UC-Riverside Highlanders (0-0)
- Head Coach: David Patrick (1st Season)
- Top Performer: N/A
- Points For: N/A
- Points Against: N/A
- Last Game/Streak: N/A
Well, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here.
It’s officially the return of college basketball to the friendly confines at Gill Coliseum, in what could be a very pivotal season in head Coach Wayne Tinkle’s tenure. And to kick off a new and exciting campaign for the Beavers, Oregon State will welcome Big West challenger, UC-Riverside, to Corvallis.
The Highlanders, who are coached by first-year head man David Patrick, a former TCU assistant, are hoping to revive their semi-dormant program that hasn’t finished over the .500 mark since back in 2009. Last season, UC-Riverside started the season off with a surprising 74-66 victory on the road at California, before winning just eight more games after that (including two against non-Division I foes). They also boasted one of the country’s worst offensive units, that averaged just 65.3 points per contest (333rd nationally).
To fix these issues, Patrick is expected to play guard-heavy line-ups, headlined by star junior play-maker Dikymbe Martin, a sleeper for an all-conference nod who is featured in our “Player To Watch” below. A rising talent for this group to keep an eye on may be Menno Dijkstra, a seven-footer from the Netherlands who has shown flashes of some lofty potential through his three seasons for the Highlanders, despite not being a huge statistical producer. The same could be said in just one campaign for rising 6’ 8” sophomore forward Ajani Kennedy, who scored in double-figures in four games last season, while playing inconsistent regular minutes.
Overall though, since it is the first go-round for the Beavers (and Highlanders alike), it’ll be a bit hard to exactly predict just what may happen on Tuesday night between these two programs in hope of turnaround seasons. However, one thing that is for sure is that college basketball will finally be back and in my eyes, that’s something worth definitely celebrating.
Player To Watch
Dikymbe Martin (Junior): A Big West Honorable Mention selection a season ago, Martin is one of the more complete guards you’ll find on the whole West Coast, with his natural ability to both score the basketball and fill the stat-sheet in a variety of ways. More of a shooter by nature, as Martin continues to develop his attacking game and hone in on the defensive end, the 6’ 1” guard may become a lock as an all-league talent for his senior campaign in 2019-2020.
- Date: Tuesday, November 6th
- Time: 6:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Networks