Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Is the competition in the Pac-10 too good for our Men's Hoops coach?

Recently I linked to a Sporting News article that identified the two worst programs in big time college basketball. One was Northwestern who has NEVER been to the NCAA tournament and the other was Oregon State. I think Northwestern is the clear winner, but its hard to argue against the fact that we haven't been great since about 1990. Most of us have lived through the past, so lets look at the future. Can Jay John get this program over the hump?

From what I have read we may keep Jay for at least another season purely for monetary reasons. Plus, with the addition of C.J. Giles there is a lot of hope for next season.

What I like about Jay John:

* He tells it like it is. As far as I can tell, he is honest to the fans and the players (no first hand knowledge there, but no evidence against it).

* He seems to be a players coach. He has been able to recruit better players over time and keep everyone happy and here.

* He coaches an uptempo game. At least compared to his predecessors McKay and Payne. He preaches playing up tempo is the way to attract high quality players and recruits.

* He's the first coach to take us to postseason since we got really bad. Hey, 2004 was fun even if it was the NIT.

* He looks to Europe to find quality players that we may not have been able to find here. He's clearly trying to find Pac-10 players wherever he can find them.

* I have the feeling that he would be a great coach with great players. Of course who wouldn't I guess.

My concerns about Jay:

* He hasn't recruited a truly big name player. The possible program changing player. Can he do it? I'm not sure I count C.J. Giles or David Lucas because they basically fell into his lap. Not that that is a bad thing.

* I've have questions as to how good he is at game management and X's and O's. I have a feeling he is learning on the job. But he has gotten better and will admit when he made a mistake.

* He may be outclassed in terms of coaching prominence in the Pac-10. This is the one that concerns me most going forward. Lets look at this further.

Coaching in the Pac-10 is Great

There's an article about the quality of the Pac-10 in the Tuscon Citizen that talks about how the Pac-10 is great this year because of the high level of coaches that have come to coach in the league (Gimino: Coaches make Pac-10 best - Tuscon Citizen). The quotes below are pulled from that article.

No question that the level of coaching in the Pac-10 has risen. First, look at the quality of Pac-10 coaches that have been hired over the last 2-3 years. Ben Howland, Herb Sendeck, Dick Bennett/Tony Bennett, and Tim Floyd. All established head coaches with success elsewhere in big time leagues.

"The big thing in the Pac-10 is that when I first came here, it was a case of when there were openings, a lot of times they were filled by assistants from good programs," Olson said.
"Now, we're getting head coaches from good, winning programs."

Then look at some of the existing coaches that have had success for a while: Lute Olsen, Lorenzo Romar, Ben Braun, and even Ernie Kent. Those 8 coaches all have more clout than Jay when walking into a room with a recruit. They have all taken multiple teams to the NCAA tournament and had success recruiting major players. The only one I don't see as really have much of a name is the Stanford coach, Trent Johnson. But he clearly has a huge advantage by way of the university.
"The league is tough right now," Olson said. "And from what I've seen with the recruiting, it is going to continue to be tough."

So Jay John is arguably the least known and one of the least experienced coach in the Pac-10 in terms of head coaching experience. And he coaches at a place with great history but pretty bad recent history. Let's just say the odds aren't in his favor.

The future

So what do we do? I think Coach John is doing an OK job chipping away and getting better slowly but surely. He has had a winning season which is great and was a ton of fun. But now do you need a hoops equivalent of Dennis to get us over the hump? Or do we go the Pat Casey route and stay the course? I would love to see Jay turn it around. And hey, I think if you give Jay 10 years, he will have this program turned around. But is that feasible in Men's Basketball when turnarounds happen instantly elsewhere?

I know what Beaver Nation thinks because they are making their opinions known all over the message boards and airwaves. The vocal ones want Jay out.

I don't know the answer, but I know one thing. If we can't hire a coach with a profile on par with the rest of the high profile coaches in the Pac-10, then I'd rather just keep Jay John and see what happens next season.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

O State Ballaz are back

I wonder what new song Mitch Canham and crew will create for 2007?

I just stumbled upon this website paying tribute to the National Champions and the "O State Ballaz" from last season. Check it out:

O State Ballaz Website

They are starting off strong this season so far and a lot of the newer players are doing well already. The pitching was solid, the hitting was solid. Great first weekend by the baseball team. Georgia is next and that should be a great early season matchup to see where we are.

Go Beavs!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Beavers Baseball Previews

The college baseball season has officially started and the Beavs are 1-0 and haven't allow a hit yet!

Looking for more information on Beaver baseball?

Here are some previews from around the web:

Beavers Back, Minus Some Big Arms :: Oregon State looking to repeat as champs without big contributors - CSTV.com

Beavers To Take The Field As Defending National Champs - CSTV.com

Oregon State begins defense of CWS title; Rice, Miami among those in Omaha mix - SI.com

New season, new look for national champs - Register-Guard

Shaping into arms race - The Oregonian

I think that this team could be very good. Each of the last two years we've had at least two solid pitchers, a solid closer, and 2-3 unknown hitters step up and be really good. Gillespe, Bill Rowe, Andy Jenkins, Kunda, and Darwin Barney as a freshman were all pleasant surprises that really drove us to win. Oh and good defense and aggressive baserunning will be a must.

So who will be the unknowns or backups to break out this season? I'm calling Mike Lissman, John Wallace, and either Ogata or Wong to become offensive studs this season. Clearly Canham and Barney will be good or perhaps great, but that's no surprise. Pitching wise I think Eddie Kunz needs to step up a be the closer in all senses of the word and someone needs to step up and be a solid #2 behind Mike Stutes. Perhaps Anton Maxwell or Daniel Turpen? Or even better, one of the new freshman pitchers. Who knows, but it should be fun!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Recruiting update from Cliff

LOI signing day is fast approaching! In 2 weeks we will know who's in and who's out for football next season.

Cliff Kirkpatrick has a great update on his blog and it is worth a read:

More recruits on board, UPDATED II - Cliff Kirkpatrick Gazette-Times Blog

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Robbie Findley drafted high by the MLS's LA Galaxy

OSU soccer forward Robbie Findley is playing with Becks.

The MLS had their amatuer draft recently and former OSU star was drafted with the 3rd pick in the 2nd round (16th overall). This is the second consecutive year an OSU player was drafted by the MLS. Findley is going to the LA Galaxy and will play with none other than David Beckham when he comes over from Real Madrid in the summer. Not only that, but he will join former OSU star Alan Gordon on the Galaxy.

Well done Robbie!

The only question remains, how could the Beavers not be better the last few years with 2 of the best players in the Pac-10?

Here's some more info:

Findley Taken by L.A. Galaxy - OSUBeavers.com

He is the third Oregon State player (and the highest drafted) to be taken in the MLS SuperDraft. Alan Gordon was taken by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2004 (sixth round, 53rd overall). Findley and Gordon played together at Oregon State in 2003 and will be reunited with the Galaxy. Ryan Johnson was taken by Real Salt Lake in 2006 (third round, 26th overall), and he now plays for the Chicago Fire.

Findley was the first player from the Pacific-10 Conference chosen in 2007 and one of three taken by the Galaxy. Other Pac-10 players drafted were Ty Harden of Washington (2nd round, 23rd overall, Los Angeles), Tally Hall of San Diego State (4th round, 44th overall, Los Angeles) and Eric Ebert of California (4th round, 52nd overall, Houston).

Beckham Dominates Talk at MLS Draft - Associated Press
The Galaxy traded down twice in the first round and didn't select until picking Oregon State forward Robbie Findley as the 16th overall selection, the third pick in the second round.

"I've been looking up to him since I was a little kid," Findley said. "He's been one of the best players in the world. I've idolized him and now to get a chance to play with him, it will certainly help me learn the game and hopefully it will raise the level of the league."

Galaxy Get Top Forward, Two Partial Allocations - SoCal Soccer News

MLS: A fine day for a draft - Soccer America (Findley gets a mention)

Robbie Findley Should be Drafted Early on Friday by the MLS - Corvallis Soccer Blog

MLS: SuperDraft - highlight or sidelight? - Soccer America (Findley gets a mention)

Friday, January 12, 2007

An outsiders view of the Beavs hoops team: Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star

I have yet to see a local media opinion or editorial about the Beavers and Jay John, but here is a good one from Tuscon. Of course Jay is from Tuscon and coached at Arizona for 4 years so they know him pretty well down there.

Opinion by Greg Hansen: It is difficult to watch John, true good guy, suffer at OSU - Arizona Daily Star

Here are some highlights:

In his fifth season at Oregon State, John has tested not only his patience but that of the Beaver basketball community. After a promising 2005 season in which OSU went to a postseason tournament (the NIT) for the first time in 15 years, John's young team is barely treading water, a shooting-challenged team that is superior in Pac-10 talent only to Arizona State.

Watching John's team struggle is unpleasant.

He is a good guy among good guys, and no one outside of John's immediate family could have been happier than UA fans last year when Oregon State extended his contract through 2010-11. He desperately needs the time; the Beavers have been the league's worst basketball franchise since Gary Payton left in 1990.

But you worry about OSU's administration and its capacity for patience; the league is so good that it's difficult to see Oregon State climbing over anyone this or next year.
It is likely that John over scheduled this club, playing LSU, Nevada and at Hawaii in the preseason. Had the Beavers been given Oregon's ridiculously soft schedule, they would have come in to Tucson at 12-4 or thereabouts.

John has also been the victim of some bad luck. The rotating Pac-10 schedule had his club opening against 15-1 Oregon, 14-1 UCLA and 13-4 USC, all at home, all while OSU students were away on winter break.

There is great circumstantial evidence that OSU is much better than its 8-9 record. That will not make Beaver fans any happier.
Well, that about sums it up in a few paragraphs. That said, it's going to be tough for the Beavs to get close to 13-14 wins this season unless the young guys grow up fast.

"Do we settle (for this)?'' John asked Thursday. "No. But that's where we are.''

Five of OSU's top six players return next year. The Beavers this week announced they have accepted former Kansas center C.J. Giles into school — Giles has experienced off-court legal issues in Kansas — and he instantly becomes the leading player at OSU since Corey Benjamin and Brent Barry a decade ago.

Every Pac-10 team recruits impact players — even ASU, with incoming James Harden — and Giles gives the Beavers a chance to fight back.


"This staff is coming off a four-year period in which we won more games (at OSU) than any coaching staff (at OSU) since Gary Payton,'' the Salpointe Catholic grad said Thursday.


Meanwhile, given his history as a workaholic, John will go back to the shop and try to get the Beavers to win 13 or 14 games this year.

On Thursday, OSU fell behind 10-0 three minutes into the game. John tapped his shoulders, signaling for a timeout. Stage fright. Thereafter, the Beavers played Arizona to a one-point game.

But, alas, in three minutes, too much damage had been done.

Such has been life for the Beavers this year.

I admit, it's going to be extra tough to compete now that the top 8 teams are actually pretty good. Who will we beat this year? Maybe ASU twice. Maybe we can upset Cal, Stanford, or UW at home. Can we win on the road? I don't know. I just hope it doesn't get too ugly this season.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Time to weigh in on Oregon State Basketball

Oregon State Basketball. Anyone feel some Deja Vu? To me it feels about the same as after the WSU game in the football season on the boards and blogs. I don't think people are motivated enough to put up a website, but there is a general unhappy feeling about the hoops team these days. There's a big difference. I don't think this team will make that kind of turnaround this season. Next season, I'm a bit more optimistic about. But not this season.

I have the weekend plan and all the Thursday Pac-10 games as well, so I've seen quite a few games this year and the last few years. I'm not sure if I've seen less energy in Gill since at least the Ritchie McKay era...if not the end of Jimmy's coaching tenure. I mean even against the Ducks and Bruins which were fairly close games it felt lame in Gill. Maybe it was because the students weren't back in town yet. I dunno. All I know is that the fans haven't really been doing much to help these kids get excited about playing at home. I guess people see the writing on the wall.

Of course it doesn't help that the team is struggling. I can't say that I didn't see it coming. I didn't think we'd be very good this season. Way too young. No experienced guards at all. That's a recipe for disaster. To me this was a rebuilding year. I know, I know, rebuilding from what? Last year I think we should have been better. Maybe another NIT bid or at least close to it. Especially with the way Sasa Cuic turned into the man on offense. But all of the studs from 2004 turned back into pumpkins or got hurt. That was an unlucky year for Jay. Unfortunately, this year was always going to be the rebuilding/down year.

However, until last week I wasn't sure what the future looked like. Was there some life left in the team? Could Jay recruit good enough players to come to Corvallis? Once I saw the C.J. Giles transfer, I perked up. Maybe it's the 10-4 football season high talkin', but it feels like maybe there is a future. What does the future look like? Hell if I know, but I have this Deja Vu feeling again. This time it's not related to the football team. The 2004-05 season keeps popping up in my head. I think that next year could turn out to be like 04-05.

I'm probably smoking some orange colored crack, but could next season really be like 2004-05? There are some parallels. The most obvious is the Nick DeWitz - C.J. Giles parallel. Another is the fact that there will be some decent senior leadership and proven scoring (Lucas vs. Jones/Cuic). Cuic was really good last season and if he can find his form again this year and improve next year, watch out. We have a decent point guard who can score (Hurd/Fontenet vs. Tarver). I think Josh Tarver has all of the tools to be one of the best at OSU. I'm really impressed with his outside shooting so far (now about the TOs...).

So what are we missing? Well, we need a shooting guard BAD. Chris Stephens was undersized, but he helped open everything up for the big men down low. I don't really see Wes Washington filling that role. Jack McGillis is more of a forward. Maybe Angelo will start growing into that this season. I love his effort and attitude. My guess is that one of the freshman will do it. Either Zach, Calvin Haynes, or Lathan Wallace will be a big surprise next season.

There will certainly be more talent on the floor and a lot more experience. Can Jay do it? Can he build the team into a winner again? I think he has to. His job depends on it. We have to go to the NIT next year. The Pac-10 is tougher now. If I continue to see growth this season, then I'm OK with giving Jay John through next season to see what happens. At this point I'd give anything for another 2004. That was a hell of a lot of fun. If you can't be great, then at least entertain me with some upsets and fun wins. What were we? 8-1 at home? That was fun.

On a more recent note, that wasn't a bad showing against UA. Sure, they got sloppy at the end but we made some plays and played with heart. And the guys started to look and play better. I think Jay has to play these young guys to get them to improve. And we need to drive and dish more. Oh and enough with the 3's! Gotta get a win in Phoenix.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reser Stadium Phase 2 Construction

Not much football going on since the Sun Bowl. Now we're marching toward signing day. Hopefully with the huge season we had we can get some great recruits and lay the foundation for the next few seasons. Especially now that we are the premier Pac-10 football team in the Northwest (Ken Goe, Bud Withers). At least for the next 8 months.

The only thing happening lately football-wise is the Phase 2 expansion of Reser. It's looking pretty flat. You can see a time lapse of the progress on the OSU webcam site here:

Reser Stadium Phase 2 expansion time lapse

I went ahead and snapped some photos from ground level:

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