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Kyle Sikora transferring from Oakland.

April 4, 2012

College Basketball

Redshirt freshman Kyle Sikora is leaving the Oakland University men’s basketball team, Greg Kampe announced.

Kyle Sikora will leave the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. From OUGrizzlies.com

Sikora started a handful of games down the stretch for the Golden Grizzlies, averaging 10 minutes per game.  Corey Petros, who Sikora briefly replaced in the starting lineup, still played the bulk of the minutes for Oakland in the paint.  He averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game for OU, but led the team in blocked shots with 23.

This might not seem like a huge loss to an outsider, but Oakland fans know that this is a pretty major loss.  Sikora was looked at as a shot-blocking prospect who would come along offensively.  He posted 4 blocks in both games against IPFW and showed potential as an upper-level paint clogger in the Summit League.

With his departure, Oakland’s frontcourt depth will once again be tested.  For 2011-12, the Golden Grizzlies figured to have Ilija Milutinovic starting in the middle.  That changed when he announced that he would be signing a pro contract overseas.  That left Petros and Sikora as the only big guys with the program, and Oakland scrambled to sign Korab Imami.  Imami redshirted, and is a project player.  He has good length and can run the floor well, but is very raw.

Incoming recruit Michael Lewis is 6′-10″, but is coming off of a torn ACL.  OU has a recruit coming in named Viktoras Merkevicius, but he’s been a tweener between PF/C.  He seems to have a decent face-up jumper, but he likes to drive to the basket.

Still, he will be a true freshman.  As will Lewis.  And Petros is more of an offensive/rebounding type of forward, likely more suited toward the 4 than the 5.

Oakland forward Corey Petros.

Former Oakland star Keith Benson may not have been as wide as Petros, but he was springy and a natural shot blocker.  Petros isn’t a shot blocking forward, challenged shooters and going after rebounds more than terrorizing point guard in the lane with shot-blocking.  Sikora would have been an excellent combo player with Petros, combining two big bodies with compatible skill sets to dominate the blocks throughout the Summit League.

Suddenly, Oakland’s frontcourt is incredibly youthful again, remaining a question mark going into the season.  Petros should continue to emerge as an offensive behemoth with a good offseason in the weight room.  Not having a shot-blocker with experience will hurt.

Still, if anybody can turn in a great performance from these kids, it’s Oakland coach Greg Kampe.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe

Kampe is one of the best coaches anywhere in the country.  These same queries about OU’s frontcourt were asked a season ago, and Kampe still turned in a pretty darn good performance.  There’s still a lot of time left in the offseason (as in, the whole thing), and Kampe will likely be perusing the transfer market.  If he can grab an experienced big, then the answer to all of these questions becomes, “Yeah, but…”  “YEAH, it might be a little testy for a year and we won’t block a ton of shots, BUT look what’s coming next year!”

Kyle will be missed, and it was fun watching him for a year.  Best of luck to him the rest of the way.

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About mattpocket

I am the Sports Director at 88.3 FM WXOU Radio, out of Oakland University. I am the play-by-play voice of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. I've been to two NCAA Tournaments, been heard on ESPN, and won 9 Michigan Association of Broadcasters Awards. Follow me on Twitter. @cornerpocket422 You can tune in to The Corner Pocket every Friday from 3-5 pm with my cohost Bryan and Everson and myself, featuring the best guests, such as Dave Birkett, Jim Nill, and Bruce Buffer.

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