Oakland embraces newfound attention: ‘I was definitely crazy’
Oakland embraces newfound attention: ‘I was definitely crazy’

PITTSBURGH — Wearing a yellow hat with an embroidered four-leaf clover from Black Clover’s “Live Lucky” line, Oakland coach Greg Kampe admitted he hasn’t slept since his No. 14 Grizzlies defeated No. 3 Kentucky in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.

“I haven’t slept yet,” Kampe said Friday at 3:45 p.m. “I haven’t gone to bed and I haven’t — I haven’t stopped talking. I like to talk, I talk a lot, but it’s getting funny. Every 15 minutes I have Zoom or something. But it’s really great and it’s great for Oakland.

“It’s amazing for our university, the amount of publicity, and because our kids are such great kids, it’s positive publicity.”

Overnight, Kampe said, the university sold $8,000 worth of T-shirts to people living in Louisville, Kentucky, as they celebrated the passing of their archrival.

“Honestly,” said Campe. “You know, they buy the T-shirts and put the credit card in and [it says] “Louisville, Louisville, Louisville.” It wasn’t the same guy.

“Next year when Louisville and Kentucky play, I don’t know if everybody’s going to show up wearing an Oakland jersey or something. I have no idea. But it’s crazy to think what something like that does.”

Graduate transfer guard Jack Golke, who went on fire with a near-record 10 3-pointers in the win, is at the epicenter of the team’s newfound glory.

“It was definitely crazy,” the 24-year-old Golke said. “When I finally got my phone open it was overwhelming to say the least, which I definitely appreciate all the support from all the people texting me and stuff like that.”

Like his marksman, Kampe also had a flood of text messages after the game. Golke said he waits at least another 48 hours before answering most of them, but Kampe rummaged through his inbox instead of sleeping — purposefully answering them between 2 and 4 a.m.

“They can’t bring them back at this time,” Kampe said. “You have 1,300 texts and you do it in the middle of the afternoon, then they reply, then you have to put a thumbs up or a heart on them. And now it’s 2,600 texts… I went from 1,300 to about 195. Now it’s back to 495. I’m going to get up at 2:00 am tonight to do the rest.”

As Kampe answered text messages, NC State coach Kevin Keatts, now faced with Golke’s delay, watched film in his hotel room and was amazed by what he saw.

“I thought Kentucky was winning the game by a big margin because I kept hearing the cheers and I thought it was the Kentucky fans,” Keatts said. “I grabbed my phone and started looking up the score and obviously Oakland was winning.

“When I got back last night 2, 2:30 in the morning, I put the game on, started my scouting to get ready to get ready for Oakland and, man, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a shooting performance like that. If I have, it’s been a long time. And people are going to say, man, for God’s sake, Kentucky didn’t do a good job. They were there. I mean, he was taking shots after shots after shots.

And Gohlke hasn’t cooled down yet. During Friday’s practice, he hit from almost the entire court. Before he could return to the locker room Thursday night, Golke went through a car wash of courtside interviews, pulling on headphones and holding microphones as he basked alongside his head coach.

For Gohlke, who spent the first five years of his career at Division II Hillsdale College and had 117 fans at the team’s regional final a year ago, the crush of national attention is surreal.

“I went back to the hotel. “It was pretty late, and I turned on the TV and I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I’ll check ESPN right now,’ and I saw Scott Van Pelt,” he said. “That was pretty cool.”

As Golke watched on ESPN, his teammates were glued to their phones, amazed as Golke’s Instagram followers soared to over 22,000 in less than 24 hours.

“He had Antonio Brown and famous people — I just don’t believe it,” teammate Dee Q Cole said. “It was just amazing to see. But we all knew that all along. We have believed in him ever since [the preseason trip to] Italy. We know he can shoot the ball. We know he can hit every shot on the court.

“We believe in him. He believes in us and we will continue to believe in him and he will continue to believe in us.”

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