On College Hoops
Oregon State was the Pac-10's worst shooting team, woeful from everywhere. Can new coach Craig Robinson and his Princeton-style motion offense change that?
'I refuse to believe the entire team can't shoot - it's statistically inconsistent and invalid,' he says. 'What people don't spend enough time on is shooting, because they rely on kids to do it themselves. When you do that, kids work on things they're already good at.
'I believe you can get better at shooting - nobody is born a great shooter. You have to learn how to do it.'
Another issue: Can Robinson attract talent, right away? He needs better players, especially to run such a patient offense, which could be as foreign as Roeland Schaftenaar to a lot of players.
The Beavers have 10 players on scholarship, including Utah transfer Daniel Deane and not including the departed C.J. Giles and two prep recruits who might be reconsidering their decisions. That leaves room for three more scholarships.
Also, on April 24 the NCAA will release its Academic Progress Rate, which awards points based on scholarship players' academic eligibility and whether they have stayed with a school. The Beavers could drop three current players and still be deemed OK under the system, OSU officials say. So in all, Robinson might have room to sign six new players.
With nearly every coaching change, the new guy comes in, evaluates the players and shows some the door. It's bound to happen at OSU, although if more than three of the current 10 players leave, the program could have APR problems.
'We're not thinking about getting rid of anybody, but we've got to see what guys can do,' Robinson says. 'I can't blanketly say, 'Some guys can't play at all.' '
Athletic Director Bob De Carolis realizes that the Beavers need more talent, 'but it's a touchy situation,' he says. 'You've got to be careful of a couple things. If you run too many kids off, then APR factors into the equation, and you could get a penalty (lost scholarships). And our philosophy is to work as hard as you can to get that kid to land on his feet somewhere.'
• Former OSU player Lamar Hurd sat in on the interviews of Bill Grier, Ron Hunter, Ken Bone, Robinson and others. Hurd consulted with De Carolis and Executive Associate Athletic Director Todd Stansbury about the coaching position. The Beavers went after Randy Bennett, Grier and Hunter before settling on Robinson.
'When Coach Robinson landed in our lap, it was a no-brainer for us,' says Hurd, 24, who works and coaches at The Hoop in Beaverton. 'There's something about him; it's hard to explain. When you meet the guy and have a chance to sit and talk with him, you'll draw the conclusion that he's the smartest human being you've ever talked to. An amazing guy. How it translates into coaching, we'll have to see. But people we talked with at the Final Four say he's the next John Thompson III. We feel he's a diamond in the rough.'
Thompson coached Princeton, where Robinson played under coach Pete Carril, and then brought the patient motion offense to Georgetown.
'Yeah, he can coach basketball,' Hurd says of the 45-year-old Robinson, who worked in private business until his mid-30s. 'He used to play the game at a high level, and he's coached all different levels.
'But he can't coach the same way as Ben Howland at UCLA, Lute Olson at Arizona or Lorenzo Romar at Washington. We're in a unique situation; we need a guy who can coach Oregon State.'
Translation: Play a tough-to-track offense and a multiple defense and maybe be competitive - or certainly better than 0-18 in the Pac-10. Hurd says the Beaver delegation learned at the Final Four that there is a 'bad perception' of OSU basketball 'and there were several guys afraid to take our job. We needed a guy not afraid to take it on.'
• Hurd, meanwhile, says he and Robinson will be meeting this week. Hurd wants to get into coaching, and Robinson will be searching for assistants.
• Bone, who led Portland State to the NCAA Tournament, interviewed with De Carolis and crew for two hours last Thursday. Then he never heard back from them.
'Yes and no,' Bone says, when asked if he was disappointed. 'I'm not disappointed as much as surprised they didn't want to hear more. They must not have liked what I said.'
When Bone's wife told him the Beavers had hired Robinson, he reacted with, 'Who?' Bone adds: 'I had never heard of him. I thought she'd say Hunter.'
• Bone says he doesn't believe the allegations against PSU players Scott Morrison and Jeremiah Dominguez in Mexico hurt his chances of landing the OSU job.
He expects the suspensions of both players to be lifted soon since the school has been investigating the Mexico incident. 'We want to make sure 100 percent … and we haven't heard anything different in the past two, three days,' Bone says.
Morrison denies hitting Michigan man Kyle Meagher, who needed reconstructive jaw surgery in Cabo San Lucas.
'I have a good relationship with (Dominguez), and he says he wasn't involved in anything,' Bone says. 'And I believe him.'