SCOUTING OAKLAND!! GRIZZLIES REBUILDING OR RELOADING??
Andy Mac Williams,
Xavier plays Oakland University(Horizon League) from Rochester, Michigan Saturday afternoon at Cintas(12 noon-FS1). You may have heard of Oakland. They are beginning their 5th season in a league with NKU, Wright State and November 6th 2018 XU opponent IUPUI(Muskies won 82-69). They play at the O-rena with a wildly decorated darkish basketball floor. Their coach is a Michigan Hall of Famer Greg Kampe who preaches run and gun chuck and duck hoops and is in his 35th year at Oakland(19 seasons D-1 with the rest Division 2). Kampe has posted 605 wins, made 3 NCAA trips in 2005, 2010 and 2011 out of the Summitt League and a 2017 NIT appearance as Horizon regular season champ with a win over Clemson. Only two active NCAA Coaches have more tenure at their schools(Jim Boeheim-Syracuse 42 years and Coach K Duke 38 years). This guy is doing something right. His teams score and run and entertain. He's wily like a fox.
Last season was a bummer(19-14, 4th Horizon, a ton of injuries). All 5 veteran starters are gone including Kendrick Nunn(26PPG) Top 10 in NCAA scoring. Junior PG Brailen Neely just quit the team because of a chronic knee issue. Don't feel sorry for Kampe and Oakland! He's seen it all and is working to have his new look team ready for a run in the Horizon.
OU is 3-4 so far with close losses to MAC teams Toledo 87-86 and Western Michigan in OT. Northern Illinois blew the Grizzlies out Saturday in Rochester 92-72. They also lost at UNLV, but scored nice wins over James Madison and Oral Roberts.
Frosh Braden Norris has replaced Neely at PG smoothly(9PPG-6 assists)(18 points-10 assists vs N. Illinois). Oakland takes care of the ball with a 2.13 assist to turnover ratio(#2 NCAA) and Norris has 30 assists to just 6 turnovers. Not your typical inconsistent frosh lead guard!! New top scorer is 6-7 red shirt Jr. Xavier Hill-Mais(24.6PPG, #14 in the country).
#2 scorer is 6-3 Jaevin Cumberland from Wilmington, Ohio(15.6PPG). Yes, he's related to UC Bore-cat bulldozer Jarron Cumberland. They are cousins and look-a-likes. Oakland makes 10 threes/game. They are -7 in rebounding though and struggle with ball screen and post defense. Their defensive numbers are very ugly.
With a little patience Xavier should get a great shot every trip and be able to crush this team inside and on the glass. X covered the three point line like a blanket against Miami allowing just 55 points. That trend must continue. It's all about how the Muskies play and take advantage of the home court.
Kampe will not wave the white flag. He'll have a clever game plan. Xavier did not overlook Miami and executed the game plan near perfectly. The same attitude is needed to put away Oakland.