Rochester, MI - The American flag that hangs in Oakland's Orena might mean a little more to this year's squad than it has to teams in the past.
This year's team includes Army veteran Isaiah Brock.
"I was a mortuary affairs specialist. And that basically entails extracting fallen heroes from the battlefield and then we get them ready to go see their loved ones back in the states," explains Brock.
He's a decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan and Kuwait. That's where he met Oakland's head coach Greg Kampe.
"I was in Kuwait. I went there for the Troops First: Operation Hardwood which is about every three or four years they take some college coaches over to a battle area. When I heard Isaiah’s story, I fell in love with the young man," says Kampe.
So Coach Kampe offered Brock a scholarship. But the NCAA ruled Brock ineligible to play because of his high school grades. Brock had taken college courses while deployed and had gotten good grades, but that wasn't enough.
"I felt really bad. i had made him believe he was going to because I just couldn’t see any scenario where he wasn’t allowed to play," says Kampe.
This week, after Kampe and Brock submitted the necessary paperwork, the NCAA reversed their decision and cleared Brock to play. Brock says hearing that decision was very exciting.
"Whether he ever played a minute or not, the leadership, the ability to talk about life experiences with my players, I thought would be a tremendous thing for Oakland university," says Kampe.
"He loves the game. and he’s like a sponge. He’s listening and wants to learn. He’s going to be a good player. He’s going to get some minutes this year and before he’s out of here, he’s going to be a really good player."
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