Granted, it has been a tumultuous run with some blowout losses, a couple of players quitting (one returning), and being eliminated from the Pac-10 tournament that only the worst two teams in the conference don't attend. But I believe that the Beaver basketball team is headed in the right direction.
Ritchie McKay has come under heat for the lack of solid improvement shown by the team as the year has progressed. I will admit that I had expectations at the beginning of the season for this team that were not met. The one thing that stood out to me through it all was that they kept close to many teams but just did not have the depth or talent to compete in the toughest conference in college basketball this season. While I do not expect the Beavers to make a similar leap next year, Oregon was 5-13 in their conference games last season and finished almost completely reversed at 14-4.
It takes time to develop a good program in the Pac-10. McKay has shown that he has the ability to recruit top-notch players. He has only really had time to recruit one class of players. I think that Joe See, J.S. Nash, and Floyd North III will prove to be a great group of recruits.
Joe See is a great shooter who is unselfish and knows how to get his teammates involved in the game. He has great court presence and until players begin to take him seriously, he will be extremely effective. J.S. Nash has been getting the most minutes of the freshman. He is a smart player, plays great defense, and shoots well. Floyd North III is a big-time athlete. I believe he will be star of the group by the time he leaves Corvallis. He is strong, quick, and talented. I am extremely excited to see these players develop.
It is important to give McKay time to make things happen. Teams like Arizona, Stanford, and UCLA have been dominating the conference for years. It would be extremely unrealistic to expect that the Beavers will make incredible leaps in a short time. I would expect to see significant improvement from this year to next year, and probably a little more in each additional year. Everyone has the right to criticize the program, but I would encourage all those Beaver fans out there to give it time. It has taken Ernie Kent five years to bring the Ducks to where they are now. Give it some time.
More commentary from the Toe to come later in the week.
You can contact The Toe at firstname.lastname@example.org
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