Team ProfileThe cupboard is hardly bare, with four starters and 10 lettermen returning. The senior duo of Brian Jackson (11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and 6-7 senior forward Philip Ricci (16.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg) form one of the best inside tandems in the Pac-10. Ricci led the Beavers in scoring and rebounding last year while being double-teamed a majority of the time. He was selected team MVP.
"Philip has a great feel for where the defense is," John said, "and combining that with his strength it makes him very difficult to defend."
John says he hopes Ricci can improve his perimeter shooting, "but overall I certainly expect him to have a better year than he did last season-which was pretty good."
Barring injury, Jackson will become the 29th OSU player to score 1,000 points.
"Brian has worked extremely hard during the off-season and is in the best shape of his life," John said of the 6-9, 240-pound forward. "He's going to have his best season by far this year."
Playing behind Ricci and Jackson in the paint are 6-7 junior Jarman Sample (1.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg), sophomores Derek Potter (0.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg) and David Lucas (0.3 ppg, 0.3 rpg) and freshman Kevin Field, a 6-10, 250-pound center from Wilson (Wash.) High School. Field averaged 18.3 points, 13.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks his senior year.
"I want Kevin to get a taste of playing at this level this year," John said of Field, who turned 18 last May. "I'm not anticipating red-shirting anybody on the team."
Blue Ribbon AnalysisBACKCOURT C
Jay expects a more up-tempo game in Corvallis this season, but one that is under control. "We're not going to play with an attitude that we are inferior," he said. "The programs that are thriving possess a certain level of talent and they are playing a style that maximizes their talent.
"We want to run, but I'm not saying we're going to throw the ball down the court and let everybody break loose."
The players seem to like their new coach, and that's essential to forming cohesiveness throughout the program.
"I already get a sense that there is better unity and togetherness than there was the day I was hired," said John, whose team played five exhibition games in Australia in August. "We have things in place in this program that will allow this team to improve and be successful."