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2014-15 Season Preview: Oregon St.

Wayne Tinkle has his work cut out for him in his first year in Corvallis.


Last Season: The Beavers were much of the same under Craig Robinson once again as the results weren't an indication of the talent on the roster. Oregon St.'s season highlight came when they won four of their first five conference home games which included wins over Stanford, Oregon and UCLA. They finished 16-16 and ended their season with a loss to Radford in the CBI, a postseason tournament with no purpose. Although they did technically play in the postseason, it was another underwhelming campaign. Craig Robinson was relieved of his duties after six seasons.

Key Losses: New head coach Wayne Tinkle will have to replace every contributor from last season. Roberto Nelson, the team's leading scorer for the past two years, signed to play in Italy. Angus Brandt signed to play in Australia and Devon Collier signed to play in Israel while Eric Moreland signed with the Sacramento Kings. All of these players' transition into professional careers further strengthens the decision to fire Robinson for his inability to get a successful season out of a great group of players. Moreover, Oregon St. lost 81 percent of their scoring output from last year and returns only 24.5 percent of last season's rebounding production leaving very little reason for optimism.

Notable Returning Players: Langston Morris-Walker returns as the only starter from last season when he averaged 18 minutes and 4.1 points per game. Malcolm Duvivier and Daniel Gomis return as the only other players to average more than 10 minutes a game although they combined to score a measly 4.4 points per game. Gomis, however, was third best on the team with 31 blocks. Olaf Schaftenaar, a 6-foot-10 forward, can stretch the floor for the Beavers and despite minor contributions last season, did shoot 33 percent from beyond the arc.

Key Newcomers: There just isn't much incoming talent for Oregon St. Gary Payton II will likely assume the point guard role after transferring from Salt Lake CC where he averaged 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Freshman guard Chai Baker will also attempt to shore up the backcourt.

There is some hope going forward, however, as Wayne Tinkle got commitments from two top 100 recruits in Stephen Thompson Jr. and Tres Tinkle, both sons of coaches on the staff, for his 2015 class. He also added 6-foot-10 Drew Eubanks and three-star point guard Derrick Bruce. The quartet of recruits will grow together and should eventually form a strong core for Tinkle.

Notable Non-Conference Games: Most of the Beavers' winnable games will come in non-conference play. Rice, Oral Roberts, Mississippi Valley St. and Grambling State are four likely wins for Oregon St. in a season where there won't be many. And home games against Mississippi St. and DePaul are chances for potential upsets against power conference opponents.

Conference Stretch to Look At: Over two weeks in the middle of February, they host Washington and Washington St. and travel to USC. For a team that won't have many highlights in conference play, two possible wins loom in those two weeks.

Best-Case: Wayne Tinkle leads this team to double-digit victories and the Beavers don't finish last in the Pac-12. Oregon St. fans are ecstatic because their year of ineptitude is over. They have confidence in their coach and are ready for a promising 2015-16 season.

Worst-case scenario: Oregon St. limps to its wins against inferior opponents and goes winless in the Pac-12. They don't contend in any of their games, are the embarrassment of the Pac-12 and next season can't come soon enough.

Projected Finish:12th