Can Roberto Nelson (55) replace Jared Cunningham (1) as the leader of the Oregon St. backcourt? It's one of the questions head coach Craig Robinson will be looking for an answer to while the Beavers are playing in Spain. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
The dates and opponents for the games Oregon St.'s men's basketball team will play in Spain this month have been announce.
The Beavers fly into Paris, France, on August 18, and will play 4 games in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, in a week, beginning with St. Charles Basketball Club of Charenton/St. Maurice on August 21.
Next up will be Manresa of the Spanish Professional League on Aug. 24.
Manresa's roster includes former Portland St. and New Mexico player Tony Devries, Micah Downs, who played for both Kansas and Gonzaga, Josh Asselin, who played at Michigan and spent some time in the NBA's Dd-league, and Charles Ramsdell, who played for Tulsa.
The trip continues with a game against the Real Canoe National Club on Aug. 26.
Real Canoe's American connections include Duane James of Binghamton, and Chris Owens (who is a great nephew of Jesse Owens), who was an NBA 2nd round pick, after playing at both Tulane and Texas.
The final game is against Club Baloncesto Estudiantes on Aug. 27. The Beavers will encounter some experienced players in this one, as Baloncesto Estudiantes' roster includes Tarik Kirksay, who played for Iona, Chris Lofton, who played for Tennessee and also had a stint in the D-league, and Cedric Simmons, who played for North Carolina St., before being drafted in the first round in 2006.
"This isn't about pussyfooting around," Oregon St. Head Coach Craig Robinson said. "We are not going on a vacation. We are trying to get some work done, so every day is going to be like an in-season practice."
Robinson will be looking to figure out how the team will move forward after the departure to the Dallas Mavericks of Jared Cunningham in the first round of the NBA draft this spring.
"We have to get over the psychological effect of Jared not being here," Robinson said. "I think physically, and from a scoring standpoint, we've got quite a bit coming back. But psychologically, when you lose a team leader, a guy who is a pro and such a great defender, you have to get past the mental aspect of losing him."
Robinson has several stated objectives for the trip, and the 10 extra practices this summer NCAA rules permit in preparation for the trip.
"There are a several of things we have to accomplish," Robinson said. "We want to get the freshmen up to speed quickly so that they can be productive, first on the trip, and more importantly, be productive early in the season. The second thing is we want to condition ourselves this year so that we can play better defense. And then thirdly, we want to get the guys like Daniel Gomis, who didn't play last year, some reps because he is going to have to be in there playing a lot this year for us.
I think one of our biggest weaknesses last year wasn't chemistry; it was depth. What we want to accomplish on this trip is to find sort out who are going to be the 7-8-9-10 guys. I think this team has a wonderful amount of chemistry to it and it's going to be augmented by this trip overseas. But, more importantly, we want to figure out who our second team will be."
Oregon St. posted a 21-15 mark last season, and open the "regular pre-season" in November, before a trip to New York for the final rounds of the 2K Sports Classic on Nov. 15 & 16.
(Connor Pelton also contributed to this story.)