Monthly Archives: January 2015

OSU/UA Preview from a Wildcats Fan’s Perspective

Editor’s note: Tyler Hansen is Tucson native, Arizona grad, and longtime Wildcats fan. From time to time, he will share his insight and thoughts about OSU/UA basketball and football games on TOCR. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys Yankees baseball, his dumb dogs, and making fun of hippies.

UA player to watch: Stanley Johnson
After being the sloppy SOB who let Langston Morris-Walker waltz down the lane for the game-winning layup in Gill earlier this month, the freshman Johnson has been playing the best basketball of his life. He’s averaging 17.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in the five games since the Beavs trumped Arizona. He’s shooting 50 percent from the floor, and he’s been aggressive — getting to the free throw line more than six times per contest (and making FTs at an 84 percent clip). More importantly for Arizona, the 6-foot-7, 245-pound wing has been a more committed defender since getting burned in Corvallis.

UA strengths: Playing at home, rebounding, defense
Protecting homecourt is something OSU hoops fans know well this year. But few teams can match the home success of Arizona, which has won 33 straight games at McKale Center. And the Beavers do not typically fare well in Tucson: They’ve lost 30 of their last 31 against the UA in the desert dating to 1983, with the lone win coming in the 2009-10 season.

Listing rebounding and defense as strengths for Arizona might look puzzling because OSU beat the Wildcats on the boards 32-26 AND shot 52 percent in their Jan. 11 upset victory. Nonetheless, the UA has a lot of size inside and typically dominates opponents on the glass, and defense is this team’s calling card.

UA weaknesses: Outside shooting, post defense
The Wildcats shoot a respectable 36.2 percent from three-point range, but they don’t make threes with consistency. That’s why Wayne Tinkle’s use of a zone defense was so effective the first time these teams played; he dared Arizona’s shooters to beat the Beavs with outside jumpers, and the Cats went 4 for 17 from deep. Expect more zone from OSU.

The oft-offensively challenged Beavs also exploited the UA’s primary defensive weakness, which is that starting post players Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski can’t prevent their man from scoring in isolated situations. The UA will probably send help more defense in these iso situations, which could open up some outside shots for Olaf Schaftenaar.

X-factor for UA: Elliott Pitts
The sophomore shooting guard has been abysmal in Pac-12 play thus far. He has made just 5 of 19 threes (26 percent) in conference games after being lights out (52 percent) from deep in nonconference games. If Arizona wants to force OSU to play the Wildcats’ superior athletes one-on-one, it needs Pitts (among others) to hit a couple treys early on to bust the zone.

Game prediction: Arizona 67, Oregon State 49

The Beavers have far (FAR!) surpassed everyone’s expectations this season, and they aren’t done giving opposing teams headaches. Alas, these spry, inspiring kids from the Willamette Valley have yet to prove themselves on the road, and it just won’t happen this time in Tucson. Expect OSU to make Arizona earn every one of its points the hard way, but also expect the Wildcats to be hungry for payback.

Real Test Begins Tonight

At a Glance
Who: Oregon State (14-5, 5-2 Pac-12) at Arizona State (10-10, 2-5)
When: 5 p.m., Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
T.V./Radio: Pac-12 Networks/Beaver Sports Radio Network
Last meeting: 55-47, OSU on Jan. 8 at Gill Coliseum. Malcolm Duvivier led the Beavers with 15 points and Gary Payton II had 12, while holding ASU to 20 first-half points.
Notes: OSU is off to its best start since the 1989-90 season, the last time it made the NCAA tournament. The Beavers are ranked sixth nationally in FG percentage defense (.360) and ninth in scoring defense (56.1). Payton II was named Pac-12 player of the week after leading OSU to two wins last week, during which he averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.5 steals.

They’ve already won more games than they were expected to, transformed 180 degrees defensively, and perhaps most impressively, overcome a serious lack of depth. But now the real test begins for the Beavers.  Getting win No. 15 won’t be easy.

Not only will the Beavers being playing on short rest (one day might not seem like much, but for OSU, every day of rest matters), thanks to some silly football game, but they will be facing two teams that have already played them. That means the element of surprise is out the window.

Oh, and they are on the road.

So it will be interesting to see what kind of wrinkles Tinkle and Co. throw at the Sun Devils tonight and Arizona on Friday. Of course, the Beavers will rely on the stingy defense that’s carried them so far, and they might have to step up a notch from the last time they played ASU — because the Sun Devils probably will shoot a lot better this time around, especially being on their home court.

I think the big men will have to step up offensively for the Beavers. Expect both the Sun Devils tonight and Arizona on Saturday to press often, so if the Beavers’ backcourt players make good passes, there should be opportunities for players such as Daniel Gomis and Jarmal Reid to get some easy baskets. Also, the Beavers need to be aggressive and get to free-throw line, because nothing beats free points, right? And they need to continue to hit timely shots.

ASU will probably be the Beavers’ best chance for a win this week — and a split would be just fine. But who knows? They’ve been in the business of surprising all season, and I don’t think they are done just yet. Go Beavs! (RW)

Wait and See Approach on Lockette?

Before I dive into this, let me be clear, I am excited about all of the coaches that Gary Andersen has surrounded himself with. That said, the one coach who was an “out of the blue” hire for me and left me scratching my head the most, was running backs Telly Lockette.

He’s proven to be strong recruiter already — having landed Taylor Thomas, Jay Irvine, and Kelvonnis Davis, all of whom hail from Florida, where he has extensive ties. He was the head coach for powerhouse Miami Central High School for five seasons, before becoming the running backs coach at University of South Florida in 2013.

However, Lockette’s college coaching experience (or lack of it) does concern me. Plus, the Pac-12 is a little tougher than the American Atlantic Conference. What if he struggles to maintain his pipeline to talent-rich Florida? While I think he can, convincing kids to move across the country can’t be easy. So it’s fair to wonder how often he’ll be able to to pull from that region.

To Lockette’s credit, Marion Mack rushed for 1,041 yards, nine TDs, and averaged 5.2 yards per carry this season for USF, so that’s encouraging. Storm Woods is primed to be “The Man” for the Beavers this year with the graduation of Terron Ward. So it will be interesting to see how he does under Lockette’s tutelage.

Overall, it would appear I am contradicting myself, which happens often. In all honesty, I think Lockette will end up being a great hire, and even if my slim fears are realized, I think Lockette will rise to the occasion. The bottom line: You can never have enough speed, and Florida has plenty of it — even among two stars. So here’s hoping Lockette continues to mine the Sunshine state well.

Let me know what you think –

Go Beavs!

 

 

Recruit Focus: Taylor Thomas

All information in this post is courtesy of  BeaverBlitz and Hudl.  Again, I highly recommend both of these sites for the best and latest information on Beavers football recruiting.

All reviews are just MY OPINION, and need to be taken as such. The coaches know more than me, understand the team’s needs better than I do, and most likely differ with my opinions. I am just doing this for fun.

Taylor Thomas

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 3 Star (5.5)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.6)
HT: 5′ 8″
WT: 180 pounds
40-Time: 4.48
POS: Running back
HOMETOWN: Jacksonville, FL
OTHER OFFERS: Boise State, Boston College, Indiana, Maryland. Memphis, Middle Tenn State, Troy, UCF, Utah, and Wake Forrest
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 99%

Hudl Profile – Private

Position The Official Candy Report sees this Player at: Running back
What Beaver this player reminds us of: JJ Young

STRENGTHS
– Fast. Fast. Fast.
– Great vision and explodes through the hole
– Constantly drives feet on contact, fights through tackles
– Runs so much stronger than you would expect from a 5’8″ speedster
– Great moves in traffic
– Follows blocks well
– Turns on a dime and sets up blocks with his moves.
– Constant motor and plays kind of mean
– Has a great stiff arm and uses it well to push himself in a new direction, away from tacklers.

QUESTIONS
– Not a lot of film of pass blocking
– Not a lot of receptions in highlights
– Does do a lot of dancing to get extra yards, which could hurt him at Division 1 level if he tries to dance too much behind the line.
– Played with an exceptional line (four Division 1 commitments, 1 Power-5 conference commitment)

SUMMARY:
When you think about great backs in the Pac-12, you think of a lot of great Beavers players such as Steven Jackson and Quizz Rodgers. You also have the freaks such as Reggie Bush and Ka’Deem Carey, or the slew of great runners out of the Eugene and Westwood. For me, the guy that Taylor Thomas reminds me most of is a guy that is suiting up this Sunday. He is a spitting image of Marshawn Lynch. The former Cal player runs with a style that looks like he is trying to shake his lags free of his body while also punching on a speed bag. Arms and legs flying everywhere, making him so hard to tackle. While Lynch is not known as a speedster, he is fast enough.

I see a lot of that in Thomas. He takes on tacklers, drags guys fights, claws for extra yards, and never seems to slow down until he is on the ground. There also is the instant commitment to a path and the ability to change directions quickly with either an amazing pause and go move or a stiff arm that just redirects Thomas as much as anything.

The differences are that I think Thomas has legit speed. He may not be Brandin Cooks (yet), but he is easily in the upper 4.4-second 40-yard dash range, and when you watch him run at 5’8,” he is rarely taking more than 2.5 steps per five yards. That is a good indicator of relative speed. He also plays in Florida in a solid league known for its speed, so many of those guys he is playing against are elite speedsters.

The other part of Thomas’ game that I really like is that he has very good vision, or at least appears to. If you look at how he sets up blocking, making a move to freeze the defender so that blockers can reach them or taking a path that looks a little weird because it sets up a great cutback opportunity. Thomas seems to be a pretty solid runner in all phases, in terms of making people miss, running through tackles, and breaking away for big gains. While sometimes I think he will get caught dancing a bit in the Pac-12, usually that happens in space, after already running for a sizable gain.

As a junior, Thomas averaged 13.2 yards per carry. That is a good indicator of someone that doesn’t take a lot of loss yardage and hits the hole hard. I also noted that his class of linemen is pretty dang good, with one commitment to Florida, and four others committed to Division 1 schools. So it is not like he had a shortage of holes to run through. While the competition he played against was stiff, his team was no slouch either.  With the new scheme at OSU, I can see him having the opportunity to be a huge asset for OSU, and I think the coaches will find ways to get him the ball where he can use his speed, elusiveness, power, and vision to help the Beavers score some points.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that when Taylor Thomas comes to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 3-year starter at running back. A redshirt year will be very important to help him add a few pounds and work on his already impressive physical tools. While the Beavers have some talent at running back with Chris Brown, Storm Woods and Damian Haskins, that is not a super deep group, so his redshirt status might be in question — especially with Ryan Nall moving to H Back and Harris Ross not qualifying yet. After this year, you will have Brown, Haskins, and Thomas, so I think he will get quite a few reps at running back and if he is as fast and quick as he looks, he might move up the ladder for playing time quickly. Plus, one injury, and I am not even sure he redshirts.

UCLA Game Thoughts

Another win, just another day for the Oregon State men’s basketball team. Sure feels good writing that. Made it to Gill for the first time since the WOU game (Are we sure that game wasn’t just a mirage) last night. Again, there’s very few places that I enjoy being more.

I admit that I went into the game prepared for a letdown because there has been countless times since I’ve been a fan that it seemed the Beavers turned the corner, only to revert old form and collapse.

Yet, as UCLA went on a torrid run as closed to within two pints with about three minutes left, I found myself thinking: “BRING IT!” I want to see how the team would respond. Would it fold like so many previous squads. Or would it rise to the occasion?

And it’s fitting that the Beavers sealed the deal at from the line, sinking 11 of their final 12 free throws, an area they struggled in last season. Their improved free-throw shooting is one the testaments to the excellent job Wayne Tinkle and his staff have done, so far.

But more impressive is how calm and composed the Beavers have played this year, especially down the stretch. And it showed against UCLA. They didn’t let turnovers or big shots by the Bruins get them down. They just kept grinding, and finding ways to make plays. Here’s some other quick thoughts:

  • Tremendous trio. I’d put GP II, Malcolm Duvivier, and Langston Morris-Walker against any other group of guards in the Pac-10. They all are athletic and bring something different to the table. GP 11 is a defensive force; Malcolm has become a steady presence at the point, and LMW has a knack for hitting big shots. If one of them was a 3-point specialist, I’d be even more impressed by this trio.
  • Legit playmaker. There’s not much more to say about GP 11, he’s awesome. Since I’ve been following OSU hoops, he’s the most capable of taking over a game, now eclipsing Corey Benjamin (Sorry, Jarred fans. I think he disappeared, too much in the clutch). The impressive thing about GP II is that he doesn’t need the ball to make an impact, He plays within himself and lets the game come to him.
  • Schaftenaar’s Selection. Crow eating time. Earlier in the season, I wondered how Olaf Schaftenzar fit into the offense. He clearly was struggling to get involved down low. But the funny thing is, he’s back to being a perimeter threat. The difference now, compared to previous seasons, is that he’s taking smart shots, and making them. If he can develop a post move for next season, watch out!
  • Gomis’ getting there. Junior Daniel Gomis turned in what I think was the finest performance of his OSU career against UCLA, which was no small feat because he was tasked with slowing down Kevin Looney, who is expected to be a high NBA draft pick. But Gomis snared right rebounds and block three shots, two of which reflected his athleticism. Oh, and Looney didn’t have a very good game. Gomis has the potential, and I think he’ll reach it.
  • Empty seats. It has been talked about before, but something needs to be done about all those orange seats that go unused during games. It looks bad on TV, and in person. What’s the worst that could happen if fans are allowed to move into those seats 10 minutes after tip off? If the ticket holder shows up, the other fan moves back to his/her original seat. Or set up some system to get those tickets into the hands of fans who want to go to games.

Some thoughts about the Beavers’ Saturday opponent, USC. Don’t be fooled by the Trojans being in last place. They are the type of team that can give the Beavers the fits, because they will try to force the Beavers to play beyond themselves, much like Oregon did. So OSU needs to stick to their bread and butter, and slow down USC.

Go Beavs!

Rules Rant And ‘Gate’ Ban

I have three upcoming posts that are almost done. One is a report on why the offensive line will magically be better this season than last year. Another is a review of the new running back commit, as well as one covering some thoughts on recruiting in general.

Unfortunately, recent events have brought up huge pet peeves of mine, so I felt the need to bore you all with them.

1. Rules are rules, and if you break them, you break them.
Right now, we are witnessing an asinine controversy over football deflating — en route to the biggest game of the year. In fact, the Pro Bowl, a game intended to celebrate the best performers of the past season has become so watered down and lame that it cannot supplant a story about letting air out of footballs.

I think the rule is dumb. I have thrown an NFL football and they are ridiculously huge and have this crazy film on them that can turn your hands orange and makes the ball slick. A ball at the end of the game is a much better ball and easier to throw and handle. Also, with the way that modern receiver gloves are now, I am not sure the amount of air in the ball is going to affect catching since the gloves are basically glue-covered ball magnets.

The thing is, none of that matters.  

The NFL decided that in an effort to level the playing field that all footballs would be inflated to a certain level. It is a rule, it is in the rule books, and the NFL now has to establish a punishment for the infraction.That is it, end of story. How big the penalty is up to them, but a rule was broken so a punishment should be handed down. That is the story, in its entirety.

It doesn’t matter if the rule is dumb, just like it doesn’t matter if a coach offers a player’s Dad $300,000 to come and play or, say, pay a recruiting service $25,000 to influence players to come to his school. They are both violations of the rules and both should be punishable.

This is where I get so frustrated with today’s sports world. We get so caught up in subjective morality on rules, that we foster the kind of environment that enables professional athletes, coaches, politicians, or movie stars to get away with things that they shouldn’t. This has nothing to do with whether the Patriots would have won the game, most likely they would have. It has everything to do with making your rules matter. Otherwise, why the heck have them? If the rule is dumb and this controversy before the biggest game of the year shines a light on it, then change the rule. But just like in Oregon, where certain uses of marijuana will be legalized this summer, it doesn’t mean people should get away with those uses in the past when they weren’t legal.

This is not about being ‘Holier than Thou.’ I break rules all the time and when I get caught, I get punished. It is all about here is “rule A”, if you break it, you get punished. The rest is just fans and talking heads expressing opinions about people, and being subjective. Just like the tuck rule, this will probably bring about a change in the rules. But for now, New England cheated, and the NFL SHOULD decide what to do about it. The rest of the conversation is just for ratings.

2. Lets cool it with the ‘Gate’ thing.
The origination of the term was not from the “Water Gate” scandal, but from the “Watergate Scandal.” If you want to add a word to the end, try something like “Deflation Scandal”.  Calling something “Spy Gate” or “Deflate Gate” just perpetuates the reduction of the severity of an event. And, lets be honest, it is used now like a parent in the 80s saying something is “rad.” The “Gate” suffix is just a sign that someone who is not clever and cool is trying to be clever and cool. If you don’t believe me, look at this partial list of all the ridiculous uses of the term “gate.” Do you want to be using the same clever term that was coined by those covering “Toiletgate” or “Napgate”?

McGiven Offers a lot to be Excited About

No question about it, Gary Andersen has assembled a heck of a staff — one that’s experienced, energized, and diverse. While I am excited about the entire group, I am especially stoked about the hiring of Kevin McGiven as quarterbacks coach.

First off, getting McGiven to leave Utah State, where he was offensive coordinator the past two seasons, is a steal. I would’ve been fine with McGiven as OSU’s OC, or maybe even head coach. So for Andersen to land McGiven as QBs coach is awesome.

McGiven’s track record developing QBs is excellent, and this past season was a perfect testament his coaching ability. Due to injuries, the Aggies went through four quarterbacks (yes, four.), and still finished 9-4. FootballScoop.com, which named McGiven its Quarterbacks Coach of Year, has an excellent breakdown of McGiven’s work.

One of the biggest issues I had with Mike Riley and his offensive system was how long it took QBs to get comfortable with the playbook. Outside of Jonathan Smith, it took them longer than OSU could afford. Can you imagine the Beavers with two great seasons of play from Matt Moore, instead of 3/4ths of season?

And lets be honest, do you think under the old coaching staff, the Beavers would’ve been able to win 9 games with their third-string QB, much less fourth-string one? Fat chance.

So that’s why I am looking forward to seeing how the QBs do under McGiven’s tutelage this spring and fall. If they develop well, it will foster much-needed competition, and push all the QBs to do better.

If McGiven as good as advertised, I think Beaver Nation doesn’t have to worry about QBs taking more than a season to flourish anymore. We should expect to see QBs hit the ground running, like so many other teams’ QBs have done against us.

Go Beavs!

A Surprise Calling Card?

What a great win for the Beavers on Saturday night. They improved to 3-2 in Pac-12 play, earned their first conference road win, and rebounded from a tough loss Thursday to Washington.

With a few minutes left in the first half, I said to a friend that if OSU held Washington State to under 20 points in the half, they’d win. Sure enough, the Cougars went into the half with only 16 points, and the Beavers never looked back en route to a 62-47 victory.

Despite having very little depth and Gary Payton II and Malcolm Duvivier playing the entire game, the Beavers shut down a team that was coming off a 108-point effort against Oregon, holding the Cougars to 29 percent shooting from the field, including 20 percent from behind the arc.

For the Beavers to play suffocating defense as long as they did is truly impressive. Playing zone defense is no easy task. In addition to needing to be in the right spot, it also requires players to exert a lot of energy and effort. But so far, even with depth issues, the Beavers are executing the zone well.

Entering this season, who thought defense, let alone zone defense, would be a strength for the Beavers? (Not me!) Especially considering their struggles at that end of the floor in recent years. But the players are buying into Coach Tinkle’s emphasis on defense — and the results so far are surprising, in a good way of course. Consider the numbers, if you will.

The Beavers rank second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (56.2 points, just behind conference-leading Utah’s 56.1); second in field goal percentage defense (36 percent); first in 3-point percentage defense (28 percent); and first in steals per game (7.7)!

I know, hard to believe, isn’t it? Those numbers certainly are welcome sight.  Of course, the big question is can the Beavers keep up their defensive intensity as the season wears on? They will definitely need to stay healthy. Another key will be to keep communicating with each other, as well as trust everyone to be in the right position.

Prior to this season, many Beaver fans, myself included, thought that it would be hustle and grit that would carry the team this season. At this point, though, it’s safe to say that defense is the Beavers’ calling card… and you know what, it’s nice to be wrong when it comes to pleasant surprises. 🙂

Go Beavs! (RW)

Thoughts on Robbins

If you ask me, the most improved men’s basketball player this season is Victor Robbins, hands down. After barely playing during the later half of last season, the junior wing emerged as key player on this year’s squad, averaging 10.3 points a game, including a team-leading 12.7 points in his past seven games.

His surprising emergence is a boon for the Beavers, who entering this season only had eight scholarship players, and relied on walk-on players to fill the roster. A 3-star recruit, Robbins is one of the few players on the roster capable of creating his own shot and is aggressive on the offensive end. He’s also become more reliable 3-point shooter.

So Robbins’ 10-game suspension for violation of athletic department policy, is a huge blow for the Beavers. Not only does it take away one their top scorers during a crucial part of the season, but more importantly, kills what little depth they had.  And it showed Thursday during their 56-43 loss to Washington.

The Beavers hung tough early because of their relentless defense, but clearly wore down late in the game, and UW took control. And that could be the name of the game the next nine games for the Beavers if someone doesn’t step up. The tough part is that Robbins and Jarmal Reid were the only bench players averaging significant minutes.

In addition to putting his coaches and teammates in a tough situation, Robbins has dampened his feel-good story, as this is his second suspension during his time at OSU. He was suspended for three games his freshman year. And at this point, you have to wonder if he’s put his OSU career in jeopardy?

Sadly, this also means Beaver Nation needs to temper those expectations created by the Beavers impressive start. Wins are going to be harder to come by in Pac-12 play, and things just got a lot harder. Hopefully, GP II looks to score more or that Daniel Gomis makes huge strides offensively, etc. because Robbins will be missed.

Go Beavs!

Tanner on “The Shot” and Tinkle

Editor’s note: The following post is based off a recent conversation between former OSU basketball players Adam Masten and Dino Tanner, who know a few things about upsets. A special thanks goes to Adam and Dino for their time and willingness to share their thoughts.

11111111Prior to last Sunday, the last time the OSU men’s basketball team defeated a top-10 team was March 2, 2000, when it upset No. 3 Arizona, 70-69, at the buzzer in Gill Coliseum. Junior Dino Tanner cemented his place in OSU lore that day by hitting the game-winning shot from the left baseline as time expired, sending students rushing onto the court.

“The uproar was from the crowd was unbelievable,” recalled Tanner. “It was the greatest moment I may have ever had in my basketball career.”

Just how impressive was the win? The Wildcats roster that season featured players such as Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, Luke Walton, and Loren Woods, who all went on to play in the NBA.

Tanner is one of the top guards in OSU history, ranking 10th all-time in points scored. A prolific 3-point shooter, he was an All-Pac-10 first team selection in 1999. Today, he resides in the Portland area, where he runs a private basketball training/consulting business, Tanner Sports, and works with kids throughout Oregon on developing their skills. A former assistant coach at Parkrose High School, Tanner hopes to coach collegiately someday.

Interestingly enough, Tanner said that before he launched “The Shot,” the biggest thing running through his mind was that he “had to make at least one pass” He found Josiah Lake, who drove and dished to Jason Heide, who then kicked it back out to a wide open Tanner..

“I’m glad Jason saw me and had the confidence to pass to me, because he was in position to take the shot.” Tanner said. “I was ready for it and shot it.

In wake of the Beavers’ most recent upset of Arizona, Tanner said that he’s impressed by the job Wayne Tinkle has done so far. He has met Tinkle and most of his assistant coaches.

“Coach does his homework,” Tanner said. “He knows his team and puts them in the best position to win every game… He’s brought fresh ideas and schematic schemes.”

Tanner also was quick to give OSU athletic Bob De Carolis a lot of credit for hiring Tinkle, and allowing him to assemble a great staff, saying that it shows his commitment to the program.

“Between Coach Tinkle and his staff, the years combined among them in terms of coaching experience may be the most of any staff that’s coached at Oregon State,” Tanner said.

Believe it or not, Tanner said that the 2014-15 Beavers remind him of some of the squads he played on at OSU — in that they were patient and forced their opponents to work hard at both ends of the floor.

“Coach Tinkle runs his team relatively similar to the way Coach (Eddie) Payne did,” Tanner explained. “… They’ve all bought in to playing team defense and team offense. Everything they do is together. You can’t really ask for more than that. Coach Tinkle is doing a hell of job with less. He’s excellent at getting more out of less.”

And Masten notices a lot of similarities between the 1998-99 team (his freshman season) and this season’s squad. The 99-98 team also started out 10-0 home, despite having a roster featuring one senior (Blast from the past name: Sasha Petrovic) and four juniors, some of whom were JC transfers (Remember the Clifton Jones, the Flyin’ Hawaiian?)

“We had a brand new team that hadn’t seen many minutes besides (Dino),” Masten said. “I feel like that’s very similar to what Coach Tinkle is doing; he’s winning with guys who haven’t necessarily played.

Tinkle’s coaching performance is the main reason that Tanner and Masten are excited for the future of OSU basketball. In fact, Tanner said that he believes the Beavers aren’t far off from making an NIT or NCAA run.

“(Players such as) GP II, Malcolm Duvivier; these guys are really good athletes and really good players,” Tanner said. “Once they’ve got spring and summer to sharpen their skills and improve their skill set, the sky’s the limit for them, especially with the extraordinary coaching that they have.”

And then there’s the matter of that top-25 recruiting class Tinkle has signed. Masten said the influx of highly-touted players next season will provide competition, which in turn, will help elevate the Beavers.

“I’m excited for this season, but it’s hard not to be excited about what’s to come, as well,” Masten said. “But if we can keep knocking off some top-10 or 20 teams, then this season is going to keep being fun, too.”