On a frigid morning in early January, Jeff Tungate, a former assistant coach for the Oakland men's basketball team and current head coach for the women's team, walked passed the gym in the Athletics Center O'Rena on the way to his office.

Temperatures hovered below zero and more than a foot of snow blanketed campus, yet there was Travis Bader putting up shots more than an hour before the Oakland men's basketball team would take the floor for practice. Later that day, when Tungate left his office to go home in the evening, he once again passed Bader, who was on the court going through another shooting workout.

"When I passed by him that second time, I thought to myself, 'does the kid ever leave the gym?' " said Tungate, who coached Bader for four seasons before becoming the women's coach this past season. "You want to know the secret to having success? Just watch him."

Bader, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound fifth-year senior, is just 16 made three-pointers away from becoming the NCAA all-time leader in the category. Barring injury, Bader is on pace to surpass former Duke guard J.J. Redick's record of 457 three-pointers within the next two weeks.

Though he's all over opposing schools' scouting reports now, Bader had trouble attracting the attention of Division I schools five years ago. As a 6-foot-3, 155-pound high school senior, the only scholarship offers Bader received were from a host of Division II schools. Mid-major Division I programs such as Central Michigan, Detroit, and The Citadel showed interest but were only willing to take him as a walk-on.

Bader considered trying to earn a walk-on spot at Michigan State — where his dad spent eight years as the Director of Basketball Operations — until Oakland offered him a scholarship late in the spring of his senior year of high school.

"Me and Coach (Tom) Izzo have a great relationship, so if I was really serious about it and sat down with him and talked with him, he probably would have had me as a walk-on," Bader said. "But I didn't want people to think the reason I was on the team was because my dad was with the basketball staff, so I didn't want it to come down to that. And really, I just wanted to play and I saw the best opportunity at Oakland."

Though he doesn't keep track of his attempts during the season, Bader said he aims to make somewhere between 200 and 400 shots a day. He puts up so many shots that he constantly splits the skin on his right ring finger and bleeds.

"He's in the gym all day, everyday," said teammate and fellow fifth-year senior Duke Mondy. "He puts up a lot of shots. The one thing about him is that when he does break that record, it will be because he earned it."


Because Oakland doesn't have a practice facility and the men's basketball team shares the O'Rena with several other varsity teams on campus, Bader has had to become flexible when scheduling his shooting sessions. In addition to his early morning shooting workout, Bader usually finds his way back to the gym at night when the court is available, which can sometimes be as late as 10 or 11 p.m.

And when the O'Rena isn't available, Bader has had to get creative. He estimates that he has used the courts at the recreational gym on campus at least 10 times during this season, and last month, several hours before an afternoon tipoff against Michigan State, Bader went to a local YMCA to get in a morning shootaround.

But no matter how much work he has put in, Bader might not have had the same career had it not been for a lucky break during his redshirt freshman season.

At the time, Bader found himself third on the depth chart at the shooting guard position, behind then-junior Reggie Hamilton — who would later lead the nation in scoring during his senior season — and freshman Ledrick Eackles. It just so happened that the two of them were roommates, and when both arrived a minute late to the team bus prior to the season opener against West Virginia, Oakland coach Greg Kampe had no choice but to start Bader.

Bader took full advantage of the opportunity, scoring eight of the Grizzlies' first 10 points and finishing the game with 15 points. Since that contest, Kampe has given him the green light to shoot from anywhere on the floor, and Bader has responded. He has shot nearly 41 percent from beyond the arc for his career on nine three-point attempts a game.

This season, despite all the attention he has received from opposing defenses, he is averaging 20.4 points and 4.47 three-pointers a game. Though his streak of 62 consecutive games with a three-pointer was snapped in a December loss against Indiana — it was just the eighth time he failed to connect from long range in his career — he knocked down a season-high 10 three-pointers against Eastern Michigan three games later.