Pondering Next Year’s Lineup

Great couple days for the OSU men’s basketball team. Touted recruit Derrick Bruce arrived on campus for spring term, deciding to finish high school early and enroll at Oregon State. Then Daniel Gomis announced he’s returning for one more season, despite being able to graduate this term.

Bruce being on campus already is huge. He already was being viewed as the true point guard the Beavers have lacked since Ricky Claitt, and certainly the best scoring one since Gary Payton. Now he’s got extra time to get stronger, learn the system, build chemistry with his teammates, and most importantly, get used to college life. By doing so, if he is half as good as the hype, Bruce should position himself for a lot of minutes, if not a starting position.

Meanwhile, while the numbers might not show it, having Gomis another year is a big deal as well. He made a lot of strides last season under the new coaching staff. He will never be an offensive stalwart, but he has enough athleticism, that with another year of coaching, he could should be more effective on that end of the floor. It helps he’s a pretty good free-throw shooter. And last but not least, he could be a force on defense.

That said, I thought it would be fun to speculate on next season’s starting lineup by throwing out several scenarios. I think the only players who are locks to start are Gary Payton II and Gomis. I also have faith that Victor Robbins will be back. So with that in mind, here are five lineups that intrigue me.

Lineup 1
W – Malcolm Duvivier: Played admirably at PG last season; is a strong athlete; isn’t afraid to take shots.
W – Stephen Thompson Jr.: From all reports, Thompson is an elite scorer who can create his own shot. The Beavers were sorely lacking this last year, so I think he will start as a true freshman.
W – Gary Payton II: Glue of the team, especially on defense; also could flourish more offensively with players who can take pressure off him.
P – Tres Tinkle: All-around talent, but also probably the closest the Beavers will have to “true” 4-type player.
P- Daniel Gomis: Is OSU’s most polished and game-tested big man; should continue to improve; could see more easy basket opportunities with more scorers around him.

Bench: Langston Morris-Walker, Olaf Schaftenaar, Jarmal Reid, Derrick Bruce, Victor Robbins

Notes: This lineup would be a nice blend of experience and youth, as well as offense and defense. But it also features two true freshman, and would be a smaller lineup.

Lineup 2
W – Duviver
W – Thompson
W – Payton II
P – Reid: Arguably the Beavers’ most improved player last season; very aggressive; soft touch around basket.
P – Gomis

Bench: Morris-Walker, Schaftenaar, Bruce, Tinkle, Robbins

Notes: This lineup would be very experienced, but could struggle to score at times. Would be physical though and have surprising athleticism

Lineup 3
W – Bruce: Arriving on campus gives him a head start and if he’s as good as advertised, his talent would be hard to keep off the floor.
W – Thompson
W – Payton II
P – Tinkle
P – Gomis

Bench: Duvivier (What a sixth man he’d be), Tinkle, Morris-Walker; Schaftenaar, Reid, Bruce, Robbins

Notes: This lineup would be very athletic and could run the floor well. Also could have a lot of offensive firepower. But there could be growing pains (a.k.a turnovers) due to three freshmen.

Lineup 4
W – Bruce
W – Duvivier
W – Payton II
P –  Tinkle
P – Gomis

Bench: Thompson, Morris-Walker, Schaftenaar, Reid, Robbins

Notes: This lineup would be tough defensively and guard-centric. Thompson would be the firepower off the bench. But can the Beavers afford to having him come off the bench?

Lineup 5
W – Duviver
W – Morris-Walker: Athletic, good defender, hustles, and knows the system
W – Payton II
P – Reid
P – Gomis

Bench: Thompson, Tinkle, Schaftenaar, Bruce, Robbins

Notes: The veteran squad that knows how to play together. However, this team could be offensively challenged. Good thing is, the bench could provide a boost.

There’s probably a lot more fun combinations I could’ve put out there. Also, lot could change between now and the season, so who knows how things will play out. But it’s fun and exciting to think about until then.

You might have noticed that Schaftenaar isn’t in any of the lineups I put together. The honest truth is I am not sure he will ever be comfortable at the “4.” Also, he was exposed badly at times last season and was streaky most of the year. He seems like a great situational player at this point. That said, he could easily prove me wrong. Like Gomis, another year under Tinkle and Co. could pay off big for him.

What really jumps out at me is how much depth the Beavers will have compared to last season. It’s a complete 180 — and I didn’t even mention Cheikh N’Diaye and incoming freshmen Drew Eubanks and Gligoride Rankocevic, even though I think the latter two will redshirt. However, if either of them can contribute right away, well, that’s just gravy.

Last but not least, there’s Noah Togiai, an OSU football commit, who also was three-star hoops recruit. He plans to play both sports for the Beavers, for now. Because he might not be able to commit to two sports past this season, Togiai probably won’t redshirt. But you know what, he put up great numbers his senior season, so I think he could be the sleeper of the newcomers.

Whew, that was a lot! What do you think? What do you think will be the Beavers’ starting lineup in 2015-16? What other lineups intrigue you? (RW)

2 thoughts on “Pondering Next Year’s Lineup

  1. RJ

    I would be shocked if Eubanks and Rakocevic redshirted. We desperately needed bodies in the post last year to rebound, score, and defend. I could see one of them redshirting maybe but definitely not both. N’Diaye could easily be replaced as our back up big man unless he takes major steps forward.

    The lineups that have Tinkle and Thompson as starters I feel the best about. Maybe not game one, but those guys will both be starters at some point in the season.

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  2. kpedia

    GPII and Duvivier pretty much have to start. Above anything, you put the five best players out there. 3 guard lineups with those 2 and Thompson could easily be on the horizon. Gomis will likely start unless Rakocevic comes in and is a lot better than the grainy tape from a couple years ago. Lineup 1 is probably the best guess, you have the most talent but not necessarily the most size. A far more interesting question might be your 2nd unit/rotations and how those players play together. You can add some heft with Reid and N’Diaye at the 4/5, although I heard Eubanks dunked on N’Diaye pretty bad in pickup games back in September. Rakocevic has legitimate size coming in.

    I personally think that we’ll see lineup 1. Bruce can handle, Schaf can try this stretch 4 thing again that he did well at the beginning of the year but horrifically at the end, LMW for the frenetic energy, and Reid for his wild card abilities. Plus legit size with Rako.

    It sure will be nice to have 5 scholarship players backing up 5 scholarship players. Best of all, younger players aren’t gonna transfer due to lack of PT since everyone in front of them is graduating. Also, you really figure Robbins into your lineups? I have my doubts about him returning to the team.

    Overall, when I think about basketball, the concept of “true” freshman really isn’t the same just because redshirting isn’t nearly as ubiquitous. Freshmen are expected to play and contribute.

    Reply

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