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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, March 9, 2013

Reality TV: Oakland looking for its ‘X-Factor’ in Sioux Falls

Dante Williams: X-Factor?
When Oakland won consecutive Summit League tournament titles in 2010 and 2011, contributions from reserves put the Golden Grizzlies over the top. Coach Greg Kampe is again hoping for one of the team’s role players to emerge this weekend in Sioux Falls.
“It’s always somebody in a situation like this,” he said.  “Matt Poches might be the guy that scores eight points when he hasn’t been. That’s how you win. It’s not Travis Bader and Corey Petros and Duke Mondy … if we win all three games, they’re not going to be the three leading scorers. Somebody is going to do something.”
So who exactly could be that guy? Poches? Possibly. The sophomore has had several “firsts” this season, but has only logged 21 minutes in the season’s final three games and earned a DNP twice down the stretch. Kampe has, however, made a point to praise Poches as a team catalyst from time to time.
The more likely “X-Factor” is fellow sophomore Dante Williams, who has infuriated Kampe at times, but has shown down the stretch this season that he may finally be playing similarly to the player Kampe thought he could be.
A player who Kampe says has struggled with his confidence, Williams has been making aggressive and assertive plays, including an authoritative one-handed dunk last week against Fort Wayne.
Earlier in the game, Williams scored Oakland’s first seven points of the regular-season finale against the Mastodons.
After returning from consecutive DNPs in mid-January, Williams has started every game but that initial contest.
Averaging just under 14 minutes per game this season, Williams has maximized his playing time of late. He’s even 9 of 12 from the field in the last four games and averaging 5.6 points per game since returning to action Jan. 19.
In addition to his personal improvements, Oakland is 8-2 since Williams returned to the starting lineup and Duke Mondy went to the bench.
It was well-documented at the team’s media day just what type of an effect the high-stakes pressure of Sioux Falls can have on players, so it will be interesting to see how Oakland’s younger players handle it. 


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