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September 20, 2009
Craig Robinson wasn't named the Pac-10 coach of the year - the nod went to Washington's Lorenzo Romar instead - but he certainly deserved consideration. If Robinson keeps this up, he'll get his due. Robinson has Oregon State believing it can compete for Pac-10 titles. The Beavers aren't there yet, but they ended their season on a positive note for the first time in nearly 20 years by winning the College Basketball Invitational. Robinson followed that up by bringing in a top-25 signing class. The freshmen join a team that suffers only one major loss (point guard Rickey Claitt) from last season's 18-18 team. Meanwhile, the returning cast should be even more proficient in Robinson's Princeton-style offense and 1-3-1 defense.
Roeland Schaftenaar triggers the Oregon State offense with his passing from the post.
The group is led by 6-foot-11 senior Roeland Schaftenaar, a native of The Netherlands who's hardly a typical big man. He didn't lead his team in rebounds (that would be Seth Tarver) but was the facilitator for Oregon State's offense, thanks to his ability to pass from the post. Schaftenaar had a team-leading 120 assists to go with 10.5 points per game. The Beavers should have plenty of depth in the frontcourt. Tarver was one of two players to start every game last season, and experienced forwards Omari Johnson and Daniel Deane provide outside shooting and rebounding.
Calvin Haynes came off the bench for most of the season, but that didn't stop him from logging enough minutes to lead Oregon State at 13.5 points per game. Despite Claitt's loss, the Beavers return plenty of depth and experience at guard. Lathen Wallace, the team's best 3-point shooter, and Josh Tarver, Seth's older brother, are back after starting a combined 31 games last season. The signing class should contribute in the backcourt. The Beavers likely will need Jared Cunningham to play some minutes at point guard, and Roberto Nelson also could find a spot in the rotation. Both were four-star prospects.
Only two seasons removed from going 0-18 in the conference, Oregon State is poised to be competitive in the Pac-10. Despite finishing eighth in the league last season, the Beavers swept California and split the season series with Washington State. The Beavers should be right there with them this season.
Preseason rankings were compiled by basketball writers David Fox, Mike Huguenin, Jason King and Steve Megargee.