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.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Summit League race more important than Bracketbusters to Oakland coach Greg Kampe
staunch critic since the Summit League enlisted its teams into this
season’s ESPN Bracketbusters series nearly a year ago, Oakland coach Greg Kampe reasserted
his position again Monday when it was learned the Golden Grizzlies
would travel to Illinois State Feb. 18, a seven-hour bus trip. He was
incenensed that his team would be asked to take such a trip in the heat
of conference play, a game that also forced Oakland to reschedule the
Jan. 3 visit by longtime rival Oral Roberts, which was visiting the O'rena for likely the final time. But
what if the Bracketbusters series was at a different time of the season?
Kampe’s stance softened just a little bit, but he pointed out an earlier
date might lessen the importance of a “bracket buster,” as the games
are designed. “I’d
be more interested in it then, but they can’t do that,” he said.
“That’s all part of putting good teams against each other so they can
get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament or whatever. I’m sure the
purpose is good, but to me, it’s not important. What’s important to me
is our league and getting ready for March.” Kampe
also said previously if the Golden Grizzlies were matched with Detroit as an
opponent, he would refuse the game because he feels the Titans owe
Oakland a rematch at the O’rena. As it stands, the Grizzlies are
traveling 403 miles (Google estimate) to play an untelevised game that
isn’t likely to have any bearing on Oakland’s at-large status in the
Gray lining for Grizzlies and more notes from NDSU loss
Oakland coach Greg Kampe didn't want to hear it following Saturday's loss, but there was one shining point in the Grizzlies' loss Saturday: They held on to the ball, committing just six turnovers, while forcing 15 North Dakota State turnovers and converting those for 19 points. That came on the heels of a win Thursday over South Dakota State in which they had 22 assists and just seven turnovers for their best assist-to-turnover ratio of the season: 3.14.Oakland has had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio just 11 times this season and is 6-5 in those games.
Although it seemed like a much different game from the Grizzlies' standpoint, the Bison shot 63 percent Saturday. That's just slightly down from 64 percent they shot in the previous meeting in Fargo, N.D. The Grizzlies are now 1-11 when an opponent shoots better than 50 percent from the floor.
The Grizzlies continue to struggle from the free-throw line, but had a difficult time even getting there Saturday. They were just 8 of 12 (67 percent), but typically average 24 free-throw attempts per game. Oakland is now 0-4 when it goes to the line fewer than 15 times in a game this season.
The Bison outrebounded Oakland, 30-21, meaning the Grizzlies are now just 3-8 when getting outworked on the glass. More notes: Reggie Hamilton's 37 points weren't a career high (41 vs. Valparaiso), but it was his highest output in conference play. He moved up to 16th on the Summit League's all-time scoring list. ... Oakland also had its fourth game of at least 13 3s in its past five outings. ... The Grizzlies fell to 3-1 on Homecoming and 2-2 this season when wearing gray uniforms. They also fell to 2-2 in games decided by three points or fewer.... Oakland is now just 2-9 when trailing at the half. ... The 3,935 fans Saturday was the fourth-largest crowd ever at the O'rena and the third consecutive crowd of more than 2,600 for the Grizzlies, whose attendance figures were slumping earlier in the season.
Breaking down Saturday’s final possession in Oakland's loss to North Dakota State (WITH VIDEO)
by three with 4.1 seconds remaining Saturday, Oakland, to say the least,
didn’t get the shot it was looking for. Reggie Hamilton, who had hit a 3
on the Grizzlies’ previous possession, was the intended target. What
transpired was different, as Laval Lucas-Perry ended up with the ball on
the wing with little time to catch and shoot.
were either supposed to get it to Bass or Laval and I fly up the middle
get it on the fly,” Hamilton said.”I couldn’t see who was playing me,
but he was on me pretty tight.” Oakland coach Greg Kampe wasn't sugar coating anything in his shortest press conference of the season. “We
run a play at the end of the game and the guy who’s supposed to catch
the pass has his head down and doesn’t even see it,” he said. “You
tell me what his focus is. The game’s on the line. Guess what? It was
the same guy guarding the kid who made the shot. That’s my fault for
having him in the game.” It
was a heated battle all night long, as the Grizzlies looked to avenge a
27-point loss in Fargo, N.D., late last month, a loss that briefly sent
them spiraling. “We
didn’t want what they did to us in Fargo to happen again,” said
Hamilton, who had a game-high 37 points, his eighth game over the
30-point mark. “We had that in the back of our minds how some of the
players on North Dakota State were acting when they won the first time.
That’s why there was a lot of back and forth. If you come out with a
loss, that doesn’t mean anything.”
Despite good numbers for Nate Wolters and Jordan Dykstra, Oakland gets an important victory
Nate Wolters is the premier scorer on a high-powered South Dakota State
team, Jordan Dykstra again had a superb outing against Oakland, scoring
a team-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds on 9-of-15 shooting. He
scored 18 of those points in the first half, nine points coming on
consecutive 3s in the game’s opening 3:19. “We
had a gameplan to guard against Dykstra and he comes out and hits three
3s in the first minute and a half,” Kampe said. “Uncontested 3s. That
was very upsetting to me.” The
second half went by a different script. Dykstra had just five points
and spent more than 15 minutes between baskets until hitting a 3 with
eight seconds remaining. Kampe credited the stellar defense of junior
forward Drew Valentine. “Drew’s
stats mean nothing to me. He’s my MVP,” Kampe said of Valentine, who
was one four Golden Grizzlies in double figures with 19 points and added
eight rebounds. “We expect that from him and he never lets us down.
Until Dykstra made that 3 with seconds to go, he had just two points in
the second half.” Wolters, on the other hand, nearly had a triple-double. “(He)
usually takes over close games,” Kampe said. “We rotated over Laval
(Lucas-Perry) and (Ryan) Bass trying to keep it fresh. … All we were
trying to do was keep him in front of us and make him hit jump shots.
And for the most part, we did a good job. That kid is a pro.” Wolters
was 7 of 15 for 21 points and earned some recognition for his near
feat, but Oakland got the 92-87 victory to climb back above .500 in
conference play at 6-5 with seven conference games to play. The loss was
just the second in conference play for the Jackrabbits, who led by as
many as eight early in the game. Their other loss came to undefeated
conference leader Oral Roberts, on the road. The Golden Eagles visit
Brookings, S.D., Feb. 2. Saturday’s
Homecoming contest against North Dakota State, which beat Oakland by 27
points earlier this season, will be another measuring stick for the
Reggie Hamilton steers the ship without scoring (as many)
in Thursday’s game, Oakland coach Greg Kampe pulled Reggie Hamilton
aside to praise him for keeping a level head on what started as an
off-night for the high-scoring guard. “Most
people think all I do is scream and yell, but what I said to him was
‘I’m so proud of you because we’re winning this game because of the 3
you made. That was the key basket of the game,’ ” Kampe said. “He hadn’t
made a 3 all night. You could see he was frustrated, but he didn’t take
that out by taking bad shots.” Hamilton
hit a crucial 3 with 3:16 remaining, his only one of the night, to pull
Oakland back within a point after Nate Wolters put South Dakota State
ahead by four from the free-throw line just seconds earlier. Hamilton
scored just two points in the first half, but finished with 16, while
shooting just 3 of 11 but maintaining his double-figure scoring streak.
He also had eight assists and just one turnover, a traveling call Kampe
seemed suspicious of after the game. “I
told him we won tonight because he played like a team player,” Kampe
said. “That’s a hard thing for a kid to do with seven pro scouts here
matched up against another great player. The normal person who isn’t a
natural leader probably would’ve dragged that team down and he didn’t.
He lifted his team up.” Hamilton
was the nation’s second-leading scorer entering the game with a 23.4
points per game average. He slipped to third at 23.39. Wolters was
eighth with 21.1 ppg., but moved up to sixth. It
doesn’t happen often, but Hamilton has had poor shooting nights a few
times this season, most notably leading the Grizzlies to victory over
Houston Nov. 22 while going 3 of 14 from the floor. He hasn’t had fewer
than seven assists in the past four games and reached a season-high nine
assists Dec. 1 vs. South Dakota. He moved into 11th place in all-time assists in the Summit League Thursday, while also becoming 17th in all-time conference scoring history.
How do you overshadow a near triple-double in college basketball? You would have to hit at least 10 3-pointers and lead your team to a much-needed victory over one of the conference's best teams and potential player of the year, right?
South Dakota State's Nate Wolters had 21 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, and while he still garnered some praise, Oakland's Travis Bader was the toast of the town after leading the Golden Grizzlies' to victory behind a career-high 37 points and a school-record 10 3s. “At
six, I was like ‘I’m taking a lot of 3s right now,’ " Bader said. "But I was just
focused on trying to get this win. I heard the crowd chanting my name at
the end and Corey Petros came up and hugged me.”
Bader was 10 of 14 from 3-point range, tying for the most 3s made in the nation this season. Dec. 1 against South Dakota, Bader achieved his previous career high, 28 points, as well as his previous high of eight 3s. Following that game, Bader reached the 20-point plateau just once in conference play (21 vs. IPFW Jan. 14) before Thursday.
It should be noted this production came when leading scorer Reggie Hamilton was struggling, as he had just two first-half points.
“We have a lot of great players on our team," Bader's good friend Drew Valentine said. "That’s one of the
strengths coming into this year was our depth and how many guys on our
team can makes shots. “It just shows we don’t have to count on Reggie every night to win games. We can win when other guys step up.”
Whereas Bader hit three 3s in the first 1:30 against South Dakota, it was the Jackrabbits' Jordan Dykstra who hit the game's first 3s in the first 3:39 Thursday. Bader hit his first 3 with 13:39 to play in the first half and had back-to-back 3s to open the second half, getting a third for the period with 15:46 to play.
Oakland has made at least 14 3s in three of the past four games. The Grizzlies made a season-high 15 in a loss at Oral Roberts last weekend.
The Grizzlies hit just four 3s besides Bader, who moved into eighth place on Oakland's all-time list of 3-point shooters with eight regular-season games remaining in just his second season.
After being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, there were several familial connections to keep Keith Benson connected. After being released by the Hawks, Benson has landed in another familiar spot: Sioux Falls, S.D., with the SkyForce of the NBA Developmental League.
The two-time Summit League player of the year signed with the NBADL earlier this week and fell to the SkyForce in the waiver order. The team is a minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
Oakland fans should note the SkyForce play at Sioux Falls Arena, home
of the Summit League tournament, Thursday, March 1, two days before the
Benson has already played nine games at his new home arena, going 8-1 as a member of the Golden Grizzlies. The only loss came on a last-second shot, as North Dakota State topped Oakland in the 2009 Summit League Tournament final. The Grizzlies went on to win the next two in a row.
Benson also played in an Italian league during the NBA lockout after getting drafted No. 48 overall in June.He is expected to play Friday night.
Travis Bader finding rhythm and more minutes off the bench
sophomore guard Travis Bader has been coming off the bench for the past
five games. The moves seems to have helped him find a rhythm, as he's shooting 45 percent from 3-point range over the past six games. He’s
even getting more minutes off the bench than he was as a starter,
averaging 14.5 points per game in his last four outings. “He
had a tremendous freshman year where all he had to do was stand and
shoot because all the emphasis was on (Keith) Benson and (Will) Hudson,” Oakland coach
Greg Kampe said Tuesday on WXOU’s “The Greg Kampe Show.” “Now, we have
to run him off screens. We have to run sets. It’s a whole learning
process for him. Since we took him out of the starting lineup, he’s been
really good.” Bader is already ninth in program history with 153 3s made. He’s played at least 35 minutes in each of the past four games. Kampe
said he won’t return Bader to the starting lineup Thursday against
South Dakota State, but expects him in the starting rotation at some
point this season. “He’s a guy we have to have on the floor because he stretches the defense when they guard him,” Kampe said. Bader was 4 of 8 Saturday, as Oakland connected on a season-high 15 3s. While it may have gotten more difficult for Bader to find an open look, his aim is still deadly. “Bader
isn’t shooting the 3 as well as he was last year, but if you back off
and let him shoot it, he will kill you,” Kampe said.
dropping four straight conference games to round out 2011 and begin the
new year, Oakland has since gone 3-1, losing only a hotly contested
shootout at Oral Roberts last weekend. In this span, the Grizzlies are
outshooting their opponents, something expected but unheard of earlier
in the season. “If
we can to keep shooting the ball the way we have been, we’ll be a
typical Oakland team down the stretch this last month of the season,”
Oakland coach Greg Kampe said on WXOU Tuesday afternoon. The Grizzlies have been shooting 53 percent over their last four games, while holding opponents to just 47 percent. By
this weekend, Oakland will have played Oral Roberts, South Dakota State
and North Dakota State, the league’s top three teams, twice. The
Grizzlies stand in a three-way tie for fourth place at 5-5 with Western
Illinois and Southern Utah. Kampe has conceded, although they’re not
mathematically eliminated yet, the Grizzlies won’t be three-peating in
the regular season. “If
we’re going to make a run in March, we need to start in February,”
Kampe reiterated. “The one thing we have going for us in that tournament
is that we’ve won it. “We’re not going to win the second prize, but we can win the biggest prize.” The
competitive nature of the league this season will be on full display in
early March at the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. The
conference had an RPI as high as 11 earlier this season and peaked at
No. 12 in the Sagarin Ratings Dec.19. The conference is also home to
five of the nation’s top 14 scorers, all of which Kampe asserted on his
program would be professional players somewhere, if not in the NBA. Longtime
conference rival Oral Roberts is still without a conference loss,
leaving open the possibility of going undefeated more than halfway
through the season. The second- and third-place Dakotas are no
pushovers, either. “You’re going to have to win three really good games to win that thing,” Kampe said. “The league is just that good.” Kampe
also noted the rest of the league’s apparent lack of depth, pointing
out that Oakland’s bench outscored Oral Roberts’, 30-12. The Grizzlies’
reserves have been formidable since Kampe sent Laval Lucas-Perry back to
the bench, only to follow with Travis Bader. “Nobody
is really deep in our league,” Kampe said. “If a team gets an injury in
February, that can change the whole axis of the league. An injury to a
starter, not even a star player can change this whole thing.” While
time lets that scenario breath, Kampe and the Grizzlies can do
themselves a favor beating South Dakota State in the O’rena Thursday.
Just a day after CBS analyst Seth Davis called Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton one of the best players nobody has ever heard of, the Associated Press lists Hamilton as one of six mid-major players helping fill the
"Jimmer void" left by the BYU phenom. "Hamilton isn’t a particularly imposing figure at 5-foot-11, 176 pounds,
but he’s ultra-quick with a first step that’s about like wet soap
slipping through your fingers — gone before you know it. He’s also
fearless, driving to the basket no matter who’s in there."
.... Although he was somehow edged out a consecutive Summit League Player of the Week nod, Hamilton still got props from StatSheet, receiving a similar honor from the site for his outstanding week. "Hamilton was the best in the Summit League in assists (7.0 per game) and
3-pointers (4.5 per game). He also registered great stats in
rebounding (2.5 per game) and scoring (25.5 pts per game)."
South Dakota State's Nate Wolters was second place and Oral Roberts' Dominique Morrison was honorable mention, as Hamilton earned his third such award.
Wolters did lead the league in scoring for the week, averaging 27 points per game.
Corey Petros was also named Freshman of the Week once again, his fourth such honor.
Oral Roberts' Steven Roundtree was Sixth Man of the Week after putting up nine points and eight rebounds on Oakland Saturday. The Grizzlies' Laval Lucas-Perry was the runner-up for the award.
Keith Benson may land in a familiar city in NBA D League
With the news former Oakland star center Keith Benson has signed to the NBA's Developmental League, what's even more intriguing are his possible landing places. A report by SB Nation indicates Benson could fall to either the Sioux Falls Skyforce or Tulsa 66ers in the waiver order.
The report speculates Benson could instantly become one of the league's premier players. "Former D-Leaguer Ivan Johnson
took the spot that was presumed to be Benson's in training camp, but
the 6-foot-11 center will likely be one of the best big men in the
D-League as soon as he joins a roster."
The Golden Grizzlies won the past two Summit League Tournament championships at Sioux Falls Arena, home to the NBDL's Skyforce, and appeared in another final. In all, Benson has played nine games inside the venue.
The Grizzlies also played their most recent NCAA tournament game in Tulsa after playing conference rival Oral Roberts once each season at the Mabee Center. While the 66ers play in the Tulsa Convention Center, Benson is likely familiar with the area at this point.
The Skyforce are affiliated with the Heat, Magic and Timberwolves, while the 66ers feed the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Two other teams high in the waiver pecking order are the Los Angeles D-Fenders, a Lakers affiliate; and the Springfield (Mass.) Armor, which aligns itself with the Nets.
An announcement was expected Thursday.
Reggie Hamilton’s big nights aren’t problematic, if Oakland is winning
another 30-point outing, this time behind seven 3-pointers Saturday
against Oral Roberts, Reggie Hamilton improved his scoring average to
23.7 points per game, good enough for second in the country. His premier
scoring talent is reminiscent of former Oakland standout Mike Helms,
who scored 27 points per game in 2002-03, finishing third in the nation
and earning Mid-Con player of the year honors. “Thirty-four
years of stats have shown me that when you have one of the top scorers
in the country, you don’t win,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said on “The
Greg Kampe Show” on WXOU last week. With
Helms leading the nation in scoring for much of the season, the
Grizzlies were still losing. They were 17-11 in 2002-03 and just 13-17
the following season. “That’s a scar that never healed,” Kampe said. “I care that Reggie plays well and we win.” Hamilton
is the only Oakland player to reach double figures in each game this
season and has scored at least 20 points in 10 of his last 11 games.
Although his scoring accounts for 30 percent of Oakland’s overall, Kampe
was hesitant to say the Grizzlies’ scoring is imbalanced. “We
have five guys averaging in double figures,” Kampe said. “With (Ryan)
Bass’ emergence, that could be six before long. … If you’re averaging 25
on a team that only scores 60, that’s almost half. And that’s not good. “I like that Reggie’s been able to score that many and not have to take 30 shots to get there.” Hamilton
represents just 28 percent of Oakland’s field goal attempts. He does,
though, have more than 100 more attempts than the team’s next
most-frequent shooter, Travis Bader, and leads the nation in attempts,
according to StatSheet. Helms went undrafted in 2004 and has bounced around various professional leagues including the CBA. The Grizzlies made their first NCAA tournament a year later as a sub. 500 team the following season. Hamilton and Oakland's fates remains to be seen. More stats on Hamilton: It’s
not just his shooting, which he’s been doing at a 43-percent pace,
Hamilton Saturday also became just the Grizzlies’ second player in the
program’s Division I era to reach 100 assists in consecutive seasons.
Hamilton has reduced the turnovers that plagued him early last season,
but has the Summit League’s 25th-best assist-to-turnover ratio. With 79
giveaways, Hamilton has made 27 percent of Oakland’s turnovers.
Conversely, he’s fourth in the nation with 54 steals. While third in attempted free throws, Hamilton leads the nation with 144 free throws made. When
the list of finalists for the Bob Cousy award for point guards was
released last month, Hamilton was omitted in favor of familiar names
like Detroit’s Ray McCallum and Michigan freshman Trey Burke.
Sabermetrics and other new-fangled stat interpretation consumes modern
scouting and coaching strategies, Oakland coach Greg Kampe doesn’t
bother himself with those. After more than 30 years of coaching, he goes
by his gut instinct and a few tried-and-true statistics. “I’m
not into that. The only numbers that matter to me are our points per
possession and our points given up per possession, and our turnover
rate,” Kampe said on WXOU’s “The Greg Kampe Show” Jan. 17. “I’ve got every game I’ve ever been a part of for 34 years in the business, and those stats usually ring pretty true.” Kampe boasted he can calculate a team’s overall record with relative certainty based on those stats above. “All that other stuff, I don’t really care about that,” he said. Kampe
added field goal percentage, which Oakland has much improved in its
past four games to the tune of 45 percent, are key. He also noted
rebounding margins play a factor. The Grizzlies’ is currently a lean
-0.3 after the spoils of the Keith Benson-Will Hudson era. “You
can be the greatest defensive team in the world, but if you can’t
rebound the ball,” Kampe said. “We’ve found, statistically, that most
people shoot about 40 percent on the first shot. The second shot raises
it to 60 percent and third to 80 percent.” The 28-year Oakland coach said marketers of various statistic analysis programs try to lure him to the dark side. “I
don’t need shot charts to tell me what’s going on,” Kampe said. “All I
have to do is look at that. … When I grab a stat sheet before I go talk
to my team, I look at field goal percentage and rebounds. What I really
pay attention to is minutes played. I want to study what I’ve done as a
coach. Then I look to see what they’re doing. Your strategy is based on
your players. I have a tendency to keep my best players on the floor
probably longer than I should. It’s a bad tendency.“ The
talk about statistical analysis came after the show’s hosts, Bryan
Everson and Matt Pocket, asked Kampe about the Grizzlies’ program on Fox
Sports Detroit, in which Kampe described his workaholic in-season
schedule which doesn’t leave much, if any, time for sleep. “When
you’re in this business and the margin of victory is so slim, you want
to know everything there is,” he said. “I’m just not a guy that,
analytically, can look at all that stuff. I will sit there and see all
that and it will weigh on me. ‘What does this mean?’ I’ll spend so much
of my time trying to figure it out and I’ll never be able to sleep.” Kampe said he’s willing to listen to “new” info, but “I know if we’re scoring 1.07 points per possession, we ’aint gonna win.” Numbers like that during the Grizzlies’ six-game skid led Kampe to diagnose their offense as the main culprit.
Wrapping it up: Notes from Oakland’s final visit to Mabee Center
Oakland made seasons-high nine 3-pointers in the first half and 15 in
all, shooting a season’s-best 53.6 percent from long range (15 for 28).
Reggie Hamilton led the Grizzlies with seven 3s … Travis Bader was 4 of 8
from 3-point range, reaching double figures for the 14th time this
season and moved into ninth place in program history with 153 made 3s. …
Hamilton had seven assists, becoming just the second player in
Oakland’s Division I era to reach 100 assists or more in consecutive
seasons. … Freshman Kyle Sikora blocked two shots and got a team-high
five rebounds in a career-high 19 minutes. … Eight of nine Oakland
players who saw the floor collected a rebound, four of which had four
rebounds or more. … The Oakland bench held a huge advantage, outscoring
the Golden Eagles’ reserves, 30-12, who are thin behind Steven
Roundtree. … The Golden Eagles shot 73 percent in the first half, but
Oakland limited them to 43 percent in the second half. The Grizzlies
were more consistent, shooting 54 percent in the first half and 60
percent in the second. … Oakland is averaging 86.75 points over the last
four games with a 3-1 record. Negatives:
Oakland handled the ball well, committing just 12 turnovers, but the
Golden Eagles converted those miscues for 25 points. Meanwhile, the
Grizzlies turned eight Oral Roberts turnovers into just three points …
The Grizzlies shot just 65 percent (11 of 17) from the free-throw line
in their seven-point loss. It was their second consecutive game in the
low-to-mid 60-percent range from the line. … Oakland held its largest
lead, a 10-point advantage, with 12:38 to play. Just over six minutes
later, Oral Roberts had its largest lead of the game, nine points, with
5:58 to play. … The Grizzlies had just 13 assists while scoring 86
Oakland has lined up 6-foot-8 power forward Viktoras Merkevicius from Lithuania, who is currently playing for Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif., a northern suburb of Los Angeles.
According to assistant coach David Rice, Merkevicius is averaging 12.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25 minutes per game.
"He's become more of a force defensively inside" in the last year at Stoneridge, Rice said. "He's got a really good motor. He doesn't quit. He's very good on the offensive glass and very athletic."
Merkevciuc said the biggest change would be moving to the "four" after playing center this season for Stoneridge.
Oakland coach Greg Kampe doesn't shy away from European players, most recently inking freshman Korab Imami after it was learned the Grizzlies would be losing senior Ilija Milutinovic to a European pro league in the offseason.
"They know what they're doing," said Merkevicius,who also added he's not afraid to take a jump shot, but prefers to drive aggressively to the basket.
Kampe and the players left a good impression in their first meeting with Merkevicius, who made an official visit Jan. 2.
"(Kampe) is very honest and he says what he thinks, and the players are very friendly, he said. "That's why I chose Oakland."
... Reggie Hamilton won his third Summit League Player of the Week award of the season and fifth overall after a 30-point night at IPFW Saturday in Oakland's only game of the week. Hamilton twice split the award with South Dakota State's Nate Wolters earlier this season.
won its first game in 10 where an opponent shoots 50 percent or better.
The Mastodons shot 53 percent Saturday. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, have
shot 50 percent or better in consecutive games for the first time this
season. ...Despite graduating shot-blocking dynamo Keith Benson to the
pros, freshman Kyle Sikora turned away four shots Saturday, a career
high. … Travis Bader missed his first three 3-point shots, but recovered
to finish 4 of 10 en route to a 21-point night. Also, Ryan Bass was a
career-best 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Reggie Hamilton took top honors,
going 5 for 10. … Hamilton, who dished out eight assists, now has three
30-point games against IPFW since coming to Oakland. … All three of
Laval Lucas-Perry’s points came from the free-throw line and he tied for
the team-high with seven rebounds. … Freshman Corey Petros has been
atrocious from the line, was 5 for 5 tonight. … With 14 points, Drew
Valentine reached double figures scoring for the 14th time this season.
He also tied for the team lead with seven rebounds.
forward Frank Gaines averaged 22 points in two games against Oakland
last season. The Grizzlies held him to just 19 points Saturday on
6-of-11 shooting. ”I
was very pleased with us defensively. Many of those baskets were tough
to get and Drew Valentine did a wonderful job on Gaines,” Kampe said. Gaines
played 35 minutes, 11 more than anyone else on the team. With him on
lockdown, that left Mario Hines as IPFW’s biggest contributor. “Everybody
is shooting it well against us,” Kampe said. “We shut them down in the
second half, but our young bigs couldn’t guard (Hines). He was too
athletic. We’ve got to learn how to defend a guy like that and maybe as
coaches, we have to help him. As we get closer to March and maybe we’ll
put some double (-teams) in.” Hines finished with a team-high 20 for the Mastodons. With
four losses in conference play before the month of February, Kampe
thinks his Grizzlies are in a better position than before. “We’re
good shooters,” Kampe said. “The pressure of three-peating and
everything is off. The pressure of all the winning streaks are all of
us. This young team doesn’t feel the pressure and it’s like ‘Let’s go
play’ and you’re seeing a team that’s starting to get its feet.” The
Grizzlies continue their three-game road trip at Southern Utah, the
longest trip in conference play, and then their final stop at the Mabee
Center in Tulsa, Okla. next Saturday. “We’ve been playing like we did in November,” Kampe said. “We’ve got a tough road trip. Can we keep that going? “Can we get back in this thing? I’ll let you know in two weeks.” The Grizzlies are back to .500 in conference play after losing four straight.
Kampe on Ryan Bass:
“Ryan Bass is getting a chance because of somebody else’s diminished
time. Ryan has stepped up and if he continues to play the way he has,
when March comes around, we’re going to be a tough out.” Bass had a career-high 15 points in 22 minutes in his third consecutive start.
has been a mixed reaction to the Grizzlies’ alternate gray uniforms
they’ve worn a handful of times (personally, I like them even though
they don’t incorporate the black and gold Oakland is known for).
Regardless, coach Greg Kampe likes the message the unis bring along with
them, opting for them for the third time this season Saturday against
IUPUI. As you may have heard by now, the Grizzlies broke a six-game
losing streak in emphatic fashion with a 93-81 win. “The
whole thing was ‘we’re wearing gray tonight,' ” he said. “'We have to win
tonight. This has to be changed.’ We payed it like it was a ‘gray’ game.
I’m very pleased with what I saw. It wasn’t a one-point win where the
other team played terrible. We played tonight like we did in November,
and that was a good sign.” The
Grizzlies shot better and played with swagger that’s been on layaway
since before the holiday season. They’re now 2-1 in gray this season
after a win over Tennessee and a loss to Michigan. Saturday was the
first time they’ve worn the alternate uniforms, introduced last season,
during a league (and untelevised) game. They wore the grays last season
vs. Michigan State at The Palace among other games, going 2-2 with the new alternates. “We
played with confidence on offense I haven’t seen in a month,” Kampe
said about his team, which shot better than 50 percent from the floor
for just the second time this season. The Grizzlies also snapped a
seven-game streak of allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent or better.
Guard Reggie Hamilton was in line with Kampe, saying the Grizzlies need
to have the same kind of vigor at the conference tournament. “A win is a win,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s good to have that swagger back, but it’s all about March, though.”
“I thought we’d have some early, but when you’re Oakland, nobody
expects you to lose at home,” Kampe said following Saturday’s victory.
“And you don’t expect to lose three in a row at home. We’ve lost four in
the O’rena this year. You never expect something like that. We have too
proud of a tradition and too proud of a program to think something like
this could happen. But it did. You accept it and you battle your way
out of it. And that’s what we did. Now, we want to take the next step
“In the last two weeks, we haven’t gotten any rebounds, because they
haven’t missed,” Kampe said. “Never in my life have I seen numbers like
what teams are putting up against us. You could go in the gym without a
defense and not put those numbers up. We didn’t rebound very well in the
first half, but that was our one weak point. We shored that up in the
second half. “You’ve got to have help from everywhere and we had that tonight.” The
Grizzlies had seven of nine players with a rebound, four which had six
or more. They outrebounded the Jaguars, 40-33, and are now 7-3 this
season when winning on the glass.
Ryan Bass got extended minutes Saturday against IUPUI, making his
second straight start. After a poor showing against Western Illinois
Thursday, Bass came through with a career-high 14 points and five
assists in 27 minutes. He was 0 for 5 from the floor with four turnovers
to just one assist in 25 minutes in his first start two days prior. “The
insertion of Bass into the lineup with confidence, before he was
injured, he was heading toward this,” Kampe said. “The get the ball to
the rim harder and more often.” Bass was 4 of 6 from the free-throw line in the six-game-slump-ending victory. “I
like that (Ryan) Bass has a chance to establish himself as a player.
Instead of waiting until next year to find out, he’s getting his
opportunity now,” Kampe said. Teams know to gameplan against an established guard like Reggie Hamilton. They’re going to have a hard time stopping both. “With
Ryan’s scoring ability, pressure on me gave Ryan a wide-open lane
several times,” Hamilton said. “There’s not a lot of players who can
guard Bass one on one when he gets hot.” Kampe
said on WXOU Tuesday afternoon he regrets burning Matt Poches’ redshirt
so quickly, but the situation regarding Bass’ absence is a tricky
situation because concussion symptoms take much observation and
precaution. Kampe said it was unfair to the team’s seniors to not do
everything in his power to keep the team up to speed on the fly, rather
than potentially losing without trying to stem the tide. On
“The Greg Kampe Show,” a WXOU staple (Tuesdays at 4 p.m.), Kampe went
better into detail regarding the instance in which Bass suffered the
concussion, the second in his life, which led to a five-game absence.
Kampe said Bass fell victim to a Blake Cushingberry ball screen and hit
his head on the court on his way to the ground. Greg Kampe said they "haven't gone down that road yet" regarding whether Cushingberry, who was later dismissed from the team, will return to the team next season.
The Grizzlies snapped a seven-game streak in which they didn’t lead at
halftime. Their 12-point halftime lead was their largest since defeating
South Dakota Dec. 1, a span of 12 games. … In all nine of Oakland’s
wins this season, it has attempted more free throws than its opponents.
The Grizzlies shot 31 attempts to IUPUI’s 17, making 24. Hamilton was
perfect from the line for the 12th time this season, going 9 for 9. …
Hamilton shot 10 of 14 for a season-high 71 percent from the floor. …
With 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, Corey Petros has reached double
figures in three of his last four games and reached a career high
against a conference opponent. … Drew Valentine chipped in nine points
and eight rebounds, but his biggest contribution could’ve been holding
conference leading scorer Alex Young to only six points in the first
half (1 for 7). Thirteen of Young’s 16 second-half points came during
the final 12:26, after Oakland had amassed a double-digit lead.
The much-anticipated Fox Sports Detroit All-Access program will be a three-episode series featuring both men's and women's teams, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, announced Monday.
"They had to bleep a lot of it out," Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe joked on WXOU Tuesday afternoon.
"Fans are going to
get a good look at what Oakland basketball is like and what our kids are
like. It will be interesting to see what people think."
The first episode will feature point guard Reggie Hamilton in addition to profiles on both Kampe, who is in his 28th season at Oakland, and women's coach Beckie Francis. The FS
Detroit team traveled with the men's team on its recent trip to the Dakotas just before the new year, so the show will document travel in the Summit League.
When thinking of a winter trip out west, fans might immediately think about how cold it is, but should remember the climate there is is similar to the Midwest, but slightly colder. That being said, Kampe noted there was a 69-degree difference in temperature from the Grizzlies' last visit in late January 2011 than their trip two weeks ago.
"It gives fans, recruits, high school coaches, anybody that is part of
the Oakland nation an inside look at how the program is run and what our
kids stand for," Kampe said in a press release. "It's a unique opportunity for those people to have an
in-depth view of life at Oakland. Hopefully
that will continue to help us recruit nationally, along with regionally
as we continue the tradition of this program."
Kampe was on hand at the FSD studios Tuesday to screen a copy of the first episode.
The second episode will launch in February and the third episode will take place in March. The first episode is scheduled to re-air several times over the course of the month. Check your local listings for more info. According to TVguide.com, the program will re-air Friday at 10:30 p.m., 9 a.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.
UPDATE: Oakland released a promo clip from the series. Watch below.
or lose Saturday against IUPUI, Oakland is guaranteed a seven-day break
before its next game at IPFW Jan. 14. That will be the Grizzlies’
longest break of the season, after playing on two-day’s rest in three of
four games. Oakland did get a five-day rest between the Western
Michigan loss Dec. 23 and a rout at North Dakota State Dec. 28. Of
course, they weren’t able to practice over the Christmas holiday and had to travel. “What
we’ve got to do is like a football team that has to get to halftime,
Kampe said. “We have not had practice time. We played all those games
right before Christmas. We went home for two days and came back and
played on the 28th and 30th and then we had a day off and then Tuesday,
tonight and Saturday. “We
get a week off. We’re going to be able to get in the gym and have some
real practices where we don’t kill the kids. We probably could’ve had
some of those this week and not have worried that we were playing
Bad news first:
The Grizzlies had 20 turnovers and just six assists on 19 baskets. …
The Grizzlies shot less than 40 percent (39 percent) in the first half
for the fifth time in the last six games. … The 61 points scored is the
fifth-lowest output for Oakland inside the O’rena. Ever. … Oakland is
0-4 this season when scoring between 60-69 points.... Hamilton, after his first turnover-free game Tuesday against Oral Roberts, committed five Thursday and had just three assists. Some good:
Oakland shot 35 percent from 3-point range (7 of 20), its highest in
its last seven games dating back to a 41-percent outing Dec. 17 at
Valparaiso. …. With 13 points on 4-of-8 3-point shooting, Travis Bader
reached double figures for the 12th time in 18 games. With 15 points,
Drew Valentine has done so 13 times. Reggie Hamilton, 16 points, is the
only Oakland player to reach double figures each game this season.
halftime tie was just the first time in seven games, the last being
non-Division I opponent Rochester College, the Golden Grizzlies didn’t
trail at the half. They have trailed by as little as two (twice) and as
many as 20 at North Dakota State. The
Grizzlies have only outscored one opponent in the second half during
this stretch, going plus three vs. Western Michigan in a 15-point loss
at the O’rena. They are negative 35 in second-half scoring otherwise. Oakland coach Greg Kampe acknowledged the his young squad has been a first-half team during its six-game losing streak. “The
other night we scored, but we gave up (more points than we scored),”
Oakland coach Greg Kampe said about Tuesday’s loss to Oral Roberts. “We
need to get stops. We have a goal to get four stops every half.
Obviously, we’re not reaching that goal or even getting close to it.” The
Grizzlies scored 54 second-half points against the Golden Eagles. But
in turn, Oakland allowed 57 points, the most it’s surrendered in a half
this season. Kampe said the Grizzlies defended well in the first half, holding the Leathernecks to 55-percent shooting from the floor. Oakland
led twice in the first half, but never in the second, as Western
Illinois went ahead by seven with 10:18 to play. The Leathernecks’
stretched their lead to double digits with less than four minutes to
was the second time this season the Grizzlies have been tied at half,
the other coming Dec. 10 against Michigan at The Palace. Kampe
wasn’t quick to judge his reformed starting lineup, which featured Ryan
Bass and Kyle Sikora both for the first time, and reinserted freshman
Dante Williams after five games coming off the bench. “We
didn’t start the second half very well and that worries me,” Kampe
said. “We might need one more scorer out there to start the second half.
You can’t judge that on one game.” The
three new starters combined for just five points with Bass getting the
most minutes, 25. Sikora was on the floor for just 13 minutes, scoring
three points. “He
just needs minutes,” Kampe said “If you look back to Will Hudson and
Keith Benson, those guys when they were freshmen, Sikora’s numbers are
very similar to Benson’s and Petros’ are to Will. And Petros’ numbers
are way better. Hudson and Benson had veteran players around them. They
weren’t playing with freshmen like these guys are. That might be a
reason Petros’ numbers are better than those guys. “It’s a learning process and these guys have to play minutes.” Bass,
statistically, had his worst performance since returning from a
five-game absence, going scoreless, committing four fouls and as many turnovers to just one assist. His
intensity from the opening tip didn’t go unnoticed. He remained upbeat
following the game. “I just have to keep bringing it and encouraging the guys to have an impact,” Bass said. It’s
uncertain we’ll see the same starting five Saturday against IUPUI, but
Kampe has gone at least four games with each of his previous three
Oakland coach Greg Kampe sounded exhausted when he reached the mic after Tuesday’s loss to rival Oral Roberts. “It’s obviously not getting any better,” he said to open the post-game press conference. “Those first 10 minutes of the game, I was just looking at them like ‘What is going on?’ ” He further lambasted his defense, but did offer an explanation. “We
get beat off the dribble a little too much, which creates an odd-man
rush as in hockey and they pass it around for an open shot,” he said.
“And everybody is making them for about six or seven games in a row. …
Our field-goal percentage was very low through the first eight games and
we were 6-2. We had tremendous stats through eight games. Now, it’s
unbelievable (how bad) it is. “We’re so bad on offense, we make so many mistakes that it leads to odd-man rushes.” Both
teams started poorly from the floor Tuesday, going 1 for 5 in the
opening minutes. The Golden Eagles recovered to shoot 54 percent for the
half, while Oakland went to the break at a 39-percent clip to a
season-low 26 points. Oral Roberts then began the second half 7 of 8 from
the floor and 4 of 4 from 3-point range en route to a season-high 69
percent (11 of 16) from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles were the
second team in the past three games to shoot better than 60 percent from
the floor against Oakland, going 34 for 51 (67 percent). Guard Reggie Hamilton had an idea what’s happening on defense. “Most
of the time, it’s just a lack of effort, somebody doing the little
thing that can make a play,” he said. “It’s people depending on someone
else to get things done.” Whatever
the reason or the cure, Kampe and fans alike know it needs to be
resolved quickly. The Grizzlies were 4-2 in the first half-month of the
season with wins over Houston, Tennessee and Utah Valley, but just 4-6
in December. “We
were a darn good team in November and had a chance to be a really,
really good team,” he said. “We’ve gone in the other direction. We have
to find a way to get that changed back to change that back.” After
Western Illinois’ visit Thursday, Oakland hosts IUPUI Saturday before
heading back to the road for a three-game trip at IPFW, Southern Utah
and Oral Roberts.
has now lost five in a row for the first time since the season it
miraculously won the Summit League (former Mid-Con) in 2004-05 as a
seven seed and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time. Coach
Greg Kampe sounded like he was ready for a change, but didn’t exactly
spell it out. The only thing we know is backup guard Ryan Bass will be
getting more minutes. “You
lose five in a row and obviously you need to make some changes,” Kampe
said. “There will be some changes when we play in two days. Ryan Bass is
a spark plug and he was really playing well when he got injured and he
was moving into some major minutes. When you miss six games, it’s hard
to get back into your flow. … He was pretty good in the second half and
he brings some defensive pressure to the table and he also brings
quickness with the basketball. You’ll see him have a chance to get more
minutes now.” The Grizzlies were 2-3 without Bass, with one of those wins coming against Rochester College. Bass
had six points in 16 minutes after going scoreless against South Dakota
State following his nine-point return at North Dakota State. Kampe
repeatedly notes Bass was showing positive signs of his ability to
score as well as his attentive defensive efforts during Bass’ five-game
absence. Bass was 3 of 7 shooting and had a career-high five assists
eight teams qualify for the league’s postseason tournament in early
March. Kampe didn’t have time to think about that following Tuesday’s
loss to long-time rival Oral Roberts. “Have
we even qualified for the conference tournament?,” he responded when
asked (by me) about playing from a low seed in March. “ I’m just going
to worry about Western Illinois and trying to figure this out.” It’s not likely Oakland slips past eight, where it currently resides at 2-3, past UMKC (1-4) and newcomer South Dakota (0-5). The Leathernecks visit at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Reggie Hamilton had his first turnover-free game of the season and
Oakland also coughed up the rock a season-low seven times as well. They
forced 18 Oral Roberts turnovers for 18 points as well. Eight of
Hamilton’s game-high 28 points came in the final 1:25, well after the
game had been decided. Kampe denounced the final minutes as “pickup
ball” and “garbage.”… Freshman Corey Petros had 10 points, reaching
double figures for the ninth time this season and second consecutive
game after four games without doing so. … Travis Bader broke an 0-for-9
slump from 3-point range, going 3 for 6 from long range. The Bad and the Ugly:
The Grizzlies scored a season- first-half low 26 points Tuesday led by
Hamilton’s ineffective 1-of-7 shooting. They were just 39 percent from
the floor in the half as a team. … The Golden Eagles became the latest
team to scorch the nets on Oakland, shooting a season-best 69 percent
from 3-point range. … Petros was the only Grizzlies player to miss a
free throw, going 0 for 6. The rest of the team was 11 for 11, led by
Hamilton’s 6-for-6 effort. … Oakland’s bench was outscored, 24-8, with
all but two of those points coming from Bass.
Reggie Hamilton left off list for Cousy point guard award
Among his many accomplishments, Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton had been among the early list of candidates for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year awarded by the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, Hamilton was left off the list of the award's 20 finalists.
Some familiar names appear as finalists including Detroit sophomore Ray McCallum and Michigan freshman Trey Burke.
Hamilton is third in the nation in scoring, including a 41-point effort at Valparaiso last month. McCallum and Hamilton, for comparison, have nearly identical numbers, but Hamilton has nearly a full assist more per game on a team in which he is the leading scorer. Hamilton's assist-to-turnover ratio is also nearly identical to McCallum and Hamilton is averaging a full steal more per game.
The chart below looks funny, but basically says Hamilton is the superior point guard in this case.
IUPUI's Stephen Thomas was also nominated, but South Dakota State's Nate Wolters was not included.
UConn's Kemba Walker won the award last season and other past winners include Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton, both out of North Carolina.
The Oakland athletics website is promoting Fox Sports Detroit's All-Access program about the Golden Grizzlies, which will air Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. The program is scheduled to re-air several times throughout the month, but it's unclear if this is a one-time deal or an ongoing series. More information is expected to be released this week.