Oregon St Basketball Preview: #89
Overall Rank: #89
Conference Rank: #7 Pacific 10
2008-09: 18-18, 7-11
2008-09 postseason: CBI
Coach: Craig Robinson (18-18 at Oregon State, 48-46 overall)
Even the most die-hard Oregon State fans would not have expected to win a postseason tournament during Coach Craig Robinson’s first year with the Beavers. Sure it was only the CBI, but even getting to the postseason was a feat most pundits did not think OSU could do during the 2008-2009 season.
Key Losses: G Rickey Claitt
Despite only losing one key contributor, Coach Robinson has a group of five talented players heading into the program this season. The best of the bunch is point guard Jared Cunningham. At 6-3, Cunningham has great size for a true point guard and if he is not starting this year, he will at least be playing major minutes off the bench. The backcourt will get more help with the highly touted Roberto Nelson who should provide another outside shooting threat. Australian forwards Rhys Murphy and Anqus Brandt are full of potential and some would even argue that 6-7 forward Joe Burton is the best player in Oregon State’s talented group of newcomers.
The loss of Rickey Claitt, who averaged 2.5 assists per game, will make the battle for playing time in the backcourt quite interesting. Assuming Cunningham needs a little time to adjust to life in the Pac-10, it may pave the way for the more experienced Josh Tarver to spend more time with the ball in his hands. Like Josh, brother Seth Tarver is not much of a shooter, but both can get to the basket and do some scoring. Calvin Haynes and Lathen Wallace are the two shooters on the team. Haynes only started five games last year and may one again be a great sixth man. Wallace could fill that role as well, especially since he is not as dynamic of a scorer as Haynes.
The frontcourt returns absolutely everybody. Quality depth was a minor issue last year, but it will not be with Murphy, Brandt and Burton in the mix. But it will still be Omari Johnson and Daniel Deane who will battle for a starting spot at the four position, at least for now. Johnson, a 6-7 junior, is the better scorer of the two who can step out and hit the mid-range jumper with relative consistency. Deane is a decent shooter as well, but he will be on the floor when the team needs another rebounder, and this group always needed a strong rebounder last year.
Who to Watch:
There is no question as to who will start at the center position. Roeland Schaftenaar was second on the team in scoring with 10.5 points per game and was easily the team’s most effective shot blocker, which is not saying too much. Yet, at 6-11 and 240 pounds, Schaftenaar is a presence under the basket whether he is blocking shots or not. He also is a superb passer for a big man and actually led the team in assists last season.
This is a team that went 7-11 in a tough conference when nobody expected anything from them. They definitely snuck up on some unsuspecting opponents, but now Coach Robinson only loses one contributor and brings in five players who could make an impact. On paper this team should be much better than it was last year, but nobody is going to take the day off when the Beavers come to town this year. The Pac-10 learned their lesson.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Josh Tarver, Senior, Guard, 3.9 points per game
Calvin Haynes, Junior, Guard, 13.0 points per game
Seth Tarver, Senior, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Daniel Deane, Junior, Forward, 5.3 points per game
Roeland Schaftenaar, Senior, Forward, 10.5 points per game