Blogs > Pemberton's Point

Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Western Illinois thoughts

The most encouraging thing to me from the Western Illinois win was the dominant inside play of Keith Benson and Will Hudson. When you get to the conference tournament it tends to turn into a half-court game and having a dominant inside game is huge in that type of environment. Teams that are guard-orientated might struggle to score if their shots aren’t falling, but big men tend to take high-percentage shots so they are less likely to have an off night. And it’s not like Oakland’s guards are chop liver. Anybody in the league would love to have Erik Kangas and Johnathon Jones. And Drew Maynard continues to improve and is always a threat to go for 12-18 points with his outside shot and athleticism.

Mr. Unselfish
Jones could be one of the most unselfish players I’ve ever seen. A lot of guys say they will do whatever it takes to win and they don’t care about their numbers, but Jones doesn’t say it, he does it. Here is a guy who scored 32 points at Oregon at the beginning of the year, but has no problem scoring one point and dishing out 11 assists against Western Illinois. Oakland landed a gem when they signed Jones and a gem both on and off the court. He brings leadership to the team and is the perfect guy to run the offense. He can score when he needs to and he gets his teammates involved. I don’t know the exact number of Kangas 3-pointers Jones has assisted on, but I’m sure it’s a lot.

What a crowd
The crowd on Saturday was one of the biggest I’ve seen. I’m not really sure why so many people showed up for Western Illinois, but I think any casual fans that wandered in will likely come back. It was a fun game even though it was such a blowout. Oakland coach Greg Kampe talked about the crowd at the post-game press conference and said he thought Oakland games were becoming events. This team has talent and a bright future so hopefully the community can get behind them.

NOTE: For those of you that enjoyed the free Pitas at the Pita Pit after the game Saturday you can thank my little brother Mike. He was the one who hit the halfcourt shot and won free pitas for one year for himself in the process. I couldn’t believe he made it, but I had to heckle him for missing the free throw.



Blogger Garry G said...

DP ... I liked the emergence of a killer instinct. With a 23-point lead at the half, the Grizzlies could have breezed home with a 75-55 victory. Instead, prodded by Coach Kampe, they stayed intense and went for the throat of the Leathernecks.

This is a better team now than the one that beat NDSU by 1 point two weeks ago. The Bison may be better, too.

January 25, 2009 at 4:10 PM 
Blogger Detroit Sports Guru said...

Congrats on your brother making that shot, I couldn't believe he made it!

January 25, 2009 at 4:33 PM 

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