Oregon State


Oregon State transfer Nick Faust reopening his recruitment

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Former Maryland guard Nick Faust thought he had found a new school last week when he decided to enroll at Oregon State. Questionable timing by the university altered that, as Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson was fired on Monday.

Within 48 hours of that announcement, Faust made one of his own: his recruitment is back open.

“I guess I gotta do this whole process all over again and really get to know coaches this time and things like that,” Faust told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. “It’s just a longer process.”

Faust mentioned UCLA, George Washington, Richmond, George Mason, Siena and Cleveland State were all being considered at the time he committed to the Beavers.

The 6-foot-6 Faust is one of four Terrapins to leave the school since the conclusion of this season. He averaged 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game with his field goal percentages down from his sophomore campaign. Wherever he lands next, he’ll have to sit out the 2014-2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

This becomes another departure in a long line of players to leave Corvallis. In April, Eric Moreland declared for the NBA Draft, Hallice Cooke transferred and Challe Barton elected to pursue a professional career overseas. Earlier on Tuesday, incoming center Isaiah Manderson, a three-star commit, requested he be released from his National Letter of Intent.

Faust was granted his release from Maryland on April 8.

President Barack Obama to attend Maryland vs. Oregon State on Sunday


Barack Obama has made it known that basketball is his sport of choice. There are countless pictures and videos of him playing the game, and every March he fills out his own NCAA Tournament bracket with ESPN’s Andy Katz from the Oval Office.

With Oregon State in town playing Maryland in College Park on Sunday evening, Obama will see his brother-in-law — Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson — coach against the Terps, Daniel Martin of CSNBaltimore.com reported. Robinson is the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon commented prior to learning that Obama would officially be attending Sunday evening’s game: “I think it would be great. It would be pretty cool for everybody, for our team and for their team…Hopefully it makes the teams play even harder than they were going to play. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

This isn’t the first time that Obama will have made an appearance at a college basketball game as President. In 2012, Obama attended the First Four in Dayton, OH with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Predictably, security will be at an all-time high at the Comcast Center. Maryland forward Evan Smotrycz said, “The loading dock will probably be shut down, high security. But it’ll be cool. I’m sure people are excited.” The university has instructed fans to “arrive as early as possible,” and also included a list of items that are prohibited.

Maryland and Oregon State both enter the game with 1-1 records.

Ahmad Starks’ waiver denied, has to sit out season at Illinois

Ahmad Starks
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Ahmad Starks will have to wait until the 2014-2015 season to wrap up his collegiate career.

The 5-foot-9 Chicagoan played his first three seasons at Oregon State before decided to transfer to Illinois to be close to his ailing grandmother. On Tuesday night, his hardship waiver was denied by the NCAA.

“Following a lengthy process, we have received final word from the NCAA on Ahmad’s status. We are all disappointed with the decision to deny the waiver and especially feel bad for Ahmad and his family,” Illinois head coach John Groce said in a statement. “Ahmad had a compelling case, returning to his home state to be closer to an ailing grandmother who played an instrumental role in raising him. However, we now have to move forward. Ahmad will focus on preparing our team in practice while also making individual improvement, fueled by the goal of returning to the court in 2014-15.”

The Illinois backcourt is looking to replace the production of leading scorers Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson. The Illini backcourt this season consists of returners Tracy Abrams and Joseph Bertrand while adding transfer Rayvonte Rice and incoming freshmen Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate and Malcolm Hill.

Starks averaged 10.4 points, 2.3 assists, 2.0 boards and 1.0 steals per game this past season for Oregon State. He joins a promising 2014 class that includes four-star point guard Quentin Snider and four-star power forward Leron Black, as well as three-star big man Michael Finke. He also be eligible the same year as Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby, who will have two years left to play.

Starks will have one year of eligibility remaining.

Oregon State freshman gets technical for dunking pregame, Beavers lose by 1 to Cal

Olaf Schaftenaar
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Olaf Schaftenaar was making the first start of his career Saturday for Oregon State after averaging 4.0 points and 1.2 rebounds per game off the bench to begin the year. But before his day against Cal could officially start, he made a mistake.

In pregame layup lines, Schaftenaar dunked which, as harmless as it may sound, is a technical foul. Cal’s Allen Crabbe was given two free throws and he hit one of two. That made the score 1-0 when the game tipped off moments later.

For much of the game, the miscue did not seem to matter. Cal led by nine points at halftime and pushed the lead to as much as 13 in the second half. But then the Beavers came back.

Ahmad Starks and Joe Burton led an Oregon State comeback that gave the Beavers a chance to win, down 60-59 with possession of the ball and four seconds remaining. OSU inbounded to Starks, who had to dribble the length of the floor and fire a three from the left wing that was no good. One point loss, 60-59.

Is it entirely Schaftenaar’s fault? Of course not. There are too many factors going into a basketball game to pinpoint a small pregame technical and make it the scapegoat. Oregon State could have just as easily converted one more free throw (15-of-23 on the night) and hypothetically tied the game, as well.

But it is the type of play that underscores the problem. It was a small mistake that could have determined the outcome and a series of those does not help a team that finds itself 3-12 in the Pac-12. The accumulation of these small mistakes could have turned the tide in previous three-point losses to Cal and Washington State, as well as one-point losses to USC and Towson.

It’s all theoretical, but it could mean the difference between the bottom of the conference and an NIT berth.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Oregon State’s Craig Robinson photo-bombs President Obama’s inauguration


Yup, there’s a college basketball angle to today’s second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

As most in hoops circles know by now, Craig Robinson, head coach at Oregon State, is the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The fifth-year man was in attendance on Monday morning when Obama was sworn into office for a second term in Washington D.C.

While I’m sure he didn’t plan on making news, he did, kind of. Robinson can be seen in one camera shot popping his head out from behind Obama with a smirk. He photo-bombed his brother-in-law’s inauguration. Hilarious, right? The former two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton knows his stuff, so I’m sure he had more than just a family interest in the day’s events.

The photo comes courtesy of @fangsbites.

Not sure it was intentional — in fact, I’d bet it wasn’t — but still a funny tidbit on an historic day.

The Beavers are 40-49 in Robinson’s five seasons and 10-8 overall this season, 0-5 in Pac-12 Conference play.

David Harten is the founder and editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Trevor Releford helps Alabama past Oregon State, Crimson Tide advance to 2K Sports Classic title game

Trevor Releford
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NEW YORK, N.Y.–When Alabama head coach Anthony Grant was asked by local media whether his team would be doing anything “fun” during their trip to New York City for the 2K Sports Classic, he answered bluntly and honestly.

“Yes,” Grant said. “We are going to play basketball.”

By Grant’s definition, the Crimson Tide had fun Thursday night, narrowly defeating Oregon State, 65-62, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

With the game tied and 12 seconds remaining, Alabama sophomore Rodney Cooper hit a three-pointer from the left wing, giving the Crimson Tide a 65-62 lead. On the possible game-tying possession, Oregon State point guard Ahmad Starks dribbled into traffic and lost the ball out of bounds.

Cooper missed a key free throw for Alabama with three seconds remaining on the following possession, giving Oregon State one more chance to tie, but a heave from Roberto Nelson was off target as the buzzer sounded.

Guard Trevor Releford directed the offense and scored 14 points, for much of the night the sparkplug for the Alabama offense getting to the basket and creating off the dribble.

Fellow guard Trevor Lacey led Alabama scorers with 20 points.

With a slim three-point advantage at halftime, Alabama opened the second half on a 12-2 run, which pushed the lead into double digits.

Oregon State was able to fight back and pull within five points with six minutes remaining after a Devon Collier layup, but two quick Alabama scores, including an alley-oop from Trevor Releford to Lacey, put an end to the run.

Another Collier-led run tied the game with 40 seconds remaining, but coach Craig Robinson and the Beavers came up short.

Collier finished with 21 points for Oregon State in the loss.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_