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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Beavers in hunt for the Pac-10

    Opponent Analysis

    As both overhaul their respective new offices, the relationship between Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson and his brother-in-law, President Barack Obama, has received immense publicity.

    In this week’s Pacific 10 Conference teleconference, Robinson even addressed the media in a similarl-sounding way.

    “”The overall culture here needed to be changed,”” Robinson said of his revamped Oregon State basketball program.

    If Robinson’s change is any reflection of what Obama’s impact on America might be, the Beavers can certainly be looked at as a team of hope – especially looking at how much difference 10 months makes.

    Following a dismal Pac-10 campaign last season – where the Beavers finished 6-25 overall and dead-last 0-18 in the conference – the culture this year has certainly changed for the better in Corvallis.

    Robinson, who was introduced on April 7, 2008 as OSU’s 20th head coach, finds his team heading into the Pac-10’s second half right in the mix.

    Winner of four straight games, OSU begins the weekend in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Pac-10 with a 4-5 conference and 10-10 overall record – which includes an improbable sweep of the Bay Area schools.

    “”We have to remind ourselves, we can’t be satisfied with where we are,”” Robinson told the local media. “”I’ve got a room full of guys who think they can win every game.””

    Added UA interim head coach Russ Pennell: “”I think more than his relationship with our president, I think he’s a darn good coach. He’s brought a really good system to Oregon State, and I think those guys look like they’re having fun, they’re enjoying playing again.

    “”I think he’s kind of giving them a swagger to believe that they’re good enough to be in this league, and they’re good enough to participate in this league,”” Pennell said. “”They’re playing with a lot more confidence. You can tell they believe in their system.””

    It’s a system that dates back to Robinson’s roots at Princeton. Oregon State runs the well-known Princeton offense, a motion-emphasized offense that revolves around a post player stationed at the top of the key.

    “”I guarantee you, the first few weeks of the season, (OSU players) were shell-shocked (by the new system),”” Pennell said. “”They didn’t know whether they were coming or going. But once you figure it out, boy, you can control games and tempo.””

    Added UA point guard Nic Wise: “”They’re a different team than last year. They play a different defense, a new offensive scheme. They’re playing good ball as well right now, too, so that’s going to be a tough matchup for us.””

    Back in 1979, Robinson was ready to accept his full-ride scholarship to play basketball at Washington before his father insisted that affordability isn’t what an education should be based on.

    Since Princeton only offered financial aid, Robinson figured it would make economic sense to head to Seattle.

    However, Robinson finally landed in the Pac-10.

    “”To me, they just had an overhaul in their attitude,”” Pennell said.

    Many people – even players – thought Robinson would completely start fresh with a new roster this season.

    With six total upperclassmen, the new-look Beavers aren’t necessarily new looking. Robinson starts a senior, three juniors and a sophomore.

    The sophomore, Calvin Haynes, leads the team as the only Beaver averaging double digits with 16.1 points per game this season.

    “”The guys have been quoted saying they thought I would clean house,”” Robinson said. “”Morally I didn’t feel comfortable just getting rid of everyone. I at least owed the guys a shot. Once I met these guys and realized they wanted an opportunity, that’s all you need as a coach.””

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