Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bashing or battle? Oakland hoping for latter at Fieldhouse

Sherron Collins (left) and Tadre Sheppard go for a loose ball during the second half action Thursday, Nov. 19, as Kansas defeated Central Arkansas 94-44.

Sherron Collins (left) and Tadre Sheppard go for a loose ball during the second half action Thursday, Nov. 19, as Kansas defeated Central Arkansas 94-44.


Jayhawks ready for busy Thanksgiving break

The Kansas men's basketball team is preparing for two games in the next three days, the first of which is against mid-major powerhouse Oakland.

GameDay Cram Session: Oakland online editor Jesse Newell and Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan take a look at what to expect from the Kansas basketball team's matchup against Oakland.

Past Event

KU vs. Oakland

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 7 p.m.
  • Allen Fieldhouse, 1651 Naismith Drive, Lawrence
  • Not available


There are those who view tonight’s Kansas University-Oakland men’s basketball game as a huge mismatch.

“People who have never heard of Oakland probably think the score will be 99-40. I read somewhere one of the Kansas fans thought it’d be 2,001-30 or something. Hopefully we’ll be a little better than that,” said 26th-year Oakland University coach Greg Kampe.

The unnamed fan — it goes without saying — has no ties to KU coach Bill Self, who realizes the 7 p.m. contest versus the Rochester, Mich., school is far from a turkey.

“They return five starters from a team that lost to North Dakota State in a one-possession game in the championship game of their (Summit League) tournament.

“We know the problems North Dakota State gave us with (Ben) Woodside. That cat went for 37 against us. Sherron (Collins) is still having nightmares about that,” Self said.

Woodside — who scored 37 points in N.D. State’s 84-74 first-round NCAA Tournament loss to KU last March in Minneapolis — may not even have been the best guard in the Summit League in 2008-09.

The Dakota standout had a worthy adversary in 5-foot-11 Oakland senior point guard Johnathon Jones, who needs eight assists to become the Summit League’s all-time assists leader.

The league’s preseason player of the year has dished seven or more assists in 17 of the Golden Grizzlies’ last 22 games. He’s averaged 13.8 points and 6.0 assists per game this season — in victories over Rochester College (97-63) and Tennessee Tech (77-56) and losses to Wisconsin (58-42) and Eastern Michigan (81-77).

“Our point guard led the nation in assists (last year). We thought he was as good as Woodside if not better. He’s from Oakland so naturally we think he’s better,” Kampe said. “He runs the show and is a distributor.”

And he’s not the only talented Oakland upperclassman.

Keith Benson, a 6-11 junior, and Derick Nelson, a 6-5 senior, average 16.3 and 14.8 ppg, respectively, as well as 10.3 and 7.3 boards. Benson is projected as a first-round pick in the next June’s NBA Draft by

Both players joined Jones as first-team preseason all-Summit League selections.

“I’ve done this a long time. I’ve had some good teams over the years. This is the most talented team I’ve had,” Kampe said.

It’s a team that has the Jayhawks’ attention, particularly after KU’s ultra-competitive game against N.D. State in the NCAAs.

“This is one of the games you look forward to. They have a lot of guys coming back from a team that won 23 games (against 13 losses),” KU junior Cole Aldrich said. “A good challenge is a lot of fun.”

Kampe said he doesn’t think he’ll mention the N.D. State game to his squad tonight.

“There’s pressure (in NCAAs). There’s no pressure on Kansas (tonight),” Kampe said. “It’s not a neutral site. There are three or four things we think we have to do to be competitive in the game. If we accomplish those we will be competitive. If not it could be a long night,” he added, not listing those three or four things.

Tonight’s game is the third for KU in the Hall of Fame Showcase. The Jayhawks previously beat Memphis, 57-55, on Nov. 17 in St. Louis and Central Arkansas, 94-44, last Friday in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It’s really not a tournament. It’s a way to get Memphis and Kansas home games and get Oakland a lot of money and a home game,” Kampe cracked. Oakland will receive $75,000 guaranteed money for visiting tonight.

The Grizzlies, who are 1-0 in the event, will play host to Central Arkansas on Saturday and travel to Memphis next Wednesday.

“We played last night (Tennessee Tech) at a place we would never have gone to and get Central Arkansas to come to our place,” Kampe said, as well as “make some money playing Kansas and Memphis.”

The Grizzlies, who travel to No. 2 Michigan State on Dec. 10 and also play at Oregon (Dec. 19) and Syracuse (Dec. 22), should be well tested before the start of league play. The Grizzlies will have to win the Summit League tournament to qualify for the NCAAs.

“We’re a one-bid league,” said Kampe, whose team received 34 of 35 first-place votes in the league’s preseason poll.

“We have a schedule that could get us an at-large bid, but to do so we’ve got to win three of those games (vs. KU, Memphis, Oregon, Syracuse, Michigan State).”

Needless to say, that’ll be difficult but not impossible for the team projected to be a No. 14 seed in the NCAAs by

“This senior class has a sense of urgency,” Kampe said of a class that also lost on the final possession in the league tournament to Oral Roberts two seasons ago.

“These guys all thought they should be in the tournament. It’s a talented team. We’ve started off the season struggling shooting for some reason. The Wisconsin game ... If we make any shots at all, we have a chance to win the game,” he noted of a 27.3 percent shooting night, including three of 19 from three-point range.

“We couldn’t make a shot. We held Wisconsin to 58 points. Wisconsin is not the most athletic team in the world. We had open looks and couldn’t make them.”

This game at Allen has been one the Grizzlies have been looking forward to for a long time.

“We’ve always wanted to come here to play and are excited about the opportunity,” Kampe said. “I told the team it is one of the most historic places to play with some of the biggest names from (James) Naismith to Phog Allen, all the great coaches and players. We’ve talked about that.”

KU will meet Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. Friday, in another Showcase game.


suttonku 11 years, 3 months ago

Greg Kampe is a very good coach and what he has done for Oakland speaks for itself...KU should still win the game by a bunch but I would expect an early battle...This might be the best Oakland team ever and KU better not take them lightly.

Benjamin Piehler 11 years, 3 months ago

just wondering what people thought about this... on espn's poll website. 86% of the country said a different team than kansas would win the championship; betting on the field. granted, picking the rest of the ncaa over any one team would always seem to be a good wager. opinions?

ParisHawk 11 years, 3 months ago


What are the odds in Vegas? To me, 7 to 1 are decent odds for a number one team this early in the season, with some new pieces, some pieces waiting in the wings and a rotation that hasn't jelled yet.

Steve Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

Hawkinator: If the Kentucky derby was a six race elimination event starting with a field of 64 and the horses you had to beat in the last three races were the likes of Secretariat, SeaBiscuit, Affirmed + Alydar we'd have a better picture of the road to glory. To get all but 86% of the votes makes us a favorite. Watch out for the hot long shots. Also, some people voting or betting are 'hoping' their horse wins, some of which have no chance to win all 6 games.

Whle that is fun to speculate we are months away, and sure we want more banners: all three in fact, first let us enjoy the challenge of Oakland.

One bite at a time.

yates33333 11 years, 3 months ago

Oakland has some real talent on their team. Kito Benson should give Cole a challenge, and, of course, the small guard. They should be better than NDSU was last year. As noted, it isn't a neutral court. If KU can jump on them from the start this should neutralize their talent and rev up the KU crowd. Also, KU is allegedly better than last year.

TenaciousD 11 years, 3 months ago

Odds of KU winning the National Championship were 3.5:1 in Vegas about a month ago.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

Yates: You nailed it! This is not a neutral court, but I can say this Oakland team is better than Richmond (Knocked us off in 2005 I think) and Oral Roberts who Knocked KU off at home in the past. I wouldn't say this team is better than that Nevada team that beat KU in consecutive years, but I would not doubt this Oakland. When I mentioned Oakland was a tough non-conference game in different forums I was laughed at. I don't like making predictions as you could look pretty foolish if completely wrong. I would say that on a neutral court Oakland would be a formidable foe and I would predict an 8-15 point win. The question though, is this team RIGHT NOW better than the 2005 team who was also #1 at this time. KU obviously doesn't want the end result of the 2005 team, but that team started off pretty well.

Also, if you all are looking for a smaller school to cheer or root for come March. Everybody knows about Siena, but I am going to go out on a limb and claim Wofford is an upset special come tourney time. Lost by 3 to Pittsburg, beat UGA, lost by two to Bradley, and lost last night to Illinois after leading at halftime. The game ended up being 14 points, but Wofford let it get out of hand with 5 minutes left.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

I really like this coach (Kampe) from Oakland. He is sarcastically realistic with his comments and able to provide us with a little humor.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 3 months ago

mwilliam: Are you serious? You can not be serious? You know how easy it is to leave the "H" off of something. Give me a break! I'll make sure my editor gets your commnts. I wouldn't mind if you started paying me a salary so I could "Focus" a little more.

Will you now comment on my "commnts" from above? LOL! Give me a break

Tony Bandle 11 years, 3 months ago

The scouting report on Oakland:

1] Keep the ball low and away from Jackson. he'll swing at anything. Inside and low...BAM...he'll hit the light tower. 2] Langsford is a real pain because he is a spray hitter. Give him sinkers and hope he grounds out to an infielder. 3] Keep Billy North of the bases..he's lightning. 4] Sal Bando is ........OOOPS...wrong sport...wrong decade.

Oakland University:

1] They are NOT from California 2] Their nickname is the Golden Grizzlies 3] They are not a pushover unless Kansas comes out focused. 4] Their coach strongly resembles the "soon-to-be-fired Notre Dame football coach. 5] Did I mention, don't take them lightly? 6] They don't have a football controversy, because they don't have football.


achawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Didn't know if anyone could help but I am going to my first KU bball game tonight. I have been by Allen Fieldhouse many times but not sure where the best place to park would be. I would appreciate any suggestions. Rock Chalk!!!

Tony Bandle 11 years, 3 months ago


Park at The's a long walk back but you'll be happy when you get there!! :}

Simple advice...get there early.

achawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Thanks Oakville. Looking forward to seeing Aldrich go against another true big man.

Rick Arnoldy 11 years, 3 months ago

kushaw, the people of "Pittsburgh" will be glad to explain the difference to you. Up close and personal.

mikehawk 11 years, 3 months ago

I have seen this team play my other school, which is Oral Roberts, here in Tulsa a number of times. They are well coached, go hard all the time, and talented. We need these types of games. If we don't bring it, this could be this year's ORU game from a couple of years ago.

I watched Texas play last night against Pittsburgh. I am sure glad we don't play them soon. They would kick our tails right now.

Scott MacWilliams 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey folks,

I saw this Oakland team here playing Oregon last year, or maybe the year before, and they were a very well-coached, solid team. I don't expect the Jayhawks to lose, but I don't think they will be able to put it on autopilot and expect to cruise to an easy W.

Oakland looked very sharp, were VERY solid in all the fundamentals, and beat Oregon on the Ducks home court. Think crisp passing, good movement without the ball, solid blocking out, etc. I hope the Jayhawks take them seriously, because they deserve it.


Steve Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

achawk: very happy for you. Get there early and walk around the Hall of Fame soak up the whole experience. I was going to be a smart a and say Eudora has room to park. Wheel is better if you can get close.

AFH 101: Remain standing after the anthem and join in the crimson & blue song. whether you have voice or not join in.

Do NOT be in bathroom or concessions for pregame video.

When they are introduced, hold the wall street journal in front of your face like it don't matter who they are and who they brought.

When they foul out, smile whisper 'nice game' and wave the wheat to symbolize CYa.

When they miss the rim, yell 'air ball' the next time or two they touch it, yet don't go on and on all night about it.

If they get up by 6 points in 2nd half yell like crazy everytime they touch the ball until we get a turnover.

With about 2-3 minutes left when we have the game well in control stand and join in chanting the rock chalk chant while you weave slightly left and right.

When one of their players gets up and hobbles to the bench after a slight sprained ankle clap politely.

One last point, no matter what happens, if we win by 200 or X gets 50 points or we come back in overtime with last 2nd shot, we don't, now or ever, rush the court. If you see us beat the Celtics we don't storm the court. We don't storm the court at home. Teams that rush the courty don't expect to win, we do.

what did I miss. My 1st game was JoJo White beating MU, I was 16. happy for you- Enjoy.

achawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for all that. Bringing my kids so I'm sure we can pick up on most stuff in case we forget the rules. Not the kind of guy to rush the court. Probably sprain an ankle, and from where I will be it would be a long fall down.

Steve Brown 11 years, 3 months ago

no rules, just enjoy...happy for you.

later this week give us a report and how it was for the kids.

keith horinek 11 years, 3 months ago

achawk, I still get goosebumps thinking about AFH and all the games Iv'e watched over the years. It never gets old. be sure to tour the "hall of Fame" and see the national championship trophy from 2008, it's awsome!

Derek Conway 11 years, 3 months ago

Agree with the last comment. NEVER NEVER NEVER storm the court. It has not been done in my lifetime and hopefully never will. I'm 20.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 3 months ago


I was just kidding about The Wheel since it is all the way over on the other side of campus plus your bringing your child, so a loud, drunken crowd at a smoky bar may not be quite the right atmosphere.

Please call the sports information desk...I'm sure they can give you better parking advice.

If I could add one small item to the comprehensive list so well chosen by lighthawk.

I saw my first game in the fall of 1966 and have seen many since. One thing I do is sit down when the game is over, relax and enjoy the pep band and just soak in the energy generated by this Bastion of Basketball. Look around and realize there is no other place on earth quite like it. Think of it as "The Court of Dreams".

PS Yell till your lungs explode!!!!!! :}

Jim Dickerson 11 years, 3 months ago

achawk, I was at the first game ever plyed in AFH. An experience that I will never forget. I'm sure that you will remember your first game for a long time as well. Enjoy the experience.

Clarence Haynes 11 years, 3 months ago

I see that recruit Perry Ellis from Witchita is in the 'House.

Chad Hallack 11 years, 3 months ago


That is the coolest thing I've heard all week. Beat K-state by in 11 in '55 right?

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