Basketball is a game. Yet, it is also a business and the big business of college basketball sometimes serves as a distraction to the simplest of points.
We all love the game because it is a game. It is supposed to be fun. Greg Kampe coaches because he fell in love with the game at an early age in Ohio. Kendrick Nunn plays the game because the basketball court is his favorite place to be. Neal Ruhl broadcasts the games because as he always says "It beats working for a living."
My observation as to what ails the now 1-3 in Horizon League play Golden Grizzlies? It is simple. Nobody is having any fun. The "game" is a chore right now for the players and coaches and it shows.
Oakland was supposed to dominate this conference. As Kampe said on Sunday after a stunning home loss to Wright State, "We are the cool kid. And we are getting punched in the face." The guys look frustrated and drained right now.
The Golden Grizzlies will tell you that they are not playing their best basketball, and it does start with the little things. Untimely turnovers, making the basic pass, and diving on the floor for a loose ball; things are just not clicking.
Every error is magnified, as Northern Kentucky and Wright State took advantage of those Oakland mistakes and turned them into victories. The Grizzlies turned the ball over 16 times on Sunday and never seemed to be able to get over the hump to make up for those errors. These mistakes have led to frustration and you see the body language and looks on the coaches faces.
Nobody is having fun.
Of course it is not fun when you lose three in a row and expectations are not being met. This is a very good team that just doesn't have "it" right now.
What is the answer? This is where a veteran coach like Kampe and his four fifth-year seniors need to come up with something.
See you Wednesday night at the O'rena. I'm hoping it will be fun again.