This is the eighth of a 10-part series previewing the Pac-10 basketball teams
The complete dismantling of Oregon State basketball has been well-chronicled: the firing of coach LaVonda Wagner last spring after the departure of most of her players; the long search for a new coach as the hemorrhaging of athletes continued; the hiring of coach Scott Rueck, who immediately set about to rebuild a team and a program that included only two players.
The squad is 10-strong now, but the course they are set to sail is as unchartered as space. Of the 80 percent that are newcomers, four came from an open tryout. Rueck is also short one assistant coach, and is currently running with just two.
Anything could happen this season.
Senior El Sara Greer and sophomore Angela Misa were the only two Beavers who didn’t jump ship from the original squad. Misa played limited minutes in her freshman season, leaving Greer the only player with significant Pac-10-level experience. Even at that it’s only one year, as she played at Kirkwood Community College for her first two seasons as an undergraduate. Greer averaged 4.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last year.
The new players are relative unknowns. Only two – freshmen guards Alexis Bostick of Bishop O’Dowd High School in San Leandro, Calif. and Classye James of Archbishop Mitty High School in Palo Alto, Calif. – have any kind of write-up on the ESPN website. Neither were ranked, either overall or at their position, and both received a scout’s grade of 40.
The other two players who signed are freshman guard Alyssa Martin of Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore., and Earlysia Marchbanks, a junior guard/forward from Yakima Valley Community College.
OSU held open tryouts mid-summer for prospective players, and four came out of that endeavor. One – Sage Indendi – is familiar to Rueck, as she played for him at George Fox University in 2008-2009. She sat out last year with an injury. The other three are Alyssa Martin, a freshman guard from Corvallis High School; Jenna Dixon, a freshman guard from Jesuit High School; and Amanda Davey, a senior guard transfer from Shasta College.
Not only is experience lacking on the roster, but so is height and position. Martin is the tallest on the team at six feet. Marchbanks is the only one listed as a forward. There are no centers.
Rueck’s two assistants are Mark Campbell, from the University of Hawaii, and Eric Ely, from Northwest Nazarene College. If he’s smart, he’ll hire a female for his third assistant.
The Beavers may underachieve this season, or they may surprise all of us with moments of brilliance. Whichever the case, I have to give some props to players and coaches alike for piloting this ship. If OSU achieves greatness one day, it’ll be because of the foundation that may be in the midst of being laid right now. Time will tell.