Notebook: Men’s semi-finals

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerAssistant Sports Editor

Looking ahead

SDSU came out on the wrong end of a 20-point loss on Monday, but Oakland coach Greg Kampe sees a lot of similarities between the current Jackrabbits squad and his team from about 10 years ago.

“They scare me because they remind me of us. The first three years we were in this tournament, we got beat opening night,” Kampe said. “It’s hard to win here. It’s a whole different environment here. Everybody else has scholarships and everyone else wants to win.”

Although the Jacks will lose three seniors, they will bring back Nate Wolters, Jordan Dykstra, and Chad White, all of whom scored in double-digits against the Golden Grizzlies.

The Jacks finished with 19 wins this season, up five from last year the most they’ve had in a single season since moving to Division I.

Valentine’s Day

Oakland’s Drew Valentine has been an important part of Oakland this season, mostly for his defense. He exhibited his offensive prowess on Monday night, leading his team to the Summit League Tournament Finals with a 110-90 victory over SDSU.

Valentine exploded for 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting, easily his career high while tacking on 11 rebounds.

“I just was trying to be aggressive. I feel like I’m a bigger asset to our team when I’m aggressive offensively,” said Valentine, who came to Sioux Falls as a career 49 percent shooter.

“He’s a good player. He’s their glue guy,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy.


Charlie Sheen isn’t the only one winning these days. In fact, the Oakland men’s basketball team is trying to win everything they do.

“Our motto is “win today.’ We haven’t won today yet, there’s still tonight,” Kampe said. “We have to go fuel, eat, rest and then get mentally ready, then tomorrow when they wake up, if they did that, then we won today. Tomorrow, we have to win tomorrow. If you look ahead, you’re going to get knocked off your spot so fast.”

The tournament’s number one seed has made the finals every year since 1992.

“We won and we get to play tomorrow. I think that we are a very good basketball team, we played with our A-game tonight,” said the 27th year head coach, who has over 450 career wins.

Monster Morrison

Dominique Morrison has a long, wiry frame but he found a way to be strong for his team on Sunday night.

Morrison led ORU with 26 points in an 83-77 victory over IUPUI at the Sioux Falls, advancing the Golden Eagles to Tuesday night’s finals.

“I kinda struggled shooting the ball so I wanted some easy shots. Get layups and make easy shots tonight and that’s what kinda got me rolling,” he said.

“He’s been good all year. He desperately wants to get to the tournament,” said ORU head coach Scott Sutton, who credits ORU’s trips to the NCAA tournament in helping land the all-conference pick Morrison. “This is his team now and he wants to lead this team to the tournament now. He’s one of the biggest competitors I’ve ever been around.”

Summit Showdown

Sutton and IUPUI head coach Ron Hunter each saw Oakland’s dismantling of SDSU and came away impressed.

“Awfully impressive. They come into a hostile environment and playing a very impressive offensive team, you have to be impressed,” Sutton said. “In an NBA style series, most likely they will beat us more times than not. That’s what is great about college basketball, anything can happen. It’s no secret we have to play a great game tomorrow night. They are just so talented offensively. They have no weaknesses.”

“I thought Oakland played their best game of the year tonight. It’ll be a good matchup,” Hunter said.

Young gun

Hunter talked about the NBA prospects of his junior guard Alex Young, who will have a far shorter window to decide his future than former Jaguar star George Hill, who is now with the San Antonio Spurs.

“He has to consider his options. The window is shorter. George was able to go to camps and workout for scouts in Orlando. Now, after the Final Four they have to make a decision. They are probably at the same point as far as interest. If he’s a top 30 pick, I’ll make him go.”

Attendance Update

Session Five (Monday Afternoon): 3,672

Session Six (Monday Night): 5,676

2011 Total Attendance through six sessions: 26,284

2010 Total Attendance through six sessions: 22,209

2009 Total Attendance through six sessions: 25,297