Alstork shaping up as Raiders’ leader

Referee Edwin Young (left), a former University of Dayton standout, addresses a foul with Mark Alstork of Wright State while Raiders coach Scott Nagy (right) also has a say. WSU played at Oakland (Mich.) in a Horizon League opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
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Referee Edwin Young (left), a former University of Dayton standout, addresses a foul with Mark Alstork of Wright State while Raiders coach Scott Nagy (right) also has a say. WSU played at Oakland (Mich.) in a Horizon League opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

It’s easy to differentiate Mark Alstork, Wright State’s leading scorer (20.4), from the rest of his teammates during pregame warmups. He’s the one who’s pumped up with music blaring through Beats Headphones, either on his head or wrapped around his neck. A nearby Apple iPhone serves as his energy source.

The 6-foot-5 junior guard has had a breakout season for the Raiders and is fulfilling the promise he initially showed as a three-year starter at Thurgood Marshall High School under former Cougars’ coach Darnell Hoskins. Now bearded, he shed about 15 pounds from last season and likely spent as much time in a weight room as working on his game. He was among the nation’s scoring leaders early this season.

• Former University of Dayton men’s basketball standout Edwin Young was one of three referees who worked Thursday’s WSU men’s basketball game at Oakland (Mich.). Young was a reliable point guard for the Flyers from 1996-2000 and was recruited by Oliver Purnell.

• Wilmington High School grad Jaevin Cumberland is the only Ohioan on Oakland’s roster. A 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, he’s averaging 3.3 points as a reserve and tallied a career-high 16 points against Goshen (Ind.) in Game 3.

Jaevin’s cousin Jarron Cumberland, is a 6-5 true freshman at Cincinnati who’s emerging as a top Bearcats sub. He’s appeared in every game and averages 5.5 points. They both were all-Ohioans during the 2014-15 season at Wilmington. Jarron was a finalist for Ohio’s Mr. Basketball last season.

• Oakland’s O’rena Athletics Center is a smaller version of Fairmont’s Trent Arena and holds a quaint capacity of about 3,500. The university is located about 20 miles north of downtown Detroit off Interstate 75.

• Dunbar High School grad Ryan Bass played three seasons as a guard at Oakland before transferring to Dayton for his senior year of eligibility. He was immediately eligible as a graduate student transfer. However, his brief Flyers’ career was derailed after he was concussed in a game against Ole Miss during the 2014-15 season and didn’t play again.

• The WSU/Oakland series dates back to the 1970s when both teams were emerging NCAA D-II powers.

• WSU will be looking to return to Detroit for the Little Caesars Horizon League championships March 3-7 at historic Joe Louis Arena.

• Valparaiso has won four of the past five Horizon League regular-season titles and is favored to repeat. If that happens it’ll likely be because of the play of All-American Alec Peters. He was just one point shy of 2,000 career points going into Thursday’s game against visiting Chicago State and should soon crack the top 10 all-time league scorers.

• Oakland was playing its third game in four days and was coming off an impressive 86-79 defeat of visiting Georgia. Not counting Kentucky and Florida, Southeastern Conference men’s basketball doesn’t command the same notoriety as its other renowned sport, college football.

• Former Dayton assistant coach and Wittenberg head coach Dan Hipsher is Oakland’s associate head coach. He was a Flyers’ assistant under Don Donoher from 1981-89. His first head coaching position was at Witt from 1989-93.

Oakland assistant Drew Valentine is the older brother of former Michigan State All-American Denzel Valentine, now a rookie with the Chicago Bulls. Drew set several Oakland career records, finishing in the 2012-13 season.