Jack Gohlke Becomes First Star of NCAA Tournament

Kentucky is the most blue of the blue blood programs in college basketball, with eight national championships, 132 former players that have been in the ABA and NBA, and head coach John Calipari an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Oakland University is in Rochester, Michigan, and had never advanced past the round of 64 in three previous trips to the NCAA Tournament. Oakland has turned out five players who made an appearance in a professional basketball game, and they went into Thursday night’s matchup with the Wildcats as big +575 underdogs.

None of the above history, however, accounts for the outstanding star of the Golden Grizzlies basketball team, Jack Gohlke, and his performance in Thursday night’s win by Oakland, 80-76.

Career Night on the Biggest Stage

Gohlke is a transfer graduate student, and the senior member of the Golden Grizzlies. And he absolutely loves to shoot the three. Heading into Thursday night’s game in Pittsburgh, Gohlke had attempted 335 shots this season. Of those, 327 were from beyond the 3-point line. In only six games all season did he attempt a shot from inside the arc.

The man knows what he does well, and on Thursday, he threw up a season-high 20 shots, all of them from behind the line, and he made a season-high 10 of them. Not only were his 10 3-pointers a season-best for Gohlke, it was the second-best performance in the history of the NCAA Tournament. The record for 3-pointers is 11, made by Jeff Fryer of Loyola Marymount back when they made their run to the Elite 8 in 1990.

“I don’t like the David vs. Goliath thing,” said Gohlke after his near record-setting performance. “Obviously, Kentucky is a tremendous team and we came in as an underdog. But we believe in ourselves, and obviously now the country believes in us.”

The country also now knows that this Oakland team hails from Michigan, and not California. Head coach Greg Kampe, the longest-tenured coach in Division I basketball at 40 years, said, “There’s nobody in the country that doesn’t know where Oakland basketball is. We don’t want the Cinderella slipper. We want the respect that this is a good basketball team.”

A good basketball team led by an exceptional player who picked the perfect time to have the best game of his career.

Oakland began this season with a game at Ohio State, and Gohlke scored 18 points – all from the 3-point line. They also played at Michigan State, and Gohlke was just 1-for-10 on the night. All 3-pointers.

But with the world watching, Gohlke became a star, as No. 14 seed Oakland, a 13-point underdog against No. 3 seed Kentucky, beat the Wildcats.

Gohlke From Downtown: Round 2

Up next for the Golden Grizzlies men’s basketball team is a Saturday second-round game with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, themselves a Cinderella. N.C. State won five straight games to get into the tournament as ACC champions, and they made it a sixth straight on Thursday with a win over Texas Tech. They are six-point favorites on Saturday.

The main stat to keep in mind as you watch Oakland and North Carolina State play on Saturday — N.C. State ranks 216th in the nation in 3-point field goal defense. The main player to watch – Jack Gohlke.

“I’ll shoot it from anywhere,” Gohlke said. “You probably saw that during the game.”

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