Looking At Oregon St. Reloads

Oregon St. will be "keeping it in the family" when star alum Gary Payton's son becomes a Beaver as well.

Last Saturday was the last home game of the regular season for Oregon St. basketball, which means Beaver Nation said goodbye to a senior class that includes Roberto Nelson, the Pac-12's leading scorer, 6'10" post/forward Angus Brandt, and 6'8" forward Devon Collier.

There's a good chance that 6'10" junior forward Eric Moreland could be on his way out too, if he elects to depart early for the NBA.

So who'se coming in to fill some soon to be empty sneakers?

Fortunately, the recruiting class is holds promise.

The most well known recruit is JC transfer Gary Payton Jr., from Salt Lake City Community College. Payton Jr. is, of course, the sun of Hall-of-Fame former Beaver Gary Payton, and he brings the name recognition factor that will help with both recruiting and fan interest.

But Payton brings serious skills as well.

He led Salt Lake Community College to the Region 18 Championship, with a 62-42 win over College of Southern Idaho, posting a 14 points, 14 rebound double double, as well as handing out 5 assists. As a result, he was named MVP of the tournament.

Payton was also named the NJCAA Region 18 Player of the Year.

There's also help for the front-line, which already has reinforcements in the emerging 6'10" Daniel Gomis, and 7' Cheikh N'diaye, but you can never have too much size.

6'10" post player Isaiah Manderson is Oregon St.'s highest rated recruit.

The 3-star chose Oregon St. after reviewing other offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida St., George Mason, Iona, Kansas St., Maryland, Mississippi St., Tennessee, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.

The other Beaver newcomer is 6'3" guard Chai Baker from Malone, Florida.

Baker was the first of next year's class to commit, and based on what he did in leading his Malone High to the Florida 1A State Championship late last month, he could help replace Nelson's point production, which led Oregon St. the last 2 years, and led the Pac-12 wire to wire this season.

Baker went for 44 in that title game, validating his having been named the Florida 1A Player of the Year.

Turnover is a fact of life in sports, especially with school teams, but while the Beavers are wishing their departing players a fond farewell, there's also encouraging prospects coming to Corvallis to follow in the sneaker-steps that traversed Ralph Miller Court in Gill Coliseum before them.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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