The 2016 recruiting class is off to BIG start for the Oregon State men’s basketball team with the recent commitment of Ben Kone, a 6-9, 240 pound post out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. A Rivals 3-Star, Kone averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game last season as a junior en route to being named the San Mercury News player of the year. He can play with his back to the basketball and has good hands, making him an ideal big man. Here are some quick thoughts about Kone.
- If Kone is anywhere near his listed weight of 240 pounds, that’s outstanding. So often in recent years, post players are “post” in height only, not weight. Consider this, he would be Beavers’ second heaviest player this season behind 6-11, 250 pound Gligorije Rakocevic. If Kone puts on some more weight and muscle during his senior year, he could enter OSU at 250 pounds or more, making him a legit presence down low.
- Coach Tinkle has done a wonderful job so far at OSU, especially recruiting-wise as this year’s group of incoming freshmen make up a class that was ranked in the Top 20. But let’s be honest, it helped that two of them were coaches’ sons (Tinkle’s and Stephan Thompson). So I had questions to how he would fare this year and beyond. This is an excellent start and Kone plays a position that isn’t exactly overflowing with talent.
- Kone’s commitment could get the ball rolling toward another strong class. Highly-touted point Jordan Ford, a Rivals top 150 player, recently put the Beavers in his top 3. Guess what? He plays AAU ball with Kone. So that could bode well for OSU’s chances. And then there’s 4-star guard JaQuori McLaughlin, the one-time Beavers commitment who has put OSU back in his top 5. All it takes is one domino to fall. If Kone leads to Ford committing, McLaughlin could be the next one to follow.
- Landing Kone’s verbal over schools such as Cal, San Diego State, and New Mexico State is coup. All have solid programs and Cal has rolled lately in recruiting. In fact, I was worried about the Golden Bears the most. Tinkle and Co. will need to continue going toe-to-toe with strong programs to land the type of talent they need to compete in the always-tough Pac-12. Kone is proof that Tinkle is up to the challenge.
- If you haven’t read The Oregonian’s artivle about Kone’s commitment, do so now. It provides excellent insight into what kind of person he is — he appears to be an extremely high-character student-athlete. He visited OSU in June, but wanted to give his verbal in person, so he made a return trip to Corvallis. And I loved his quote about that decision: “I like to handle things in person. Being a gentleman is a top priority on my list,” Kone said. “I like to do things face-to-face. I talked to my mom and told her that I thought I needed to go up to Oregon State.”
Ultimately, it appears as if the Beavers landed not only a talented big man, but a surefire fan favorite from the get go and a potential team leader down the road. Let’s hope Kone’s commitment is the start of more good things to come OSU’s way before signing day. Go Beavs! (RW)