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Newcomer Dew finds niche with Beavers

CORVALLIS — Keondre Dew had grown to about 6 feet, 3 inches at age 14.

He knew he was still growing because his knees often hurt. He played football — defensive back, tackle and tight end — and found that he was becoming too tall for the sport.

“My mom said if you want a long career you should probably play basketball. So I had to give that up,” he said.

Dew turned to basketball, which he would start playing competitively for the first time.

Seven years later, he’s on the Oregon State campus, continuing his venture into the sport as a Division I player.

The 6-foot-8 Dew, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, believes his versatility is a big key to his game. The Beavers believe he can play multiple positions on offense and guard various spots on defense.

“Really, I’m an all-around guy, do it all. I don’t really consider myself having a position,” Dew said. “Whatever the team needs to me do, I can do everything. That’s my greatest strength.”

OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said Dew can play both forward positions. The Beavers are going to challenge Dew to be a dominant rebounder, with the hopes of helping fill a gap the team had last season.

“He’s another guy that’s got good vision, can handle and pass the ball,” Tinkle said. “But we’ve got to have him to be an active defender and rebounder as well. He’s a scorer, a good mid-range shooter, good around the basket.”

Dew spent a year at the University of Tulsa before moving on to City College, which went 32-1 last season and won the state championship.

Dew averaged about five points and five rebounds. His main job, he says, was to encourage the younger players on the team.

He took a visit to Corvallis last October and liked the campus. The team seemed more like a family, he added.

He also liked the coaching staff and saw an opportunity to help the team continue to improve.

“I would say this is the place to be,” Dew said. “Up and coming and it’s a great time to be a Beaver right now.”

Dew, who also played soccer as a youngster, didn't start out playing basketball, but he has the sport in his blood.

His uncle is former NBA player Bryon Russell. Current NBA player OJ Mayo is his cousin.

“When I worked out with them they always used to tell me if you want to get where we’re at, just keep getting better, keep improving,” Dew said. “Be mentally strong. A lot of challenges are going to come your way. Continue to push through them.

“I look at where they’re at and I say, why can’t I be there? They started in the same shoes I did.”

Dew is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery in May and is working to get the muscles in his left leg back to 100 percent. He’s taking direction from the OSU training staff on exercises that will help the leg get stronger.

He’s done some scrimmaging with the other newcomers and is looking forward to this week, when the entire team gathers for offseason training.

Dew, who signed last November, saw the Beavers make the NCAA tournament in March to end a long drought and is excited to be a part of the resurgence.

He has simple goals for the upcoming season.

“Just to be the best player I can be and max out my potential … and continue to help these guys make it happen here,” Dew said.