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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.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oakland freshmen continue to make strides

Oakland coach Greg Kampe was quick to point out after Thursday's 101-83 win over South Dakota that the Grizzlies played well through what could have been a mental letdown after an emotional win over Tennessee Monday. Starting two freshmen in that situation could have been troublesome to other teams, but not Oakland.
Kampe can't praise Corey Petros enough and fans can now see why, as Oakland has played three straight games at home, including one on ESPNU. Petros got his second double-double of the season in just Oakland's seventh game, picking up 10 points and 10 rebounds Thursday vs. South Dakota.
Petros has been joined by true freshman Dante Williams, a long and athletic trump card for Kampe's lineup. Williams is averaging just two points per game in his 16 minutes per game average as as starter, but it's his presence that Kampe can't get enough of.
“He brings something to the table we don’t have and that’s a body between 6-foot-5 and 6-9," Kampe said. "He’s 6-6, he’s long and athletic and when he’s on the floor, he’s not a guy that looks to score. It’s comforting to have one guy out there who doesn’t have to have the basketball in his hands.” 
Kampe likes to compare Williams to another former freshman he couldn't get enough of: Drew Valentine.  
“You have to have a glue guy," Kampe said. "That role player. Two years from now, he’s going to be starting for us, but right now, he’s similar to Valentine was, he’s playing a role and I’m very pleased with how he’s playing it.”  
Kyle Sikora had his best game of the season, getting his most significant playing time ,10 minutes, contributing nine points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with six rebounds. 
“He was playing against our league, not Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee," Kampe said. "He got some good minutes tonight because they have a couple big guys and that was a good matchup to have him running around chasing some 6-7 guy, which will happen in our league at times. He’s not ready for (BCS opponents), but he’s ready for a 6-10 guy like he saw tonight. I’m pleased he played with confidence and tried to score.
"Our freshmen centers had 19 points and 16 rebounds in a league game. That’s pretty good production," Kampe said. 
Being Thursday's game was just the first of 18 conference games, all three freshmen should continue to see the ball coming their way. 

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