Head Coach: Wayne Tinkle
Overall Record: 19-13
Conference Record: 9-9 (tied for 5th in the Pac-12)
2015-16 Pomeroy Rating: #64 (7th in the Pac-12)
2015-16 Sagarin Rating: #59 (7th in the Pac-12)
Overall Off. Adj. Efficiency: #79
Overall Def. Adj. Efficiency: #66
Overall Scoring Average: 71.9 ppg (10th)
Overall Scoring Defense: 70.1 ppg (5th)
Conference Scoring Average: 70.4 ppg (10th)
Conference Scoring Defense: 72.0 ppg (5th)
Together with Tad Boyle and Larry Krystkowiak, Wayne Tinkle has established himself as part of a triumvirate of Pac-12 head coaches who are breathing life into what had been moribund programs. In the 6 season before Krystkowiak arrived at Utah, the Utes had only made one NCAA Tournament; the Utes hadn’t won a Tournament game since 2005. Now the Utes have made back-to-back Tournaments, winning at least one game each time. Prior to Boyle taking over in Boulder, the Buffs hadn’t been to the Big Dance since 2003, and hadn’t won a game since 1997. Boyle has now taken Colorado to the NCAA Tournament in three of the past four seasons (for the first time in program history), though the Buffs have only won one game. And, last season, Wayne Tinkle (in just his second season in Corvallis) took the Beavers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990.
In a very short time, Tinkle has gained a reputation as one of the top coaches on the west coast. He has also recruited well; his first class — featuring his son, Tres, the son of his assistant coach Stevie Thompson, Stephen Jr., and underrated local big, Drew Eubanks — was easily the best Oregon State class in more than two decades. That class also included underrated point guard Derrick Bruce; unfortunately, Bruce’s academics were also not highly rated, and he ended up flunking out of school. With Bruce gone, here are the Beaver’s top returning players for 2016-17:
Of course, the big piece that is missing from the last two seasons is Gary Payton, II (GP2), a Mr. Everything for Tinkle’s Beavers. Replacing him would have been no small task under any circumstances, but if the Beavers had retained Bruce (who had come alive at the very end of the season) replacing Payton would have been far easier. Now, without Payton and without Bruce, the Beavers still have that monster trio of Thompson, Tinkle and Eubanks. But the rest of the pieces aren’t as clear as last season. All told, the Beavers lost 5 of their top 9 players from last season.
The Back Court:
If you paid Stephen Thompson with either of GP2 or Derrick Bruce, there is an argument for the Beavers to have the best back court in the conference. With one of those two beside him, the wiry combo guard Thompson can play off the ball, and focus more on scoring. However, without those two, Thompson will be forced to take more of the ball handing load.
So who will be Thompson’s back court teammate? The only experienced guard is senior Malcolm Duvivier, an thick, but undersized slasher who used to get about 11 field goal attempts per game; by the time conference play had begun, that number was down to 5. Ideally, the Beavers would prefer to start blue chip freshman Jaquori McLaughlin, the top ranked player in Oregon State’s Class of 2016. Kendal Manuel will also fight for playing time. Overall, however, this is a very thin back court.
The Front Court:
In contrast to the think back court, Oregon State’s front court is not only deep, it also features two of the top young players in the country in Tres Tinkle and Drew Eubanks. Both are future pros; both are long and athletic. Tinkle is a prototype NBA small forward: 6’9″ with a 7′ wingspan, can play inside or outside and can handle the ball. Eubanks is a strong and athletic big who will find his way onto an NBA roster as a power forward. Both entered college way under the radar; and both may stick around for another season or two.
Tinkle and Eubanks are not alone on the front court. The Beavers return back up bigs Gligorije Rakocevic and Cheikh N’diaye — both of whom are an imposing presence down low, and add bigs Keondre Dew (a Tulsa transfer) and Ben Kone. Both add muscle down low.
Oregon State looks to be one point guard away from making a run for the top of the Pac-12. If Jaquori McLaughlin turns out to be that missing piece, look out! Because Oregon State might have the best trio in the league (Thompson, Tinkle & Eubanks); yes, possibly better than Oregon’s Brooks, Dorsey and Boucher.
G Stephen Thompson
G Jaquori McLaughlin
W Tres Tinkle
F Drew Eubanks
F Gligorije Rakocevic
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