Wednesday marked a big day in OSU basketball history. The program signed one of its best recruiting classes ever — it consists of four stars Stephen Thompson Jr., Tres Tinkle, and Drew Eubanks, and three star Derrick Bruce. A fifth player, three star Gligorije Rakocevic, is expected to sign at a later date.
Some quick thoughts: My favorite signee is Bruce. How long has it been since OSU had a play-making point guard? In fact, I think he could make the biggest impact right off the bat. When Tinkle was hired, he stressed the need to focus on local talents and landing Eubanks (Reynolds High School) was a huge first step in the right direction. It’s nice that this class addresses every position, from point guard to center, because it establishes a good foundation to build upon.
I also love how the four signees have bonded already, and how Tinkle broke the news to his father that he wanted to be a Beaver. If you haven’t read this article from The Oregonian, please do. You can’t help but think this is going to be a special group — on and off the court for OSU.
And at the end of the day, the Beavers’ class was ranked 17th nationally by ESPN. Not a bad haul for first-year coach Wayne Tinkle.
It’s unfortunate that this class can’t play right away, but it will be worth the wait. These signings mark a new, exciting era in OSU basketball. So I thought it would be fun to go “crystal ball” and look ahead to the 2015-16 season. Here’s a probable starting lineup (Remember, this is pure speculation)
- PG – Derrick Bruce, FR
- SG – Stephen Thompson Jr., FR
- SF – Tres Tinkle, FR
- PF – Drew Eubanks, FR
- C – Daniel Gomis, SR
Four true freshmen starting alongside a senior. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But the Beavers are in need of a serious influx of talent, and if this year’s commits are half as good as their rankings, they will see the floor a lot. Plus, expect some current players to not return next year. Such attrition is normal (and somewhat expected) when a coaching change occurs.
Wondering why I picked Gomis? He’s an impressive athlete who has shown a lot upside. He just needs to stay healthy so he can refine the raw parts of his game, and learn to cut down on unnecessary fouls.
However, I could also see Gary Payton II and Malcolm Duvivier making big strides this season, and starting again next season. At the very least, the Beavers should have some strong options off the bench in 2015-16. The big question for me is how much of an impact will Rakocevic have? If he’s legit and not a project, that would be huge (pun intended), because capable big men are hard to find.
With that in mind, it’s hard not to be excited about the Beavers’ future. They have nice blend of skill, size, and versatility coming into the program soon. If Wayne Tinkle can repeat the kind of success he had at Montana, it might not be long until the Orange Express is rolling at Gill again… (RW)