Oakland Golden Grizzlies 2020-21 Season Preview

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Rashad Williams

Greg Kampe has his point guard, can Oakland get back on track?

For many years, previewing Oakland University men’s basketball was pretty straightforward. You knew what you could expect out of coach Greg Kampe and his teams. However, the last few years have led to more questions than ever in Rochester and more unknowns about what the 2020-21 team could look like on the court.

The first issue starts with roster turnover. Over the past two off-seasons, Oakland has lost 12 players transferring out of the school. Dating back to the 2018-2019 Oakland team that was beat on a last second three by Drew McDonald and Northern Kentucky in the semi-finals of the Horizon League Tournament, only one player is still on the roster for this season. What should have been a youth movement just hitting their stride in 2020-21 as upperclassmen led by Braden Norris, Tray Maddox and James Beck will not see any of them or a host of other young players suit up as Golden Grizzlies.

After seeing 10 new players join OU for the 2019-2020 season, Oakland saw another mass exodus in this offseason, although only two of those transfers have stayed in Division 1 basketball. While it looks like Oakland may have largely filled their roster late last year with non Division I talent, the number of transfers and roster turnover have continued to be alarming for Oakland fans.

Newcomers

Jalen Moore – Will see the floor for Oakland. A lot. He has the keys to the car and will be driving both figuratively and literally all season.

Chris Conway – Provides some much needed height in the frontcourt. Also not afraid to play the stretch role and shoot the ball from deep. Will see minutes as a freshamn.

Micah Parrish – An expected glue guy, will likely see some depth minutes in stretches while getting more comfortable with the program.

Trey Townsend – The surprise of the summer for Kampe. The best rebounder on the team. That will earn him more minutes than anyone, including Kampe, ever would have expected when recruiting him.

Yusuf Jihad – Has a very good offensive game already. Spent his redshirt year filling out as he’s still very young, even for a RS freshman. Has missed a little practice time due to a COVID exposure, but will see the floor this season. If he can rebound and play defense, his role will greatly increase.

Phillips Joseph- A freshman out of SPIRE in Ohio, he has great size. He will likely spend the season learning how and where to use it. The type of player Oakland has tried to sit for a year without burning a year of eligibility.

Zion Young – The addition of the transfer from Western Illinois would be a big boost offensively for Oakland if he is granted immediate eligibility for this season. He is a very good scorer and will get a lot of shots while wearing the black and gold. While there has been nothing official, it seems as though OU expects to see him this season.

Lineup

Jalen Moore – Juco All-American transfer Jalen Moore is expected to be the point guard that OU was missing last year. He can not only run the offense effectively but has shown the ability to finish at the rim despite being only 5-11. He picked OU because they have shown they can help undersized PG’s succeed. Oakland fans will hope to be reminded of Kay Felder, but without much of the muscle.

Rashad Williams – One of the biggest bright spots for Oakland last year, Williams averaged 19.5 ppg after becoming eligible for the last 15 games of the season. While he is a lethal shooter and will likely have his number called often for a play, don’t be surprised to see him handle some point guard responsibilities at times. Rashad is dealing with a shoulder injury that is slowing him in practice, but they expect to see him ready for the start of the season.

Blake Lampman- The All-Freshman team honoree is looking to prove his first year wasn’t a fluke. While he seemed to struggle in his first year down the stretch, he has also shown why team’s need to plan for him. He is a lethal shooter with an incredibly high basketball IQ. He seems very aware of the intangibles on a court that will ensure he gets minutes. He is a hard working, grind it out player that you simply cannot leave open. Expect to see higher production out of him this year as OU runs a faster offense and teams have to choose to guard Young, Williams and Lampman all behind the line. While this starting spot could easily be flipped with Zion Young, this seems like the safest bet right now.

Daniel Oladapo – The 6-foot-7 junior seemed to struggle finding his place with Xavier Hill-Mais and Brad Brechting often on the court at the same time, but should find himself with much more room to work down low this season with the 2 longtime OU bigs having graduated. With many question marks about how minutes will be spread out between the bigs this season, Oladapo is the one name you can expect to see on the floor for Oakland in the post.

Trey Townsend – If a year ago you had asked anyone at Oakland if Townsend would even be in the discussion for a starting spot this upcoming year, they would have thought you were crazy. But this legacy player for Oakland (Both of his parents played for Oakland including his dad Skip who played for Kampe) has learned how to put in the work and is doing one thing nobody else on the team is right now. Trey Townsend can rebound. The very athletic Townsend is not afraid to get in with the trees and come down with the rebound and Kampe is looking to reward that and motivate his other bigs. While he will likely have a short leash, after reading this you shouldn’t be shocked when Townsend starts or is one of the first Grizzlies to check into a game. Wearing the black and gold is a point of pride for this lifelong Golden Grizzly.

Outlook

Kampe expects to look more like Oakland teams of old. Getting into last season there was lots of discussion about how well that team could defend and slowing down the offense, both concepts foreign to Oakland fans. If Zion Young is granted eligibility it is very likely you will see stretches of four guards with Oladapo in the middle. While this lineup will be overpowered by teams with great post play like Wright State, they will also be capable of outscoring their opponents and keeping them moving faster then they want to be.

On a night where OU is hitting shots and keeping the dribble-drive offense clicking, they will have the ability to beat a lot of teams. Will they be able to find consistency in a year where they were the last Horizon team able to start unofficial practices and relying on a slew of new players? The Grizz Gang and loyal fans sure hope so. If not, one has to wonder if the coaching clock on Kampe is nearing the end.

Prediction: 6th Place

Miss anything from Preview Week(s)? Check it all out below:

Predictions
HoriZone Roundtable Preseason PollPreseason All-League Teams
If we had an All-Newcomer Team…All-Freshman Team Picks

Team Previews
Wright StateYoungstown StateRobert MorrisCleveland State
UICNorthern KentuckyDetroit MercyGreen Bay
Purdue Fort WayneMilwaukeeIUPUI

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