Pac-12 Senior Days: Oregon State Group of SixPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on March 8th, 2014
On a day when Oregon State looks to secure a bid to the NIT, six Beavers will play their final game at Gill Coliseum. We break them down below.
Roberto Nelson leads the conference in scoring in his final season in Corvallis, and he has been the difference-maker Oregon State needed to produce one of its best seasons in a decade. Coming out of Santa Barbara, he was the top signee of head coach Craig Robinson’s first recruiting class, one that also included guys like Jared Cunningham, Angus Brandt and Joe Burton. The story of his recruitment is an interesting one in itself, and was actually told in the book “Play Their Hearts Out” by George Dohrmann. The shooting guard’s father received letters while in prison from head coaches attempting to get him to persuade Nelson to sign with their school, and the player himself received 2,161 pieces of mail from his suitors. He decided Robinson’s school was right for him, someone who, ironically enough, didn’t send him as much as a post card. After having to sit out his first season with the team due to NCAA eligibility issues, he averaged 7.5 PPG as a freshman role player. His biggest jump came last season when he became one of the most feared shooters in the Pac-12 and went from 9.3 PPG as a sophomore to a 17.8 PPG clip. Nelson is most known for his unbelievably deep range and perpetual green light from the coaching staff, but he is most effective on the dribble-drive, capable of twisting and turning through the lane without picking up his pivot foot, eventually finding his way to the hoop. Outside of basketball, he was a huge part of a student service trip to Macedonia a few years ago, and brought us this excellent clip from his time there. If Nelson can step up on the defensive end of the floor, he has a good shot of making an NBA roster as a free agent.
Favorite Moment: Hitting back-to-back three pointers without a shoe against Stanford.
Angus Brandt has quickly turned into one of my favorite big men in the conference. And while I love a center who can step back and hit from beyond the arc, the evolution of his post game has made him a force that balances out the Beavers offense quite nicely. The Aussie has come back stronger than ever after tearing his ACL last season against Purdue, and while he was once the biggest target of Robinson’s anger, he has now turned into an unquestioned senior leader. Brandt has come up clutch throughout his final year, dropping 14 points and pulling down five rebounds in an upset against rival Oregon, and scoring another 14 two weeks later in an overtime win against USC.
Favorite Moment: Dagger three-pointer in overtime against Texas.
Devon Collier is the lone scholarship senior to be in Corvallis for exactly four seasons, avoiding eligibility issues and staying healthy along the way. Despite being one of the most consistent bigs on the team, Robinson has opted to use Collier as a sixth man, providing a burst of energy off the bench when the offense or defense needs it. The New York City product got as much playing time as a freshman as anyone else in recent Beavers history, playing 20 MPG and averaging a respectable 7.0 PPG. He’s only improved since then, and when his offensive output dropped slightly in a tough junior season, he became one of the team’s top rebounders. His long arms and athleticism, combined with an even more athletic Eric Moreland, made opponents think twice about putting up a shot in the paint, and God help them if they did. He finishes his college career as one of the top sixth mans in Oregon State history, and while he wasn’t always pleased with the role, the forward took it in stride and made the most of it.
Favorite Moment: Monster block leads to alley-oop dunk in win against Howard.
Walk-on center Daniel Jones got to play sixth man once. After mass curfew violations in his freshman season left the team with only six guys in uniform for their regular season finale at Arizona State, Jones was the only player sitting on the bench next to the coaching staff. He played six minutes that afternoon, a career high, while spelling Burton and Brandt. And while I can’t throw any gaudy statistics at you, Jones has had an impact on this team, just like many walk-on’s do around the nation. From mimicking Jordan Bachynski or Kaleb Tarczewski in practice, to being able to fix any suitcase, iPhone, or car problem that someone on the team has, Jones plays a role. A different one, sure, but a big one nonetheless.
Favorite Moment: This.
When a walk-on enters a game in the waning moments of a blowout, few care what happens except for their teammates on the bench. But when that player, who hasn’t yet made a collegiate field goal, drops in a three-pointer to push his team over the century mark? Well, everyone in the building goes bonkers. Guard C.J. Mitchell will always have that to look back on from his time with Oregon State, and that’s pretty damn cool. Check the video below.
Favorite Moment: Three-pointer to score 100 points against Portland State.
When given the opportunity to transfer to Oregon State from St. John Fisher, Michael Moyer jumped on it. Stuck behind guys like Ahmad Starks, Hallice Cooke, and Challe Barton, the move hasn’t exactly payed off in terms of court time. But the point guard has gotten the chance to play for a Pac-12 program, and hopefully he will see some minutes later today when he wears a Beavers uniform at home for the final time. He definitely deserves it.