Oakland has been on a bit of a tear recently. For four seasons straight, the Golden Grizzlies have won 20 or more games, and they’ve produced some strong players and some upset wins along the way.
They may get lost in the wake of Wolters-mania this season, but the Golden Griz have as good a chance at winning the Summit auto-bid as ever. They get Travis Bader and Drew Valentine — last year’s second- and third-leading scorers, respectively — back, and will also get their first live-action look at Providence transfer Duke Mondy. According to the Oakland Press, Mondy caught fans’ attention in an exhibition win over Davenport of the NAIA, tossing an eagle-eyed crosscourt pass to Valentine for an easy lay-in.
“He reminds me a lot of (former Michigan guard) Darius Morris,” Greg Kampe told beat writer Paul Kampe (no relation). “With that kind of size, he can deliver that kind of pass.”
The Griz will miss graduated guard Reggie Hamilton, who led the team with 26.2 points, 5.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game, but the hope is that Mondy’s skill-set, which never really shone at Providence, will light up all areas of the scoreboard in the Summit League.
Greg Kampe says his latest find will need to realize where he is now and go strong to the hoop, however.
The veteran coach did have one critique for his new point guard, whom he has compared to Oakland great Johnathon Jones, who once led the NCAA in assists.
“He’s got to understand with his size, this isn’t the Big East, where he would shoot those wraparound jumpers. He doesn’t have to do that here. At 206 pounds, you don’t need those up-and-unders. He probably would have shot six more free throws if he had been strong with the ball instead of trying to flip ‘em in.”
Mondy was 6 of 8 from the free-throw line, scoring 13 points and dishing seven assists in Tuesday’s win over Davenport.
Even if Mondy takes some time to adjust to the style of play in the Summit, his defensive abilities should allow him to make an immediate impact. In his final season at Providence, Mondy averaged 2.1 steals per game in just under 30 minutes of play. If he turns those swipes into long, wide-open layups for his teammates, don’t be surprised to see Oakland playing for a league title once again.
(photo: Oakland Athletics)