#141 Oakland Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Oakland Grizzlies
2013-2014 Overall Rank: #141
Conference Rank: #3 Horizon
Oakland Logo
Coach Greg Kampe is leading his Oakland program from the Summit League to the Horizon League this season. It is a great move for the school and the basketball team. It is easy to write off the Grizzlies as they move into what should be a tougher conference. They have a bunch of new teams to prepare for while the rest of the league just has one. But it is not Oakland who should be worried about the Horizon League…it is the Horizon League that should be worried about Oakland. And they should be worried about Coach Kampe doing the same thing he has always done, which is putting a solid team on the floor every season and getting more out of those players than just about anybody else could. Sooner or later Oakland will find their new home consistently atop the Horizon League standings and do not be surprised if sooner or later means March.
2012-13 Record: 16-17, 10-6 (Summit)
2012-13 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Greg Kampe
Coach Record: 242-204 at Oakland, 242-204 overall
Who’s Out:
On the floor Oakland does have a few minor concerns. The Grizzlies went just six deep for the most part last season and now Drew Valentine is gone. The 6-5 forward started all 33 contests and averaged 10.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. Valentine may have looked a bit undersized to be a power forward, but he really could do a little bit of everything and his toughness more than made up for his small size. Matt Poches was one of the handful of players who averaged less than ten minutes per game and needed to steal a few quality minutes whenever possible. Poches was one of the only guards who could fill that role, so the lack of depth in the backcourt is an issue too.
Who’s In:
There is plenty of room for the newcomers to make a splash off of the bench. In fact, if Oakland wants to make their first year in the Horizon League memorable, this group will have to be productive. Freshman point guard Kahlil Felder and shooting guard Nick Daniels could go a long, long way in keeping the overworked backcourt rested. Jalen Hayes will add some depth up front, but the big newcomer is Ralph Hill. The 6-6 forward spent two years at Dayton where he saw limited action. If he is healthy, Hill can provide depth at the three and four spots. That is extremely important because Coach Kampe can shuffle around the backcourt or the frontcourt to get whoever needs a rest to the sidelines. That is what he did with the six man rotation last season and it worked out relatively well. Of course more depth is better, but this team can manage with six experienced players thanks to their versatility.
Who to Watch:
The hope is Hill will be in the mix with Ryan Bass, Duke Mondy, Travis Bader, Corey Petros and Dante Williams forming the likely starting five. Bass is an underappreciated scorer and ballhandler who averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists as a junior. Bass is understandably overlooked. Mondy, a transfer from Providence, averaged 12.0 points, 5.1 assists and 3.0 steals for the Grizzlies last season. His defensive effort gives opposing guards nightmares and he can make this high scoring offense look easy. Bader is the pure scorer of the bunch. One of the best three-point shooters in the collegiate ranks, Bader averaged 22.1 points per contest and connected on 4.2 three-pointers per contest. That is a lot of three-pointers. However, Bader has also been more aggressive attacking the basket and he will use his 6-5 frame to get to the basket and the charity stripe. Petros is the big body on the team. The 6-10 junior averaged 12.5 points and a team high 8.2 rebounds in 2012-2013 and is only getting better and stronger with time. However, Petros is not a shot blocking threat and that has been a huge problem for Oakland. The Grizzlies will go for steals and give up easy buckets that way, but the opposition still shot 49.3 percent against them last year. Somebody has to make it a little less easy for opponents to walk right up to the basket. Dante Williams was a part-time starter last season, filling in for Mondy or Bass when Coach Kampe needed a bigger starting five on the floor. He may play the role again if Hill is healthy enough to start.
Final Projection:
The lack of frontcourt depth means that players like Petros cannot afford to make opposing scorers earn their buckets. But there is some possible depth out there. Raphael Carter, a 6-9 senior, and Lloyd Neely, a 6-5 sophomore, have some experience. Neither will likely be ready to play 20 minutes per game, but they can at least play some tough defense every once in a while and eat up some fouls so Petros does not have to. If that depth comes around, the backcourt will be well rested down the stretch and the frontcourt can toughen up. Then the Grizzlies will be more than just a contender for a Horizon League title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Ryan Bass, Senior, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Duke Mondy, Senior, Guard, 12.0 points per game
Travis Bader, Senior, Guard, 22.1 points per game
Dante Williams, Junior, Forward, 3.7 points per game
Corey Petros, Junior, Center, 12.5 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.1 (34th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 75.3 (327, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (153, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 49.3 (343, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (68, 2) 
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (95, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.8 (127, 4)
Rebound Margin: -0.8 (205, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (140, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (77, 4)