Pac-12 Senior Days: Oregon State Group of Six

Posted 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.

Senior Roberto Nelson Leads The League In Points Despite Being Tightly Defended All Season (credit: Michael Shaw)

Senior Roberto Nelson Leads The League In Points Despite Being Tightly Defended All Season (credit: Michael Shaw)

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.

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Oregon State Week: Five Newcomers Arrive In Corvallis

Posted by Connor Pelton on August 25th, 2012

Oregon State loses its top scorer and defender from 2011-12′s team, but the Beavers welcome in three incoming freshman and a transfer to try to fill the big hole left by Jared Cunningham. Along with those four small forwards/combo guards is a 6’10″ forward who redshirted his freshman season due to a broken leg. Below, we’ll take a look at the five newcomers to Robinson’s program, in roughly the order in which they’ll impact the team next season.

Robbins’ Long Arms And Quickness Make Him The Top Newcomer To Replace Cunningham’s Defensive Prowess (credit: Cali High Sports)

Victor Robbins, Freshman, Small Forward, 6’6” 195 lbs, Compton High School, Compton, CA – While junior shooting guard Roberto Nelson will certainly get the first opportunity to replace Cunningham’s minutes, Robbins looks to be the newcomer most fit to acquire a backup role behind Nelson. We’ll start on the offensive side of the floor. His speed and natural athleticism will remind fans of Cunningham, especially when he’s running the lanes in transition. Robbins can go to either side and knock down a pull-up jumper, although he’s much more comfortable going to the right. On defense, his lateral quickness and length will deny opponents entry into the lane, not to mention passes and shots will be difficult to get off. With all of that said, the biggest thing Robbins will need to work on throughout the summer is being more engaged without the ball. Once the rock is in his hands, his speed and athleticism opens up many doors for him. But as he makes the jump from high school to Pac-12 ball, getting open and creating opportunities for himself will become much more difficult. If he improves on that, and also adds a three-point shot to his game, Robbins will undoubtedly be the Beavers top newcomer in 2012-13. Almost to demonstrate that, Robbins led all newcomers with five points in limited playing time against St. Charles Basketball Club in Oregon State’s first European Tour competition.

Daniel Gomis, Redshirt Freshman, Forward, 6’10” 225 lbs, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, VA – Gomis was set to earn solid minutes as a freshman before a broken leg while overseas ended any of those aspirations. While Gomis’ offensive skill set is limited to dunking and just about nothing else, he makes up for it on the defensive end of the floor. He has a lean frame with broad shoulders, making him athletic and a monster on the glass. He is also quick enough to guard multiple positions on the floor. While his limited offensive game will likely keep him off the floor in conference play, it will be interesting to see what he can do earlier in the season when the Beavers aren’t going to have to put up 80 points night in and night out to win ball games. Craig Robinson can certainly use all the help he can get on the defensive glass, and a few cheap buckets here and there via offensive rebounds picked up by Gomis would help as well. We haven’t even talked about his shot-blocking ability, which combined with Eric Moreland and Devon Collier down low could be absolutely lethal. Gomis is one of the rare cases where his playing time could rest on the shoulders of his teammates. With the departure of Cunningham, Oregon State will need all the help they can get from the newcomers and players that came off the bench last season. So if Nelson finds his jump shot and Moreland builds off a strong finish to last season, there could be times in big moments when the Beavers need to go big on defense and sacrifice some points for a big block or rebound. Gomis scored one point on a free throw in the Europe opener as he continues to play tentatively after the broken leg.

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Oregon State: 2011-12 Post-Mortem

Posted by Connor Pelton on April 24th, 2012

Over the course of the next two weeks, the Pac-12 Microsite will break down each team’s season: what went well, what didn’t, and a look ahead at the future. Today’s subject: Oregon State.

What Went Wrong

The calendar turned to February. In a month that can make or break seasons, the Beavers went 1-6. And it wasn’t as if they were playing bad basketball; they did compete and make games close. But when you are on a multiple-game skid it’s tough to finally break through, and the Beavers could just never do that. Of course, there were some key reasons as to why it all went south so quickly, mainly youth, inconsistency, and inexperience. Junior forward/point center Joe Burton lost all sense of touch in his usual silky, smooth offensive game, leading to what appeared to be a rift between he and coach Craig Robinson. Sophomore shooting guard Roberto Nelson had a few good games throughout conference play, but you can’t have your purest shooter on the roster only scoring one and four points against teams like Washington and Oregon. It was that type of inconsistent offensive production that made the Beavers a tough to figure out team throughout Pac-12 play.

After Robinson decided that screaming at his players did not work, the coach directed his anger at the basketball itself. (credit: Victor Decolongon)

What Went Right

The calendar turned to March, and the Beavers turned into a basketball team. Oregon State began the month with a pair of dominant wins over the Rocky Mountain schools before traveling to Los Angeles for the Pac-12 Tournament. While there, the Beavers played their best basketball since November as they began the tournament with wins over both Washington schools. That set up a semifinal game with fourth-seeded Arizona, and while the Beavers played well (leading by as many as eight points), fatigue caught up with them midway through the second half. Despite the setback against the Wildcats, Oregon State bounced back with a pair of huge wins against solid competition in the first two rounds of the CBI. The season would eventually end with a loss to Washington State in the CBI semifinals, but a 6-2 month of March was nothing to be ashamed about for Robinson’s Beavers.

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Pac-12 Team Previews: Oregon State

Posted by Connor Pelton on October 27th, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

Oregon State Beavers

Strengths.  The Beavers might just have the best three-guard rotation in the conference. They are led by junior Jared Cunningham, who is a consistent jump shot away from being considered for Pac-12 Player of the Year come March. Then there are sophomores Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks, who after shaky starts to their freshman campaigns, had breakout performances towards the end of last year. Both are capable of taking over a game when Cunningham needs a breather. On the bench at guard will be Challe Barton, Jullian Powers, C.J. Mitchell, and Michael Moyer. Barton and Mitchell are the definitions of a combo-guard, and both should see some minutes when the others are in foul trouble. Powers and Moyer will most likely not see any game action this year.

Weaknesses.  As strong as the backcourt is, the frontcourt is that much of a weakness. Sophomore Devon Collier and junior Joe Burton will be the starters down low. But while Collier showed glimpses of greatness last year, Burton always seemed to throw the ball away or airball the point-blank layup (don’t ask). If the Beavers are to go to the NCAAs this season like  Craig Robinson is calling for, these two need to perform at a high level for 40 minutes each night.

It's tough to watch when your starting center can't put home a layup

Nonconference Tests.  Everyone, except maybe their exhibition against Pacific (Oregon). I’m just kidding (kinda), but it seems as if every nonconference game last season was an adventure for Oregon State. On paper, the Beavers should fly through all of their non-conference games except for three: Nov. 19 vs Texas ( East Rutherford, NJ), Nov. 21 vs NC State or Vanderbilt (East Rutherford, NJ), and Dec. 4 vs Montana (Corvallis). I’m predicting that Oregon State goes 2-1 in that stretch, but there is a strong possibility of an 3-0 or 0-3 finish, depending on what Beaver team shows up.

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