If you’ve kept up with Beavers basketball so far this season you know that things have not been pretty. Oregon State currently sits at 3-6 overall, including losses to Lamar and Charlotte, Tres Tinkle is out 3-4 weeks with a broken bone and ligament damage, and the offense is struggling to get going at all. Is this turning into a lost season for the Beavs?
There were high hopes this season for the Beavers with Tinkle, Stephen Thompson, and Drew Eubanks returning in bigger roles, Jaquori McLaughlin and Ronnie Stacy being the solid newcomers, Gligorije Rakocevic getting a shot at more playing time, and Kendall Manuel finally healthy enough to play. Those hopes are quickly slipping away. McLaughlin is averaging 10.2 ppg, which is not bad, but he lacks the ability to consistently put pressure on opposing defenses. Stacy is putting up just 4.3 points while shooting 41% from the field and just 17% from the three point line. Manuel only puts up 6.6 ppg and Rakocevic is nowhere to be found on either end of the floor. With the schedule that the Beavers have, they should be performing a lot better than they have thus far, but they haven’t.
Let’s make one thing clear, though Tres Tinkle’s injury certainly doesn’t help, but it is not the biggest problem. Even whe Tinkle has been healthy, this team hasn’t looked as good as people thought it would. Sure Thompson Jr. and Eubanks are showing signs of improvement, but one could argue that is only because Tinkle is out and they are forced to. When Tinkle was healthy he was consistently scoring almost half the team’s points every game, and the team was still failing to win games. One example is the loss to Fresno State where Tinkle had 31 points and the rest of the team combined had 27 points. That has to change if this team wants to get any wins this season. As it stands right now, the Beavers don’t stand a chance in PAC-12 play, but lucky for them there is still a bit of time for improvement with their upcoming schedule.
The last 4 games they have before PAC-12 play are against Savannah State in Corvallis, Long Beach State & Portland at the Moda Center in Portland for the Dam City Classic, and then back at home against Kent State. Without having to leave the state, and playing against lesser talent, this team needs to put together 4 solid performances to build some confidence. The slow starts and attempted comebacks in the second half are not going to cut it against these teams, let alone against PAC-12 competition. We will find out if this team is as bad as they have been playing, or if they are just not gelling together yet in these next few weeks. Though it might not be much, there is still hope for this young team. It’s not time to give up just yet.