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MailTribune.com
  • Beavers' Tinkle preps for recruiting period

  • Today marks the start of the July recruiting period, the most pivotal three-week stretch on college basketball coaches' offseason calendars.
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  • Today marks the start of the July recruiting period, the most pivotal three-week stretch on college basketball coaches' offseason calendars.
    It's a chance to pitch their schools at events spanning the country. Oregon State's new staff, though, knows that prospects must feel comfortable with coaches before they're ready to consider committing to a program.
    So Wayne Tinkle and his three assistants have crafted a complex schedule, one that maximizes the number of recruits they see. Beavers coaches will fan across the major tournaments and showcases, making sure at least two of them meet at the events the staff deems most important.
    "We just want to make sure we get in front of as many players as possible," assistant Gregg Gottlieb said Tuesday.
    Less than three weeks since officially announcing his third and final assistant, Tinkle has narrowed in on a basic plan to improve his roster. He is no longer focused on adding a post-graduate transfer. Few available optionsseem poised to contribute at the Pac-12 level, he said.
    At this point, the Beavers have three open scholarships for next season. Coaches expect Sacramento power forward Cameron Oliver, who has yet to reopen his recruitment, to join fellow signees Chai Baker and Gary Payton II in Corvallis by fall. Former signee Isaiah Manderson also remains a possibility.
    If Manderson doesn't land with OSU, the Beavers hope to sign at least one more 2014 recruit. They'll try to find what Tinkle calls a "hidden gem," a high-quality player largely overlooked by big-conference programs.
    Derrien King and Julian Richardson, two lightly touted California guards who reportedly visited campus two weeks ago, could fit the billing. A junior college player, of course, may ultimately prove more worthwhile. OSU, which doesn't currently have a senior slated for next season, could benefit from added experience.
    Yet Tinkle realizes that the 2015 and 2016 classes likely give the new regime its best shot at building a strong foundation. He has said that he wants to "bank a couple" scholarshipsfor the 2015 crop, a group that features two four-star players — Tres TinkleandStephen Thompson Jr. — who are coaches' sons.
    So OSU will spend much of the July period scouring the recruiting landscape for difference-making high school juniors and seniors. Outside of Tinkle and Thompson Jr., OSU has already reportedly offered three-star 2015 power forward Alex Illikainen, five-star 2015 shooting guard Tyler Dorsey and four-star 2016 point guard Payton Pritchard, among others.
    "It all starts with getting kids to visit," Gottlieb said. "And once you get a couple good guys to commit, then it just kind of builds off itself."
    The July recruiting period is broken into three Wednesday-to-Sunday evaluation blocks. During those time frames, coaches' lives often become a blur of plane trips, car rentals and detailed notes.
    It's common to struggle finding your ride in the parking lot, Gottlieb recalled. Eventually, distinguishing between the white Ford you drove last week and the blue Honda you're renting today proves difficult.
    Some coaches avoid the grind, instead parking in one city — typically Las Vegas — that hosts numerous events. A first-year staff, intent on introducing itself to the latest bunch of talent, enjoys no such luxury.
    Tinkle will shuffle between showcases in Las Vegas, Anaheim and Los Angeles this month. The assistants will plug remaining gaps, hitting well-known tournaments like the Reebok Breakout Classic in Philadelphia (July 8-11) and the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. (July 16-19).
    Needs plague OSU's roster. With their top five 2013-14 scorers gone, the Beavers boast one regular starter (guard Langston Morris-Walker). None of their returning big men has averaged more than 10.8 minutes over a college season.
    So the next three weeks are especially crucial for a program desperate to halt a 24-year NCAA tournament drought. To rebuild, OSU first needs pieces.
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