The Golden Grizzlies will be smaller and younger when the season begins in November. It's fortunate for them, Oakland is taking part in the Tipoff Classic in Windsor Friday-Monday with three exhibitions, two against the University of Windsor and another against Western Ontario. In addition, the Grizzlies will be granted 10 practices that won't count against them when the season begins.
The team's freshmen, three true and two red-shirts, will be the most likely to benefit from the extra time.
"Three or four freshmen are going to play a major role (this season)," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "We need to see them under fire."
The Grizzlies' defense was anchored by NBA draft pick Keith Benson in recent seasons, but with his departure, their defense will be in flux. Having played mostly man-on-man schemes, the Grizzlies are expecting to return to zone matchups.
"(Benson's) skills didn't fit what that defense did. We put in the vault, now we're smaller, we're going to play some zone," Kampe said.
"We're excited to see how good this defense can be."
Oakland's schedule is as follows:
- Saturday, at Windsor, 2 p.m.
- Sunday, at Windsor, 4 p.m.
- Monday, at Western Ontario, 7 p.m.
Teams are eligible for foreign trips every four years. Oakland visited Toronto in 2006, opting not to visit Canada last season because they already had a veteran-laden team.
Kampe said he had originally thought about visiting the intense competition of South America.
Western Ontario also plays Virginia Tech next Wednesday.
Tickets are $5 and available at the door before the event.