Oregon State Beavers
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #89
Conference Rank: #8 Pac-12
Oregon State Team Page
If it was not for the early entry of Jared Cunningham to the NBA Draft, Oregon State would return the eight regular players in their rotation. And this is a team that was building a lot of momentum at the end of the 2011-2012 campaign. The Beavers went to LA and knocked off Washington State and Washington in the Pac-12 tournament before falling to Arizona. They then were invited to the CBI and won a couple games before meeting up with familiar foe Washington State. This time they failed to beat the Cougars, but Coach Craig Robison had his team moving in the right direction.
2011-12 Record: 21-15, 7-11
2011-12 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Craig Robinson
Coach Record: 64-71 at Oregon State, 94-99 overall
Cunningham was obviously a very good player. He led the Beavers with 17.9 points per game and was almost unstoppable when attacking the basket. His outside shooting was inconsistent at best, but he could use his threat to shoot as a weapon. But Cunningham did more than score; He led the team with 2.5 steals per game and added 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. It will take a collective effort to replace his production. Kevin McShane did play in a majority of the OSU contests during his senior season, but only averaged 8.4 minutes per game. Fellow forward Rhys Murphy opted to transfer after seeing limited playing time in just 18 contests.
This year the Beavers should have more quality depth. Some of that is simply due to the team being more experienced, but there are also some talented players heading into the program. Daniel Gomis redshirted last year after breaking his leg, but the 6-10 power forward was highly regarded coming out of the prep ranks. Jarmal Reid is the other player who can add some more size and strength to the forward spots. Reid should fit in best at the small forward spot and that is where this team needs depth. Reid is a very good athlete who can play above the rim and is expected to be physically ready to compete in the Pac-12 from day one. Langston Morris-Walker does not have the same size as Reid for a small forward, but the 6-5 wing can do a little bit of everything. Victor Robbins is yet another big, versatile wing player and with playing time available, everybody will be given an opportunity to make a big impact right away. Michael Moyer, a transfer from St. John Fisher College, rounds out the group of newcomers.
Who to Watch:
Coach Robinson put a big lineup out on the floor last year, staring 6-8 forward Devon Collier, 6-10 Angus Brandt and either 6-7 Joe Burton or 6-10 Eric Moreland. That is a lot of size and it is actually 6-10 center Brandt who is the versatile player who can step outside and consistently knock down the long ball. The rest of those forwards usually stay in the paint. But that size and versatility, especially now that there is more depth on the perimeter, will be a great asset for OSU. Collier is the most consistent interior scorer of the bunch. He averaged 13.1 points per game last season and added 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. The offense can work through Collier, but Brandt and Burton are proven scorers as well. Burton is a very good passer and defender for a big man, but will do most of his scoring in the paint. Moreland is just a sophomore and his offense is still coming around, but as a freshman he proved to be a great rebounder and shot blocker, leading the team with 6.8 and 1.9, respectively. Moreland is a great asset on the defensive end, but once his offense consists of more than putbacks coming from offensive rebounds, he will be a dangerous player.
The new star of the backcourt, at least for now, is Ahmad Starks. The junior point guard averaged 12.1 points and 2.7 assists last season and is not afraid to take any shot. He is a very good outside shooter and that makes him very difficult to defend. He does not have the size to finish around the basket very effectively, but he can drive and dish or pull up for the mid-range jumper. Roberto Nelson will be asked to pick up his scoring load to help replace Cunningham. The 6-3 junior did not start a single game last season, but ranked fourth on the team with 9.3 points per game. He is a dynamic scorer who can hit the long ball or get to the basket. He will not be the next Cunningham since he lacks the size to finish around the rim with such ease, but he can certainly emerge as a consistent double figure scorer. The only other player returning on the perimeter who was part of the regular rotation is Challe Barton. The 6-3 Swede rarely got the opportunity to show his stuff last year, but he can fill up the stat sheet in a hurry. As long as Oregon State can get past any identity crisis they may have with the loss of Cunningham, this is a group that has the talent to reach the NIT.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Ahmad Starks, Junior, Guard, 12.1 points per game
Roberto Nelson, Junior, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Devon Collier, Junior, Forward, 13.1 points per game
Eric Moreland, Sophomore, Forward, 5.2 points per game
Angus Brandt, Senior, Center, 9.1 points per game