To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Oakland SG Travis Bader about whether he can break JJ Redick’s record for the most 3-PT shots in NCAA history.
You earned your undergraduate degree in three years and are currently working on your master’s. How do you balance your work on the court with your work on the classroom? At first it was overwhelming but I sat down and planned my day like I did when I transitioned from high school to college. I found that being successful in the classroom and on the court takes hard work and proper time management.
You scoring has gone up each season since your freshman year despite only getting one scholarship offer from a D-1 school. How have you been able to keep improving from year to year? Hard work. In high school I went through a lot of criticism and doubt from many different people. I was always told I was not good enough to be a D-1 basketball player or was not athletic enough or strong enough. As a result, I worked hard while keeping all of that in the back of my mind. Even though I had a good senior season I was still only being looked at by D-2 schools and mid-major schools in Michigan as a preferred walk-on except for Oakland. Coach Greg Kampe and the rest of the coaching staff at Oakland always sounded confident that they were interested in me and that I could become successful as a person, team player, and individual player. Once they offered me a scholarship I knew right away that I would be a Golden Grizzly. I continue to motivate myself and allow for criticism and doubt to motivate myself year to year.
Your non-conference schedule includes games against North Carolina, UCLA, Cal, Gonzaga, Indiana, and Michigan State, how on earth are you going to survive such a gauntlet?! We have gone through a schedule like this just about every year that I have been at Oakland, and I love it. I think that playing against some of the best teams in the country early in the season helps us tremendously during conference play. Nothing motivates a team more than the opportunity to beat some of the top-ranked teams in the country.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? We are looking forward to this season. It is not only my last season at Oakland but also the final year for Duke Mondy and Joey Asbury: we have one last opportunity to be a part of something special. We are looking forward to being a part of the Horizon League and believe that we have an opportunity to do something special this year.
In the 2011 NCAA tourney you scored 10 points in a four-point loss to #4-seed Texas. How close did you come to pulling off the upset? It was an amazing experience and a great game to be a part of. Throughout the entire game we battled and fought but unfortunately came up short.
Last January you scored 47 points (including a school-record 11 three pointers) vs. IUPUI. Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were “in the zone”? Honestly, it felt as if the hoop was as big as the ocean that night! I experienced that during my sophomore year as well when I made 10 three-point shots against South Dakota State. Every time I shoot the ball I feel that it is going to go in…but during those two games it was an unreal feeling.
In the 2013 CIT you scored 30 points in a loss at Youngstown State. How were the Penguins able to make a school-record 18 three-point shots en route to their first postseason win at the D-1 level? Youngstown State played a great game. Our defense was not as good as we would have wished and the Penguins did a great job on offense by knocking down shots.
Last year you led all of D-1 making 4.2 three pointers per contest. What is your secret for making shots from behind the arc, and do you think you can make 101 more to pass JJ Redick and break the record for the most in a career? My secret for making shots is practice, practice, and more practice. I wish I could tell you that I have a gift of being able to shoot the ball, but I do not. I have spent an uncountable amount of time in the gym working on my jump shot throughout my life and I continue to work harder than ever. As long as I continue to push myself and work hard, I believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
You also led the country by playing 94.8% of your team’s minutes (38.2 minutes/game): how are you able to stay in shape during the year without getting exhausted? I have always been in pretty good shape, but as my college career has progressed I have to spend extra time in the off-season to make sure that I am in great shape.
Your father Richard was a swimmer at Clemson and your sister Christine is the women’s tennis head coach at Ball State. Who is the best athlete in the family, and do you credit at least some of your success to genetics? My mother was also a golfer and my sister Kim played tennis as well. Our whole family is made up of athletes and sports fanatics. I think that we all perform differently and specialize in our certain sport. I would like to say that I could go beat Christine in tennis and go beat my dad in a race in the pool…but that would never happen. Even my mom gives me trouble out on the golf course. So the best answer to this question would be to say that none of them could beat me in a game of one-on-one on the court!