John Canzano's article in Thursday's Oregonian has Beaver fans riled up-- and I don't quite understand why.
Although I wish they weren't true, he makes some valid points.
Sure, Canzano heavily questioned the hiring of Robinson last April. He said that the 2008-2009 Beavers played like a women's team. And now he's saying that Robinson is the best thing that has happened to Oregon State basketball since Ralph Miller.... and that the relative of the President would fit in Los Angeles at USC.
And you don't buy The Bald One's recent comments, just because he got it wrong last year?
His dramatic shift on the issue is what it is-- dramatic. But how can you fault him for not telling it like it is? Robinson's hiring seemed hard to comprehend at first. It didn't make a ton of sense. And that's what Canzano wrote. Canzano has openly said on the Bald Faced Truth that he was wrong about Robinson fitting in at Oregon State. Just because he was wrong last April, do you want him to continue to defend his initial position?
Canzano further argues that Robinson should leave Oregon State while his stock is high. I think that's a valid argument, although I'm not sure that other Athletic Directors across the country are seeing Coach Rob in the same light... yet. Robinson still needs to prove that he can win games year-in and year-out, and disprove the argument that he's riding a tremendous wave produced by his move from Brown to Oregon State, the election of his brother-in-law to the Presidency of the United States, and a drop or two of luck.
Seemingly everything--from the morale of the returnees to the skill-set of the incoming recruiting class-- is pointing in the positive direction for Robinson. But last season, he took an 0-18 Pac-10 team and produced seven conference wins, with the pre-season goal of just winning one. Improvement that drastic will be hard to come by again, but proving this team can fit in the upper echelon of the Pac-10 is the next item on the coach's agenda.
It's easy to overachieve when nobody expects achievement. Yet, Robinson brought with him from Brown an unorthodox style of play that his players bought into-- even if they did look like women in the process.
The Craig Robinson phenomenon seems a bit like Jacoby Ellsbury's performance in the 2007 MLB Playofs for Boston. In his first 116 Major League at-bats, "The Kid" from Madras hit .394, mostly because other clubs just couldn't figure out how to pitch to him. Robinson's "Modified-Princeston" offense seems a bit like that to me, and we saw some teams begin to stymie the Beavers even as soon as the second round of the Pac-10 schedule.
Canzano also argues that Robinson would make a great fit at USC.
Yeah, USC is a mess right now. First and foremost they're a football school, but there are still people who care about the basketball program. They'll at least continue to garner attention as long as O.J. Mayo's name adorns the front page of sports sections-- but they need someone to get them out of the mess. Let's face it-- USC will have a basketball coach this season. Craig Robinson could work there.
But see, this is something that we're just going to have to get used to as Oregon State fans. Bob De Carolis plucked a great head coach out of thin air. Craig Robinson looks like a gem right now. Robinson, the guy nobody had ever heard of, got the job, and did a better than anyone could have ever fathomed.
Bill Grier said no. Mike Montgomery, who Coach Robinson beat twice this year, wasn't interested. Ken Bone passed.
Instead, De Carolis and the Beavers decided to differentiate themselves. They brought in Robinson, an Ivy-League scholar who injected the Oregon State locker room with his work ethic, knowledge, and vocabulary.
Trust me, others are going to want to steal the gem that Oregon State unearthed.
As a Beaver fan, I feel like we're in a life-sized game of Cubefield. The longer we juke and dodge, the higher our score gets, but it's only a matter of time until we lose out on the deal.