Now that Hillcrest Hoops’ four-star small forward Alfred Hollins has officially signed on to play for the Beavers, Oregon State basketball’s 2017 recruiting class is all wrapped up and it’s time to look ahead to what the 2018 group may bring. At the moment, it’s projected that the Beavers will likely have 2-3 scholarships available, depending on how the NBA Draft prospectus of the “Tres Tinkle/Stephen Thompson Jr/Drew Eubanks” trio goes over the course of next season. One spot is already taken by four-star big-man Jack Wilson (verbal) but it’s time to take a look at how the rest of the 2018 class may shape up around Wilson’s current commitment.
Jack Wilson (Junipero Serra HS/San Mateo, CA) ★★★★
The aforementioned early verbal commit for the 2018 recruiting class, Wilson is a towering 7-foot, 250-pound center, who could serve as the interior anchor for the Beavers on both ends of the floor for years to come. He committed to Oregon State back in October of 2016, over the likes of California, Montana and Nevada, and is considered a consensus top-ten center nationally for the 2018 class.
Jarvis Thomas-Omersa (Tartan HS/Saint Paul, MN) ★★★
Emmitt Matthews (Wilson HS/Tacoma, WA) ★★★
For those of you not familiar with Jarvis Thomas-Omersa, he may be one of the few “pass-first forwards” you’ll see out there, as the main staple of his unique game is his excellent court vision for his 6’ 7”, 225 pound frame. A player who would fit flawlessly into Oregon State’s balanced offensive attack, Thomas-Omersa could be the type of player who develops year-by-year under Tinkle and his staff and emerges after four seasons as a professional level talent. To secure his talents in the end, Oregon State will have to outlast a growing group of schools, which already includes Arizona State, Cal State-Bakersfield, Green Bay, Iowa State and Marquette. For what it’s worth, my initial projection on Thomas-Omersa is that he’ll sign with a Big Ten or Big 12 school.
As for Emmitt Matthews, the 6’ 6” off-guard has a prototypical “smooth and crafty lefty” type of game, which has helped him grow from “middle-of-the-road stand-out” to “potential power-conference star” and he hasn’t even hit his senior season yet. With six offers already on his plate from Boise State, Montana, Portland State, Washington, Washington State and Wichita State, besides the Beavers, Matthews is a player who I really like Oregon State’s chances on. I think he’s a bit different of a talent than Wayne Tinkle and company have recruited in the past but a player nonetheless, who could really flourish with a college career in Corvallis.
With the way that Wayne Tinkle and his staff seem to be recruiting for the 2018 group, it doesn’t look like the class will in any way, shape or form, follow the footsteps of it’s previous predecessors. Instead, it looks like Oregon State will try to address a glaring need here-or-there and keep some relationships alive, in case someone from that “Tinkle/Thompson/Eubanks” trio decides to turn pro after next season.
An intriguing target to monitor could be Ethan Thompson’s high school teammate, David Singleton (Bishop Montgomery HS/Torrance, CA) ★★★★ but at the moment, it looks like Oregon State might be a bit too late to the party for the four-star prospect. In an interview with Rivals.com from just over a month ago, Singleton stated that Arizona and Gonzaga were the two schools currently recruiting him the hardest and that he wants to take his visits this summer and hopefully decide before the start of next year’s high school basketball season.
Kamaka Hepa (Jefferson HS/Portland, OR) ★★★★ is in a similar situation to Singleton, as he’s also a four-star prospect who’s on the rise nationally, with a host of power conference offers to his name. He could be off the market by summer’s end, meaning if Tinkle and company want to keep the chance for Hepa alive, they must begin to make their push quickly. From the outside looking in, I’d put the Beavers chances on both these four-star prospects as entertaining but highly doubtful.
As far as prospects who may actually find their way to Corvallis in the end, one talent who is becoming more appealing by the day is Riley Battin (Oak Park HS/Oak Park, CA) ★★★, a quickly rising three-star prospect with a super efficient game. Battin already holds offers from American, Cal Poly, Davidson, Northwestern, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Clara, UC-Santa Barbara and Utah, and he’s expected to have a breakout summer, as a member of AAU team “Earl Watson Elite” on the Under Armour Association circuit. He’d be a prospect that Tinkle could likely sway with his first “west coast, power-conference” offer, which could hit on both geographic and high-level basketball fronts.
In addition to Battin, expect to start hearing the name Bryan Penn-Johnson (Coronado HS/Henderson, NV) ★★★ a bit more over the summer, as the stock of this kid is seriously about to skyrocket. An elite-level shooter, Penn-Johnson’s combination of size (6’ 10”, 200 pounds) and skill, make him a potential NBA-level talent down the road, if he can stay healthy and find the right college fit to show off his unique abilities. Penn-Johnson already holds offers from Nevada, Southern Utah, TCU, Tulane, UC-Irvine, UC-Santa Barbara, UNLV and Utah, and his number of potential programs could easily double by the start of next season. Oregon State would have to work hard and fast to cover some ground for Penn-Johnson’s services.
A final name to remember would be Logan Johnson (St. Francis HS/Mountain View, CA) ★★★, a talented three-star guard, who also happens to be the younger brother of the Miami Heat’s Tyler Johnson. Johnson, who won the West Catholic Athletic League basketball Co-Player of the Year Award this past season, holds offers from Cal Poly, Fresno State, Montana and Utah State at the moment, but with his family’s recent move to Florida, he’s likely a recruit who will have a whole new slew of offers come his way next season. Tinkle would need to work his magic to convince Johnson to return to the west coast.