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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.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Duke Mondy muscling his way onto Oakland’s itinerary

Oakland’s lengthy road trips in- and out-of-conference are something of mid-major legend. And when the plane’s wheels go up this weekend as Oakland departs for Louisiana, new point guard Duke Mondy will finally make his first road trip with the team.
Mondy wasn’t allowed to travel with the team last season, as he sat out due to NCAA transfer rules.
“I’m very excited to get on the road and get this trip started,” he said of the seven-game expedition.
The Providence transfer has shown flashes of brilliance since his Oakland debut last week, as well as drawing countless praise from coach Greg Kampe. But, despite Mondy’s defensive attributes and passing ability, he maintained a less-than-praiseworthy 0.80 assist-to-turnover ratio in the preseason. Mondy knows several factors contribute to such a stat and he’s ready to put it behind him.
“People have games like that,” he said. “The turnovers I made were mental mistakes. They called a couple travels on me and I made a couple bad passes. I’m just moving on.”
After waiting a full season to join his teammates, Mondy said the Grizzlies’ two exhibitions really helped get him acclimated to the speed of the game. Now that he’s there, he’s just trying not to do too much.
“I just try to make the easy pass,” he said. “I don’t try to force things, I just play.”
And while he’s just now suiting up for Oakland, like transfers before him, he took up residence on the Rochester-area campus a full year prior.
“That helped me just to get used to the campus because I didn’t visit (before transferring),” Mondy said. “During the school days when people were actually on campus, it was kind of different. I was getting lost a couple times going to class.
“They recruited me out of high school, so I already kind of knew what campus was like but I didn’t have the full grasp of going to classes. It was like freshman year all over again.”
Mondy learned the vantage point on the bench is much different than that of the point guard gliding up the court.
“It helped me playing as well, because I was just sitting back and spectating and watching from (fans’ and coaches’) point of view. It’s easy to criticize when you’re watching than it is when you’re playing. That’s helping me out in games.”
As previously noted, Mondy has put on size in his time away from the court, nearly 20 pounds, something Kampe credited with helping his new signal-caller make a crowd-pleasing assist to forward Drew Valentine.
“The moves I make have become a lot easier with the strength I’ve gained,” Mondy said. “My body type changed. It helps when I want to get to a point on the court or even when I’m guarding a bigger guy or when I’m finishing with contact.”
Fans will get to see the full effect of Mondy’s presence for the first time, in regular-season play at least, Friday at the O’rena. 


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