Wait a minute? Wasn’t this supposed to happen next season? When the heralded freshmen who make up a top-15 class arrive on campus? And when the returning players have a year in Wayne Tinkle’s system?
But after Sunday’s thrilling 58-56 upset of No. 7 Arizona, the Beavers are a surprising 11-4, including 2-1 in Pac-12 play. Before the season, if you had said the Beavers would win 10 games, most Beaver fans would’ve called you crazy.
A new coach, Last season’s top four scorers gone due to graduation and NBA. And a thin roster with more than handful of walk-on players. No wonder expectations weren’t high for the Beavers going into this season. The good news was that the future appeared bright with the verbal commitments of Drew Eubanks, Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr., and Derrick Bruce, who all are ESPN Top-150 players.
However, the Beavers already are serving notice with their best start in years. And with each victory, the team’s confidence is growing, and wins like on Sunday speed up that process. To the point that you have to wonder: What are the Beavers capable of?
Well, if they continue to play with the same hustle and effort so far, they should eek out a few more wins. If they keep up the hard-nosed defense, as well as play within themselves offensively, such as they did against UA, the Beavers might just make a postseason run. So far, it doesn’t appear as if the Pac-12 is that strong or deep, so that’s also in their favor.
And even if the rest of the season is full of ups and downs, Beaver Nation shouldn’t get too down. The strides the team, as wall as individual players, are making is impressive. It’s amazing what good coaching can do. The players have embraced the culture, bought into the system, and have adopted a team-first mentality. And it’s paying off big.
Yes, the Beavers have come a long ways since that exhibition loss to Western Oregon. Knocking off one of the best teams in the nation is a testament to their hard work and commitment to getting better week by week.
So wait until next season? Not so fast, this year’s squad has a different timeline. One that starts now. (RW)