Golden Grizzlies Will Be Young, But Talented In 2002-03
In just three short seasons Oakland University has established itself as one of the best mens basketball programs in the Mid-Continent Conference. With the building blocks firmly set in place, the Golden Grizzlies will be looking to build on that success with another solid campaign in 2002-03. Last season the Golden Grizzlies finished with a 17-13 record, 10-4 in Mid-Con play, in just their fourth season of Division I basketball to set a new school record as a Division I team for wins. OU tied for second in the regular season Mid-Con race after winning the regular season title in 2000-01.
his 19th season at Oakland, head coach Greg
Kampe has the most talented basketball team that he has ever had
on the Oakland campus. But it is certainly a good news/bad news scenario
at the start of the season for Kampe and his staff. The good news is that
the Golden Grizzlies return one of the Mid-Cons premiere players in
junior Mike Helms, a first team
All-Mid-Con selection last year. The bad news is that he is the only
returning starter for OU, with the Nos. 2-5 leading scorers from last
season gone. In fact, OU has only six returning players from last years
roster compared to eight new faces on the team.
the fact that Oakland must replace over 60 percent of its scoring and half
of its rebounding from a year ago, Kampe is decidedly upbeat about the
Golden Grizzlies chances for 2002-03. This is the first year that we
have had a full Division I team, said Kampe. All of the players on
the roster were recruited as Division I players. Because of the success we
have had as a Division I school so far, we have been able to recruit high
quality players. We are very excited about the season and this group of
kids that we have. The transition is officially over and we are just like
everybody else now. This is a very talented team, we had a great
recruiting class this past year.
will build its squad around the talented Helms, who does his damage from
the shooting guard position. After just two seasons at Oakland, he has
already established himself as one of the top players in the conference.
The Co-Newcomer of the Year as a freshman and a first team all-conference
selection last year, Helms is just 133 points away from the 1,000-point
plateau. He led the team in scoring with his 18.4 points per game average
(second in the Mid-Con) and finished second on the team in steals (58) and
assists (65). Despite standing at 6-0, he has the ability to get the ball
to the basket, as evidenced by his going to the free throw line an
impressive 217 times last season, where he scored 153 of his points.
to join Helms in the backcourt will be sophomore Rawle
Marshall. A transfer from Ball State, Marshall is an athletic
player who is skilled with the basketball. He will be given a shot at the
point guard position, where his 6-7 size should cause some match up
problems with opposing teams. He appeared in 13 games as a freshman at
Ball State, averaging 2.4 points a game.
is another transfer to the Golden Grizzly program, coming to OU from
Division II Lemoyne College. A solid player at the Division II level,
Chapman averaged in double figures in scoring in each of his seasons at
Lemoyne, pouring in 16 points a game as a sophomore to go along with five
rebounds and three assists per game. If he can make the adjustment to the
Division I level, he could challenge for playing time right away.
pair of players returns to the backcourt for the Golden Grizzlies that
will give Oakland some solid experience at the guard position. Sophomore Ryan
Hoover saw the most playing time of the two last season, seeing
action in 12 games, averaging 1.6 points per game. After playing behind a
pair of seniors last season, he has the chance to see significant action
in 2002-03. Junior Alex Miller has
been a role player his first two seasons with the Golden Grizzlies,
playing in 10 games in each of his first two years. His experience will
add valuable depth to the OU backcourt.
pair of freshmen will round out the Oakland backcourt, John
Floyd and Pierre Dukes. Dukes
has already learned the OU system, spending last season at Oakland as a
heir apparent at the No. 3 position is junior Kelly
Williams. A two-year letterwinner at OU, Williams played in all 30
games last season and is third among returning players in scoring from
that squad, averaging 3.6 points a game. A solid rebounder, he has
averaged 4.8 boards a game in his first two years with the Golden
Grizzlies. He also has starting experience, having gotten the starting nod
in 22 contests as a freshman.
only senior on the team, Adrian Martin
played some valuable minutes last season, playing in 27 games. A solid
defender, he is expected to again play a significant role on the squad
this season, especially in a leadership role.
significant change for Oakland this season will be the size that they can
put on the floor, especially in the froncourt where the Golden Grizzlies
have the potential to field one of the biggest lineups in the Mid-Con.
We have tremendous size, which has always been our Achilles heel,
said Kampe. We feel that with our size we can now defend and rebound
the way we have to to achieve the goals that we want to achieve.
the way for Oakland in the Golden Grizzlies much larger front line is
another of the teams transfers, Cortney
Scott. He has brought some high expectations with him from Iowa,
where he played in every game as a freshman. He started two games for the
Hawkeyes and averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds. With his 6-6, 260-lb.
size he has the potential to be an impact player for the Golden Grizzlies
in the frontcourt.
player with the most experience up front, Jordan
Sabourin returns for his junior season after playing in all 30
games last season, getting 14 starts. He enters the 2002-03 campaign as
the Golden Grizzlies second leading returning scorer with his 4.0 average
from a year ago. He has worked hard in the off season to improve his game
and will be expected to shoulder more of the offensive load in 2002-03.
Already a solid defensive player, he was among the leaders in Mid-Con with
18 blocked shots.
to the Oakland size up front is a pair of newcomers to the program. Shawn
Hopes comes to the Golden Grizzlies after earning all-state status
at Detroits Cass Tech High School, where he averaged 20 points and 15
rebounds a game as a senior. Joining him up front is David
Ritzema. At 6-10 he adds another large center to the Oakland
arsenal. As a senior at Clarkston High School he averaged 15.9 points and
9.8 boards a game and was tabbed by Prep Spotlight as the most improved player in Michigan.
schedule, while not as tough as recent years, still will be a challenge
for the Golden Grizzlies. Teams like Illinois, Texas A&M and Bowling
Green are among the non-conference foes that will prepare Oakland for its
run at a Mid-Con championship. The schedule is much different than
its been since we made the move to Division I, said Kampe. We
have always tried to play as difficult a schedule as we can, but with a
young team we have backed down on that a little bit. For the first time we
have more home games than road games. I like our schedule, it gives us a
chance to get some momentum to get started, which is something we have
never had before.
all the shoes that there are to fill, Oaklands 2002-03 season has the
potential to be something of a breakthrough one for the Golden Grizzlies.
It certainly has the coaching staff excited. I have high expectations
for the season, said Kampe. I dont think too many people really
know about us because we have so many young players. We have more talent
here than I have had in my time at Oakland. We have all the tools in the
toolbox, it is just a matter of whether we can build the houses.
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