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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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Another school could meet Horizon League's desire for further expansion in Detroit

It's long been assumed Oakland would be a natural fit to the Horizon League, but a Cleveland Plain Dealer story exploring the opportunity for Cleveland State to advance in the conference wondered about another Michigan college joining when Butler leaves.
Already with Detroit in the conference, the story guesses the Horizon League could further stamp its footprint in the city by adding Division II Wayne State. That, of course, would require the school to step its athletics up to Division I, as Oakland did when it joined the Mid-Continent Conference Summit League in the late 1990s.
"If the HL wants to have more of an imprint in the Detroit market, it could go after Oakland University, another Summit League team in the suburbs of the Motor City; or even try to lure Wayne State, a very solid Division II program that fits the league profile with its urban Motown campus."
The story, however, misidentied the Rochester campus nearly 20,000 strong as a private institution, so it's unclear if that designation has any effect on the forecast.
Wayne State, which competes in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — Oakland's Division II home until 1997, has a population of more than 30,000.  
Oakland's Summit League rival IUPUI is also identified as a possible replacement for departing Butler, which would keep the Horizon League in Indianapolis. 
It has been previously reported Butler could leave the Horizon League as soon as May 1 (Tuesday), leaving at least one vacancy.

Former Houston forward to visit Oakland

Oakland's frontcourt could be stretched thin next season with the departure of red-shirt freshman Kyle Sikora. Coach Greg Kampe and the Golden Grizzlies are reportedly looking south for his replacement.
Former Houston forward Kirk Van Slyke, a junior, is reportedly visiting Oakland among other possible destinations to spend his final season.
Van Slyke, with presumably just one season of eligibility remaining, could come as a help in practice as the Grizzlies begin to work incoming freshmen Lloyd Neely and Michael Lewis into the rotation.
The Houston Chronicle goes on to add Van Slyke is also scheduled to visit Arkansas State.
Van Slyke played in 27 games, starting once, for the Cougars last season, including his 28-point outing against Oakland in the early non-conference season. He averaged 5.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Cougars while seeing 11.6 minutes per game off the bench.
The Chronicle points out Van Slyke went through a renaissance in the season's first four games, but struggled after the first month:
"(He) showed an improved offensive post game with several moves added to his repertoire, a zest for attacking the glass."
His minutes dwindled as the Conference USA season began and Van Slyke's defense didn't earn him any brownie points.
"His defensive shortcomings hindered his ability to get more playing time, particularly when his shot wasn’t falling and he didn’t show the offensive repertoire that he did early in the season."
The Chronicle adds a sprained ankle ended Van Slyke's season two days before the conference tournament began. 
Van Slyke chose to leave the program "for personal reasons."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Greg Kampe declines another offer to leave Oakland

A Monday story in the Crescent News of Defiance, Ohio, recapped a speech given by Oakland coach Greg Kampe and later the longtime coach discussed his future at the Rochester school.
"I've been around long enough that I had a hand in building it," said Kampe. "When you build something, you have tremendous pride in it. For me to leave ... I would leave but it would have to be a special place with a school that could get to the Final Four and a school that would pay seven figures a year. I turned down a job last week that offered me $2 million over five years. That's a lot more than I make at Oakland but it's not money. I just have pride in what we've done there. We've built something that's pretty special. It's pretty nice to be at a place you built. In 29 years I've outlived all the ADs and presidents and nobody knows it any other way than me as the coach." 
Kampe confirmed the offer, saying it was for "about $2 million," but declined to specify which school made the overture. He makes nearly $170,000 in base salary each season at Oakland, where he just finished his 28th year at the helm. He has two more seasons remaining on a five-year deal signed in 2009.
Oakland has qualified for the NCAA tournament three times under his watch, most recently in 2010-11. The Golden Grizzlies won their first-round game in 2005 before falling to eventual champion North Carolina.
Kampe was rumored to be sought after to fill vacancies at Dayton and Eastern Michigan last offseason.
The story also confirmed West Virginia, Pitt and Michigan State making their return to Oakland's schedule for 2012-13.
 Also of note in Kampe's hometown paper, as a two-sport star, Kampe shunned a free-agent offer from the Seattle Seahawks in 1978 to begin his coaching career.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New agent excited by Hamilton's use of social media

In a time where social media is adding increased scrutiny to student-athletes, the wrong tweet or Facebook post can hurt their future. Former Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton, an avid Twitter enthusiast, takes to the social medium to talk to with fans. And his new agent, Austin Walton, couldn't be happier.
"I like that he takes time out to interact with fans," he said. "As long as he does what he has to do ... he's in the gym and he's serious."
With potential workouts and contracts on the line, it's a delicate balance not to overshare, possibly staining your reputation and prospects with a team or sponsor.
"Everything you put out is part of your brand," Walton said. "Watch what you say, because with potential millions on the line, teams will do their due diligence."
Potential employers aren't the only ones hawking social media, according to a piece on Hamilton by WXOU personality Garrett Elliot. 
"With over 1,800 followers, and having tweeted over 41,000 times, Hamilton sometimes has to be careful of what he says. Especially with the Oakland’s athletic communications department keeping a close eye on his account.
“You just gotta watch yourself,” Hamilton said. “People that know what I’m trying to do and trying to accomplish, you know, they respect that. So they try their best to watch what they tweet.”
As workouts come and go, it should be easy to keep tabs on Hamilton's whereabouts. 

Former Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton signs with Houston-based agent

Former Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton signed with Houston-based Austin Walton Sports Management Monday afternoon and was quickly congratulated by friends and fans on Twitter.
Hamilton is one of five players from this year's class represented by Walton, who likens his lineup to that of a starting five on the court.
Walton also has shooting guard Kent Bazemore from Old Dominion, small forward Anthony Jones from Baylor, power forward Jarrod Jones from Ball State and former Tulsa center Steven Idlet on his roster. 
Last season, Walton client Andrew Goudelock, a guard from College of Charleston, was drafted No. 46 overall by the Lakers, two spots ahead of former Oakland center Keith Benson, who went to the Atlanta Hawks.
Walton makes several comparisons between Goudelock and Hamilton, who Walton is tasked with selling as an NBA point guard.
"He's never been given anything," Walton said. "He just works."
Walton said Hamilton didn't have his best performance at the recent Portsmouth Invitational, but attributed that performance in part to the pace of the camp and the makeup of Hamilton's team. He added Hamilton didn't affect his draft status one way or the other in his three-game stint, where he averaged 5.7 points and 3.7 assists in 25.3 minutes per game. 
"He played within himself," Walton said. "He wasn't selfish. He did what he was supposed to do."
Walton sees Hamilton as a fringe second-round NBA draft pick and a summer league player.
"He has to outplay guys," Walton said. "If he does that, he has a chance to get drafted."
Walton is working on getting Hamilton, who's hard at work at the O'rena, more camp invites.
"You have to make the best of every opportunity and he knows that," Walton said.
As for Bazemore, another heralded mid-major prospect, Walton will have to answer character questions, after Bazemore was arrested for failing to appear in court for a case related to a DUI — while he was in the layup line prior to Old Dominion's game in the Tournament last month.
Bazemore will be back in court May 17 said Walton, who added his client completed voluntary alcohol awareness classes. The agent is not expecting jail time for Bazemore, who he says is a first-time offender.
"He's owned up to it and done everything the court has asked of him," Walton said.
The NBA draft is June 28 at 7 p.m.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hamilton slowed in second Portsmouth game, recognized by prospect site

Things didn't get much better for former Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton after a slow start Wednesday at the Portsmouth Invitational, as he had just three points on 1-of-8 shooting in Friday's loss.
Hamilton started the game, dishing out five assists and committing just two turnovers before fouling out in 24 minutes.
Hamilton's team closes out the tourney with Saturday's 6 p.m. third-place game.
The official measurements from the camp were released. Hamilton weighed in at 5-foot-11-1/2 and 180 pounds, nearly identical to his listed vitals. He had a wingspan of 6-4 1/2.
Draft Express ranked Hamilton No. 88 in its top 100 prospects. Fellow Summit Leaguers Charlie Westbrook from South Dakota (93) and IUPUI's Alex Young (100) were among the final players behind Hamilton. Their Portsmouth counterpart, Oral Roberts' Dominique Morrison, was not listed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Slow start for Oakland's Reggie Hamilton at Portsmouth Invite

After coming off the bench for his team in Wednesday's game at the Portsmouth Invitational, former Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton committed four first-half turnovers, but settled down after the break, as the national scoring champ finished with nine points, three assists and five turnovers in his team's 85-73 victory.  He played 25 minutes, shooting 3 of 5 from the floor.
Chace Stanback, Jordan Taylor and Jason Clark instead started at guard for the Cherry, Beckart & Holl team.
Hamilton's teammate and Detroit standout Eli Holman also had nine points to go with 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Hamilton didn't get to the free-throw line in the game, as has become his routine, leading the nation in free-throw attempts and makes. He was also without his familiar No. 23, wearing No. 22 at the four-day camp which has representatives from all 30 NBA teams. 
Fellow Summit Leaguer Charlie Westbrook of South Dakota reportedly had 15 points in 31 minutes in his team's first game. Oral Roberts' Dominique Morrison reportedly had six points, while IUPUI's Alex Young had nine points in their teams' debut.
Hamilton and Co. will be back in action Friday at 7 p.m.

Reggie Hamilton looking to surprise at Portsmouth Invite

Reggie Hamilton's abilities are well known in these parts, but he'll have to impress pro scouts at this week's Portsmouth Invitational, in which he begins play Wednesday night.
"He's going to surprise a lot of people," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said.
Former Oakland standout Keith Benson chose not to attend the annual scouting clinic, which features 64 of the top seniors in the nation.
The Oakland Post reports an unnamed NBA source has said Hamilton could be a late second-round pick in June's draft. He could also play his way into the pre-draft combine in Chicago where Benson turned heads last year, or even the summer league, which just announced its return in late July following a lockout-induced absence last year.
NBA scouts came to see Hamilton on multiple occassions this season, most notably a late-January matchup with South Dakota State's Nate Wolters, another of the Summit League's premier talents. Six NBA teams were represented that night and all 30 of the league's teams will be in Virginia for this event, which concludes Saturday.
Hamilton is playing on a team with Detroit's Eli Holman, as announced last week. Their team was scheduled to begin play at 9 p.m. Wednesday, but no live streaming or live stats are available for the tournament. 
Recently-launched examined both Hamilton and Holman. 
The Detroit Free Press mentioned Hamilton has been getting help from Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey,   who reportedly advised Hamilton not to focus on draft projections, of which Hamilton has very few at this point, on the eve of the invitational.
That could all change by the end of the weekend.

Quiet first day of late-signing period for Oakland

While no moves were made by Oakland on the first day of the late national signing period, that doesn't mean the Golden Grizzlies are won't be doing anything.
"We have two scholarships available," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "We're involved with high school seniors, junior college transfers and player transfers."
Because of NCAA restrictions, Kampe wasn't able to get specific, but did say he doesn't expect any other players to depart following the announcement last week red-shirt freshman Kyle Sikora would be leaving.
"I was very surprised by the whole thing," Kampe said, noting Sikora felt he would be playing behind Corey Petros his entire career. "He really improved in his year here and had a chance to be a very good player with time and patience."
Sikora's release means Oakland has lost returning big men each of the past two seasons, after Ilija Mulitinovic opted not to return to Oakland for his senior season, instead signing to play professionally in Europe.
Milutinovic's departure came in June of last year after the Grizzlies had already lost Keith Benson and Will Hudson to graduation.
Oakland does of course still have Petros, red-shirt freshman Korab Imami, incoming freshman and Mr. Basketball finalist Lloyd Neely in the frontcourt. The Grizzlies are expected to sign 6-foot-8 power forward Viktoras Merkevicius from Lithuania, as well.
In a guest role on last week's edition of "The Greg Kampe Show" on WXOU, assistant coach Darren Sorenson said he expected them to announce the signing of another big man in the near future.
In other recruiting news, Kampe said 6-10 recruit Mike Lewis from Slidell, La., has not yet met the academic standards of the NCAA clearinghouse and must do so by June.
So, stay tuned and follow me on Twitter @PaulKampe for the latest news.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Oakland's Reggie Hamilton in familiar company in Portsmouth

Rosters for the Portsmouth Invitational were released Friday and Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton will be joined by some familiar faces in Oral Roberts’ Dominique Morrison, IUPUI’s Alex Young and South Dakota’s Charlie Westbrook, names familiar to Summit League faithful.
Westbrook, Morrison and Young will all be on the same team, while Hamilton is paired with Detroit’s Eli Holman in the 64-player, eight-team tournament in Portsmouth, Va., from April 11-14.
Some other names of note to Oakland fans on Portsmouth rosters include Alabama’s JaMychal Green, Ashton Gibbs from Pittsburgh, Mitchell Watt of Buffalo and Arizona’s Kyle Fogg. Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn, who beat out Hamilton, Morrison and South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters among others for Mid-Major Player of the Year, will also be taking part.

More pro experience
Former Oakland center Keith Benson, who opted not to return to the NBA Developmental League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce after not being renewed after his 10-day deal with the Golden State Warriors expired, tweeted Friday that he can’t wait for the NBA Summer League.
Benson was stripped of the summer development by the NBA lockout last season, opting rather to play in Italy during the work stoppage.
Benson chose not to play in Portsmouth last season and was a second-round pick, No. 48, by the Atlanta Hawks. He was cut in the preseason and latched on in the NBADL in late February before being called up by the Warriors two weeks ago.

Monday, April 2, 2012

REPORT: Keith Benson won't be re-signed by Warriors

After playing in three games with Golden State, former Oakland University star Keith Benson reportedly won't be re-signed to another 10-day contract, according to
Benson averaged three minutes and one rebound per game after being signed March 25 following a two-month stint in the NBA Developmental League.
The Warriors are 0-5 since calling up Benson, who played a total of five minutes — just one minute after a four-minute debut.
The report notes "Benson was playing behind rookie Jeremy Tyler and Mickell Gladness, whom the Warriors have signed for the rest of the season. In addition, Andris Biedrins returned from injury on Sunday night against the Lakers."
The two-time Summit League Player of the Year was drafted in the second round, No. 48 overall, by the Atlanta Hawks in last year's NBA draft. He played briefly in Italy during the NBA lockout and was cut by the Hawks during the preseason.
UPDATE: According to Sioux Falls Skyforce media relations director Brett Hansen, Benson is eligible to return to Sioux Falls, which has just three games remaining this season. 

Season-ending Grizz Talk