With the loss in the Horizon League Tournament finals, it begins the part of the year Oakland University fans have come to dread.
As the transfer portal has become such a prominent part of the college sports landscape the past few years, it has really affected OU’s rosters. Will this year be another year of players leaving the program and coach Greg Kampe and his crew scrambling to fill needs? Or will a year with 2000 portal entries expected be the year where they keep the team together and build toward something special for next year?
Let’s take a look with some educated guesses that are sure to be wrong because we’re dealing with 18-22 year old college kids.
Starting with Oakland’s lone senior and then working down the roster:
Kevin Kangu – Kangu finishes his second season with the Grizzlies and his senior year of college having landed on campus as a junior. After spending most of his first year trying to fill in as a point guard, he settled into a nice depth piece for Oakland as a senior.
Prediction: Despite being able to return next year thanks to the NCAA bonus year granted this season, he likely heads on his way. Kampe still has recruits coming in and needs a place for those guys. Kevin’s smile and willingness to do what is asked will be missed, but don’t see him sticking around for one more go around.
Zion Young – The Oakland compliance team worked hard to get Young eligible before the NCAA eventually freed everyone in transfer purgatory. The transfer from Western Illinois showed many glimpses of what OU was excited about when he chose them last summer. He will be a major part of this team moving forward. Since he was already a transfer, even if the NCAA allows a one time transfer without having to sit as has been rumored, he would not be eligible.
Prediction: Young will be wearing the black and gold next year and be a big part of the game plan
Rashad Williams – This is one that may worry some Oakland fans when wondering about the future. It is easy to see why a high major could come calling for the high volume three-point shooter. However, if that was in his plans I believe this year may have hurt that idea. Williams didn’t have the year many expected, largely due to a shoulder injury he has dealt with all year and will require surgery. While he is a lethal shooter that many teams would like, it’s harder to see them taking a shot at him especially as he has already transferred earlier in his career using his possible one time free transfer.
Prediction: Williams will wear the black and gold again next year. He has pro ambitions and it’s easy to see why he could make money playing this game in the future. His best bet to be seen may be through Oakland where he will have the green light and after rehabbing this summer a chance to prove himself again next fall.
Daniel Oladapo – The junior out of Bladensburg, Maryland really established himself as a low post presence this season. Unfortunately for Golden Grizzly Faithful, it was the kind of season that high majors notice too. His smooth touch around the rim as well as the junkyard dog mentality is something any team would be glad to have. He was a JUCO transfer meaning he could potentially transfer without having to sit should the NCAA pass the expected exception.
Prediction: This is the one I’m least sure about. I think he stays though. He has a tendency to change his mind a lot, like when he “committed” to OU 3 times through Twitter before actually deciding this was where he wanted to play basketball. With OU putting other bigs into the professional ranks around the world, I think he follows that game plan to ensure he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle at a high major.
Jalen Moore – This is another one that has OU fans nervous. They have been hurt before by new point guards who play a lot of minutes, show all the promise in the world, then turn their one year of success into proving they were under recruited initially and bolt for greener pastures elsewhere.
Prediction: I think he’s a hard working young man and while him and Kampe may not always see eye to eye, they have a mutual respect. I think he knows he will have the keys to the car at Oakland to finish his career and get to his future being paid to play basketball.
Emmanuel Newsome- The seldom used point guard has a skill Oakland fans have never got to see point on display. He was easily Oakland’s most electric dunker during warmups. But in reality, that doesn’t translate to anything of any real value for him or Oakland at this point. He’s a good piece of depth though as he has run the point during practice for 2 years now.
Prediction: I think he will transfer this offseason. He is a good player with a solid skill set, but probably not suited for major minutes at the Divison 1 level. Could find a lot of success finishing his degree at an NAIA or something similar.
Blake Lampman – Lampman has always been billed as a sharpshooter by OU. However, he’s a 30% 3pt shooter in his career. Not exactly lights out for a 3pt specialist. Lampman’s best skill may actually be his basketball IQ. He’s an incredibly smart player and what he may lack in size and skill he makes up for with intelligence. And that intelligence is on display on the court as well as in the classroom.
Prediction: He will stay. He’s the type of player that any team needs both in practice and to help keep team GPA up. As long as Kampe continues to not force him into situations where he shouldn’t be called upon, it’s a good team move. Would it be shocking if he took his game to a lower level? No. But I think he enjoys being a part of a Division 1 school and has earned his spot.
Yusuf Jihad – After redshirting his freshman year, he essentially took another redshirt this year as he saw the floor very little. His best game came against Detroit Mercy where he was inserted into the game and helped Oakland close the gap in a game they would eventually win. He’s a 6’8″ highly offense oriented big. He still lacks some size and some defensive abilities to hang though.
Prediction: Unfortunately, I think he goes. His brother is a highly recruited wing and signed with Ball State. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yusuf follow him there and unite the brothers together on the court.
Micah Parrish – One of the two big surprises from the freshmen class. There isn’t much to say about him that anyone reading this isn’t already aware of. He was better than anyone could have imagined in his first year wearing the black and gold. If Marques Warrick wasn’t a thing for NKU, he likely would have had a claim to the Freshman of the Year award.
Prediction: He was better than anyone could have predicted and in a situation like this where transfers are running rampant it can be a disaster. It is easy to imagine a situation where Parrish takes his success to a high major. However, I am going to guess he stays. It’s just a hunch. He is a big part of this team and Oakland fans have to hope he enjoys his role and teammates enough for round two.
PJ Joseph – Kampe said he had the most game ready body of any of the freshmen class. We got to see him at times eating up minutes and space in the middle. As Kampe shortened the rotation during the season his minutes disappeared.
Prediction: I think he transfers. There have been plenty of examples of players in his situation not returning. He was a bit of a late recruit last year and may find a better home with a more secure future for next year.
Trey Townsend – Not a single person outside of the Townsend house could have predicted the season he had. He looks like a major piece of the equation for many years at Oakland. He wasn’t highly recruited and now he’s a member of the Horizon League All Freshmen Team.
Prediction: With his family lineage within the athletics program and his younger brother just committing to play soccer for OU next year, this is one player I do not worry about leaving for next year. Trey Townsend will exemplify what it means to be a Golden Grizzly for many going forward.
Chris Conway – This was likely a weird year for Conway. There was some speculation the 6’10” freshman would see the floor early. Instead, he almost didn’t see it at all. However, in a regular year I think they would have used a true redshirt on him to help him adjust to the game. Bigs often take a little longer to figure out their role at the Division 1 level.
Prediction: I went back and forth about my guess here. I’m going to go with he leaves. I could see him taking his game back closer to home and finding somewhere he will have guaranteed minutes. I could also see this looking stupid in 3 years as he’s closing in on being one of the best to ever wear the bear.
Joey Holifield – Holifield always felt like a bit of an odd recruit to me. He dominated at a smaller school out of Ohio, but a lot of that seemed to be that he was clearly more athletically talented than any of the other kids on the floor. We never got a chance to really see what he can do at this level.
Prediction: I think he takes his game back to Ohio. Tough to see a path that involves him getting to play much in the near future. If that’s the case, I don’t see him sticking around.
Oakland has 3 players signed for next year and 1 listed as committed. Most of them are guards and Kampe has said he needs to find a rim protector big. Depending how the portal works for or against him, he could be searching for more. Should they need to hit the portal, there will be no shortage of available players.