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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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

GRIZZ TALK: Oakland preps for Summit League Tournament

Watch Oakland coach Greg Kampe talk about the team's upcoming trip to Sioux Falls, S.D., for the annual Summit League Tournament, where the Golden Grizzlies are the third seed facing No. 6 Southern Utah Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

Watch full interviews by clicking on a name below:

Reggie Hamilton

Travis Bader

Greg Kampe

Live chat with coach Greg Kampe

Join me at 1 p.m. Thursday for a live chat coach Greg Kampe for nearly an hour, as the Golden Grizzlies prepare for the Summit League Tournament. Send him your questions using the live chat window below.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Get used to seeing Southern Utah ... Oakland already is

Oakland took all three meetings with Southern Utah last season, beating the Thunderbirds in the quarterfinals of the Summit League tournament after playing them in a physical matchup in the last game of the regular season. With just two conference games remaining, it’s looking like Oakland could again face Southern Utah in the first round of the tournament in either the No. 3 vs. No. 6 or No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup in Sioux Falls, S.D.
With Wednesday’s overtime win over the Thunderbirds, Oakland moved into a tie for third place with North Dakota State at 9-7. The Bison own the tiebreaker with the Grizzlies by virtue of the Homecoming win they stole at the O’rena last month to add to the humiliating 27-point hurting they handed Oakland in late December.
“There’s a very good chance we’ll see (Southern Utah),” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “There’s some things we didn’t do (offensively) tonight. We figure we’ll probably play them, so we’ll see.”
Kampe has insisted he wants Oakland to win out its remaining conference schedule to finish 11-7 and let the chips fall, assuming that should be good enough to earn the Grizzlies the fourth seed to the conference tournament.
Being so familiar with the Thunderbirds, Kampe already knows which areas will be key.
“They don’t ball-screen and that’s something we struggle with, he said. “They hurt us on the boards. They’re a very good offensive rebounding team.
"We don’t rebound the way we have the last couple years.”
While Oakland is in the negative in rebounding margin for the first time in long time, the Grizzlies are actually +4 in two meetings this season with Southern Utah.
Guard Reggie Hamilton was confident in the Grizzlies’ ability to tighten the screws.
“If we shore up the little things, we’ll be the team they need to worry about beating,” he said.
Southern Utah outscored Oakland by nine points in the second half Wednesday after the Grizzlies took that same advantage into the locker room at the half. The Thunderbirds shot 51 percent in the second half after Oakland held them to just 38 percent in the first.
“There were periods where we played really good ‘D’,” Oakland guard Travis Bader said. “We need to be consistent on defense the whole time. There was a stretch of the second half (Wednesday) where they scored five straight buckets off the same play.”
Kampe mentioned there were defensive miscues during the second half, but otherwise the Grizzlies’ played good defense.
It could be hard for Oakland to improve defensively, or know if its plugging the leaks, over its final two conference games at last-place teams UMKC (Thursday) and South Dakota (Feb. 25), which are both 4-12. 
It would be interesting for the Oakland to play Southern Utah three times in each of its final two seasons in the conference. The Thunderbirds will play in the Big Sky Conference beginning next season. Oakland leads the all-time series, 17-13, after Wednesday's win. 

Friendly rivalry got Reggie Hamilton to Oakland

In his Senior Night introductory speech, Oakland coach Greg Kampe made light of the fact former four-year point guard Johnathon Jones helped get Reggie Hamilton to transfer to Oakland after being granted a release from conference rival UMKC following the 2008-09 season. Kampe said Jones thought highly of Hamilton’s play and wanted to have him to practice against.
Hamilton transferred to Oakland and had to sit out the 2009-10 season due to NCAA rules but was able to practice against Jones. Their relationship blossomed and Oakland won consecutive Summit League titles with different guards running the point.
The story has unfolded well, but prior to his arrival, Hamilton respected Jones’ game, but clung to the rivalry inherent with a conference foe.
“At UMKC, I didn’t like Johnathon Jones at all,” Hamilton joked. “I was a fan, but I didn’t like him at all. I checked on his stats every game, but I just wanted to be better than him. Everyone said he was the best guard in the league and I wanted to prove everybody wrong. I wanted to prove everybody wrong. I was a young and crazy 18 year old.
“When I got here, he took me under his wing. We battled in practice for a whole year. I love Johnathon Jones. He changed my life. I have to give him a big thanks.”
Hamilton and the Grizzlies face UMKC Thursday, when he has a chance to go over the 2,000-point mark. He needs 67 points entering Saturday’s game. He’s only had to revisit his former stomping grounds once in uniform, and he said the reaction wasn’t anything to be concerned about.
“Last year wasn’t too bad,” Hamilton said. “They didn’t heckle me or anything. It was just normal cheering. I’m not expecting anything (out of the ordinary).”
Only time will tell how the Kangaroo faithful act if Hamilton reaches such a milestone on their court. 

Darth Bader uses the force for good

  • Everything went Travis Bader’s way soon after he entered Wednesday’s game, as he went 6 for 6 from the floor in the first half. One such basket came as his floater managed to roll off the top of the backboard and down into the cylinder with 6:11 to play before the break. The ball only goes out of bounds if it hits the shot clock or basket brace and Bader’s shot hit neither.
    “I’ve never seen someone make a shot like that across the top of the backboard,” said Golden Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe, in his 28th year at Oakland.
  • Senior Night could’ve ended a bit differently for Reggie Hamilton, as his personal foul sent Southern Utah’s Damon Heuir to the free-throw line for three shots with three seconds left in regulation, where he tied the game and sent it into overtime.
    “The kid made a great play. He jumped into me, got the call and he made three shots. It was a good play on his behalf,” Hamilton said.
    Hamilton nearly broke the tie on his last-second 3 that rimmed out. He personally outscored the Thunderbirds in overtime, 4-3, as did Bader, as Oakland took the 76-68 win.
  • Bader had another 20+-point outing and seems to have found his shot after being pushed into a reserve role where he still plays more than 30 minutes per game. When asked “Do you care if you ever start again?” Bader responded: “Truthfully. No.”
  • Bader has shown off his athleticism as well as range this season, at times throwing down fast-break dunks. But he’s also chased down opponents to prevent them from doing the same, a la the Pistons’ Tayshaun Prince on Reggie Miller in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. Bader’s latest defensive gem came with 15 minutes to play Wednesday.
    “At practice, I try to get those chase-down blocks and maybe go for a dunk or two,” he said. “I don’t always show it during the games because I’m sticking out around the perimeter. People underestimate my athleticism.”
  • Senior Laval Lucas-Perry used his final year of eligibility to play at Oakland for just this season. When asked if he would play all four years for the Golden Grizzlies, he quickly said with little hesitation: "You know, I would."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Postgame video from Senior Night

Seniors Reggie Hamilton and Laval Lucas-Perry address the fans after Wednesday's overtime victory over Southern Utah.

Grizzlies post infamous feat in win Senior Night win

Reggie Hamilton did, indeed, move into first place in the nation in scoring by 0.03 points per game Wednesday night, but Oakland's scoring was bit lopsided, as it has at times been this season. Hamilton and Travis Bader combined for 59 of Oakland's 76 points and furthermore, Hamilton was the only starter to make a field goal (Drew Valentine made three free throws.)
How rare is that? Well, ESPN says it's the first time a team has completed such a mark this season.
Three Oakland starters didn't score at all in last week's double-overtime win at Western Illinois, and the bench outscored the starters in the both meetings with Southern Utah this season. Jan. 19, it was just a one-point margin, but Wednesday, the reserves led the way, 41-35.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wrapup notes from Senior Night at the O'rena

Oakland won its third consecutive game Wednesday at the O’rena, matching it season high after a six-game skid to start the new year. Below are some superlatives and other not so.
Super: With 30 points tonight, Reggie Hamilton not only notched his league-leading 11th 30-point game of the season, but he moved into first place in the nation in scoring by 0.03 points per game. … The Grizzlies have made at least 26 free throws in each of their last two games. … Oakland suffered its second-lowest output at home this season, in regulation, 65 points. They put up just 61 vs. Western Illinois Jan. 5. … The Grizzlies are now 11-0 when holding their opponents under 46 percent shooting (41 percent Wednesday). … Travis Bader began the game 6 for 6 from the floor before finishing with 29 points. … Although he didn’t notch a field goal, Drew Valentine had a game-high nine rebounds.
Superbad: Oakland was outscored 32-20 in the paint. … Freshman Corey Petros had five turnovers. He did finish with seven points and five rebounds to his credit.… The Grizzlies shot just 29 percent in the second half and just 2 of 9 from 3-point range. … Oakland fell in an early 9-0 hole for the second time in recent memory. They lost the previous time at IUPUI Feb. 1.

Greg Kampe joining ranks of the ‘Lin’sane

Count Oakland coach Greg Kampe among those caught in the phenomenon that is the New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin.
“It’s amazing,” Kampe said. “It’s cool. It makes people realize anything can happen and to never give up. It shows there are great athletes out there who just need a chance. So many times, if you don’t get the chance, there’s people out there who could’ve been super, superstars, but never got the opportunity. He could’ve been one of them.”
Does the scenario sound familiar? It should to Oakland fans who have watched two such players in recent years.
“(Keith) Benson is a great case of that and Pierre Dukes is a great case of that,” Kampe pointed out.
Legions of Oakland fans may know Dukes just from his poster outside the O’rena earned after he hit a last-second 3 in the 2005 Mid-Con tourney title game to send the Golden Grizzlies to their first NCAA tournament. 

“(Dukes) wasn’t even going to be on the team and we got ourselves in a bit of trouble and had low numbers. He had actually given up his scholarship and was just going to be a student and I said to him ‘why don’t you just practice with us?’
“Now he has the greatest play in school history.”

Live chat: Southern Utah at Oakland

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bracketbusters game presents interesting scenario for Oakland coaches

Playing a mandated non-conference game late in the regular season with ostensibly nothing on the line can have its benefits. The Grizzlies travel to Illinois State Saturday with their final two regular-season conference games and the league’s postseason tournament looming March 3-6. A lot has to go their way for them to get the third seed to the tournament, and resting players who regularly play nearly 40 minutes a night (and a double-overtime game last week) could help Oakland get there.
Coach Greg Kampe is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“We’ll play that game as it goes,” he said. “If we’re in it and we have a chance to win it, we’re going to go for it, but if we’re not, there are some guys who don’t get many minutes who will play if we’re not in contention to win.
“We’re going into it trying to win, but we’ll see what happens while we’re in it.”
The Grizzlies are a game behind third-place North Dakota State, which which holds a tiebreaker with the Grizzlies having twice beaten them this season, with three more regular-season games remaining. A .500 Southern Utah team is the best team it will face in that stretch. Feb. 23 brings UMKC (4-11) and South Dakota (2/25) on the road, where Oakland could get a running start Saturday.
A less-than-close game could also give the Grizzlies the advantage of playing alternative combinations and matchups, which could later benefit Oakland in the long run. It might not get to that point, though. By the numbers, Illinois State matches up evenly with Oakland, as the teams share similar RPIs and records.
Kampe has, on several occasions, made it very clear the conference race is team’s primary objective. Also, the Bracketbusters series helps teams which might need a boost toward an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, something the Grizzlies aren’t likely to be considered for. The Summit League, which entered all of its teams in the Bracketbusters series (and pushed up a conference game; in Oakland’s case, its final time hosting Oral Roberts; to accommodate a late-February game), has just one automatic bid to the Big Dance, which goes to its conference tournament winner. So, theoretically, a third seed would help Oakland get to the tournament more than a win over the RedBirds.
That’s not to say an Oakland win Saturday can’t help the Golden Grizzlies, either, from a confidence standpoint, but it will interesting to see which route Kampe and Co. take.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reggie Hamilton nearing final home game

It’s hard to believe Reggie Hamilton has only been at Oakland for three years, joining the Grizzlies last season after sitting out 2009-10 due to NCAA transfer rules. He’ll play his final game at the O’rena Wednesday on Senior Night.
Hamilton was the only freshman named to the Summit League All-Newcomer Team in 2007-08 while at UMKC and his stock continued to soar at Oakland, where he is routinely the team’s leading scorer. He nearly had as many points last season with Oakland (616) as he did in two years at UMKC (627).
Prior to his 10 30-point game Saturday (31), Hamilton was second in the nation in scoring and has been the only Oakland player to score in double figures each game this season. He reached 1,000 points scored with Oakland in a Jan. 3 loss to Oral Roberts and closing in on 2,000 for his career.
“It’s going to be a hard day for me, but I’m going to try and go in there and get a big win,” he said. “I appreciate everything the Grizzlies family has done. They brought me in with open arms and it’s been a good three years here. I’m thankful for the opportunity and all the love I’ve received since I’ve been here.”
Oakland coach Greg Kampe, a staunch opponent of participating in the ESPN Bracketbusters series, was miffed at the idea the Grizzlies’ Senior Night game was pushed from its typical Saturday slot to a mid-week game to accommodate the series.
“What Reggie Hamilton has done for Oakland, it’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to Laval (Lucas-Perry),” Kampe said. “They deserve a normal Senior Night crowd. The last 10 have been close to sellouts. I’m disappointed in that, but it is what it is.”
The Grizzlies have a chance to make the Thunderbirds the second team they’ve swept this season and possibly jump them in the conference standings with precious little time left in the season. Hamilton gets at least one final crack at his former team, as the Grizzlies visit the Kangaroos Feb 23.

Notes after Oakland win over IPFW

Reggie Hamilton poured in 31 Saturday, as IPFW became the first team Oakland has swept in conference play this season.
Positives: Oakland outscored the Mastodons 27-16 at the free-throw line. The Grizzlies are 9-2 this season when scoring 20 or more points from the foul line. … Oakland shot 48 percent (12 of 25) from beyond the arc for its third-highest percentage this season. The Grizzlies are 7-2 when shooting better than 40 percent. … With four 3s today, Travis Bader moved into a tie for seventh in single-season Oakland history with none other than Erik Kangas (87). … Hamilton scored at least 30 points for the fourth straight time against IPFW. His 10 30-point games this season are second only in Oakland history Mike Helms’ 13 in 2002-03. Hamilton passed former teammate Keith Benson on the all-time Summit League scoring list (1,907) to move into 15th place. … Kyle Sikora tied career highs in blocks (four), rebounds (six) and minutes played (19), while scoring for the first time in four games (one). … Drew Valentine was a career-best 8 of 10 from the free-throw line, while Hamilton was perfect 8 for 8.
Negatives: The Grizzlies were shooting in the 60-percent range from the free-throw line for much of the game before rebounding to shoot 75 percent (27 of 36). … Oakland scored just 19 points off 17 Mastodon turnovers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just one thing not to be excited about in 2OT win at Western Illinois

Oakland coach Greg Kampe was impressed by the high-level of play in Saturday’s double-overtime win over Western Illinois. Except in one regard.
“The only negative for either team was the free-throw shooting,” he said of both teams’ futility on Tuesday’s “The Greg Kampe Show” on WXOU. “Reggie (Hamilton) is a leading free-throw shooter in the country and he missed four in a row at one point.
“If you take that free-throw shooting away, it was very well-played game. It was very intense and there were really good players making good plays. Very good college basketball.”

The Grizzlies shot just 46 percent (12 of 26) from the free-throw line. They shot better several feet away, beyond the 3-point arc, where they were 14 of 30 (47 percent).
Corey Petros led the way, going 3 of 7, while Hamilton finished 5 of 9 from the line.
The Leathernecks shot 60 percent (15 of 25) on their freebies, as Tommie Tyler was just 6 of 13.
After a double-overtime win, there was no time to relax on the way home. The Grizzlies had another wild ride, as their plane inexplicably dropped what Kampe described as seven feet, in mid-flight.  
“It got everybody’s attention,” Kampe said. “It lasted a little while. For a guy like me who can’t handle roller coasters, I was ready to throw up all over myself.”
That was just the latest in Oakland travel woe this season. Despite the travel difficulties, they’ve posted a 6-7 record.

Victory at Western Illinois a critical road win for young team

Oakland is in the middle of a down year by its standards of the last few years, but there are bright spots to be taken out of almost every game this season. Saturday, besides a 40-point game by Reggie Hamilton, the Golden Grizzlies picked up a road win on a night when they started three freshmen. The win makes them 6-7 on the road while they’re just 7-6 at home, a place Oakland only lost one game each of the past two seasons.
“We’ve been pretty mediocre this year, but the one thing we’ve done is win on the road,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said Tuesday on WXOU. “We haven’t won at home, which is a surprise.”
Kampe was forced to start freshman Matt Poches for the first time Saturday due to the one-game suspension of guard Ryan Bass for academic reasons. The three freshmen didn’t score and Dante Williams played just four minutes, but Oakland went home with the double-overtime victory.
“We’ve handled hostile environments,” Kampe said. “Western Illinois was the worst it’s ever been. … It was a very well-played game at a very high level.”
The makeup of the team would likely be different had Ledrick Eackles, a would-be junior, and incoming senior big man Ilija Milutinovic, who opted to go pro in Europe in the offseason, both returned. That left just five players with previous experience at Oakland to start the season.
“They had five years of Oakland playing time between them,” Kampe said. “We lost them and then we only had five years left.”
One of those experienced players, redshirt junior Blake Cushingberry, has since left the team.
Milutinovic was expected in part to fill the void created by the loss of Will Hudson and Keith Benson to graduation. Redshirt freshmen Corey Petros, who got off to a hot start this season, and Kyle Sikora, have instead been tasked with manning what was a formidable frontcourt with two experienced pillars.
“You have to be realistic — somewhere that inexperience is going to show up. It’s raised its head at times," Kampe said.
And at other times, the Grizzlies have gotten it done with a young lineup. They managed Saturday not just a four-point victory, but one that goes a long way in the Summit League standings, giving the Grizzlies a tiebreakers in various scenarios. The Grizzlies are currently tied with Southern Utah for fifth place in the conference at 7-7 and could leapfrog the Thunderbirds by virtue of a season sweep, which could be accomplished next Wednesday. 
A fourth or fifth seed to the conference tournament could go a long way in early March. Kampe conceeded the Grizzlies won’t reach the third seed unless there’s a complete collapse by North Dakota State. By Kampe’s estimates, if the Grizzlies win out over their final four conference games, they should get fourth place in the final standings. It would be the first time since 2005-06 Oakland has finished outside the top three, but it would be better for Oakland to face Western Illinois or Southern Utah in the first round rather than the Bison or South Dakota State.
“It put us in a good position to not be sixth,” he said. “You don’t want to be sixth or seventh. I want to be 11-7 and whatever happens, happens.”

'Loyal' Greg Kampe reflects on time at Oakland

The past two seasons while Oakland played in the NCAA tournament, the most frequent questions besides those about Keith Benson were always “Why has that Greg Kampe guy been there so long?” He’s his 28th season after taking over in 1984.
“I guess it’s unusual that a guy has coached at one place at our level without leaving,” Kampe said on Tuesday’s “The Greg Kampe Show” on WXOU.
“I’m a very loyal person,” Kampe said. “And it’s been a great fit for me and my family. I’m not saying I wouldn’t leave. If State U ‘X’ called and offered me $1.3 million to coach their team, I’d probably take it. You didn’t leave Oakland back in the day to go to a job like that. You left to go to a middle job that would lead to a an Atlantic 10 or Missouri Valley-level program. I never wanted to do that. I was comfortable here and had the autonomy of running a program.
“We were making good money and leading  good life, so why would you want to leave? Oakland has been very good to Greg Kampe and I’m happy to be a part of this.”
Kampe admitted to turning down a 5-year, $2 million deal last summer, but declined to say which program the offer came from.  
“I’ve had numerous opportunities over the years, but none of them were the right fit,” he added.
Kampe further added he went on an initial interview last year but had a change of heart regarding further negotiations after talking with his wife. He was reportedly being wooed by Eastern Michigan last offseason.
He was also pursued by Dayton, which was looking to replace former Oakland standout Brian Gregory, who played for Kampe in the 80s.
“But that was last year, and we were winning a lot,” Kampe said. “I don’t think I’ll be getting many calls this year.”
Oakland made Kampe one of the first two active coaches to ever be enshrined in the school’s athletic Hall of Honor nearly two weeks ago. He recalled making just $29,000 per season as the nation’s youngest coach when he started.
“Humbling,” Kampe called the induction last week on “Grizz Talk.” “I’m very appreciative Oakland would do that, but I’m also cognizant of the fact I have years left and a lot of work to do and we have a lot of games to win. As a coach, you don’t look in the rear-view mirror.”
Nearly 30 years and three Division I NCAA tournament appearances later, he has the success and longevity that makes national beat writers scratching their head.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Golden Grizzlies have style

Oakland coach Greg Kampe, seen here talking to guard Reggie Hamilton earlier this season, was mentioned in a Sports Illustrated fashion gallery for his improved wardrobe. Photo courtesy of Dan Fenner
Oakland coach Greg Kampe has made a concerted effort this season to step up his wardrobe game on the sidelines. He's gotten plenty of notice from media types, myself included, quick with the cellphone. Last season, Oakland introduced the gray alternate jerseys. This season, Kampe debuted the gray suit for the nationally-televised game against Tennessee from the O'rena in late-November. That landed him in Sports Illustrated Style Archive.
"It seems like every Nike or Jordan team now has a grey option — but Kampe is the only coach, to our knowledge, that has matched his gameday suit with his team's jersey hue."
Kampe previously made the list for his sweater vests and was joined by former Oakland standout Will Hudson for his "Madison State of Mind" shoulder tattoo last season. 
Kampe wasn't alone again this year, as Laval Lucas-Perry made the gallery for his "drapes," or especially long shorts. Having shorts deemed long, even by basketball standards, is certainly an accomplishment. 
"Hoop shorts have been trending longer, and larger, for quite some time, but Perry's trunks take it to an absurd level" the report said. "They appear to be constructed of enough drift fabric to make two jersey tops, an arm sleeve, a headband, and a new vest for coach Greg Kampe."
The Grizzlies' shorts do appear especially baggy, but it appears in that particular photo, Lucas-Perry was wearing long socks, leaving none of his legs exposed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Working OT: Finishing touches on Western Illinois game

Freshman Matt Poches made his first career start, playing 21 minutes and grabbing four rebounds for the Golden Grizzlies. He didn't score, but Poches did come up with a key defensive stop on Western Illinois' Ceola Clark at the end of overtime to help send the game to a second OT. He was matched up late with Clark after all-everything forward Drew Valentine fouled out 4:09 to play in the first OT.
Some highlights: Reggie Hamilton, who entered Saturday's game as the nation's second-leading scorer, had his second 40-point performance of the season. He hit a career-high nine 3s ... The Grizzlies posted 10 more rebounds than the Leathernecks, limiting them to just four offensive rebounds. ... It took two overtimes, but the Grizzlies neared their 79.1 points per game average against the best defensive team in regards to scoring. The Leathernecks were allowing just 61 points per game prior to Saturday. ... Oakland limited Leathernecks leading rebounder Terell Parks by luring him into foul trouble. ... The Grizzlies have now won four games this season decided by five or fewer points. .... Oakland held Western Illinois to 50 points in regulation, a season-best in league play.
Low beams: Just four Oakland players scored with three starters failing to score a single point. ... Poches' start was facilitated by academic issues facing sophomore Ryan Bass, who had started the previous eight games. Bass didn't make the trip. ... Oakland continued its terrible free-throw shooting, going 14 of 30 (47 percent). The Grizzlies, in fact, shot better from 3-point range, 12 of 26, than they did from the free-throw line. Hamilton, typically good from the line when his team struggles, was just 5 of 9. ... The 50 points Oakland scored in regulation is a season-low.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Highs and lows from Oakland's loss at IUPUI

After Wednesday's loss at IUPUI, the teams have now each snapped significant losing streaks against one another, as the Jaguars ended a seven game skid against Oakland with a 79-75 win.
Low: Oakland's bench outscored its starters, 38-37, behind 20 points from Travis Bader. ... After holding the Jaguars to just two free-throw attempts in the first half, Oakland saw IUPUI take 16 attempts in the second half. They finished just 12 of 18. ... The Grizzlies allowed 19 points off 12 turnovers and are allowing nearly 20 points per game in such fashion in 13 losses this season. ... Freshman center Corey Petros had a season-low one rebound in another low, playing just 17 minutes before fouling out for the fourth time this season.

Highs: Oakland had more assists than turnovers, 16 to 12, for the sixth straight game. ... Bader notched his sixth 20+ point outing of the season after shooting 6 of 12 from 3-point range. ...With eight assists, Reggie Hamilton moved into 10th place all-time in the Summit League (489). ... Drew Valentine had six offensive rebounds and a team-high 12 boards in his fourth game with five or more offensive rebounds. ... IUPUI leading scorer Alex Young was held below his season average (21.8 ppg), scoring 14 points. ... Oakland had 21 second-chance points on 10 offensive rebounds.

Former Oakland standout Will Hudson ablaze in Australia

Using the trademark work ethic that made him a formidable inside presence with Keith Benson, former Oakland forward Will Hudson is making things happen for the Gold Coast Blaze in Australia's NBL, which is on a three-game winning streak.
“It came down to putting a full game together and I think it really starts with how we have been practicing and the intensity that has been going on in training," Hudson told the team's website.
The site did commit what Oakland fans consider a huge no-no, referring to the Rochester school as a California institution. But hey, at least they're from a completely different continent and it's still written in English.
And before you go questioning the compeition level of the NBL, Hudson points out it is comparable to other pro leagues around the world.
“Some people might not realize how good this league is...I think it is really underrated how much talent is in this league," he said.
Also of note, the Blaze's home arena is called the Furnace. Do they have those in that country? Hudson, a Madison, Wisc., native, can surely tell them a thing or two about cold winters. Remember, they're playing during the country's summer season, as temperatures in various parts of the nation are in the 80s.

GRIZZ TALK: Greg Kampe looks forward to road trip

Oakland coach Greg Kampe talks about trying to leave last weekend's last-second loss against North Dakota State and the upcoming road trip at IUPUI and Western Illinois. Watch the full version of the interview here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oakland's Reggie Hamilton has long history with Illinois State's Trey Blue

There’s another storyline for Oakland fans going into the Feb. 18 Bracketbusters game at Illinois State. Sure, Oakland beat the RedBirds for its first Division I win. Also of note, Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton was high school teammates with RedBirds junior guard Trey Blue at Thornwood High School, the starting point for several professional athletes including the Miami Heat’s Eddy Curry, for three seasons in South Holland, Ill.
Like Hamilton, Blue transferred to his current program, after spending his first season at Fordham. Hamilton spent almost two seasons at UMKC, where he was the only true freshman on the league’s All-Newcomer team in 2008, before transferring to Oakland and sitting out the 2009-10 season. Hamilton is having another notable season as a senior as the nation’s second-leading scorer (24 ppg).
Hamilton and Blue played together for three years in high school, where Blue was the go-to guy.
“He was our leader, star player and a great leader. He could should from anywhere on the court,” Hamilton said.
“We basically grew up together. We were both stars in junior high school and then went to the same high school.”
Hamilton, who said he wasn’t recruited by Illinois State, and Blue hadn’t contacted each other as of Tuesday afternoon, “but it’s probably going to happen sooner rather than later,” he said.
Hamilton likes the matchup and compares the RedBirds’ fortunes this season to Oakland.
“They’ve had some close games where they didn’t come out on top,” he said.”That’s like what we’ve been going through this year. They’ve got some athletes on that team. … It’ll be an exciting game for us and a good win if we can get it.”
The game tips off at 5 p.m. and can be heard on WDFN-AM (1130) and

Date of next FSD All-Access episode uncertain, players miked during NDSU loss

It hasn’t been announced when the next “Oakland All-Access” program will air on Fox Sports Detroit, but according to a press release by the network, the second episode won’t air before Feb. 8. During Tuesday’s practice, Oakland coach Greg Kampe shed some light on how the series came to be.
“With the NBA lockout, there were programming issues,” he said. “With Oakland basketball being part of their package, Detroit had been doing a similar monthly show, and they wanted to know if we’d be interested in something like that.
“The answer was ‘yes,’ but i didn’t want it to be (like something we already do). I didn’t want it to be a typical coach’s show.”
The FSD crew was given carte blanche around the O’rena.
“I said ‘We’ll open our facilities and you can come in and show people what college basketball really is. Fans don’t know what’s going on. They see me running up and down the sideline screaming and yelling, but they don’t know what’s being said in the locker room. They don’t know what’s there. They don’t know what a road trip is.”
The end result pleased the long-time Oakland coach.
“I thought it was pretty realistic,” Kampe said. “I don’t know if it was good or bad, but it would’ve been better if they were with us in the Dakotas when we swept them.
“They saw the reality of winning and losing and they saw what life was like on the road.”
Kampe guessed the next episode will feature the Dakotas’ visit to the O’rena last week, noting some players were miked up during the latter of the two, which the Bison won on a last-second 3-pointer.
“I would guess they’re looking at the length of the season and … the final episode is probably going to be looking at the tournament,” Kampe said.

I’ll pass along details as they become available.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe working on fan's triple crown

Oakland coach Greg Kampe is working on the triple crown for sports fans. After recently attending the BCS National Championship Game to watch his son play for LSU, Kampe will be attennding his first Super Bowl Sunday. He also attends the Final Four each season and has taken his own team to the initial rounds of the tourney three of the past seven seasons.
How is it possible he could make it there in time if Oakland plays the night before in Macomb, Ill., against Western Illinois.
“We’re going to get in from Western Illinois around 3 a.m. and then about 10 a.m., turn around and make the hour-long flight to Indianapolis, go to the game and fly home,” Kampe explained. “I won’t miss anything.”
Kampe said a good friend has tickets … and a plane.
The Summit League schedule gave Oakland a week off in between games before playing at  IPFW in early January and has done so again prior to the Grizzlies’ game against the Mastodons Feb. 11 at the O’rena.
“It’s one of those years,” Kampe said, adding “I would take two wins this week over going to the Super Bowl.”
Kampe, himself a broadcast journalism major way back when, seemed ready with a question for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Super Bowl Media Day, as the Grizzlies practiced at home Tuesday.
“I would ask him, if you’re supposed to be Mr. Clutch and all that, how would you feel if you were to lose and the Manning Brothers got all the publicity? I love Tom Brady, though, he’s my man. New England is going to win.”
Guard Reggie Hamilton seemed in lockstep with his coach.
“I’ve got to go with Tom Brady all the way — even though he went to Michigan. I’ll let that slide.”
Hamilton grew up in the Chicago area, as noted by his trademark Blackhawks hat seen on Oakland’s All-Access show on Fox Sports Detroit.