Pac-10 Hoops Preview - Oregon State

Over the next few weeks will endeavor to bring you a comprehensive breakdown of the upcoming 2002-2003 basketball season in the Pacific-10 conference. Included in this analysis will be the projection of team records, and post-season individual awards. The second section of this multi-part series looks at the Oregon State Beavers

Oregon State Beavers (Corvallis, Oregon)
2001-2002 Record: 12-17 (4-14 Pac-10)
Postseason: None
Returning Starters: 3

Projected Starting Lineup: (Returning Starters in Bold)
PG-Lamar Hurd, 6'4, 180 Fr. (9.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 9.7 apg as HS senior)
SG-Jimmie Haywood, 6'2, 175 Sr. (9.0ppg, 2.9 rpg, .414FG%, .400 3pt%)
SF-Floyd North III, 6'4, 215 So. (4.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .505FG%, .433 3pt%, .832FT%)
PF-Brian Jackson, 6'9, 240 Sr. (11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, .539FG%, .395 3pt%, .808FT%)
C-Philip Ricci, 6'7, 250 Sr. (16.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.6 blks, .537FG%)

Key Returning Reserves: J.S. Nash, 6'1, 195 So. G (5.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, .404FG%, .321 3pt%)
Jarman Sample 6'7 205 Jr. (Limited Minutes)
Mike Cokley 5'8 170 Sr. (Limited Minutes)
Derek Potter 6'11 230 So. (Limited Minutes)

Recruiting Class:

Lamar Hurd, 6'4 180 Fr (Heritage Christian, New Caney, TX)
Justin Holt 6'6 200 Fr. (Franklin HS, Seattle WA)
Kevin Field 6'10 250 Fr. (Wilson HS, Tacoma WA)

In April of this year, Jay John was named the Head Coach of an Oregon State program that has seen only six other men hold the same position since the 1928-29 season. It is his first job at the helm of a program after spending nearly two decades on the bench working with some of the top basketball minds in the game, most notably Lute Olson over the previous 4 seasons at the University of Arizona. John will attempt to bring stability back to a program that has suffered miserably for the past decade. The Beavers only come close to a .500% record once in that span, and never won more than 7 games in the conference over that period.

Fortunately Coach John will have something to work with, as a very solid base trio of players return in the form of Phillip Ricci, Brian Jackson, and Jimmie Haywood. Last season was difficult to say the least for Oregon State under former Head Coach Ritchie McKay as both Haywood and Jackson quit the team temporarily and McKay bolted for the University of New Mexico not long after the season ended. Ricci, one of the best post players in the conference, possesses the ability to score, rebound and defend like few others in the Pac-10, but too often he was forced to carry the team on his shoulders. Jackson and Haywood arrived at Oregon State as highly touted recruits, but have yet to live up to the high expectations.

Recruiting Class Grade: B Almost immediately after taking the job Jay John found success in the spring signing period with the addition of high school point guard Lamar Hurd, a player ranked by many recruiting services among the top 100 prep players in the 2002 class. Hurd averaged nearly a triple double as a senior, and had fantastic 4 to 1 assists to turnover ratio. The signing of Hurd is especially important in the wake of former starting point guard Joe See's transfer to the University of California at Santa Barbara. Justin Holt is a player that could contribute significantly in his first year, particularly when John decides to go with a bigger lineup. Kevin Field is well built at 250 pounds and may see some spot duty as a reserve. He could develop into a player who may be an interior force for the Beavers a few years down the road.

Noteworthy: -Incoming recruit Lamar Hurd was senior class vice president and valedictorian at the small school, Christian Heritage. He's a true point guard who thinks pass first and will be vital to Oregon State's chances this season.
-At 6'9 Brian Jackson is going to have to do a better job on the glass if this team has any post-season aspirations. Last year Ricci was the only player on the squad to average more than the 3.8 rebounds that Jackson hauled in.
-J.S. Nash started 18 games last season, primarily at point guard, but only averaged a little over 1.5 assists per game. While he is a solid athlete who is good at breaking down the defense off the dribble, Nash has a tendency to try and score the bucket on his own rather than get the ball to a teammate in a more favorable finishing position
. -The team will have the benefit of traveling to Australia for a 12-day period, playing 5 games over that span, which will certainly ease the transition associated with the new staff and the philosophy it brings with it.

2002-2003 Outlook: Depth will be a major concern for this team that has three very solid, senior starters and a young promising point guard to lead them into battle. The Beavers need to stay out of foul trouble and do a better job of rebounding the basketball at both ends. It obviously remains to be seen how quickly the transition from McKay's system to John's brand of ball will take hold. However, if that period is relatively short and Phillip Ricci can once-again balance the Gill Coliseum on his shoulders, this is a team that could make a run at an NIT berth, particularly with an extremely weak non-conference schedule that could equate to 7 or 8 wins before the conference slate even begins.

Pac-10 Prediction: 7-11 Postseason: NIT Bubble

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