Tag Archives: oregon state basketball

Oregon State Makes Roster Moves Aimed At Improving Depth

Oregon State football head coach Gary Andersen has made a couple of roster moves following spring ball that are aimed at improving the depth in a couple of position groups.

Red-shirt freshman Mason Moran has moved from quarterback to safety, after falling to a distant 5th in the quarterback race this spring, behind transfer Jake Luton, and returnees Marcus McMaryion and Darell Garretson, both of whom have starting experience, and Connor Blount.

The move makes sense, as Oregon State is still in full-shuffle mode beyond the 1st string in the secondary, and could lead to Moran eventually seeing the field, something it doesn’t look like might ever happen had he stayed at quarterback. Moran has had moments of looking good in individual drills, and in scout team drills, but every time he has faced a full defense while trying to operate the Oregon State offense, appeared overwhelmed.

Andersen also has stated he wants a 3 deep running back group, and with the graduation of Tim Cook, himself a transfer, and the transfer to the Arizona State track team of Paul Lucas, Oregon State has only Jaylynn Bailey behind their preferred 1-2 punch of Ryan Nall & Artavius Pierce with any experience.

There are 4 walk-ons who might contribute in one or more capacities at some point, and 2 signees in this year’s class, which adds up to 9 backs, a pretty large group for this position. But 1 or more redshirts might be in order, and at the same time, both Nall & Pierce have some history of dings at the highly physical RB spot.

Enter for 1 year Trevorris Johnson. Johnson will graduate from TCU this spring, with 1 year of eligibility left, and enroll for summer term at Oregon State.

Morris, with 237 lbs on his 6’ frame, gives the Beavers a big back option for short yards behind Nall that Cook was, but Pierce really isn’t.

With that size, Johnson wasn’t as good a fit in Ft. Worth after the Horned Frogs went all in with an Air Raid spread system in 2014 to compliment Trevon Boykin than he was when TCU coach Gary Patterson initially recruited him out of Houston. With the arrival of Sonny Dykes, the opportunities for a predominantly between the tackles power runner will only diminish further.

Neither move is a major needle mover, but both seem to make sense for both the players involved and the Beavers.

Hoops Also Adds A Grad Transfer

I’m not so sure about the addition of another graduating senior with a season still to play that basketball coach Wayne Tinkle has welcomed.

It’s nothing personal against Seattle native Seth Berger, who understandably wants to finish his career closer to home, and his parents, especially after the coaching change that came after back to back sub-.500 seasons in the Atlantic-14 10ths.

But using the scholarship that opened up when Malcolm Duvivier decided to take his degree and transfer on a 6’8”, 212 lb. forward who figures to be more of a rotation player and an insurance policy than a starter unless Drew Eubanks really does depart for the NBA doesn’t seem the best use for the far scarcer scholarships available to hoops.

Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr. have declared for the NBA draft, but not yet hired an agent, allowing for a return to Oregon State. But while Thompson has indicated he’s likely to return, Eubanks is more seriously exploring moving on soon.

After a 5-27 season, one of Oregon State’s worst ever, and a 1-17 Pac-12 campaign that was followed up by a first round exit from the conference tournament, despite Eubanks excelling most of the time, he took a beating, and it’s understandable that he might not want a repeat of that experience.

Berger will get a look, and probably a lot of Matt Dahlen minutes if Eubanks departs, but otherwise seems likely to sit behind Tres Tinkle a lot.

The Beavers still (desperately) need a point guard, and need some rim-protecting help for Gligorije Rakocevic. And that’s if Eubanks returns. If he doesn’t, there is a desperate need for someone closer to Eubanks’ 6’10”, 250 lb. size. Ben Kone isn’t it, and Berger isn’t either.

Berger’s career a Massachusetts went off the rails a bit 2 years ago, when, after starting the first 8 games of the season, he surrered a season ending injury.

Last year, he appeared in 31 of 33 games for the Minutemen, but only started 7 times. He shot above 50%, which would be helpful, but he only averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 boards.

How exactly Coach Tinkle will work Berger into a turnaround he may need to execute to continue in Corvallis is not apparent.


What Will Help Vs What Will Make A Difference

There hasn’t been a lot written in this space of late because there is only so much to say about a lost season that was over before Thanksgiving. How many times do the same deficiencies need to be re-analyzed?

Lately, watching Oregon State basketball has regressed to the point of being demoralizing, something akin to watching a late 19th century buffalo shooting expedition. The outcome is known before things even begin, with only the exact timing of when it gets out of hand, and the final deficit to be determined.

In an attempt to preserve sanity, and watch some actual good basketball, I’ve been taking a closer look at Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, and even Utah, and also looking outside the Pac-12, at the likes of Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, and also not just Kansas, but also Iowa State and West Virginia. And the Connecticut women’s program, which has just moved past the historic 100 win in a row milestone.

Beyond just seeing some non-cringeworthy hoops, I’ve also been revisiting what the apparent differences are between well run programs, and the local one that will be hard pressed to not repeat what I had thought I’d never see again in my lifetime, let alone within a few years of seeing it happen the first time; go winless in the Pac-12.

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Wayne Tinkle, JV Coach

That headline is not meant to be a negative assessment of Oregon State’s men’s basketball coach. Quite the contrary, its recognition of what Wayne Tinkle’s job currently is, at least the portion on the floor that’s visible to the rest of us.

As the Beavers wind their way home after a rough road trip to the mountain schools, both of whom took wins while exacting an emotional toll on Oregon State, it occurs to me that Tinkle is at the moment in largely the same situation as your local high school JV coach.

Many nights, Tinkle can not win, and can not even hope to. And often enough that when the Beavers might be able to win, it still doesn’t matter. Other than in order to provide some encouragement on occasion, wins make no difference to a team already assured of a losing season (by a lot).

His job, much like the local JV coach, who is in fact often as important as anyone in a successful program, is go get his guys ready to play at a higher level at some future point when winning will matter.

It’s different than the high school JV coach in that he is getting players ready to step up when those ahead of them are gone, whereas there is no one in front of anyone at Oregon State.

But Coach Tinkle’s mission each night is to take another step to get his guys ready to play at a high level along side other players not currently on campus.

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Civil War Debacle Should Be An Eye Opener

Though he was announced as Oregon State’s new Athletic Director late last month, Scott Barnes’ last day in his previous job in the same job for Pitt was Friday the 13th, so Saturday was his first day fully on the job for the Beavers.

What happened Saturday night should have been an eye-opener.

Barnes indicated he would take his first 100 days or so to evaluate things. That will take him until after spring break, and the start of spring term, and after spring winter football practice.

And while there are systemic issues he still won’t have fully unearthed by then, the debacle Saturday night should have been all Barnes needed to see to get an idea of the biggest issues, and should have made it clear to him that there’s no need to wait to get started on them.

In a sold-out Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon obliterated Oregon State 85-43. It was the Beavers’ worst loss in the 347 game history of the Civil War, and they were never even competitive.

The Ducks scored the games first 21 points, and the Beavers didn’t even score until almost the middle of the first half. The spread was a ridiculous 25 points, but Oregon had that covered a couple of minutes before halftime.

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Todd Stansbury Takes Off

Just as the Oregon State campus and community was getting settled in after the first day of fall term, Athletic Director Todd Stansbury shook things up by announcing his resignation.

Stansbury’s decision came as a sizable surprise, coming only a little more than a year after he took the job. Stansbury, pictured above with Oregon State University President Ed Ray at his introduction as Athletic Director, replaced Bob Decarolis, returning to Corvallis where he had previously worked for 9 years in the Athletic Department.

Stansbury’s abrupt and early departure isn’t a product of any problems at Oregon State though; Stansbury’s reason for leaving is to take the newly opened Athletic Director position at Georgia Tech, which is Stansbury’s alma mater. Stansbury also played football for the Yellow Jackets.

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Ethan Thompson Chooses Oregon State

Wayne Tinkle Continues Family Connection Recruiting

Oregon State men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle has made good use of family ties in recruiting top talent to Corvallis, and that trend continues, with the announcement today by Ethan Thompson that he will be following his older brother Stephen Thompson Jr. to Corvallis.

The Thompson brothers father, of course, is Stephen Thompson Sr., who is on Tinkle’s staff.

E. Thompson is a 6’4″, 170 lb. shooting guard from Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, CA, and is rated a 4 star prospect by Rivals, ESPN, and Scout. Rivals has him as the #49 prospect overall in the 2017 class, while ESPN slots him at #51, and Scout at #53.

He picked Oregon State, the Corvallis community, and playing with his brother and for his father over offers from Stanford and Syracuse, the elder Thompson’s alma mater, as well as California, Arizona, and Boise State.

“I think it should help a lot to have both of them there,” Thompson said about his father and brother. “My dad has seen lots of players go through the transition to college, and my brother just went through it. They will both be able to guide me, and it will be great to be together again.”

Thompson should pack on a few more pounds by the time he’s ready to take the Gill Coliseum floor, and is virtually a carbon copy oh his 6’4″, 175 lb. brother.


When it Rains, it Pours, Right?

Sorry for the cliche, but after today’s news that Derrick Bruce is transferring, is there a better way to describe how OSU hoops fans must be feeling right now? After all, it comes right on the heels of the announcement that Tres Tinkle will need surgery on his injured foot.

Losing Bruce is a huge blow for the Beavers, as he came on strong at the end of last season, In his last four games, he averaged nearly 15 points a game, while hitting 10 of 20 thee-point attempts. It was a pleasant surprise, as in limited minutes earlier in the year, he had displayed great handles and speed, but not much offensively.

And after his 25-point outburst in just 31 minutes against Cal on March 10, in which he showed off a nice mid-range game as well, I began thinking that Bruce’s upside was greater than Stevie Thompson, because of his length and speed. In fact, he was my pick to lead the Beavers in scoring in 2016-17.

But Bruce leaves a bigger void than just his scoring. His departure really hurts the Beavers because it leaves them without a true point guard. His speed and ball-handling skills enables him to break presses, penetrate lanes and dish off, and all that jazz. He was by far the Beavers’ best returning ball-hander and facilitator. Now who is it? Thompson Jr? Malcolm Duvivier?

Those two are going to have to step up, especially early this season while highly-touted freshman JaQuori McLaughlin adapts to D1 basketball. And for Duvivier, Bruce transferring presents him with a great opportunity to put last year’s up-and-down season behind him and shine as a senior. Thompson has good handles, but I’d rather he focus on shooting. However, all bets are off if McLaughlin isn’t able to be a primary ball handler this season.

Here’s my predicted starting lineup now that Bruce is gone (and assuming Tinkle is healthy):

W- Duvivier
W – Thompson
W – McLaughlin
F – Tinkle
C – Drew Eubanks

With the Beavers now having three open scholarships, you have to wonder if Coach Tinkle will use one of them on a point guard. Or if he waits. Speaking of which, recruiting has been quiet of late, which is frustrating because the Beavers could really use an established post player. Especially in wake of fact that incoming PF Ben Kone is recovering from a major injury and may have to redshirt.

Whew, all of this is a lot to swallow right now. Or should I say deflect with an umbrella. But the good news is the Beavers have the coaching and enough talent to keep building on last year’s success. It just might be a little bit of a bumpier road. Here’s hoping Tinkle’s recovery from surgery goes well, as that would go a long ways toward taking some of the damper off this offseason.

Go Beavs! (RW)

Finding the Silver Linings

Sure, the Beavers’ first NCAA tournament appearance in nearly three decades didn’t go quite as planned, as VCU escaped with a hard-fought victory. But that shouldn’t diminish what was a fantastic season for the OSU men’s basketball program.

Just consider the numbers: 19 wins (including Oregon, Cal, Colorado, and Utah), a .500 Pac-12 record, a win in the conference tournament — and of course breaking that 26-year drought and making the dance! All of that in only Year 2 of the Tinkle Era.

And while the Beavers lose one of the greatest players in program history in Gary Payton II, it stands to reason that the future is pretty DAM bright. They’ve got another strong recruiting class coming in, highlighted by 4-star guard JaQuori McLaughlin, who was just named Washingon’s Mr. Basketball. Add that class to a freshman class that will be a year older…

At the beginning of the season, I thought Derrick Bruce could make the biggest impact of this year’s freshmen. Turns out I was a little off, but damn his emergence late in the season was awesome. No disrespect to Stevie Thompson, but Bruce might have more upside. Either way, his performance should make Beaver Nation extremely excited about a guards/wing trio of Bruce, Thompson, and and Tres Tinkle. And then there’s Drew Eubanks, who oozes potential, NBA potential, if he can develop a few post moves and learn to play defense. Remember, he’s only been playing organized ball since his freshman year.

But you know who might be the X-factor? Big G. If Gligorije Rakocevic can get more into shape and increase his quickness, he could be a load down low. A well-rounded complement to Eubanks. He’s smart, has the size, and a surprisingly soft shoot, he’s just a step slow right now. So if he can improve his positioning, he could really be big (pun intended). I’d love to see a starting front court of Eubanks at the 4 and Big G at the 5.

Despite the excitement and promise surrounding the program, don’t assume things will get easier. The Pac-12 will be a dogfight again next season, unfortunately led by the Ducks. So it’s important that Coach Tinkle and Co. continue to help the returning players grow and grow. And let’s be honest, there could be some valleys as the Beavers adjust to life without Payton. One thing that could ease some of that pain would be landing a JUCO or graduate transfer power forward, as rebounding was one of the Beavers’ ongoing struggles this season.

All things considered, though, there’s a lot of silver linings despite the early exit from the tournament… as the Beavers had one their best seasons in ages and showed enough to signal that they are on the right track to getting the Orange Express rollin’ again. Go Beavs! (RW)

Beaver Nation, It’s Dancin’ Time!!!

The drought, curse, or whatever you want to call it, is finally over! After 26 long years, OSU’s  back in the NCAA tournament. The No. 7-seeded Beavers (Man, doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?) face VCU on Friday morning in  Oklahoma City.

What a job by Coach Tinkle and Co, to get the Beavers here in just two years. I’ll be honest, I would’ve been perfectly happy with the NIT this season. But the Beavers won some key games down the stretch to put them in strong position to make the NCAA tournament, minus Tres Tinkle to boot. And just like that, they are going dancing! Congrats to all the players for buying in and keeping focused. They have been so much fun to watch this season.

Some perspective… the last time the Beavers went to the tourney, I was 8 years old. I really wasn’t into sports, much less college basketball. And when I did start getting into sports a few years later, I didn’t realize the significance of the Gary Payton and Scott Haskin cards I was pulling out of packs.

I became a big Beavers hoops fan during the Eddie Payne era, enthralled by the promise of Corey Benjamin, Carson Cunningham, and J.B Bickerstaff. I attended OSU during the Ritchie McKay and Jay John years. And then I watched as Craig Robinson landed strong recruits and started off strong, only to come up short.

So despite being a huge hoops fan, it’s always been hard for me to get excited about March Madness — because the Beavers haven’t been it it since 1990. It will be weird filling out my bracket this week and finally seeing OSU, and you better believe I am picking them against VCU. Maybe I’ll go crazy and pick them to go far 🙂

Friday can’t get here soon, enough! Go Beavers! (RW)

Beavs Inching Closer to the Dance

With a wild 86-82 victory at UCLA on Saturday, the Beavers earned the crucial split they needed to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. They conclude regular season play with an 18-11 record, including a 9-9 mark in conference play. That alone could be enough to get them into the dance, but a win in the Pac-12 tourney would be huge.

And the Beavers have extra motivation. They face Arizona State at 8:30 p.m. tonight in tournament. The Sun Devils routed the them, 86-68, back on January 28 in Tempe, OSU’s worst loss of the season. ASU has been hot of late, but they should be less of hurdle than say Oregon, Cal, or Arizona.

At a glance, the Beavers need to avoid another slow start against ASU, as the Sun Devils raced out to a 21-6 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half during the teams’ previous meeting. OSU also needs prevent ASU’s guards from penetrating at will this time around as they constantly broke down the Beavers’ defensive scheme. And finally, Gary Payton II needs to bust loose. He was held to a season-low two points. The good news is,  I don’t see there being a repeat of most of this Wednesday night.

If the Beavers can defeat ASU, I think without a doubt they will make the NCAA tournament. Nineteen wins, combined with their strength of schedule and the Payton storyline would be hard to ignore. And while I’d be happy for the Beavers to even get one of the play-in games, it would be great if they could sneak in a higher seed. It would just seem more legit 🙂

But I shouldn’t get too greedy. After all, it’s been 26 years since the Beavers last made the big dance. How awesome would it be to finally enjoy March Madness with the Beavers — and to fill out a bracket with the Beavers in it! I’d have to keep myself from penciling them into the Final Four.

Here’s to a strong showing in the Pac-12 Tournament. And a happy Selection Sunday for the Beavers! (RW)