BYE Week Beaver Basketball Preview


New Beaver Head Coach Wayne Tinkle has high hopes for a Beaver basketball team looking to put the Robinson-era in the rear view mirror. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With the Oregon State Beaver football team on a their second and final bye week of 2014, it seems an appropriate time to take a closer look at the Beaver basketball team and the beginning of the Wayne Tinkle era in Corvallis.

The end of Craig Robinson’s tenure as Head Coach brought with it feelings of both relief and concern. Beaver Nation had cut ties with the coach many thought would oversee the rebuilding of a once nationally recognized basketball program. Though Robinson failed to live up to lofty expectations, it should be noted that he left Corvallis with the highest winning percentage of any coach to walk the Gill Coliseum sidelines since the man whom the floor itself is named after, the great Ralph Miller.

As the beaver dam is constructed one limb at a time, so to will the Oregon State basketball program be resurrected: one step at a time.

Enter Head Coach Wayne Tinkle, a former professional who spent 12 seasons playing in different European circuits before moving to the world of coaching in 2001 as an assistant for his Alma Mater, The Montana Grizzlies.

After 5 seasons as an assistant, Tinkle took over head coaching duties and proceeded to turn Montana into a perennial contender in the Big Sky Conference. The Grizzlies won the conference three times in 2010, 2012, and 2013 and took the conference tournament crown in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Tinkle also posted a 158-89 record at the helm, with an impressive 97-39 conference mark.

Tinkle inherits a depleted Oregon State basketball roster, having lost the talents of Eric Moreland, Devon Collier, Roberto Nelson, Angus Brandt, and Hallice Cooke. To put it into perspective, The Beavers top returning scorer averaged 18 minutes a game and 4 points per game during the 2013-14 season.

The aforementioned stat line of Langston Morris-Walker leads a young squad with sizable promise but little resume to show for it. In other words, Oregon State has a lot of room to grow.

The Beavers will lean on the versitile guard play of Malcolm Duvivier and an incoming transfer whose name alone was enough to incite optimism on the Oregon State campus; Gary Payton II. The son of NBA Hall-Of-Famer and Ralph Miller product Gary Payton, Payton II averaged 14.1 points, 7.9 boards, and 3.8 assists per game for Utah’s Salt Lake CC in 2012-13.

Holding down the post for the Beavers will be a trio from the Eastern Hemisphere. Olaf Schaftenaar (Netherlands), Daniel Gomis (Senegal) and Cheikh N’diaye (Senegal) will provide length and size for Oregon State on both ends of the court. Schaftenaar brings the outside shot to the game as well, serving as a Dirk-like forward who can stretch the defense to the perimeter and open up the lane for driving guards.

In the ever-changing torrent that has become the one-and-done world of college basketball, the yearly landscape has become something of a wild guessing game in terms of season prospectus. Can Oregon State rally together under Coach Tinkle and make noise in conference?

The old standbys will have no doubt reloaded. Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, and Washington will no doubt have their hands on the best talent the west coast has to offer. A conference championship in Tinkle’s first season is a little more then just unrealistic, its almost unfathomable. Should Oregon State finish above .500 in Pac-12 play and post a strong, competitve body of work througout the season and conference tournament, I for one, would be more then happy to call Tink’s first season in Corvallis a success.