The Oregon State Basketball Teams held their annual media day on Wednesday before practice starts on the 16th.
The point was made clear in Corvallis that the goal for the Men's Team is the NCAA Tournament. It would be the first NCAA's since the Gary Payton lead 1989-1990 team. On the subject of Payton, Coach Rob told this story.
"They were shooting pretty well,'' said Robinson, "but I can tell you that when Gary walked into the gym, our guys missed every single shot. It shows you the kind of pressure and the kind of 'awe' he inspires.''
Calvin Haynes said point blank, "There's no doubt in our minds we can make the NCAA tournament. That's the only thing we're shooting for.'' Calvin and Tarver both said that anything less than the Big Dance would be a disappointment.
Paul Buker had this to say after talking to Josh:
Josh Tarver said his big thing, as this team's point guard with Rickey Claitt graduated, is to just shoot the ball better so opposing defenders don't back off as they did last season. "He doesn't have to be 6-for-8,'' said Robinson. "He can be 1-for-3, or 2-for-4, because with his driving ability."
More from Buker:
Haynes and Tarver spoke of Omari Johnson's improvement, Seth Tarver's off-season shooting (impressive), and the 25 pound weight gain of point-center Roeland Schaftenaar.
Haynes didn't mind playing huge minutes, and I think he loved the fact he was OSU's go-to guy at the end of close games. "As much as I would like to play every minute,'' he said, "I know I won't have to.''
When asked if the NCAA Tournament was a realistic goal this year, Robinson had this to say, "Oh, absolutely." Then he added:
"Last year at this time we were hoping we would win one league game and win as many non-conference games as we could. Now we're talking about finishing in the top half of the league and making the NCAA tournament.
"Now there is an air of expectation,'' said Robinson.
And on the subject of what last year's success did for the team:
"What last season's turn-around did was give our team the credibility and confidence in their own minds, and that is huge in being successful. It's also a huge part with rebuilding a new culture. We have six or seven guys from last year who now are believers in what we are doing and how we will get better at it. Over the summer, you could see how hard they worked without us giving them a whole lot of input. From a confidence and credibility standpoint, I think it was huge and it was huge from an overall program standpoint. I think people are excited about what is going on here, so we are very excited to see the crowds we get this year."
Calvin had this to say about the new guys on the team. "They bring a lot to the table this year. They're athletic, they can all shoot, they're fast, they can rebound and they're catching on quick to the offense."
Then he added on when things started to click last season. "I want to say after the Stanford and Cal trip, towards the middle of the season, we all realized that the system really does work and fit us really well. If we keep playing hard and doing what coach tells us we could win any game, any time."
Josh Tarver had this to say on the upcoming season:
"We have to work hard and we believe that we're going to finish up there on the conference standings. It's just a matter of proving everyone they're right. It's good to know that there are high expectations for us this year."
Then on not catching people off guard:
"We're going to do the things we do and even if they know its coming they might not stop it. We have plenty of weapons this year."
And on the new guys:
"They're going to go off of what we've done. We have a routine. They are starting to understand the attitude that we bring: working hard every day in practice and making shots. Everyone is catching on really quick and buying into the system. I feel like they're going to do really well with this offense.
It sounds like it's going to be a good year for Beaver Hoops. Remember, practice begins on Friday, October 16th. What time you ask? Well of course, 5:30 A.M.