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.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Former Oakland star Reggie Hamilton joins Idaho Stampede of NBA D League
Reggie Hamilton returning to the states with Idaho Stampede of NBADL
According to NBA.com, former Oakland star and national leading scorer Reggie Hamilton has joined the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Developmental League, the Portland Trail Blazers' affiliate.
Hamilton led the nation in scoring last season at 26.2 points per game. He most recently played for Victoria Libertas Pesaro in Italian Serie A, the top professional league in Italy.
Hamilton worked out for the Trail Blazers, among several other teams, prior to last summer's NBA Draft. The Blazers ultimately drafted Damian Lillard No. 6 overall. The former Weber State guard was second in NCAA scoring to Hamilton last season.
Former Oakland star Keith Benson and Hamilton's teammate in 2010-11 has played two stints in the NBADL and now plays in the Philippines.
Oakland’s ‘Harlem Shake’ could have far-reaching effect
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.
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
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.
Oakland coach Greg Kampe clears the air(waves) about Travis Bader
Travis Bader: Not a walk-on
Oakland coach Greg Kampe took to Twitter recently to clear up some confusion about red-shirt junior Travis Bader:
Let me set something straight, Travis Bader was not a walk on. He was offered a scholarship at Oakland. It's still a great story.
— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) February 17, 2013
(national broadcast) says ‘He was a walk-on,’ ” Kampe said. “We were
the only Division I school to offer him a scholarship. “I just got sick of hearing it.” Kampe
went on to add that Oakland was also the only Division I program to
offer Keith Benson and Will Hudson, both enjoying professional careers
after being polished under Kampe’s tutelage. Bader,
who still leads the nation with 125 3-pointers made, is just six away
from predecessor Erik Kangas’ all-time Oakland mark of 348 — which took
Kangas a full season longer to set. Kampe pointed out that Kangas played
as a true freshman in 2005-06, whereas Bader sat out his first season
in 2009-10, which was “a huge benefit,” Kampe said. “They’re
similar in size, but their body makeup is not quite the same,” Kampe
said. “Bader is a little more defensively athletic than Kangas was and
Kangas is a little more offensively athletic than Bader. Kangas could
really elevate on his jump shot and go over people and take hits.
Neither took many free throws early in their careers, but Bader is
getting tremendous at the free-throw line.” Bader
is also just 10 3s behind Kangas’ single-season Oakland mark of 135.
Kampe said he and his staff are busy trying to find the next Golden
Grizzlies sharp-shooter. “We
look for a pure stroke and we don’t worry about athleticism in
shooters, we look at size,” he said. “Our great shooters … our shooters
have all had size. We want that 6-3 to 6-6 range and we want some
athleticism and that pure stroke. “We’re
out across the country right now looking for the next Travis Bader.
We’ve probably got seven or eight candidates in the 2014 class that
we’re looking at. There is one that is spectacular that could come right
in, but he could go to a BCS school. We’re just hoping that what Bader
has done in our system could help get that guy to come to Oakland. At (a
BCS school), he’s not going to get to take a thousand 3s like Bader
will here.” Bader is also on pace to challenge former Duke star and NBA trade bait J.J. Redick’s all-time 3-point mark of 457. Fans
can rest assured, while they watch Bader rewrite Oakland records that
weren’t expected to fall, Kampe and Co. are busy reloading.
The most significant change to the tournament itself is the addition of
three teams to the field when the NCAA created the “First Four,” a play
on the existing “Final Four” conclusion to the tournament, in 2011. The
field now consists of 68 teams and begins play March 19 in Dayton,
The courts are the most obvious change to the tournament. The NCAA has
stripped venues and host schools of any hint of a local connection.
Around these parts, this is known as “The Oakland rule,” after the
Rochester school got hip to the marketing opportunity at its disposal in
2006. A large cursive “Oakland University,” without any of the
traditional Oakland logos, ran from center court to near the 3-point
TV coverage: Turner Sports has vastly expanded its coverage on
television and the web. Utilizing the various cable networks at its
disposal, Turner turned TruTV and other forgotten cable channels into
March Madness mavens, soaking up the ratings boost as well. Last
season, Turner and CBS, which broadcasts tournament game exclusively
once the field is narrowed to just eight teams, jointly launched an
online companion platform for last season’s tournament which featured
coverage of each of the tournament’s opening-round games. This
season, the NCAA has created a YouTube channel where users can watch
highlights, for free, of recent March Madness highlights, including
those created at The Palace in 2006.
Social media: In its infancy as “Web 2.0” in 2006, it will likely play a
big role in the user experience for CBS and Turner, not to mention
alter the way many fans digest the tournament from their couches or bar
Rise of the mid-majors: George Mason in 2006 became the first so-called
“mid-major” to make the Final Four since Pennsylvania in 1979. With
increasing parity in college basketball, schools from lesser-known
conferences, such as Butler in 2010 and 2011, have become a more
frequent occurrence in the tournament’s crown jewel. Oakland
University competes in the Summit League, a conference, which like
other mid-majors, typically only receives on bid to the tournament
field. Men’s basketball coach Greg Kampe attributes the ascension of
small conference schools in part to the NCAA’s acceptance of
“one-and-dones,” players who depart for the NBA after just one season in
college, which has created a more level playing field.
for second- and third-round NCAA tournament games at The Palace can be
purchased at www.ncaa.com/mbbtickets, all Ticketmaster outlets and
TicketMaster.com, The Palace Ticket Store inside the West Atrium or by
calling (248) 377-0152.
Bracketbusters, Summit League Tournament forced Oakland-IPFW to new night
fans have likely gotten used to the Thursday-Saturday routine this
season, but the Golden Grizzlies are making their final road trip of the
season to Fort Wayne on a Wednesday. Why, you ask? Saturday’s
Bracketbusters games for both schools and the upcoming Summit League
tournament are big factors. Oakland
coach Greg Kampe said the teams were originally scheduled to meet the
first weekend of conference play in December, but the game was moved after each team
filed a petition with the league. They now meet Wednesday and March 2, with Saturday’s Bracketbusters game with Morehead State in between. “We
looked at our schedules and we both played this past Saturday and then
all we had was the Bracketbusters game this Saturday and then the last
game of the season,” Kampe said. “In
a three-week period, we would have played two games leading into the
tournament. The tournament is the most important thing. We just felt
that was a bad deal for both of us, so we decided to move that December
game to this Wednesday so we would only have one bye week before the
added that Oral Roberts’ hastened departure from the league threw the
conference schedule out of whack. Wednesday’s game was originally
supposed to be played at Oakland, which could have briefly alleviated
the travel burden that saw the Grizzlies play 15 of their first 19 on
the road. Instead, the streaking Grizzlies (10-4), who have won seven
straight games after beginning the season 1-3, close the season with
consecutive home games. Oakland has been very successful at the O’rena, going 41-4 over the last 45 games and 9-1 this
season. That lone loss this season came, of course, in the wakeup call game against
South Dakota Jan. 19. Oakland went on to defeat Western Illinois, North
Dakota State and South Dakota State, in succession, at the O’rena. There
is still a potentially hazardous consequence in shifting Fort Wayne to
the end of the conference season, besides playing a Mastodons team that
seems to be a few plays away from upsetting one of the conference’s best
— meeting them in the first round of the conference tournament. The
‘Dons enter Wednesday’s game in sixth place at 5-9, while Oakland is in
fourth place, a half-game behind North Dakota State (11-4). If Oakland
were able to surpass the Bison, as they did last season, and claim the
No. 3 seed to the conference tournament, as they did last season, that
would set up the third showdown in four games with Fort Wayne. “Now you’re playing three times in 17 days,” Kampe said. “I’ve never done that with a team.” It seems anyone can beat anyone else in the Summit League this year, so the final weeks should be entertaining.
Could theoretical move to 'Catholic 7' by Detroit clear way for Oakland to Horizon League?
Today, in "As College Sports Conferences Turn," the latest supposition comes from The Washington Post, whose Josh Feinstein attempts to fill the remaining spots in the so-called "Catholic 7" formed by basketball schools leaving the Big East.
Butler, which caused a flurry of Oakland-related speculation last May when it bolted from the Horizon League for the Atlantic 10 could be at the center of the latest swarm of talk. Then again, it could be Detroit itself causing the shift.
Feinstein supposes the aptly-named "Catholic 7" solicit membership among like-minded schools, making an exception for Butler, a private institution but not Catholic. But if Butler should decline, an invite could be extended to current Horizon League member Detroit. "If Butler decides not to leave the Atlantic 10 — which it joined only
this season — or if the presidents decide to go with Catholic schools
only, the University of Detroit Mercy would come into the picture."
A "Titanic" departure by Detroit would knock the conference down to just eight teams, dangerously close to the threshold to maintain its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Horizon has been deliberate in its search, or lack thereof, for possible replacements for Butler. Oakland and Summit League mate IUPUI have been theorized as possible substitutes.
Oakland coach Greg Kampe told The Oakland Press in a December live chat the Horizon had not contacted Oakland about membership, seven months after Butler's exit.
University has never been contacted by the Horizon League. They have
very smart people running the league and there's a reason their league
has been successful. "The
Horizon League is going to do what's best for the Horizon League. No
more than that. They're going to put in their due diligence. We're not
going to do anything to jeopardize our standing in the Summit League."
Meanwhile, the Summit has added Denver in 2013-14, while recently learning it will lose UMKC after this season. Oakland has made no secret of its desire to enter the Horizon and the long-rumored snub by conference member Detroit was put on record shortly after Butler's departure.
It seems like, if Detroit was to ever leave the Horizon, the conference would want to maintain its Detroit-area footprint and Oakland would quickly accept metatarsal appointment. There would be no more "Detroit veto" and Oakland would likely be able to come up with the cash to part ways with the Summit, which it joined (and won) when it moved up to Division I competition in 1999-2000.
Kampe also mentioned in the live chat that the stalemate in scheduling a rematch with Detroit, which Oakland hasn't played since 2003-04, was again at a standstill.
email lit up a few weeks ago when Ray McCallum said they'd be
interested in playing us," Kampe said then. "They haven't called us since that statement.
I've made yearly calls for several years. It's only going to happen if
we end up the same league someday. "We'll play them. I'll change my schedule. It's a game that should be play. Fans want to see it. It's economically smart, too."
Like the conference alignment rumors before it, the latest round of speculation is anybody's guess.
Another time for transition at Oakland with Duke Mondy
coach Greg Kampe is well-versed at transitioning transfer players into
the Golden Grizzlies’ high-powered offense. After a rough beginning to
Reggie Hamilton’s tenure, the UMKC transfer had become one of the
nation’s most prolific scorers, leading the country in scoring last
season at 26.2 points per game. Kampe quickly found Providence transfer Duke Mondy and Hamilton are different players — and different people. “With
Reggie, it was more emotional,” Kampe said. “Reggie pent up emotion in
himself and Duke is a quiet guy where you don’t always know what he’s
thinking. You knew exactly what was on Reggie’s mind. (The transition)
is different, but it’s the same. It’s the same amount of work and the
same amount of give and take. It’s just a different amount of
interaction.” Although they have different personalities, Mondy, like Hamilton, has a knack for providing clutch baskets for the Grizzlies. Mondy sealed Oakland's victory Thursday at South Dakota from the free-throw line, marking the third time this season he's scored the winning basket for the Golden Grizzlies. After
an impressive 26-point, six-rebound, six-assist and four-steal night
Saturday in a win over South Dakota State, Kampe remarked, almost stunned, at Mondy’s thorough presence
in the box score. Mondy has come off the bench the past six game for the
Golden Grizzlies, and he and Kampe seem to have found a middle ground
after a bumpy start. More recently, Mondy has 12 assists to just one
turnover in the last two games. Kampe
was quick to give Mondy partial credit for the Grizzlies’ turnaround
after a blowout loss at home to South Dakota last month. The
game-changing defender continues to come up with remarkable steals. He
now has a national-best 85 steals, an Oakland single-season record. “I
don’t think you can have a better stat line than (Saturday),” Kampe
said. “He had a big game against a first-place team. To throw a stat
line like that, 24 games into your career here shows you’re making
progress. He’s not fighting me. He’s trying to accomplish what we want
and I’m backing down on him a little bit. … We don’t want a robot out
there. We’ve got to let him play.”
Travis Bader-Nate Wolters matchup as good as advertised
entertaining subplot to Oakland’s last close victory, last Saturday
over South Dakota State at the O’rena, featured two of the Summit
League’s best players and nation’s best scorers in Travis Bader and Nate
Wolters. Four NBA scouts were expected to attend to see Wolters, an NBA
hopeful receiving much critical acclaim in his senior season, and
Bader, the nation’s leading 3-point shooter. Fans were even speculating
how many points the duo, which both wear No. 3, would combine to score. The
game was even on TV to boot, and didn’t disappoint viewers, as Bader’s
31 points were only bested by Wolters’ 36-point outing. “It
was a TV game and it was good for the league and both universities,”
Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “They’re great players and they showed
they were great players. It was tremendous basketball. A lot of people
have emailed me to tell me how much fun it was to watch and see points
being scored in college basketball.” At
one point, Wolters, who had two days earlier topped Bader’s Division
I-best 47-point game with a 53-pointer of his own, split two Oakland
defenders, going around the back to get the lay-in and the foul. “Back
in my day, those were things you did in warmups, but you never thought
about trying in the game,” Kampe said. “That was very impressive. It
just shows how confident he is and he plays with an aura of how good he
is. And he is. “He’s
very unassuming. He shakes and he walks and he very rarely changes
expression. I saw him grimace a little bit when Bader made one of his 3s
like ‘Are we going to stop this guy.’ He wanted to get mad and show
emotion, but he didn’t. That’s probably the only time we’ve played them
and saw any expression from him.” Saturday’s
showdown could be the last time Kampe and the Golden Grizzlies see
Wolters, in person anyway, barring a showdown in the Summit League
tournament, where they met in the 2011 semifinals. “Hopefully we get to see him one more time and then he’ll be a memory,” Kampe said. “A bad one.”
Win dinner and tickets to Oakland's final home game against Fort Wayne
The anticipation is building for Oakland's final game of the regular season March 2 at home against Fort Wayne. Coach Greg Kampe has promised to break out his famous sweater-vest for the game if he reaches 1,500 Twitter followers by the day prior.
@dudekdrum21 make you a deal. If I have 1500 followers by March 1, I'll dust off the old sweater vest for our last home game on March 2.
— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) January 26, 2013
Oakland coach Greg Kampe gets to celebrate 500 wins ... again
two weeks after celebrating the 500-win plateau after a storybook
victory over then-league leading Western Illinois on Homecoming, Oakland
coach Greg Kampe was able to relive the moment with a win Thursday over
North Dakota State. Apparently,
the NCAA does not count two of Kampe’s previous wins from Oakland’s
Division II era because they were won by forfeit. According
to the Associated Press’ Dave Hogg, an Oakland alum and former Oakland
beat writer, two of Kampe’s wins — a 1986 game against Aquinas and a
1996 win over Cal-Riverside — are not recorded as victories. The
Associated Press game story Thursday (written by another writer), read
the following: “Kampe now has 500 victories according to NCAA records,
although Oakland credits him with two more because of forfeits." Kampe reiterated that he doesn’t care about the feat. “It’s
just a bunch of crap,” he said. “We lost two games by one possession
way back in the old days and in both games, the guy that made the
winning shot was an illegal player.” Because
the player had an effect on the outcome, Kampe said, it goes down as an
Oakland victory, but the NCAA does not count either of those. “I really don’t care,” Kampe said. “I could have 1,000 wins and it wouldn’t help us Saturday against Nate Wolters.” The
game Kampe was referencing is South Dakota State’s visit to the O’rena.
Jacks guard Nate Wolters went off for a new Division I-high 53 points
Thursday at Fort Wayne, topping Travis Bader’s previous single-game
season high of 47 points last month. “(Wolters)
can’t do that two nights in a row, can he?” Kampe joked afterward,
noting he was going to have fun watching game film in preparation of the
Kangaroos courted to WAC News
broke Thursday afternoon that Missouri-Kansas City will be leaving the
Summit League for the Western Athletic Conference after the season.
Information about specifics is sparse, as a press conference is expected
next week. The Summit League released a vague statement Thursday night:
“We wish UMKC all the best in the future. We remain steadfast in
strengthening our league and are excited about the University of Denver
joining us as a new member in 2013-14." Denver,
which will be departing the WAC after this season for the Summit, will
have immediate conference championship eligibility in its first year.
Recent Summit League additions Nebraska-Omaha and South Dakota were
forced to wait one season before being eligible for postseason play. “I
would really have to ask them why,” Kampe said of UMKC's impending departure. “It makes no sense to
me. You look at those teams in that league vs. the teams in our league,
their RPI isn’t even going to be in the same ballpark. But maybe they
feel they can compete better there or maybe it’s a better fit for them. “Denver
is coming to us, but Kansas City is going west. None of that stuff
makes sense to me. There’s got to be a reason behind the move. They’ve got to be
smart people making smart decisions, but it doesn’t seem like it. It
looks like it’s going to cost them a heck of a lot more money to travel,
and at our level, money is a big deal.”
Joey Asbury energizes lineup Center
Joey Asbury, who had played just 47 minutes total this season prior to the
Thursday’s game, played a season-high nine minutes against North Dakota
State. His teammates credited him for bringing energy they didn’t have
in a loss at North Dakota State last month. Kampe went a step further. “For
a kid that hasn’t played, he was unbelievable in that first half,”
Kampe said. “I went with him instead of Raphael (Carter) because their
kid was so big and strong, I didn’t think Raphael was ready for that. (Asbury)
stepped into the ring and he threw a haymaker and he’s going to get to
play some more because of it.”
Oakland coach Greg Kampe releases 2013-14 schedule via Twitter
usually have to wait until after several other teams’ and leagues’
schedules have been released before they get a glimpse at Oakland’s
slate. Not this year. Oakland
coach Greg Kampe, who has quickly acclimated himself to Twitter,
harnessed the power of social media Tuesday afternoon, confirming
contracted opponents for the beginning of the 2013-14 season first mentioned in our “Grizz Talk” live chat in December. “We have verbal deals with some very, very prestigious teams,” he teased at the time. Kampe
confirmed Tuesday Oakland will open the season at North Carolina Nov. 9
before heading across the country to UCLA Nov. 12.
How's this for scheduling.....Open in the Dean Dome next year (UNC). Game 2....revamped Pauley and the UCLA Bruins. Should help recruiting
— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) February 5, 2013
Since we are out there. Game 3 in
Berkely vs CAL and then why not over to Spokane and play the Zags. Yep,
that's game 4 — Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) February
Oakland then plays at California (Nov. 15) and Gozaga (Nov. 17).
Kampe showed respect for the Zags during the live chat.
“That's who we aspire to be,” he said.
Kampe said the Golden Grizzlies would be getting paid $95,000 to play at North Carolina and a similar amount for the UCLA game. After the first four games, Kampe said in December, Oakland will travel to Myrtle Beach the weekend before Thanksgiving (Nov. 28-31) to play Coastal Carolina and two other teams to be determined.
also said Oakland’s home schedule won’t be as barren as this season,
which it started with 15 of its first 19 games on the road. Fourteen
games, including matchups with Eastern Michigan, Ohio and Illinois State
await the Grizzlies at home. At the time of the live chat, Kampe hinted
that a deal to bring Michigan State back for a game at The Palace was
“90 percent” complete as well.
Kampe tweeted there could be as many as six home games in December alone next season.
schedule revelations came a day after the pairings for ESPN’s
Bracketbusters, which Kampe notably opposes, were announced. His typical
stance against the series is that he doesn’t have any trouble filling
gaps in Oakland’s schedule with big-name programs and TV games. He again
proved his point just hours after the pairings for the final year of
Bracketbusters were announced.
last faced UCLA in 2006-07 when the Bruins were ranked No. 1.
The Grizzlies bumped into eventual champion North Carolina in the 2005
NCAA tournament. It will be the first meeting with Cal-Berkeley and
The game with Illinois State is a return game from last season’s Bracketbusters matchup.
tweeted a previous mention of a verbal deal with Florida State “will
have to wait.” He even joked that he attempted to schedule a game with
the Los Angeles Lakers after noting how much he’s enjoying the Twitterverse.
Seems like he’s getting the hang of it. He even has an outstanding
wager with a fan that he will wear his patented sweater-vest for the
Grizzlies’ final home game March 2 against Fort Wayne if he reaches
1,500 Twitter followers by March. 1.