Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/27/14
Beavers out to prove something With what is arguably Craig Robinson’s deepest batch of players in his tenure, the Oregon State Beavers look to rejoin the ranks of the top programs in the Pac-12. The deck is definitely stacked against them, but people said the same thing about the football program. And look how well those guys are doing. With a deep and diverse roster, here are some of the biggest strengths and weakness for the Beavers in the 2012/13 hoops season. Strengths: 1. Scoring Despite losing their leader scorer in Jared Cunningham (17.9 ppg), this team shouldn’t miss a beat on scoring. The team has been worked all preseason on expanding their scoring abilities. Devon Collier has developed his mid-range game, while Joe Burton is learning to better attack the rim. With Eric Moreland working the inside game, the Beavers can score in just about every way imaginable. And that’s just with their front court. The guard tandem of Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson expects to be slower, but more dynamic, than last season’s. That’s not including a deepening bench, that consists of standout freshmen Olaf Schaftenaar (known for his sharpshooting) and Jarmal Reid (brings extra athleticism into the frontcourt). Kudos to Coach Craig Robinson for being ready for Cunningham’s inevitable departure. 2. Experience Though the team has just two seniors (tied for fifth fewest in the Pac-12) that doesn’t mean they’re without experience. Coach Robinson has four starters returning to his team this season. That includes all his top scorers from last season, except for lead scorer Jared Cunningham (left for NBA at end of season). Craig Robinson has one of his deepest teams in years. Despite having just a couple of seniors, the Beavs have a batch of juniors (6). Their only non-junior or higher starter is sophomore forward Moreland. The coaching is getting more experienced as well. This is Robinson’s fourth season as head coach of the Beavers, and he’s coming off a career beast 21-15 season in 2011/12. He’ll look to one-up himself in the upcoming season, which should be a more than obtainable goal. Weaknesses: 1. Leadership Despite their returning crop of experienced players, the Beavers are still without a tried and true leader. The thing with Jared Cunningham was that he knew how to take control. When the Beavers were in a tight spot they could get him the ball and let him do his thing. He was amazing at that, whether it was hitting threes or getting to the line. But now Oregon State is without that guy. Yes, they will probable work more cohesively and be better and distributing the ball, but they are without that “take over the game” kind of leader. Until someone emerges in that role, the Beavs could find it hard to bring themselves back from the brink in game. 2. Size The Beavers aren’t particularly big to begin with—starting center Angus Brandt is only 6-10. But once you break through the starters, they get even more undersized. Their only experienced backup at center is junior Daniel Jones, whose averaged 0.4 points and 0.1 rebounds per game in his career. OSU’s only other option is Joe Burton. Burton’s an absolute mammoth of a basketball play, and a scoring specialist off the bench, but at 6-7 and 295 lbs. he doesn’t have the adequate size to defend under the basket. The Beavs are deep in their frontcourt, but when Brandt is resting they definitely lose some edge on the court. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE BEAVERS CLUBHOUSE PAGE AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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