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8 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball: Oregon State Beavers Preview

Can the Beavers play the darkhorse role this season?

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State Beavers

  • Head Coach: Wayne Tinkle (6th Season) | Overall: 75-83
  • Last Season: 18-13 (10-8) | Post-Season: None
  • Pac-12 Media Preseason Poll: 7th (161 Points)

Projected Starters

  • Ethan Thompson (Guard - Junior)
  • Sean Miller-Moore (Guard - Junior)
  • Tres Tinkle (Forward - Senior)
  • Payton Dastrup (Forward - Junior)
  • Kylor Kelley (Center - Senior)

The Skinny

If the 2018-2019 campaign what the season of what could’ve been for Oregon State, the 2019-2020 season could be the year of what could be for the Beavers.

Potential, depth and excitement are all adjectives that could be used to describe the preseason expectations surrounding this group, as head coach Wayne Tinkle will be centering his squad around potential Pac-12 Player of the Year (and his son), Tres Tinkle (20.8 PPG).

The younger Tinkle, who receives most of the acclaim for Oregon State as the face of the program over the past few seasons, is entering another year of transition around him with rising sophomore Ethan Thompson (13.7 PPG) expected to jump into the top guard spot, most recently filled by his older brother Stephen. For another season, the Beavers will have a one-two punch that can play on par with any pairing of talent in the Pac-12.

It’s the roster beyond them that will be the determining factor in how far they make it at the end of the season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 PAC-12 Tournament - Oregon State v Washington
Zach Reichle will play a larger role for the Beavers in 2019-2020.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sharpshooter Zach Reichle (3.5 PPG) is one of the talents on this Beavers depth chart who may need to take the biggest step from his inconsistent sophomore year, as the junior could work his way into the starting five with his ability to stretch the floor. Wingman Alfred Hollins (4.8 PPG) is in similar shoes, as he’ll be relied upon more by the elder Tinkle to deliver in reliable increments.

No, the cast around Tinkle isn’t star-studded, but it needs to somehow become serviceable.

Some new faces will also keep things interesting as I believe both Sean Miller-Moore and Julien Franklin can challenge for a starting role and that Gianni Hunt can provide the Beavers with a natural point guard, at times when they want to move Ethan Thompson away from the ball. Don’t be surprised either if Oregon State begins to get useful minutes from newcomers Dearon Tucker on the interior and Jarod Lucas at the guard spot, as both have shown flashes in high school of morphing into solid college-level players.

At the end of the day for the Beavers though, when the focus is centered around Tinkle and Thompson, their season could be defined by the development of center Kylor Kelley (7.7 PPG), who can also make a strong all-league case with his abilities at both ends of the floor.

Kelley, a natural rim protector who 5 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game last season, could become the most imposing defensive forward in the Pac-12, allowing the team’s defense to take on different shapes and some of the defensive pressure to be removed from Tinkle inside.

However, with a razor-thin front-court, Oregon State will need to make sure their bigs are staying on the floor and out of foul trouble (and healthy off the court) to give themselves the best chance to slowly creep up through the pack of the conference.

Four Non-Conference Games To Watch

  • 11/9 v. Iowa State
  • 11/12 v. Oklahoma* (PK Invitational)
  • 12/18 v. UTSA* (Houston, TX)
  • 12/21 at Texas A&M