Name: Tanner Sanders
Hometown: Corvallis, OR (Crescent Valley HS)
Year/Position: Sophomore / Guard
Oregon State’s resident three-sport athlete, Tanner Sanders, has had a long and unique career during his time in Corvallis, suiting up for the Beavers in baseball, basketball and football. This season, he’ll just be hoping to help the basketball program however he can, before his next athletic calling comes up.
Sanders was a three-star football recruit out of Corvallis’ Crescent Valley High School in 2014, where he also excelled at baseball and basketball. Expected to help the Beavers on the gridiron, Sanders redshirted as a freshman for the football team during the 2014 season, switching his position four times in the process. During this time, Sanders never gave up on his dream of playing basketball and after the football season ended, joined the basketball program as a walk-on.
Playing for head coach Wayne Tinkle’s debut group at Oregon State, Sanders worked his way up the depth chart and found his way into the mix, appearing in 21 games for the Beavers and earning one start. He totaled a career high of 8 points in 18 minutes of action against DePaul that season and finished the year averaging one point per game in just under six minutes per contest. However, once basketball season ended, Sanders was set to return to football...or so he thought. After a late summer change of heart, the 6’ 4’, 200 pound athlete decided to walk away from the gridiron for good, citing a “loss of passion for the sport”.
For the 2015-2016 basketball season, Tinkle had comprised an impressive and full roster and Sanders role with the team was now gone, given away to players more committed to the long-term success of the program. Sanders read the writing on the walls. Unsure where his next step might be, he decided to pursue his ambitions with the Oregon State baseball team for the 2016 campaign, seeing time in four games and totaling two at-bats. However, all through the process, Sanders was confident about his potential to regain his position on the basketball team.
Sanders pushed Tinkle to allow him to rejoin the basketball team and through the summer, he continued to condition himself to earn his spot back. With an Oregon State roster that looks significantly different than it did when Sanders first suited up back during the 2014-2015 season, the potential for the Corvallis native to find his niche is there. He is expected to contribute as a solid practice player, who could see marginal minutes in whitewash situations. But more than anything, Tinkle likely expects Sanders to provide some much-needed leadership for a more youthful and inexperience group.
While Sanders path to his position on the basketball team may not be common, he’s hoping he can be a positive influence for a Beavers group that’s hopeful to return to the NCAA Tournament this season.