'I'm coming home': Oakland hoops lands big-time transfer in Marquette's Jamal Cain

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Oakland men's basketball has landed a big player from the Big East.

Jamal Cain, a Pontiac native who averaged nearly 10 points for Marquette last season, committed to Oakland on Saturday afternoon, announcing on Twitter, "I'm coming home." Cain also considered Iowa State, and Missouri was in the mix at one point. Marquette fired head coach Steve Wojciechowski, and replaced him with Texas' Shaka Smart.

Marquette transfer Jamal Cain has committed to Oakland.

Cain is a 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing, who played four seasons at Marquette. Because of the NCAA granting all athletes a "free" year amid COVID-19, he will have one year of eligibility remaining at Oakland. His addition helps ease the sting from Rashad Williams' transfer. Cain made 34 3-pointers last season, shooting 34.3%.

"Honestly, man, with COVID happening and, you know, the NCAA allowing us to have another year, I kind of always wanted to play at Oakland," Cain said over the phone Saturday. "Kampe's always been recruiting me hard since I can remember, and I always knew I would fit well there, and I had the opportunity to do it."

Cain said he first met Kampe at an Oakland summer camp, probably in junior year. He said he likes how Kampe "lets his players play, and he always gives them confidence."

Another factor behind Cain's decision: Being closer to home. He's seen his mom, Amanda Branner, twice in the last year, once at Christmas, and once on Senior Night.

"It definitely played a part in my decision," Cain said. "I'm a big family guy."

Cain, 22, averaged 9.6 points and 6.3 rebounds as a senior, and can guard the 1 through 4. At Oakland, he'll join a nucleus that includes all-league point guard Jalen Moore and big man Daniel Oladapo, and sophomores-to-be Trey Townsend and Micah Parrish.

The Golden Grizzlies were 12-18 this season, but that record is based on a brutal nonconference schedule. They played in the Horizon League championship game, and will be a popular preseason pick in 2021-22.

"They have guys that can really play," Cain said. "I knew throughout the season, watching them play, I like their style. ... That stood out to me. I just wanted to play there. It's just been a dream for me."

Bringing Big East credentials can't hurt.

"(My game) will definitely translate well," he said. "Playing some of the top guys makes it even better for me, and I think I'll bring a great level of athleticism for the conference. I know I can bring that to the table. Just trying to make highlight plays, and trying to get the crowd going."

Assuming there's a crowd to get going, of course. 

In high school, he played at Cornerstone Health and Technology in Detroit his last three years, and was a Mr. Basketball finalist his senior year. As a freshman, he played at Melvindale Academy for Business & Technology. In high school, he scored more than 1,500 points and topped 1,000 rebounds.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984