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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.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

UPDATED: Oakland's interior depth already being tested

Oakland coach Greg Kampe said at the team’s media day, a lack of depth in the post is the team’s Achilles Heel.
With untested bigs behind forwards Corey Petros and Drew Valentine, Kampe noted his squad could be in trouble if the team's only two returning players who logged significant minutes in the post were to fall victim to injury or illness.
Petros shared the floor at times with freshman forward Lloyd Neely and transfer Raphael Carter against Davenport. Red-shirt freshman Korab Imami, who is now the team's tallest player at 6-foot-11, saw just seven minutes in the game.
“We have perimeter depth, but you can’t lose a leader like Drew Valentine,” Kampe said. “You can’t lose (Travis) Bader because they have to guard him anywhere he stands on the court.
“This team is definitely talented enough and I feel really good about this team. I definitely think this is an NCAA (tournament qualifying) team.”
Kampe credited his team’s depth in previous years with helping survive injury, noting sophomore Dante Williams will again be an X factor for the Golden Grizzlies. The 6-foot-6, 187-pounder has the size and length to be plugged into several types of situations, as Kampe noted after the win over Davenport.
“We feel really good about everything about us,” Kampe said.  
Transfer Raphael Carter was the last addition to the 2012-13 squad with his transfer becoming finalized in the late summer. Kampe continues to tout Carter as a major contributor and he proved his coach right in Tuesday’s exhibition win over Davenport.
“(He) can block shots, but he’s not Keith Benson,” Kampe said. 
Carter will have to wait a few games to have much of a physical impact, as Kampe announced this week his backup forward had suffered a deep bone bruise in practice. Kampe hopes to have Carter back in the lineup by their Nov. 17 visit to Pittsburgh. 
The spotlight briefly shifted to Imami after 7-footer Kyle Sikora transferred and Oakland lost two of last season’s recruits, Viktoras Merkevicious and Michael Lewis, to sub-standard academic performance.
Oakland also added forwards in Dayton transfer Ralph Hill and Saginaw native Tommie McCune from West Virginia within weeks of each other this summer. Both players have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, however.
“You work on transfers non-stop,” Kampe said. “You never know when that’s going to happen. We always try to save scholarships so we have them. If you look at our history, every great team we’ve had has had a transfer on it.
“We have a lot of role players. Our transfers have always been pretty good. … We always try to create a culture where people will want to come to Oakland.
This is the third consecutive season the Golden Grizzlies are suiting up a transfer guard. Prolific scorer Reggie Hamilton debuted in 2010-11, while teammate Laval Lucas-Perry joined last season for his final year of eligibility. Providence transfer Duke Mondy played his first game for the black and gold Tuesday, albeit in the team’s alternate gray uniforms.
“The better you are in practice, the better your team is going to be,” Kampe said.

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