Beavers land heralded prospects
Welcome to the Wayne Tinkle era, Beaver Nation.
A week after landing coveted big man Drew Eubanks, an in-state prospect out of Reynolds High School, four-star small forward Tres Tinkle, four-star shooting guard Stephen Thompson Jr. and three-star point guard Derrick Bruce committed to Oregon State on Tuesday afternoon, vaulting the new head coach's first recruiting class into the discussion as one of the top 10 in the country.
For a program that slogged its way through a 96-92 loss to Radford in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational the last time it stepped onto the court, the overnight jump to relevance is stunning.
The shift came over the weekend when the four commits took an official visit to Corvallis and attended the Beavers football game against Portland State.
"This past weekend, on our official visit, we really got along well and we realized we wanted to play together," Thompson Jr. said.
Tinkle, son of the head coach, is a 6-foot-7 wing rated as the No. 45 recruit in the nation by ESPN.
As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals for Hellgate High School (Mont.) and was named the MVP of the state tournament.
Tinkle, the father, reacted to his son's commitment with pride.
"I'm really excited that Tres has reached a decision, which my wife and I fully support," Wayne Tinkle said. "We're excited to track his progress. We're happy that Tres can now really enjoy his senior year, both academically and athletically."
Thompson Jr., son of assistant coach Stephen Thompson, is rated just outside the top 50 prospects in the country by ESPN, and had offers from Arizona State, Boston College, Cal, UConn, New Mexico, USC and others.
"I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for a great coaching staff and, of course, my dad," he said. "I wanted to be a part of something special, turning a program around."
Bruce, a Rivals.com top 150 prospect, was called "one of the more improved point guard prospects in the west," by ESPN. At 6-3, 165 pounds, the ball distributor needs to fill out a bit, but has the frame to grow into an elite-level guard in the Pac-12.
"I love the coaching staff. I really clicked with Stephen and Tres and Drew," he said. "It felt like I'd known them for a while now when I was up there."
Although it may appear that Bruce represents the icing on the cake for a class that has been in the works for some time, the two sons' decision to commit together was hardly predetermined. In fact, Tinkle and Thompson Jr. didn't have a chance to get to know each other until playing in the same camps this summer.
They quickly hit it off, and it soon became apparent that playing together for their dads at Oregon State was a viable option.
With the trio's commitments, the Beavers have put together their best class in more than a decade, and while Thompson Jr. wants that fact to resonate with fans, he also knows the group needs to deliver on the court.
"Hopefully it draws a lot of attention from the fans and gets a lot of fans at the games," he said. "Hopefully we can produce and make the fans happy."