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Who Would Be On OSU’s MMB (Post 2000) Mount Rushmore?

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Looking back on the best four players from the past 17 years.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Utah
Gary Payton II headlines a list of memorable players from the last 17 years.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The writers at BT Powerhouse recently ran a series of articles taking a look at each of the Big Ten schools and deciding who would be on the basketball version of Mount Rushmore of the post 2000 era at their respective institutions. So here at Building the Dam, we thought it would be fun to do our own version for Oregon State Men’s Basketball.

What’s happened since the year 2000?

Well, admittedly, the last 17 years haven’t been the best years. Oregon State made the NCAA tournament just one time (2016), as well as the NIT (2005). Then there were also four appearances in the CBI, but honestly, was that worth bringing up? Only four times did the team finish with a winning season, and the 2007-08 season was quite possibly the worst season as they failed to win a conference game. Despite those ugly numbers, there have been many players that should be remembered fondly for their contributions to the Orange and Black.

The Faces

Gary Payton II, G, 2014-16

Though he just played two years at Oregon State, GP2 left a lasting impression with his tenacious defense and ability to finish at the rim. He finished both years on the All Pac-12 First Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive First Team while also taking home the award for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year twice. His knack for poking balls away from defenders led him to setting the record for most consecutive games with a steal (38), a record his father had set over a quarter of a century ago. “The Mitten” led the Beavers to their lone NCAA tournament in this millennium in 2016, breaking their streak of 25 years of missing the tournament.

Jared Cunningham, G, 2009-12

Like Gary Payton II, Cunningham was a savvy defender who often stole balls that resulted in breakaway dunks. He too was selected twice for the Pac-12 All Defensive team while making the All Pac-12 First Team and Second Team once apiece. The combination of his put-back dunk with Kevin Calabro’s “Kisses the Sky” playcall will likely remain as one of my favorite plays in Oregon State MBB history.

David Lucas, F, 2001-05

From walk-on to two time First Team All Pac-10 player, Lucas was a success story in the early 2000s of Beaver Basketball. Detailed in an article from the Seattle Times, Lucas wasn’t really committed to basketball until his college days, so his transformation was quite impressive. He helped lead the Beavers to their last NIT appearance his senior year where he averaged 18.5 points and 7 rebounds a game.

Roberto Nelson, G, 2010-14

Nelson was a solid contributor in each of his four years at Oregon State, building up to what should have been a First Team All Pac-12 selection (he finished on the second team) his senior year when he led the league in scoring during the 2013-14 season. After becoming eligible to play, he never missed a game, totaling 124 contests. Nelson finished his career as number four on the all-time OSU scoring list.

Honorable Mention

Eric Moreland, F, 2010-14 - This fearsome shotblocker could be easily justified to be on the list. By the time he was done, Moreland topped the OSU record books for blocked shots in a career and season. Somehow he never cracked the Pac-12 All Defensive team, getting honorable mention twice.

*video has NSFW lyrics

Lamar Hurd, G, 2002-06 - A four year starter until an injury robbed him most of his senior year, Hurd was a mainstay in the lineup during the Jay John tenure. While his statistics weren’t eye popping, his consistency, athleticism, and game facilitation were noteworthy.

Seth Tarver, G/F, 2006-10 - A highly heralded recruit from Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, Tarver came to OSU and played alongside his brother, Josh Tarver. He really blossomed when Craig Robinson came along and plugged him in at the top of his 1-3-1 zone where he was able to utilize his length and athleticism to create turnovers and make plays

Stephen Thompson Jr./Drew Eubanks/Tres Tinkle, 2015-present - One (or two/three), may end up on this list depending on how their careers end up. This core group assisted in getting the team back the NCAA tournament two years ago, and showed strides in their developments a year ago.