Welcome to the Pollyanna News Report. We’ve heard so much about college basketball stars as “free agents” recently, I thought I’d take a look at a kid who plans to dance with the partner what brung him, even though is skills could theoretically land him a title shot at a major program if he chose to transfer.
Travis Bader is well known to college hoops aficionados as a deadeye shooter who engaged in thrilling scoring duels with SDSU’s Nate Wolters in the Summit League last season. Bader received his Communications degree from Oakland in 2012, but still has a year of eligibility remaining: the classic graduate transfer opportunity. A reliable shooter like Bader could probably have found a Luke Hancock-like role for a contender, but Bader says he’s staying put.
“Oakland has given me this great opportunity and they saw a great player in me when nobody else did,” Bader told the Oakland Press.
“I’m just really comfortable with the coaches and the players here … I couldn’t imagine leaving my brothers here at Oakland.”
Bader also has a shot at a pretty high-profile record, wherever he plays his final year. He currently holds the Michigan school’s record with 357 made three-pointers. The NCAA career record is 457, held by polarizing former Duke Blue Devil J.J. Redick. Bader has averaged well over 100 triples per season over his past two years in Rochester.
The Golden Grizzlies will play in the Horizon League next year, so Bader’s quest for the 3-point title will come against a host of unfamiliar opponents, though the new in-conference rivalry with Detroit should prove to be intense. However it plays out, Bader’s record chase should be an individual effort worth watching in the upcoming season.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.
USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.
Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.
The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.
Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.
Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.
The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.
They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.
Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
- Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
- Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.