It's summer, which means the news around college sports is mostly about what is being said, not done, since not much can actually be done (unless there is a construction project underway) at this point, with games in all sports a ways away, and signing day for all sports a long way away, which means even commitments are prime candidates for someone to change their mind.
But new Oregon St. head coach Wayne Tinkle is at least saying the right things, both publicly, and in the one on one conversations that ensue.
Tinkle has stressed the need to reclaim the northwest, noting Oregon St. must mine the brightest gems out of Oregon and Washington before it looks elsewhere.
If there's one thing that caused former coach Craig Robinson to have little wiggle room despite posting a .500 record this past year, his failure to do so was it, as local fans had little reason to flock to Gill when winning basketball wasn't a common enough occurrence. With few exceptions, Robinson had little success in getting either high profile or regular rotation contributors from the region, one not noted for volume production of either, but also long a source of at least some of both.
And Tinkle has backed that up with an aggressive effort to land Payton Pritchard from West Linn.
Pritchard, a 4 star recruit and the reigning 6A Player of the Year in the state, who helped lead the Lions to their secon consecutive state championships (no small accomplishment given that West Linn is not one of the state's traditional hoops powers known for producing next level talent, or harvesting blue trophies) this past year as a sophomore is quickly emerging as one of the top prospects for the 2016 recruiting class in the northwest, never mind the state.
It's not as though Robinson wasn't interested; he had already extended an offer to Pritchard before the change of regime came to pass.
And even with Tinkle making Pritchard and the region a priority, there's no guarantee of success in landing a prospect that also has offers from not only Oregon, but also Arizona St. and Washington, as well as familiar names like Butler, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, and is at least on the radar at places like UCLA & Virginia.
But at least the vibe is better than its been in a long time.
Tinkle and Oregon St. also have another in-state player already in the fold, as Robinson got Alex Roth, who led the state in scoring as a senior, and didn't even use up a scholarship in doing so, though he found essentially no role for the prolific scorer.
With essentially no returning point production, it would seem Tinkle will be able to use a shooter, and it would go a long ways to re-building credibility with regional recruits if Roth could become a factor.
But its not going to be easy to reclaim the region, especially north of the Columbia river, with Lorenzo Romar and Washington still able to claim the best from the Seattle area more often than not.
And despite the bright and shinny new basketball practice facility, the fact is also that not only is Gill Coliseum the oldest, most obsolete, and hardest to work with facility in the Pac-12, its one of the oldest, most obsolete, and hardest to work with in the entire western region.
Everyone in Beaver Nation of course hope for highly regarded local prospects becoming even more highly productive and successful players. But then everyone in Orange is hoping for a Rose Bowl trip, free In-And-Out burgers brought in for everyone, and another CWS Championship sometime soon too, and while lofty hopes and goals are ok, some tempering of expectations into reality might be in order.
Assuming Tinkle is indeed the man, but also accepting that it might actually be a long haul up the Pac-12 ladder, what are your priorities for taking back the services of the region?
And if you have another idea not in the poll, leave them in the comments! It's all well and good to decry the current state of affairs, but what are we willing to do about it?