Greg Kampe

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Army veteran leaves Oakland basketball program

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Oakland’s bid to remain atop the Horizon League standings took a hit on earlier this week.

On Wednesday, it was reported by Tony Paul of the Detroit News that rising sophomore forward Isaiah Brock had left the program.

Brock, a 23-year-old Army veteran, made headlines earlier in his collegiate career. In the fall, the 6-foot-8 forward who had done two tours overseas was ruled ineligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite earning dozens of credits online and during the summer at Oakland. Following an appeal and the backlash that came with the initial decision, the NCAA reversed the ruling.

According to the Detroit News, Brock is prioritizing academics over athletics and is still enrolled in the university as a student.

Brock went on to have a productive freshman campaign. He started 29 of 33 games for the Golden Grizzlies, averaging 6.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He earned Horizon League all-defensive team honors.

Oakland finished 25-9, winning a share of the Horizon League regular season title. The Golden Grizzlies were upset in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, wrapping up the 2016-17 season in the NIT.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File
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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Oakland head coach Greg Kampe’s cancer fundraiser brings in $161,000

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Last month Oakland head coach Greg Kampe announced that he would be hosting a “beat cancer” fundraiser, and the project was different from many that Division I head coaches involved with Coaches vs. Cancer tend to hold. Kampe’s idea was to involve other head coaches with the project by allowing fans to bid on the opportunity to golf with the head coach of their choice at Oakland Hills Country Club May 31 and June 1.

The auction closed Wednesday night, and it’s safe to say that it was a successful one. How successful? When the auction closed Wednesday night $161,000 was the final tally.

Among the coaches participating are Arizona’s Sean Miller, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan’s John Beilein, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and North Carolina’s Roy Williams. Amongst the coaches who joined Kampe in this cause, it was Izzo whose bid wound up being the highest at $19,000.

However dinner and a round on the links with Kampe raised the highest amount of money, with bidding for that opportunity closing at $30,000. According to the Detroit Free Press, Kampe wanted to make a big impact from a financial standpoint. It’s safe to say that he accomplished that goal.

“This isn’t about awareness, this is about getting the money to do something,” Kampe said according to the Free Press. “You’ve got to think big, and I’m thinking big. Did we reach as big as I wanted? No. But what I’ve got to do is make this the best 24 hours in these people’s entertainment lives so they go and talk about it.”

Greg Kampe tweets a photo of Oakland’s new blacktop floor

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The court isn’t quite done yet. The 3-point and out-of-bounds lines (both white) are still covered in tape. The new court design season has officially begun. On Tuesday, Oakland head coach Greg Kampe tweeted a picture of the new floor at the Athletics Center O’rena.

The blacktop look isn’t where Kampe wanted to stop.

“We looked at trying to get the nets colored black (or) grey like chain-link nets, but there’s a rule that the nets have to be white,” Kampe told Rod Beard of the Detroit News. “We have graduation (in three weeks) and it has to be done before graduation, so we’re hoping that within the next 10 days it’s done.”

We’ve seen schools follow other designs over the last few years. George Washington, Memphis and Washington have all gone with the skyline look. Looks like Oakland is following UCF’s lead, which went with the blacktop look in 2013. Last summer, Northern Illinois also went with a mostly blacktop floor.

Redshirt freshman’s foot injury a hit to Oakland’s perimeter depth

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Having lost two of its top three scorers from a season ago in guards Travis Bader and Duke Mondy, Oakland will need some perimeter options to step forward in 2014-15 alongside sophomore point guard Kahlil Felder (9.5 ppg, 6.4 apg). Unfortunately for head coach Greg Kampe he’ll be short a player in the backcourt, as 6-foot-1 redshirt freshman guard Nick Daniels suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot in practice.

According to the school release Daniels will miss around eight weeks due to surgery, which will take place at some point in the next week, and recovery time. Daniels redshirted last season as a result of a Jones fracture in his right foot.

This offseason the Golden Grizzlies, who finished last season with a 13-20 record, added St. John’s graduate transfer Max Hooper to the program. Another player to keep in mind with regards to minutes on the perimeter is senior wing Dante Williams, who averaged 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 2013-14.

Williams started just one game last season, shooting 45.4% from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc.

Duke Mondy making most of chance at Oakland

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The college career of Oakland guard Duke Mondy hasn’t been an easy one.

Mondy, who hails from Grand Rapids, MI, was recruited to Providence by then head coach Keno Davis. He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Friars, but was in and out of disciplinary trouble there. Mondy was benched for the final four games of the 2010-11 season due to a “coach’s decision,” which ultimately led to his transfer to Oakland.

After sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Mondy was an immediate impact player for the Golden Grizzlies a season ago. He was third on the team in scoring, and led in assists at 5.1 per game. Perhaps his biggest impact on the floor, however, was on the defensive end where he averaged 3.0 steals per game. This year, he has upped that average to a remarkable 4.0 per game — no played has finished above four steals per game since 2002.

Mondy told Noah Trister of Kentucky.com: “I kind of put myself — if I was a player, at each position, what would I do?” Mondy said. “Like, if I was the center, what would I do? Would I kick it out? Or if I was the point guard, would I penetrate and try to kick?”

There’s no question he has a knack for the ball, but he also has a nose for trouble.

If you recognize Mondy’s name, that’s most likely due to an off-the-court incident earlier this season when Oakland was on the road in California. Mondy and teammate Dante Williams were arrested based on a woman’s sexual assault complaint. Authorities in California did not proceed with formal criminal charges, but a bad taste was still left in Oakland head coach Greg Kampe’s mouth.

Said Kampe:

“I have a real problem with what happened in California, morally, but I didn’t grow up on the streets, or how he grew up. The compass that I have inside of me and the compass that Duke has inside of him aren’t the same. … Duke is a good young man. We’ve just got to work on his compass.”

Kampe has provided Mondy with chances to redeem himself, both after his issues at Providence and most recent one in California. The chances have paid dividends on the floor for Oakland. Kampe explained what an impact Mondy has had:

I’ve never seen anything like it. We knew it when we got him. The sit-out year, he just took the ball from us in practice all the time. Early on, it caused us as many problems as it helped us, because he’s gambling and putting us in a bad situation, and that’ll happen now and then. But you have to live with that if you want the five run-outs that you’re going to get in a game.

Oakland played a brutal schedule in the non-conference, and are out to a less than stellar 5-11 record as a result, but are looking to get on track during Horizon League play, where they are competing in their first season after coming over from the Summit League.

Like many coaches, Kampe is having a profound affect on Mondy off the court. Mondy said: “He’s going to tell me straight, how it is. He’s not going to sugar coat anything. He’s been hard on me. He’s been helping me a lot, changing my life around.”

While Kampe is helping Mondy to turn things around, Mondy is still focusing on creating headaches on the floor for the opposition, and he’s doing a damn good job at that.