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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, December 28, 2011

What a difference two years makes

Former point guard Johnathon Jones, a four-year starter under Greg Kampe, visited practice Tuesday. He made light of the obvious difference between the last team he captained in 2009-10 and this year’s squad.
“We had a different system (with Keith Benson),” Jones said. “They’re more up and down and shoot a lot of jump shots.”
That they do. Especially 3-pointers. Oakland has taken 353 to be exact, but are connecting on just 31 percent of those. Those numbers will likely increase during conference play, as they typically do. The Grizzlies will be putting up a lot more points if they can boost that percentage even single percentage points, as 40 percent of Oakland’s shots are coming from beyond the arc.
The Grizzlies' field-goal percentage was 45 percent, their 3-point percentage was just 32 percent Jones’ final season, but Oakland’s offense was predicated around its big men, Benson and forward Will Hudson.
“When you have a 7-footer and a 6-8, 6-9 guy, you try to use that,” Jones said. “Here, they have a lot of wings and Coach Kampe is just using his strength.”
The Grizzlies are ranked No. 66 in offensive efficiency, but are still shooting just 43 percent through 14 games. Drew Valentine (54 percent) and Corey Petros (50 percent) are the only starters shooting better than 50 percent. Excluding those two players, nobody in the rotation who has played in all 14 games has shot better than Reggie Hamilton’s 42 percent.
The Grizzlies shot a season-low (35 percent) in the season’s second game at Arkansas Nov. 16, but their best performance (52 percent) came Dec. 7 against Ohio, a two-point loss.
The Grizzlies’ coaches and players would be the first to tell you, their biggest strength has yet to be realized.

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