Greg Kampe ahead of his 38th year at OU: "I think we have a chance to be a special team"

Jeanna Trotman interviews Greg Kampe
Greg Kampe of Oakland University Mens basketball
Posted at 12:33 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 18:27:40-04

Oakland University men’s basketball is getting ready to tipoff the 2021-22 season and while this year’s team is different, the Grizzlies are returning 62-percent of it’s scoring from last season, including three key starters in Jalen Moore. Trey Townsend, and Micah Parrish. In the offseason, OU added Marquette transfer Jamal Cain.

“I really like us, I think we have a chance to be a special team. We had a great offseason. We added Jamal Cain who I think is an NBA prospect. And we’ve got Jalen Moore back, Trey Townsend back, Micah Parish back. So I think, in my opinion, we’ve got four of the best players in the league. So, I think we should be pretty good.”

Moore earned preseason accolades, as he was named to the all-league first team. Kampe said Moore has a goal entering his junior season of breaking the school’s single-season assist record. Kampe praised his point guard for setting a goal that will help the entire team succeed.

Kampe said that he likes the veteran leadership of Moore and Cain together, adding his excitement to see Cain in action with this Grizzlies team, a group of players with ten freshman.

“He’s going to be the guy that we are running stuff for, getting him shots. He’s an unbelievably gifted player, unbelievably gifted. He 6-foot-8, long, can shoot the three, score at the rim. What makes him special, he is an elite defender.”

The Golden Grizzlies went 12-18 overall and 10-10 in conference during the 2020-21 season. In postseason play, Oakland lost to Cleveland State in the Horizon League Championship title game. Kampe is entering his 38th year at Oakland and says it is a mix of the university and his players that keeps him coming back each year.

“I am not ready, the last couple of years, we’ve not been as good as we’ve been in the past. There’s ebbs and flows in this. When you’ve been at a place for 38 years, there’s ebbs and flows. The last couple of years, we started 0-9, we got ourselves to one of the peaks when we got into the NCAA tournament. And trying to adapt and adjust to the times is a hard thing. If I ever come in and feel like I can’t do it, I will walk away. But right now, I like this team as good as any team I’ve ever been around. I like the kids, I like their dedication. In this day and age, of me first… I’ve got a group of kids who are really team-oriented.“

Kampe is a hall of fame coach and his numbers show it. He is the third longest tenured division-I basketball coach at a single school with 37 seasons. He is behind Jim Boeheim who has been at Syracuse for 45 seasons and Mike Krzyzewksi, who will be retiring in 2022 from Duke after his 41st season this year. In addition, Kampe is 12th on the list of most wins by an active division-I coach with 644. The names aside him on these lists are among the greatest in the game of college basketball: Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, and Tubby Smith.

“All that means is I am old. All it means is that I’ve been able to survive. I’ve been able to last, I’ve been blessed to be able to stay at the same place. That list and those kind of things, honestly… I do not sit at night and look up the numbers and say ‘where do you stand?’ I am looking up film and trying to figure out how I can survive and keep my job. I would just really like to keep it for a few more years.”

Oakland will commence the 2021-22 regular season at West Virginia on Nov. 9.