On Saturday, Oregon State junior forward Eric Moreland announced his intention to declare for the NBA Draft.
Moreland took to Twitter to make the announcement, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 6-foot-10 Moreland was suspended 12 games during the 2013-14 season but still averaged 8.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and two blocks per game in 20 games for the Beavers.
A native of Houston, Moreland also shot 50 percent from the field last season as well.
Moreland entered his name in the NBA Draft last season, before withdrawing, and his loss hurts Oregon State immensely as the Beavers also lose second-leading scorer and senior Devon Collier and third-leading scorer and senior Angus Brandt from the frontcourt for next season.
With the loss of senior guard Roberto Nelson, Craig Robinson’s team now loses the team’s four leading scorers from the 2013-14 season.
Oregon State got some good news heading into Thursday’s Pac-12 opener.
Power forward Eric Moreland will be allowed to return from his suspension two games earlier than expected, having fulfilled the requirements for immediately eligibility. Head coach Craig Robinson made the announcement in a press release on New Year’s Day.
Moreland was suspended for 14 games for a violation of team rules. He was scheduled to return January 9th at home against Stanford. He’ll be playing in Thursday’s trip to No. 20 Colorado instead. Robinson will reportedly address the media about the decision after the game.
Moreland averaged 9.4 points, 10.6 boards and 2.5 blocks as a junior.
Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson finally provided a timetable for the return of forward Eric Moreland and Devon Collier.
The frontcourt duo had been suspended indefinitely in July for violation of team rules, and Robinson said on Tuesday that Collier will be gone one game, though Moreland will miss 14 games.
“They know what they’ve done has sort of put us in a little bit of a bind, but I feel really good about the way they’re tackling their suspensions,” Robinson told reporters according to OregonLive.com.
The 6-foot-8 Collier, who averaged 12.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season, will make his season debut on Nov. 13 against Portland. Moreland won’t see the floor until 2014, which is the result of his second suspension in seven months.
Moreland filed for the NBA Draft in March only to withdraw his name three weeks later. His return is was a boost to Oregon State. He rejected 2.5 blocks per game last season, and is school’s second all-time leading shot blocker. His presence inside is much needed, especially when the Beavers are coming off a season ranked last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense.
The 6-foot-10 junior averaged 9.4 points and 10.6 rebounds last year, and his absence makes the play of senior center Angus Brandt more important early into this season. Sophomore forwards Olaf Schaftenaar and Jarmal Reid both return to the frontline after logging a more than 13 minutes per game in 2012-2013. Also returning is 6-foot-10 Daniel Gomis, who missed last year with a leg injury, and could help pick up the slack defensively.
“If we end up having a good season despite all of this, hip-hip hurray,” Robinson added. “And if not, that’s the result of what happens when you do stuff you’re not supposed to do.”
This could be a decisive year for Robinson entering his seventh season. His Beavers finished 14-18 (4-14 Pac-12) a season ago.
(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)
Not only is Oregon State watching arch-rival Oregon survive and advance in March Madness while the Beavers sit at home, but they may be staring down a future without their best player.
Eric Moreland, the 6’10” forward who stood out in OSU’s dismal 14-18 season, has declared that he will explore his NBA draft stock without the help of an agent. He has until April 10 to decide whether he’ll take a shot at the pro level, or return to school in Corvallis.
Moreland has proven to be an excellent defensive player, averaging 2.5 blocks per game, and hauling down more than 200 defensive boards during the season, but his offensive game was erratic at best. Moreland averaged 9.4 points per game, but yawed widely between a one-point effort at home against Colorado and a season high of 20 points against WCC also-ran San Diego.
According to John Hunt of the Portland Oregonian, Moreland has been encouraged to test the waters by watching the experience of a former teammate.
After watching former teammate Jared Cunningham go through the process a year ago, Moreland said he learned to take with a grain of salt the feedback he will get from NBA personnel people over the next few weeks.
“They can only tell you so much,” Moreland said. “And it ended up being totally opposite.”
The consensus was that Cunningham needed more seasoning, but he stayed in the draft and went in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks – although he has played a total of just 26 minutes for the Mavericks in his rookie season.
Moreland would clearly benefit from an extra year in college, where he can work on his offensive game. He claims money is the least important factor in his decision, so this may not be the end for him at Oregon State just yet. He’ll have a whirlwind few days to think about it, and gather information, before his final decision must be made.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.