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Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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April 6, 2008 6:31 PM

New OSU coach reportedly hired --- and it's not Ken Bone

Posted by Bob Condotta

John Canzano of the Oregonian is reporting tonight that Oregon State is set to hire Craig Robinson of Brown as its new head coach. Here's more from the Beavers Beat blog.

Robinson has almost been better known as late for being the brother-in-law of Barack Obama.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times also has this report on the apparent hire.

Brown finished 19-10 this season and was invited to the CBI, where it lost in the first round to Ohio University.

Here's a bio on Robinson. And here's his Wikipedia entry which has some links to other stories about him. As you can see, he's only been a head coach for two years.

This is definitely an off-the-radar hire as I never saw Brown's name mentioned once in any of the stories I read on this.

But maybe this is the kind of outside-the-box hire the Beavers need to revive their program (while acknowledging that Robinson was likely at least the third choice after Randy Bennett and Bill Grier).

And too bad for Ken Bone, the former UW assistant now at Portland State who seemed like he would have been a perfect fit for this job. Bone's best revenge now will be continuing the resurgence at PSU, where his team next year could be as good, or better, than this year with former Husky Phil Nelson becoming eligible.

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Posted by MT Husky

6:53 PM, Apr 06, 2008

(I typed out the following thoughts prior to this recent post, so sorry for it having nothing to do with this thread).

Bob, thanks for this info and for already looking toward next year. There may not be many of us, but count me in as one who loves both B-ball and the Huskies enough that I’ll be following your blog and thinking about next season without taking any breaks.

A few random opinions of my own:

The debate as to whether the Pac-10 was overrated can be analyzed from so many different angles without conclusive evidence that I think it is ludicrous to even tackle…but just based on observation of the tournament and how Pac-10 teams looked…count me in as someone who felt most of the Pac-10 teams looked overmatched and therefore I would say it was indeed a little (at least) overrated.

Other topics I’m looking forward to you covering (and others debating) in the coming months include (but are not limited to):

- Which Pac-10 teams will be worse/better next season? Obviously that can’t be very well analyzed until it is determined for certain who is staying and who is going (pro). But with a lot of assumptions being made two team I do think will be improved (and dangerous) are ASU (okay, kind of obvious) and UW (call me a homer, but in a future discussion I’ll be happy to outline all my points why I think Huskies will be a very good team next season).

- How Huskies will clear up the issue of too many players and not enough scholarships. Why is this not garnering more attention? Isn’t this kind of a big deal? Is this common?

- Who the starting 5 might/should be (and shouldn’t be…um…Dentmon anyone?...and I actually am prepared to make a case for Joel Smith to start (20’9” 3 point line) – (along with Brockman, MBA, QP and Overton…I love this starting 5…but will save my argument for these 5 for a future discussion).

- And of course, the 2009 recruiting class, which right now is appearing to be pretty disappointing – but that can change quickly.

Thanks Bob, keep up the good work.

Posted by 206er

7:17 PM, Apr 06, 2008

totally agree on the starting 5. i might give suggs a chance to overtake smith at sg, but right now i'd say your lineup is spot on.

this doesn't seem like that groundbreaking of a hire by oregon state. but then again i'm not too familiar with brown b ball. he's got his work cut out for him. we'll see

Posted by OregonPlayer

7:31 PM, Apr 06, 2008

Why have the aroma of 'Huskyville' stink up OSU?

Posted by Go Dawgs Go

8:31 PM, Apr 06, 2008

Great post MT. Oregonplayer welcome to the list of blog trolls. I found it quite funny that a fan of a team that went 0 and 18 would take the time to take a shot at another Pac 10 team. Amazing. Bob, thanks for the great ongoing coverage of the Pac 10. It is appreciated.

Posted by jed

8:47 PM, Apr 06, 2008

Fortunate for Phil Nelson that Ken Bone wasn't hired away from PSU. I agree that Ken Bone would probably have been a very good hire at OSU. OSU has been so bad and they have some issues with ticket sales etc. that they may have wanted to get someone less known in the area to lend some intrigue to fuel interest or hope in the fan base. Sometimes hiring the guy you know about coaching the lower mid-major next door doesn't cause much buzz.

Posted by Splash

9:03 PM, Apr 06, 2008

I still don't see next year's team being much better than this year's team--however just a few lucky breaks would have made the perception of this season much more positive. I think the huskies will have an improved record over this year's team, maybe even make the NCAAs, but they will not advance very far. The incoming freshman class is solid, but unless one of them turns out to be an immediate superstar, I think this team has another year or two to go before it reaches the elite status it held a few years ago.

Romar is doing a decent job as coach. He has recruited good athletes who are coachable--they just need some time to learn how to win together. Dumping the ball inside to Brockman every play is not going to win you many games against good defensive teams and the Pac-10 is shaping up to be full of them.

The future seems to be bright. The huskies will be taller and more athletic than they were this season. The main problems for next year's squad will be the same as those which were faced in this one: no clear 8 man rotation and offensive cohesion. My hope is that there is more talent on the team next year than there was this year, which should make those problems easier to solve.

Romar needs to rethink his philosophy about redshirting players as he is not getting those immediate impact players who can prove they belong on the starting roster of a pac-10 team. Holiday may have made some contributions to this year's team, but the team probably would have been better served with him redshirting with Gant. Romar needs to build a mentality of putting the team first and this should start with redshirting his freshmen.

One of the challenges I see for this team is figuring out the guard situation. This team appears to have a lot of depth at guard, but Overton is the only true point on the team, which creates quite a logjam for the other traditional guard spot. Perhaps it's time to go back to a three guard line up like we saw was successful with Conroy, Robinson, and Roy, but it remains to be seen who will step up to make that idea feasible.

Posted by Don

9:14 PM, Apr 06, 2008

Anyone who thinks Joel Smith will be starting next year has seen something I've never seen. In fact I'm guessing they ask Joel to move on down the road to open up a scholarship for player who can/will contribute next year.

If Joel couldn't contribute as a 24 year old red shirt Junior what makes you think all that will change over a few months?

Posted by Coach

10:03 PM, Apr 06, 2008

I agree that it is hard to see next years team being much better. Romar needs to teach better schemes and make much better game adjustments . The coaching level in the conference is going off the charts. Every team wants to be in the top of the conference and they are hiring top flight coaches. If Cal had Montgomery this year, UW would have been no higher than 9th in the conference. The Pac 10 may not be the best conference but it does have the best set of coaches top to bottom.

Posted by grant

10:39 PM, Apr 06, 2008

Great post MT,

-Too early to tell who will be better or worse yet, but with the likely turnover that will occur around the league, I agree that teams like ASU and UW have the best chance at improving. Not a homer thing, they are just returning most of their teams. Meanwhile Oregon and WSU have the most holes to fill (so far) after graduating strong senior classes. It hurts to lose Bayless, but I think Arizona will resemble its old self next season as well.

-Not sure about the schollie guess is Joel Smith becomes a walk on (he will have graduated, if that makes any difference). It has always worked out, somehow.

-As for the starting 5, Brockman and Q Pon are easy picks and Overton seems to have pg duties under control. I think Artem is still a starter if he gets healthy, but otherwise MBA. Artem is just a better defender and more experienced. Not sure about Smith as a starter. He had his moments, but overall I was disappointed by his performance this season. He shoots well at times, and is good in a fast paced game, but he makes too many careless passes that result in turnovers, which aside from our free throw shooting, was usually an area of concern (although there was improvement from the season before, when we turned the ball over like crazy). That 5th spot could go to a lot of people...Suggs or IT if they show up and play as well as a lot of us hope...Holiday for his excellent defense...and I know you don't like him, but I think it should be JD (especially to start the season, it would be his job to lose). First of all, he would be a senior, and experience can't be disregarded. With Appleby gone, JD is our best free throw shooter (and he actually gets to the line). When he is playing well, the Huskies are capable of beating top teams like UCLA, he just needs to be a consistent scoring threat to compensate for his defensive liabilities. That last spot should be a good battle

-As for the 2009 class, as long as it includes Peyton Siva, we should all be happy. Recruiting has been a strength since Romar arrived, so I'm sure he'll fill the class out with good players, but Siva is a must get for so many reasons. Having Overton doesn't hurt that cause either, although, Holiday couldn't talk his little brother into coming here so who knows. Siva in '09, Josh Smith in '10, and Tony Wrotten Jr. in '11...everything else is just bonus if we secure those three...keep the local guys in the pipeline.

I will definitely follow any news during the off season Bob, thanks again.

Posted by jed

11:07 PM, Apr 06, 2008

I agree with those who strongly question the thought of Joel Smith starting. I don't look for Smith or Dentmon to get much better. Joel's defense has improved but overall he has not shown the upside fans expected seeing his play as a freshman.

I give this year's team and Romar a lot of credit because as the year progressed they were also doing the same things that UCLA did which allowed UCLA to get as far as they did this year, i.e. defense, rebounding and tough physical play. They even showed some mental toughness in a lot of games toward the end.

UW's problems inaddition to very poor free throw shooting was overall poor shooting from the field and very marginal perimeter play on the offensive end. A real paucity of go to players at the end of games( can't really expect this of Brockman as his contributions are significant but in other areas). That has to improve for this team to begin to resemble the sweet 16 teams. VO clearly has more talent and how he progresses will have a lot to do with how UW does next year. He can penetrate against anyone but can he finish, dish out to others open on the perimeter, etc.. Appleby, Morris, Smith and Dentmon played hard and did their best but I am hoping for help from the three guards coming in along with Holiday and Gant.

Assuming these new guys have the talent they still have to play a lot together to gel. Romar's style is more like Calipari 's with not lack of stucture but more freedom for talented players to create shots for themself and others. Calipari emphasizes that his team is successful because of unselfish play and team work with low numbers of turnovers, but this is done in a system that allows players the maximum freedom to create. Almost seems like a contradiction in terms but when it works it is very difficult to defend and I think superior to a more regimened system like Tony Bennett's or Bob Knight's.

Posted by Martin

11:29 PM, Apr 06, 2008

Bob, thanks for the insight. I have a couple of points, please comment on them as need be.

I think the Pac-10 was a bit overrated given the results of NCAA's, but it seems obvious the individual talent was there. By most NBA draft accounts, the Pac-10 could have 15 of the 60 players picked in the first or second round. Can you find out what the record number of players picked from one conference is? 25 (if that is the number), would seem like a very high number for any conference.

I think the Pac-10 teams were not as developed as needed this year...UA was a mess, Cal underachieved, Oregon squeezed in when ASU probably should have gotten the nod, WSU got a raw draw in playing in Charlotte, Stanford's Hill and Goods never really stepped up, UW couldn't make free throws or find a 2 guard to separate himself, etc...

In terms of next year, I am quite anxious to see if IT is the spark that some of us think he could be. Or Suggs? Who ever ends up being the 2 and 3 next year (and it seems there are tons of options), I just hope that Romar finds a good rotation.

To that end, Bob, is there any word from Romar's camp that they will full court press next year? It would seem like he would have the speed, athletes and depth.

Lastly, I am not worried about the scholarship front. I think someone will pay their way next year, if need be.

Posted by Martin

11:31 PM, Apr 06, 2008

...25% (if that is the number)...

Posted by jumper

11:37 PM, Apr 06, 2008

The Huskies will be better next year if just because the conference is going to lose so much talent. Overall everyone would agree that the season was a dissapointment but they were competitive. You take that much talent out of the conference and that is going to allow the huskies to step up a few places. Of course ASU and UCLA will be good next year.

Posted by Dawg53

9:18 AM, Apr 07, 2008

A few comments after reading everyone else's comments:
1. Ken Bone doesn't need OSU on his resume - that is the worst career move he could make. A couple more solid seasons at PSU and he will be hot property for better programs than the Beavs.
2. Peyton Siva will most likely go to Louisville - he is supposedly very enamored with that program and their coach, and getting out of town appears to be important to him. The wildcard is Mom - how much influence she has on his college choice could make or break that decision.
3. Brock, MBA, QP, Venoy and Suggs should be the starting lineup next year. As shown by Memphis, Kansas, NC, etc., you need long, tall, athletic players to succeed, and these five give the UW the best shot at succeeding.
4. If, as rumored, IT has met his entrance requirements, he will be #1 off the bench, at least for the first few games. He won't be your ordinary freshman, having spent two years in a quasi HS/College environment at the prep school.
5. This team will be better next year, esp. if we get a good X's & O's coach to replace Dollar (if he goes to Sac State). That's the one piece we're missing (and left with Coach Bone).

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