Jamal Cain becomes key piece of Oakland basketball's push towards the postseason

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 19:13:59-05

Oakland men’s basketball is in first in the Horizon League at 8-1. Leading the way is their new addition in Jamal Cain. Cain transferred from Marquette University to Oakland University, but for the Pontiac native, it feels more like a homecoming.

"Oakland has always been a home to me," said Oakland graduate transfer forward Jamal Cain. "I’ve been working out here ever since I was little."

The journey from Pontiac to Marquette and back home to Michigan, is turning into a prolific season for the Golden Grizzlies. In his final year of NCAA eligibility, Cain is leading the team in rebounds and in points, with a game-high of 31. Cain is only 22 points away from reaching the 1,000 point milestone. He has 8 double-doubles this year.

"Honestly those guys help me put up those numbers," Cain said. "Because they’re so good offensively. I love these guys. Ever since I came in, they welcome me with open arms, treated me like family. Nobody is selfish, everyone is thinking about the ultimate goal and that’s winning."

Cain looked at his success at Oakland modestly. He is just a piece, albeit a big piece, of the puzzle that is the success of Oakland basketball. Head coach Greg Kampe says this team is old school basketball.

"Everybody grew up just wanting to be on a team, be a part of something bigger than the individual," Kampe said. "That is what this group of kids is about."

In first place, they’re poised to win the Horizon League for the first time since joining. A tournament championship title would put the Golden Grizzlies back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.

"He’s a great player and he is a great leader," said Kampe of Cain. "I’ll say this though, what has really helped him are the pieces around him. He’s been thriving in that part of the game."

"I don’t have to be the main priority, I am fine with being a role player and dominating my role, no matter what it is," said Cain.

And no matter where it may take him. Cain says his dream has always been to become a professional athlete, whether that’s in the NBA or overseas. Despite where he goes, his stop back home to Oakland is one he wouldn’t change for the world.

"Honestly no. It worked out perfectly," said Cain. "Everything worked out exactly like its supposed to. Just like my mom always says, leave it in God’s hands, it’s in God’s hands."