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The Basketball Tournament 2017: Catching up with former Oakland star Travis Bader

Bader is looking for a three-peat with Overseas Elite

Jose Juarez, Oakland Athletics photographer

BROOKLYN — Remember Travis Bader?

The four-year star for the Oakland Grizzlies was a two-time first-team all-Summit League selection, made the All-Newcomers team in Oakland’s first season in the Horizon League, and...oh yeah...he holds the NCAA record for career three-pointers made.

Unsurprisingly, Bader is currently playing professionally, most recently with Basket Recanati in Italy. But in the offseason, he suits up for Overseas Elite, the two-time-defending champions of The Basketball Tournament.

Mid-Major Madness caught up with Bader after Overseas Elite defeated the Tampa Bulls, 84-76, on Friday in Brooklyn.

First, a quick note: I introduced myself to Bader after the game and told him a lot of Oakland fans read the site. He laughed and said, “yeah and they harass you. Good for them.”

That fits nowhere, really, but you should know that.


Mid-Major Madness: So, catch us up on what you’ve been doing.

Bader: I got back from Italy a couple months ago. That’s where I spent last season. Right now I’m just working out and getting ready for the next opportunity, so probably end of August I’ll be out on my next team and journey.

How did you end up getting into The Basketball Tournament and finding Overseas Elite?

My agent, Andrew Morrison, actually connected me with all of this and I actually flew straight from Summer League [two seasons ago] to play in this. Same day. And ever since then I’ve just been a part of it with these guys and I’m happy to be a part of this team. We’ve formed friendships and I always see these guys overseas when we’re playing, so it’s cool.

What drew you to TBT?

Honestly [Morrison] was very persistent about this tournament and Summer League had ended for me, and he told me that I could come in and play. it’s a fun thing. it’s kind of a money grab type of tournament. It worked out where we won the first year and we won after that, so I thank him for pushing me to play and it’s been a blessing since.

For a lot of people, the only time they see Greg Kampe is on the sidelines or in interviews. What was it like playing for him?

It was great. Kampe, he’s very intense, that’s just how he is when he coaches. But he’s a great guy. On the court, he’ll yell at you and he’ll go at you, and people will laugh and see him on TV going crazy. But off the court, he’s going to put his arm around you. He’s going to talk to you man-to-man. He’s a great guy, a really nice guy. He cares about all of his players a lot. I love playing for a guy like that. I love playing for a guy who’s intense and passionate. If you’re not playing for a guy like that, there’s gotta be something wrong.

Do you still keep in touch with him and your teammates from Oakland?

Of course. I was actually up there last Sunday and played open gym. I talk to Kampe all the time. I was up there chatting with him at team camp and stuff like that. I’m always around. I like to talk to those guys, play with those guys, be there when I can in the summers, and I always watch them when I’m overseas.

We had a writer who said Kampe was one of the worst-dressed coaches in college basketball. Do you agree with that?

I don’t know if he’s the worst dressed. I would say he could definitely improve his swag a little bit. But his style is his style, so I can’t really get on him for that. He likes what he likes and he’s at a point in his career where he’s going to do what he’s going to do, and wear what he’s going to wear, so you can’t blame him.

What do you want to tell the Oakland fans who read our site?

Just thank you for the support. I always see them tweeting and saying they always want me playing and stuff like that. I appreciate the support from all the Oakland fans. I hope they keep watching and I hope they keep supporting me over my career, which I know they will. And I’m gonna keep supporting Oakland.