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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 27, 2013

Oakland’s ‘Harlem Shake’ could have far-reaching effect

If you missed out on the latest Internet meme, Oakland is here to introduce you to the “Harlem Shake.” And they went to great lengths to differentiate theirs from the crowd.
Led by senior Drew Valentine who appears in a banana costume, the team released the video Tuesday afternoon and reported having more than 19,000 views at Wednesday morning’s practice.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe, who had not heard of the movement, donned the head of the Golden Grizzlies’ mascot Grizz for the shoot.
“I am utterly amazed by the attention it’s getting,” he said. “It makes me laugh. I like to have fun, so I think it’s cool our program … somebody said it’s the best one. I didn’t realize there had been a thousand of them.”
“Whatever the reason, people like it. I’m all for it. Any time you can promote Oakland basketball, that’s a great thing.”
The video circulated through the college hoops community Tuesday afternoon and evening and was even retweeted by ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, to which Kampe joked “That’s our recruiting video.” He was only half-joking.
“We talk about (recruiting) all the time,” he said. “We talk about how it’s a marathon. It’s a long season and you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself and have some fun. And I’ve got some characters on this team, so it’s easy.”
The video, which was originally supposed to be filmed Friday, took only 15 minutes, Kampe said.
“I told them I’m in no mood after the Fort Wayne thing,” he said of rescheduling the shoot after Thursday's disappointing road loss.
Kampe and guard Travis Bader agreed the most difficult part of the process was to keep from laughing at Valentine in the beginning of the video.  
"I messed up the first take because I saw Drew and them behind me going crazy out of the corner of my eye,” Bader said.
Bader appeared in a serape and sombrero, paying homage to his notorious photobombing skill by standing motionless throughout the video.
“A lot of people asked if it was Photoshopped,” he said. “They told me to just stand there and hold that face.”
Valentine, who wore one sandal and one basketball shoe, said little details were considered in an effort to set Oakland’s “Harlem Shake” apart from the crowd.  
“A lot of the (Harlem Shake) videos I’ve seen have been corny and not funny,” he said. “I’m happy people actually find ours humorous.
“We were all just thinking about what we wanted to bring to the video.”
Valentine will play his final home game Saturday when Oakland hosts Fort Wayne at the O’rena. Don’t surprised if the “Harlem Shake” is there, too.


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