Chalk up a couple of firsts for Greg Kampe and the Oakland men’s basketball team.
On Wednesday, the Golden Grizzlies received their first commitment for the 2019 class — and Kampe’s first-ever recruit from the state of Tennessee — in Knoxville point guard C.J. Gettelfinger.
Gettelfinger took an unofficial visit to Oakland in June to meet with Kampe and the staff, including new assistant coach Tony Jones, a key in the recruiting process. Jones joined Kampe’s staff after working in Tennessee, and Gettelfinger got to know him through the AAU circuit.
“I’ve known him quite a while,” Gettelfinger said Wednesday afternoon, shortly after making his commitment official on Instagram. “We developed a pretty good bond.”
Gettelfinger is considered a top-20 prospect in the state of Tennessee, for the class of 2019, out of Grace Christian Academy.
He also drew interest from Liberty and Gardner-Webb, and had an offer from Jacksonville State. He’s 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds, and his stock trended up considerably this spring on the AAU circuit, playing for the Knox Free Agents. His sophomore season, he averaged 18 points, 7.1 assists and 6.2 rebounds. This past AAU season, he averaged 25 points, eight assists and 7.5 rebounds. He said his goal over the next two years is to average a triple-double, "and I think I can do it."
Gettelfinger admittedly didn’t know a ton about Oakland before making his visit, but he did his research, and learned about the Golden Grizzlies get-it-and-go, up-tempo offense.
Kampe leans heavily on his point guards, which appealed to Gettelfinger.
“He said they get the ball into their point guard and let the point guard run the show,” said Gettelfinger, who missed a month his sophomore season with a fractured fibula, only to return and score 28 in his first game back, against a state-ranked team, no less. “That’s what I like to hear.
“I need to be a floor general, and he would let me lead and run it. That’s what I looked at.”
Gettelfinger also has a sister who attends Clemson — and he watched Oakland rally from a huge deficit to beat Clemson in the NIT this past season.
He also has done plenty of reading about Kay Felder, the point guard who led the nation in assists and was fourth in scoring two years ago, before leaving early for the NBA. He was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Oakland was 43rd in Division I in scoring this past season; first in 2015-16, Felder’s junior and final season; and was 30th in 2014-15, Felder’s sophomore year.
Before Felder, Reggie Hamilton led the nation in scoring, and before Hamilton, Johnathon Jones led the nation in assists.
Oakland was 25-9 this past season and shared the Horizon League regular-season championship, before being upset by Youngstown State in the league tournament. That cost Oakland its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Expectations will continue to be high for the program for several years, especially since Valparaiso has left the league.
“They very easily could have made the Tournament. I feel like the next few years, we should go to the Tournament,” said Gettelfinger, 17, who added committing way early gave him some peace of mind. “I just kind of felt good about it. I wanted to be confident in my decision, with two years to get better. I feel good about it.”