Wayne Tinkle and his staff are working to put together the 2019-20 version of the Oregon State men’s basketball team.
There are moving pieces to be negotiated, starting with decisions by Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson on whether they will remain as NBA draft candidates or return to school.
Even if both are back next season, the Beavers have two scholarships to fill with the graduation of Gligorije Rakocevic and Stevie Thompson.
In a Tuesday interview, Wayne Tinkle talked on various topics surrounding his program, most notably the draft declarations of his top two potential returning scorers. Underclassmen choosing to enter the draft have until May 29 to make their ultimate decision to stay or go. If they're invited to the NBA combine and go undrafted, the deadline is June 24.
“They’re waiting to get calls to hopefully get some workouts with some NBA teams and then gain feedback on what the prospects would be this year or moving forward,” coach Tinkle said. “We’ll see whether they get positive news and they’re draftable or not. In that case, we expect to have both of them back.”
Under new rules, underclassmen declaring for the draft can hire an agent but must end that relationship if they decide to return to school.
Tres Tinkle, the coach’s son, signed with an agency Tuesday and is working out in Corvallis while taking online classes this spring. Ethan Thompson has spent most of the last few weeks in Los Angeles taking online classes, though he has returned to the OSU campus for weekend visits by recruits, coach Tinkle said.
Tres Tinkle said before this past season that the only person he was listening to when it came to a possible decision on leaving school early was his father.
“It’s really been neat to see how he’s matured through the process,” coach Tinkle said. “If you’ve got any kind of competitiveness to you, you see what they’re saying about guys and their draft status and you want to see where you would fit in that.
“He’s really leaned on us for some counseling and advice and opinions, and it’s good to see. And all the while, he’s working as hard as he ever does in the offseason. So he’s preparing himself.”
Oregon State is coming off a season that looked like it had postseason potential.
The Beavers were 16-8 overall and 8-4 in Pac-12 play before dropping five of their last seven. Four of the five losses came by five points or fewer.
OSU salvaged the No. 4 seed and a bye in the conference tournament but couldn’t keep up with Colorado in a 73-58 quarterfinal loss. The Beavers finished 18-13 after going 16-16 a year earlier.
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“I thought we accomplished a lot … but certainly there’s a couple that stick in your craw that we feel like we should have pulled out,” coach Tinkle said.
The focus in the offseason, he added, will be on the factors that those close games involved: Keeping the ball in front of you on defense, boxing out and making shots.
“I think toughness, both mentally and physically, is an area we know we need to improve in that would really hope in those situations, Tinkle said. “But we feel like with what we recruited and everybody we have coming back we are going to be a much tougher team both mentally and physically.”
The help on the way includes the incoming freshman class of Gianni Hunt and Jarod Lucas and shooting guard Julien Franklin.
Sean Miller-Moore, a 6-foot-5 guard from Canada who attends a Missouri junior college, announced Tuesday his verbal commitment to Oregon State. Coach Tinkle said he hopes to sign a post player for the upcoming season.
Next winter, the Beavers will have transfer Payton Dastrup on the floor for the first time.
Dastrup, a 6-10 junior forward, arrived in Corvallis last summer but wasn’t granted an NCAA waiver to play immediately.
He’s a versatile player who can play inside and out with a good shooting touch and strong passing skills.
Coach Tinkle is looking for forwards Kylor Kelley and Warren Washington to add size and strength. That will allow the team to pass the ball into the post more, thus opening up the outside for 3-pointers.
“I know we will shoot it better from the perimeter the more often we can throw it inside,” said coach Tinkle, whose team shot 32.1 percent on deep balls, good for 11th in the Pac-12. “We kept talking about it. We worked on it. We didn’t throw it into the post as much as we needed to this year, which gets the defense to collapse and you’re standing there spotted up instead of always shooting on the move and that sort of thing.”
The Beavers will host Iowa State at Gill Coliseum early in the upcoming season. They will also play Oklahoma, another 2019 NCAA tournament team, at Portland’s Moda Center as part of a doubleheader with Oregon and Memphis.
OSU will travel to Texas A&M and Wyoming, both 2018-19 opponents, for true road games and play San Jose State in Las Vegas.