High Hopes at Oregon State
by Shawn Schoeffler
Oregon State held its annual Media Day, hosted an inaugural Tip-Off Dinner, and had its first practice of the season last week and there have been similar words from everyone about the team. Chemistry. Hard work. Excitement. And even NCAA Tournament.
Everyone knows the Beavers haven’t made it to the Big Dance since 1990. But there’s something different – something special – about this team.
For one, every player on the roster is here because head coach Craig Robinson and his staff brought them in. As Robinson said “the cavalry is here.”
Secondly, there is more talent and more depth on this team than there has been for a very long time. The roster includes players that scored 132 of the Beavers 138 points in the two Pac-10 Tournament games last season.
And, quite possibly, the most important element of the team is the chemistry. The players like each other. The coaches like the players and the players like the coaches. This team isn’t divided. They constantly talk about togetherness and family. Robinson said it best: “In order to win tough games, whether it is in your gym, or on the road, neutral road or whatever, you have to have an A-grade in chemistry. If you get a C in chemistry you’re going to lose those close games.”
The back court is talented with junior Jared Cunningham, sophomores Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson and newcomer Challe Barton. The frontline is deep with the team’s lone senior Kevin McShane, juniors Joe Burton and Angus Brandt, sophomores Devon Collier and Rhys Murphy, and freshman Eric Moreland.
Robinson said the Beavers will play more man-to-man defense this season and run at every opportunity on offense. It’s a different team. The talent is there and Beaver Nation is more excited than they’ve been in a very long time.
Now it’s time to make those words a reality and earn that trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Tickets for the Championship Rounds of the TicketCity Legends Classic at IZOD Center in the New Jersey Meadowlands can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000 or online.