Back in September 2013 four-star guard JaQuori McLaughlin verbally committed to Oregon State as a high school sophomore, only to reopen his recruitment a few months later following the firing of then-head coach Craig Robinson. Two years later, McLaughlin has decided that Corvallis is the place for him after all, as on Friday he verbally committed to Wayne Tinkle’s program.
McLaughlin (Gig Harbor, Washington), who committed to Washington last November before reopening his recruitment in the spring, also considered Utah and Washington as options this time around.
The 6-foot-4 lefty can play either on or off the ball, which should mesh well with the guards Oregon State will have when he arrives on campus (Stephen Thompson Jr., Derrick Bruce, Kendal Manuel and Malcolm Duvivier among those players). And with his length and athleticism, McLaughlin could potentially have an impact for the Beavers defensively as well.
With Oregon State due to lose Gary Payton II, who was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last season, at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, adding McLaughlin is an important move for the program. McLaughlin is Oregon State’s second commitment in the Class of 2016, joining three-star power forward Ben Kone’.
With Daniel Gomis entering his senior season and Oregon State’s stacked 2015 recruiting haul lacking a player who can fill that hole at the power forward position, addressing this issue in the Class of 2016 was an important move for Wayne Tinkle and his staff. Tuesday afternoon the Beavers were able to do just that, as 6-foot-9 power forward Ben Kone announced that he’ll join the Pac-12 program next season.
Kone, who attends Archbishop Mitty HS in San Jose, California, delivered the news to Tinkle in person according to The Oregonian and he held offers from Auburn, California, New Mexico, New Mexico State and San Diego State. Kone was one of the best players in the state as a junior, and it was his relationship with the Oregon State coaches that helped sway him in the end.
“I loved the coaches. I really do love the coaches. I can tell they want to win just as badly as I do. Not just winning, but they want to win the right way,” Kone said. “As a young man, that’s something I find important, and they find equally important. Being able to share that bond was my biggest takeaway from this visit.”
While Oregon State will lose Gomis and Daniel Stangel at the end of the 2015-16 season, they won’t have a bare cupboard moving forward. Center Cheikh N’diaye will be a junior this upcoming season, and they’ve added centers Drew Eubanks and Gligorije Rakocevic in the 2015 class. Two other freshmen, Tres Tinkle and Noah Togiai (who’s on a football scholarship), are both better suited for the three but could see time at the four in smaller lineups.
Kone is the first commitment in the Class of 2016 for Oregon State, and with four perimeter players (most notably Gary Payton II) being seniors this season adding another perimeter option would be the expectation at this point.
Wednesday the Oregon State basketball program added another piece to what’s considered to be the highest-rated recruiting class in program history, and the player in question has plenty of familiarity with both head coach Wayne Tinkle and incoming freshman Tres Tinkle.
Shooting guard Kendal Manuel, who played his grassroots basketball alongside the younger Tinkle and was considered to be the second-best prospect in the state of Montana last season, has signed a grant-in-aid to join the Oregon State program. Manuel’s addition means that Oregon State will add seven freshmen to a lineup that also won’t lack for experience as the Beavers look to improve upon a 2014-15 season that proved more successful than many expected when Wayne Tinkle took over.
Among the returnees are seniors Gary Payton II and Langston Morris-Walker, with junior Malcolm Duvivier being another experienced option on the perimeter. Given the presence of those veterans and fellow freshmen Stephen Thompson Jr. (son of OSU assistant Stephen Thompson) and Derrick Bruce, finding minutes could be difficult for Manuel in 2015-16.
However, the 6-foot-4 Manuel (who won’t turn 18 until September) is a player the coaching staff believes can develop into a productive option down the line. From a scholarship standpoint, forward Noah Togiai will be on a football scholarship and the possibility of Tinkle and Thompson Jr. being walk-ons this upcoming season has been discussed as well.