As was the case with everyone close to Oregon State basketball, Jimmy Anderson was surprised by the hiring of Craig Robinson as the Beavers' new coach. But Anderson - a longtime OSU assistant who was head coach from 1989-95 - says he was impressed after a recent meeting with the former Brown University coach.
'A very nice person, and clearly a worker,' says Anderson, still a Corvallis resident and a fixture at Beaver home games. 'He's hit the ground running. He has no West Coast background, which is always going to hurt a little bit, and it'll take him some time to get his foot in the door with recruits. But we're all very optimistic he can get the job done, and we'll support Craig as much as we can.'
Robinson is the most important hire of Bob De Carolis' six years as athletic director. De Carolis has taken deserved criticism for his 2005 contract extension of ex-coach Jay John, and it's crucial to the future of the OSU athletic department - and to that of its AD - that De Carolis got this one right.
Only De Carolis knows why ex-OSU great Lester Conner - the Indiana Pacers' assistant coach and longtime NBA player and coach who had expressed interest in the job - didn't get an interview. Regardless of whether Conner were a more deserving candidate than Robinson, he merited at least a sit-down with the selection committee.
• Robinson interviewed with both Providence and Rice for their vacant head-coaching jobs while Oregon State's selection process was under way, and the implication was that De Carolis moved quickly to hire Robinson because of that.
Paul Kenyon, who covers a few Brown games for the Providence Journal each season, says he has been very impressed with Robinson, 'both on and off the court.'
'He obviously is moving up in competition, but I like his chances to do well,' Kenyon says. 'He very much knows what he is doing, taking the old Princeton system and modifying it to his preferences.'
My concern is this: The Princeton offense is constant motion, with give-and-go and back-door cuts but an emphasis on ball control and halfcourt sets rather than getting out on the fastbreak. It might be a tough sell to high school prospects who like to run.
Oregon State averaged a Pac-10-low 59.9 points last season while shooting an unconscionable .374 from the field. The Bears averaged 68.9 points, second in the Ivy League, with a field-goal percentage of .475. Not bad.
If the Beavers win, it won't matter how many points they score - everyone will be happy. But if they lose - and they are going to, for at least another year or two - it's a lot more fun to watch them fall by a score of 90-80 than by 60-50.
• The Trail Blazers soon will decide between Global Spectrum and Anschutz Entertainment Group to handle operations at the Rose Quarter. Global representatives have managed the Rose Garden and Memorial Coliseum since 2005, but their contract ends on June 30.
Global's tenure 'somewhat' helps the chances of getting its deal extended, 'because we know what they bring to the table,' Blazer President Larry Miller says. 'We are also looking at what we believe AEG can bring.'
• May 12 is the launch date for the new sports talk format that will take over Paul Allen's Jammin 95.5 FM.
Much of the programming will move over from KXL (750 AM), including games of the Trail Blazers, University of Oregon and Seattle Seahawks.
The daily slate Monday through Friday will feature Katy Brown of KATU (2) and former Portland radio voice Kenny Vance from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Jim Rome from 9 a.m. to noon, Chris Myers from noon to 3 p.m., John Canzano and Gavin Dawson from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and J.T. the Brick from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
It will be the first all-sports FM station on the West Coast.