So it has been awhile since I’ve been to Gill and have to say the atmosphere was really refreshing to reconnect with. I do hate these posts that show my age, but when I was last frequently going to basketball games I was seeing players like Gary Payton. It wasn’t really a lack of support that happened after that, but life changes affecting my attendance. And then we went into the years of losing seasons to the zenith of last year (which I actually thought a lot about coming up to support the program nonetheless, but those games were so hard to get pumped up to travel to).
What was particularly fun this Saturday was taking my son to the game for I remember going to the games with my dad when the likes of AC Green were playing. I was at that time also a football fan, but it really was the success of the basketball program during those years (80s to early 90s) that drew me to being a "Beaver Believer." To continue on this reconnecting theme it was also wild in that an old neighbor friend, whose family was huge in my going to OSU, was sitting in front of us! So then throw in people like AC Green (pictured, about (photo by Ross William Hamilton) being there, it was a fun rediscovery of the tradition of Beaver basketball.
Thoughts on the game:
The crowd was really into it for the most part, that first half was tough but with the turnaround in the second half it got very loud at times. It was great to see the place filled up (sure it would have been nice to have a sell out, but I watched some of the game on TV later and it also looked impressive on the screen versus what we have been used to). I thought the student section did a good job overall getting going when needed and it was awesome to see some of the players at the end encouraging the noise and after the game going into the crowd. I think I have noted elsewhere, that as with the program, the fans still are building towards greater things, but the crowd’s energy shows Beaver Nation has been waiting and is hungry for basketball to return to Corvallis. I was in the hallway at one point and some people were saying something along the lines: "It is SO amped up in there!" Very fun.
UO basketball is in a rough way right now and let me say to all the Ducks I feel your pain, BUT though it wasn’t the best played of games (on either side really) it was an exciting and competitive game. Felt like old times and glad you guys did show up (just) enough to make a game of it. Plus one of the funnier moments was watching Ernie and the OSU band going back and forth on his not sitting down, he was playing nicely to the road crowd there (and funny seeing Robinson playing into it a bit by just sitting down the whole time). I know people are way down on Ernie, but you have to admire his fire. The whole on the court thing doesn’t get to me, I can’t stand the let’s pull out the chairs for our tea party during timeouts and waiting to the very last moment to go back on to the court! Anyway, I know you might not believe this but the team does have potential and sooner or later the team will put together two complete halves and give other teams fits. Just don’t do it on March 1st!
Read the rest of RVM's thoughts after the break....
OSU’s performance was not the best ever but wondering if the crowd and the CW atmosphere had them jittery, and that first half of Tajuan Porter was a bit scary! But great adjustment on defense with Porter, and I think it was actually done during a 30 second timeout before the halftime break. And great adjustment at half, and even with the missed FTs it was great to see the team come out on the W side of things whereas in previous years this would have been a loss. FTs, sigh, what can one say? I will say I give Omari Johnson a pass (since we won) because he otherwise stepped up big time when Schaftenaar struggled almost all night. It sure looked as if Schaftenaar could have backed down people more often than he did. But what can you say about that Schaftenaar three pointer! Wow, and double wow, that was a bomb and with the shot clock almost out! Yes, it was pretty much luck, but did that ever fire up the crowd! And that was really the game winner.
I really like that trapping defense when it’s clicking and it’s great fun to watch in person. Especially during times like when the crowd was pumped up after a three-pointer (I think it was Haynes but not totally sure) and the trapping defense forced the shot clock violation. That was sweet!
Is this team the best I’ve ever seen play at Gill? Nah, but this team and coaching staff should be VERY proud of what they have done for Beaver basketball. I don’t want to get all misty eyed or anything, but this team was expected to do nothing this year beyond be a transitional one to the building year next year. But this team has come to play and has energized Beaver Nation to see glimpses into what looks to be a promising future. Sure this doesn’t mean that this year will be a winning season and in the future we will be constantly playing in the postseason, but you know I’m having fun and thinking about the possibilities and that’s a start.
I don’t think I will be able to get up to Corvallis for another game this year, but wish I could. I would love to again give this team the support it deserves, even for the losses that most likely will happen sooner or later, and especially before it heads out on a VERY tough road end to the season at Oregon, UCLA, and USC and then the Pac-10 tournament.
Thank you Coach Robinson, thank you players, and thank you fans for making my reconnection a memorable one!
p.s. I took photographs, but I’m old school and don’t have a good digital camera so was shooting on film. So I will try and get those developed soon and post any good ones. Yep, showing my age again…