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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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Postgame video from win over Tennessee

Late finish made it difficult to finish this Monday night, but here are some postgame comments from Coach Kampe, Drew Valentine (camera cuts him off) and Reggie Hamilton.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Greg Kampe continues to suit up

Oakland coach Greg Kampe has been making it a habit to wear suits at Oakland's games this season. He may lose the jacket early in the game, but he's been ditching the tried and true sweater vest. In a "Coach's Corner" interview with Neal Ruhl, Kampe said he's had a special suit made for Monday's game against Tennessee. He indicated it will match the Oakland uniforms, but didn't say what color it is: White or just black and gold. He did, though, assure fans "It will be ugly as all get out."

Friday, November 25, 2011

ESPN won't make that mistake again

ESPN's coverage of the women's final from the Summit League Tournament last March was most noted not for the game, but the factual errors made by the network's broadcasting team. The four-letter network took the proactive step, assigning Clay Matvick and noted analyst Tim McCormick on the game. 
Regarding the mistakes of the network's previous missteps, Dan Steir, ESPNU senior coordinating producer, said the following in a statement: 
"ESPN strives for accuracy. The personnel involved with ESPNU's content pride themselves on providing the most detailed and accurate information. Unfortunately, with over 5,000 hours of live inventory, mistakes will occur. As a network we do our best to correct those errors in a timely manner and continue to learn and improve along the way."
ESPN covers college basketball all around the country at the most prestigious arenas the game has ever seen. The network is confident viewers will see a great scene. 
“We see all kinds of venues, the small, large and everything in-between," said Nick Dawson, ESPN's director of programming and acquisitions.  "A jam-packed, 3,000-seat arena is what we’re looking for. Whether it’s 3,000 or 10 to 12,000 seats, what translates well on TV is a great atmosphere and a full arena with fans that are passionate about their team and fired up for the game."
Oakland expects a standing-room only crowd Monday night for the 9 p.m. tipoff. 
Although the O'rena was built to accompany the burgeoning program's rise in cache, Oakland coach Greg Kampe has bigger plans.
“I’m hoping we grow out of it. I’m hoping we get to the day where there just aren’t enough seats," he said. 
Monday will definitely be one of those days.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Keith Benson returning to campus

Oakland alum Keith Benson will have his number retired at halftime of Monday's game against Tennessee, which will be broadcast on ESPNU at 9 p.m. Benson will be  the third Oakland player to have his jersey retired, joining No. 5 Scott Bittinger ('84-'88) and No. 1 Rawle Marshall ('02-'05).When the banners were taken down for the recent GOP debate at the O'rena, the previous banners for Bittinger and Marshall were replaced and moved from the north to the south end of the arena, next to the scoreboard, as seen in the grainy cellphone picture above.
Benson was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks No. 48 in June's NBA draft and worked out with the team sparingly before the NBA lockout began July 1. He played briefly in Italy until recently. 

... Also, Oakland's Dec. 20 tip at No. 23 Arizona will be carried on Fox Sports Detroit Plus and may be moved to FSD's primary channel if the Pistons' game is canceled due to the NBA lockout.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

O'rena touch-ups include rearranging banners

The campus at Oakland University was getting fixed up here and there to prepare for the CNBC Republican Debate last Wednesday. The debate was also a good excuse to shuffle the order of the men's and women's teams' Summit League championship and NCAA tournament banners. They were stowed away during the debate, as fans may have noticed, and then arranged by classification, i.e. NCAA banners together, with the heavy equipment the university otherwise wouldn't have had a need for. 
“I wanted to change the order of them anyway and it turned out good,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “If they want to put the cameras up there to show the banners, all the NCAA banners and Summit tournament banners are all together instead of chronological order."
Security around campus was tight all day Wednesday and the basketball teams weren't allowed to use the facilities for a week leading up to the event.
"We got great attention," Kampe said, noting Oakland's popularity in Google searches last week. "The O’rena looked phenomenal on TV and the university looked great. It was a real success and I’m very happy about it.”
The arena, opened in Nov. 1998, got some TLC such as a coat of shimmering finish on the stairs of the main stands. 
“They really spiced up the building. They did a lot of painting ... the building is 13 years old, so it was in need of some of that. So it was good. The timing was perfect," Kampe said. 
The University was even displayed prominently in the opening of "Saturday Night Live" last night.
The O'rena will be ready for its next spotlight, Nov. 28, as ESPN comes to Rochester for the first time. Fans will have their first chance to see the results of the makeover beginning Nov. 25, when the Golden Grizzlies play five straight games on campus.
 Attendance records are expected to be broken when Tennessee visits, leaving some to wonder if the O'rena could ever be expanded. 
"(That) can’t be done, Kampe said. “We looked into it and it cannot be expanded. The pool is on one side and the framework would not allow for it.
“If we wanted to do something, we either have to play at The Palace or build an 8,000 seat arena."
Sounds like the spiffed up O'rena will remain home to the Grizzlies for a while. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday will be big for Oakland hoops, too

By now you know the GOP Debate will be occupying the O'rena Wednesday night, but the Golden Grizzlies are going to make noise as well. Oakland is expected to sign Detroit Crockett's Lloyd Neely and Michael Lewis from Slidell, La. on Signing Day.
Neely, a 6-foot-5 forward, was an all-state selection last season. 
Neely was considering the University of Detroit, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Akron, according to his coach, Juan Rickman.
ESPN ranks Neely 70th at his position. 
Lewis is a 6-foot-10 forward who played for Dynasty in AAU.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Scholarship stipend might leave some conferences at a disadvantage, Kampe says

Last week, the NCAA decided to allow schools to give students an additional $2,000 in scholarship money to account for the "true cost of attendance" in an attempt to appease the "pay student-athletes" movement. Conferences will be able to opt-in to begin allocated the additional funds.
Oakland coach Greg Kampe said that could put smaller conferences, such as the Summit League, at a disadvantage in recruiting.
"It's a big deal," he said. "If you're being recruited and one school can give you $2,000 and the other can't, where are you going to go?
"It's the new wave of where things are going. I'm old. I've been around a long time and I've seen a lot of things come and go. This could last a few years and it could be gone, too. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully our league will be proactive about it."

CNBC's Darren Rovell, host of "Sports Biz" on Versus, said it will be "harder than you think for middle of the road schools" to offer the additional funds in an ESPN interview.
The Argus Leader reports individual schools would have the right to decide to offer the stipend if the Summit League were to approve it and could even decide which sports are eligible and for what amount.
Additionally, the NCAA has also loosened recruiting restrictions, such as contact with recruits like allowing unlimited texting. 
It's a new day in college recruiting and it will be worth watching how it affects Oakland.
UPDATE: The Horizon League, a fellow mid-major conference home to such programs as Valparaiso, Butler and Detroit, announced Monday it will be adopting the "cost of living" increase for men's and women's basketball. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exhibition affords Kampe more time to tinker

There were points during Wednesday's exhibition where Oakland coach Greg Kampe ran with the much-anticipated five-guard lineup, something he expects to use once the Golden Grizzlies reach conference play.
The much-heralded backcourt of Laval Lucas-Perry and Reggie Hamilton were rarely seen together, but that's unexpected during the regular season.
“We played little guys for a while there," Kampe said. "A lot is dependent on (Blake Cushingberry). If he plays well, he’s going to get minutes. You're going to see Reggie and Laval a lot. They’re going to play 30 minutes a night, so they’re going to have to be out there together. We’re going to play 31 games and I might not know my lineup after 30."
Hamilton logged 20 minutes and Lucas-Perry just 18, scoring a team-high 15 points. Hamilton had 13.
“It’s a team of interchangeable parts," Kampe said. "The guys that have it going are going to play." 
Kampe opted to start Cushingberry Wednesday citing his desire to have a scoring presence off the bench. Cushingberry had nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, getting his footing after an early airball.
The move worked to perfection against Spring Arbor, it's likely Windsor will provide more of a test in Tuesday's final exhibition. The Lancers split with Oakland in mid-August, when the Grizzlies embarked on a three-game Canadian excursion.

Corey Petros impresses in game action

Freshman Corey Petros led the Golden Grizzlies with 10 rebounds paired with eight points in Wednesday's exhibition victory vs. Spring Arbor, earning praise from coach Greg Kampe.
“Petros showed everybody what we’ve been saying about him that he’s got a chance to be the next great big at Oakland," Kampe said.
Oakland outrebounded Spring Arbor, 46-24, maintaining its preseason dominance on the boards.
“His first stint out there wasn’t very good," Kampe said. "That was expected, but he came back and handled the game very well and played his tail off. He got us a lot of second chances. In the future, as he grows, he’s going to score more with that instead of kicking out the ball. The way we can shoot it, (that’s) a wide-open 3." 
The Grizzlies proved capable of hitting those shots Wednesday, shooting 10 of 24 from long range, led by Travis Bader's four 3s. 
“Our other freshmen were very freshman-ish," Kampe said of Matt Poches, Dante Williams and Korab Imami.
"Poches showed some very good signs of why we recruited him. Sikora was outstanding in his first stint."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

GRIZZ TALK: Season debut

Oakland University coach Greg Kampe and guards Laval Lucas-Perry and Reggie Hamilton talk about the upcoming season.

Click the names below to watch full interviews:
Greg Kampe
Laval Lucas-Perry
Reggie Hamilton

Two more Oakland games added to FSD lineup

The TV and radio lineup was announced today, adding the Jan. 26 home game vs. South Dakota State and Feb. 11 vs. IPFW to the Fox Sports Detroit slate of Oakland games, in addition to the previously announced Dec. 10 showdown with U-M at The Palace.
WDFN-AM (1130) will carry all but three Oakland road games as well as the Tennessee game from the O'rena Nov. 28 and the Feb. 18 Bracketbuster game. That game will be carried by ESPNU, marking the first time the four-letter network has been to the campus in Rochester.
Fox Sports Arizona will carry the Dec. 20 meeting between the Golden Grizzlies and the Wildcats.