Oakland’s Travis Bader dismisses transfer talk
|Travis Bader says he's staying at Oakland|
Oakland guard Travis Bader spent some time talking with Jack Ebling and Joe Rexrode Wednesday on Lansing’s WVFN-AM (730). The soon-to-be senior covered a wide variety of topics with the hosts, including the pursuit of J.J. Redick’s career 3-point record, Oakland joining the Horizon League, and most notably, his decision to stay at Oakland for his final season rather than transferring.
Bader, a fifth-year senior who red-shirted in 2009-10, is eligible as a graduate transfer — and would retain immediate eligibility having already received his undergraduate degree from Oakland.
Typical transfers are forced by NCAA rules to sit out for a season before playing for their new team.
Bader graduated in 2012 with a degree in communications and has been taking graduate classes since.
Despite the national attention he’s received of late, the Okemos native told the show’s hosts he couldn’t fathom leaving Oakland.
“Oakland has given me this great opportunity and they saw a great player in me when nobody else did,” Bader said.
“I’m just really comfortable with the coaches and the players here ... I couldn’t imagine leaving my brothers here at Oakland.”
Bader, who has made at least one 3-pointer in 53 consecutive games, owns an Oakland record with 357 career 3-pointers made. Redick’s record of 457 is within reach considering Bader made 139 triples, a single-season school record, last season. He also made 124 baskets from long-distance as a sophomore in 2011-12.
“I try not to think about (Redick’s record),” Bader said. “I just put it in the back of my mind and work on my game.
“At the same time, it means I’m in a great system right now with coaches who have a lot of trust in me. They let me take shots other coaches might not let other players take.”
Bader, who grew up around Tom Izzo’s Michigan State program, said he dreamed of playing at the highest level in college basketball. He talked about being recruited by Oakland after first being pursued by Division II schools.
“I wasn’t the strongest, or the quickest or the best shooter,” Bader said. “I really had to work. When I started getting looks from Division II schools, I worked a little bit harder. A couple Division I schools started calling me and asking me to come in to work out and talking about having me as a walk-on.
“I just started talking to the assistant coaches here and Coach Kampe and they said they wanted me here at Oakland and they saw great things in my future and they could work with me to become the player I am today. From that point, it was an easy decision.”
Drew Valentine, Bader’s best friend and roommate, has graduated, leaving a leadership void, which coach Greg Kampe has even noted as a possible struggle this season.
“(Valentine) was seen as ‘that’ guy who led the team,” Bader said. “I’m trying to become a better vocal leader.”
Bader echoed the sentiment of Oakland and its administrators in regards to the school’s impending move to the Horizon League.
“It’s amazing for Oakland,” he said. “We had a lot of success in the Summit League. Whenever you switch conferences (to a higher-profile conference) ... it means Oakland is moving in the right direction.”
Bader, who led the nation in 3-point shooting last season, was also recently pegged as the nation’s top 3-point shooter by Bleacher Report.
Kampe mentioned in a live chat with the Detroit Free Press last week he expects Oakland’s non-conference schedule to be completed by the end of next month.