With just under a week until Gary Payton II debuts his next-level talents at the NBA Summer League for the Houston Rockets, it seemed like no time was better than the present to check in on former Beavers who are currently displaying their basketball talents around the globe.
Angus Brandt '14 (Current Team: Perth Wildcats - Australia)
After graduation in 2014, Brandt signed a contract with the Sydney Kings of the Australian NBL (National Basketball League), where despite a two month knee injury, he still managed to take home the 2014-2015 NBL Rookie of the Year Award. He then played one more season for the Kings before finishing the 2015-2016 season with Lithuanian side Neptunas Klaipeda, where he helped his team to an LKL Finals appearance.
Brandt has recently decided to return to Australia when back on May 12th, the former Oregon State standout signed a two-year deal to join the Perth Wildcats of the Australian NBL. Brandt commented on the signing, saying "one of the things I was looking for in a team was professionalism, and to go somewhere that had the facilities and the set-up where I could develop and work on my game and try to become the best player I can be."
A welcome video from the Perth Wildcats introducing the former Beavers star can be found here.
Eric Moreland '14 (Current Team: Sacramento Kings - USA)
A defensive menace that haunted the Pac-12 from 2011-2014, Eric Moreland overcame injuries and suspensions to finish his Beaver career as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots, all while foregoing his final season of college eligibility. Now in the NBA, Moreland is once again trying to prove himself as a suited talent on both sides of the ball.
Despite going un-drafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Moreland turned some heads with his performances at the 2014 NBA Summer League, eventually leading to a contract with the Sacramento Kings in late July. While splitting time between Sacramento and the D-League Reno Bighorns during the 2014-2015 season, Moreland tore his left shoulder, causing the process of making the big leagues to restart for 6' 10" forward in time for the 2015 NBA Summer League.
After another positive summer, Moreland landed in the Kings' training camp in the fall of 2015 but again, his chance to kickstart his career was cut short by injury. In December, Moreland broke his foot during a practice, which kept him out until mid-March. After another quick stint with the Reno Bighorns, Moreland was recalled by the Kings on April 1st, making him the only Oregon State alum to finish the season on an NBA roster. This summer, Moreland's focus is mainly on staying healthy but his name has come up in countless trade rumors with a Sacramento roster that is expected to be completely reworked by the fall.
Jared Cunningham '12 (Current Team: Salt Lake City Stars - USA)
Jared Cunningham left Oregon State after his junior season, where the 6' 4" guard was both an All-Pac 12 First Team and Defensive Team selection, while averaging just under 18 points and 4 rebounds per contest. The decision seemed like an easy and smart one when the Cleveland Cavaliers picked Cunningham with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. After quickly shipping away the pick to the Dallas Mavericks, Cunningham's journeyman career suddenly went from promising to a bit uncertain.
Cunningham split time between the Mavericks and their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, throughout the 2012-2013 season, after which he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks during the 2013 NBA Draft. Over the next three seasons, Cunningham would find his rights' moved to six different NBA teams (Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks) and three different NBA D-League affiliates (Bakersfield Jam, Delaware 87ers, Idaho Stampede / Salt Lake City Stars).
While still struggling to find a permanent home in his career, Cunningham did appear in 40 games for the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers this past season, showing that it's not farfetched to believe that he may be on the edge of sticking in the league. At the moment, Cunningham is owned by the NBA D-League's Salt Lake City Stars, the new expansion version of the Idaho Stampede franchise, where he is expected to start the 2016-2017 season.
Omari Johnson '11 (Current Team: Maine Red Claws - USA)
At 6' 9", 215 pounds, Omari Johnson may not be a legend in the annals of Oregon State basketball history but it's hard to forget the forward's magical night in the 2010 Civil War, where he buried four-three pointers in a twenty point win over Oregon. Johnson's legacy has always seemed to hang around in Beavers' folklore for unique moments like that one.
Johnson played in 120 games for Oregon State over a four year period, starting more than half of them, and after the end of his college career, Johnson fled north to join the Oshawa Power of the National Basketball League of Canada. The skilled forward would play one year for the Power before moving to fellowing Canadian side, the Summerside Storm. After two seasons in the Great White North where he averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks in 57 games of action, Johnson was able to earn a contract and a step up in competition, when he signed with Spanish club CB Valladolid for the 2013-2014 season.
The Jamaican native would play in 34 games for the Valladolid, averaging 11.6 points and 6 rebounds per contest, before next being selected with the 39th overall pick in 2014 NBA D-League Draft by the Maine Red Claws. Johnson's return to the Red Claws brought him back stateside, where he began to show up on the radar of NBA executives again. In September of 2015, Johnson signed with the Portland Trail Blazers before being waived a month later and returning to the Red Claws.