biggest names from the area, but he's made his recruits count, as the Grizzlies are making just their fourth visit to the conference tournament, and first since 2006.
The No. 4-seeded Grizzlies take on No. 1 South Dakota State, which earned a share of the regular-season title with the Oral Roberts, at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Kyle Teague (Oxford) and Matt LaMothe (Troy Athens) steady the pitching corps., and Auburn Hills Oakland Christian alum Tommy Jablonski is the team's leading hitter, batting .369.
“We definitely focus our efforts on Oakland County and the eastern part of Michigan," Musachio said. “There’s a lot of talent locally. If we can get out there and keep the boys home, getting them to play at Oakland, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.
“The hard work that has gone on recruiting and trying to be (active), is really paying dividends."
The Grizzlies also have Clarkston grad Eric Ogg patrolling the outfield, Rochester Adams' Mark Leichtman, tall Lake Orion righty Connor Mielock, Teague's high school teammate Russell Luxton and Southfield Christian alum Ryan Schario.
This year's team should be a considerable help in making the Grizzlies a perennial contender in the Summit League, much like No. 2 seed Oral Roberts.
“We’re really excited about making the conference tournament, and one thing I’ve said before, it’s a goal of ours (to make the NCAA tournament) as it was this year, and we’re just looking to build upon that each year by making the conference tournament. Hopefully, steady improvement will put us in a position to compete for a regular-season and tournament championships,” Musachio said.

Saddi Washington to be inducted to Western Michigan hall

Oakland men's assistant coach Saddi Washington will enter the Western Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall. Washington starred for the Broncos for four seasons, eventually leading them to an NCAA tournament victory over Clemson in 1998.
Washington is a two time All-Mid-American Conference pick and was conference freshman of the year in 1994 and still holds a high position in many of the Broncos' all-time offensive statistical categories.
Washington has been with the Grizzlies for four seasons and was instrumental in helping point guard Johnathon Jones' development into one of the nation's best assist men.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Grizz Gang season schedule

Slowly, but surely, we're finding out who the Golden Grizzlies are going to play next season. When when, still isn't clear.
No, the actual schedule still hasn't been released, but there is a notice on the Oakland website for season ticket purchases and one of the men's games included in the list, aside from typical Summit League opponents, is another "home" game against Michigan State at The Palace.
Dates for individual games are unavailable.
Also of note, there is a holiday tournament listed, which includes four games. Season tickets include the games for the tournament at the O'Rena, but it's unclear how many there will be.
I've also heard the schedule will include Purdue, Michigan, Illinois and West Virginia.
The Oakland women will host Illinois and Penn State of the Big Ten in their non-conference slate.
Can't wait for the full tilt to be announced and the speculation for the 2010-11 season to begin in earnest.

Monday, May 10, 2010

OU recruit Jenna Bachrouche getting kicks back on the soccer field

Incoming Oakland recruit Jenna Bachrouche has been playing tenacious defense this spring – and it hasn’t been on the hardwood. The 6-footer has been starting in net for the North Farmington girls soccer team, and is not only winning, but is 4-1, with all four wins coming in shutouts. She picked up her most recent blanking Monday, when the Raiders beat cross-town rival Farmington Hills Harrison, 4-0.
“The defense has been protecting me a lot, I wouldn’t really have all the shutouts I’ve had without them. It’s been fun, I’ve been having a blast,” Bachrouche said.

Bachrouche verbally committed to Beckie Francis’ program last summer, but made it official during the early signing period last November. She was surprised Francis gave her the blessing to play soccer, noting her friends on the team really pushed her to return to the squad after a two-year absence.

“It was surprising. I was hesitant to ask them, but I went for it and I’m really glad I have their support,” she said.

Bachrouche injured her knee on the first day of tryouts in her sophomore season, and just wanted to focus on basketball her junior year.

“I thought I was going to hang up the shoes, but this year, my friends encouraged me to do it and it would be a good way to stay in shape, I figure why not?,” Bachrouche said.

Raiders coach Tim Russell said Bachrouche is intimidating in net, and had she been between the pipes her entire career at North Farmington, she could have been an all-state goalkeeper.

“She's got a lot of foot skills that help her out. She likes playing in net because it helps her out with her basketball skills,” Russell said.

Bachrouche averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this year for the Raiders girls basketball team, finishing her career with 1,218 career points.

Bachrouche comes from a family rooted in soccer, where all four children played the sport. Her sister, Katya, is now a swimmer at the University of Virginia.


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Friday, May 7, 2010

Graduation Day

One day after saying he would withdraw his name from NBA Draft consideration, Oakland center Keith Benson crossed the stage at Meadowbrook to accept his diploma. Also graduating at the May 1 commencement were PG Johnathon Jones and F Derick Nelson.

(A friend of mine included this photo of Jones and Nelson in a photo gallery following the ceremony.)