Inside Oregon State men's basketball
CORVALLIS — Notes and quotes from Media Day with Oregon State men's basketball …
• The Beavers have gotten smarter with their recruiting class, and we're not just talking about basketball IQ.
Senior transfer Seth Berger, who could start at power forward, has graduated from Massachusetts with a degree in economics and 3.0 grade-point average.
Freshman guard Zach Reichle graduated from Wilsonville High with a GPA of 3.95.
"I got a couple of B's in Spanish classes," he says.
Reichle chose Oregon State over offers from Cal Irvine, Princeton and Harvard. He met admission requirements at the latter two schools. He is majoring at OSU in exploratory studies.
"I'm taking a variety of classes now to see what I want to do," he says.
• Many of the Oregon State players have added bulk to their frame. Junior forward Tres Tinkle has put on five pounds to a 6-8 frame and now weighs 220. Junior guard Stevie Thompson Jr., who stands 6-4, is up 10 pounds to 185. His younger brother, 6-5 freshman Ethan Thompson, also added 10 pounds to 190.
Freshman Alfred Hollins has made the most dramatic jump. The 6-6 forward out of Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix has gained 20 pounds since he arrived in Corvallis in June and now weighs 200.
"Did it mostly on a meal plan and working out constantly," he says.
Hollins also has jacked up his jump reach from 30 to 36 inches.
• Ethan Thompson's brother is at OSU, and so is his father — Stevie Thompson Sr., a former standout at Syracuse. But Ethan says coming to Oregon State "wasn't a done deal" coming out of Bishop Montgomery High in Los Angeles, where he lived with his mother the past two years.
Thompson considered offers from Syracuse, Stanford and Southern Cal.
"I tried to take out the fact that my brother and dad were here and took into account what the school has to offer, along with the community and the basketball program," Ethan says. "I knew there was a lot of support here in many ways, but when I came up on my official visit, I really felt it in person.
"The academic advisors impressed me. I liked all the players. And the fans show so much support. Me, Stephen, Tres (Tinkle) and Drew (Eubanks) would go out somewhere to eat, and everybody was so friendly. That was cool. Once I came up here, I felt like it was the right place for me."
• Hollins turned down scholarship offers from Virginia Tech and Florida State, and says he had interest from Arizona, Oregon and Washington State.
"But Oregon State was the best of all of them," Hollins says. "I liked the community and the coaching staff. I love the coaches — they were real honest with me. You don't always see that. I could relate to them. They made me feel comfortable coming here."
• Reichle's maternal grandparents attended Oregon State, but that played only a small part in his decision.
"Corvallis is close to home, and I have a lot of support from family and friends," he says. "The biggest thing was the compatibility and the relationship with the coaches. I could tell they really care about me also as a person."
• Berger was celebrating his 23rd birthday on Media Day.
"Guys are giving me a hard time, calling me 'Gramps,'" the Seattle native says. "I'm not that old, but I guess I am, relatively speaking."
• Berger could have returned to UMass, but the Seattle native says he was "just ready for a change."
"I'd known Coach (Wayne) Tinkle when he was recruiting me while he was at Montana," Berger says. "Having the opportunity to come back to the Northwest made the decision easy."
Berger envisions a key role during his final collegiate season.
"For lack of a better definition, I'd like to be a glue guy," he says. "I want to do whatever is needed, whether it's hitting shots, rebounding, changing positions. I know I'll be able to get mismatches at the offensive end with some bigger, slower guys on me.
"And having the experience of playing four years, I'd like to be a leader. We made the NCAA Tournament (at UMass) my freshman year. I want to help the younger guys and not have it be another building year. I don't want to have a sour taste in my mouth by ending my career badly. I want to make an immediate impact and help these guys win."
• Eubanks, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.3 rebounds a year ago, wants to do it every night.
"One of my goals is to be more consistent," the junior center says. "I want to be at least close to a double-double every game. And if I don't score, I'll rebound, defend and run the floor."
• Sophomore forward Ben Kone was coming off left ACL knee surgery when he arrived at OSU last season and was never 100 percent physically. Kone suffered a more minor injury to the same knee before practice began and had the knee scoped.
"We're hoping by Thanksgiving he'll be back on the floor," Wayne Tinkle says.
• Senior center Cheikh N'Diaye has yet to practice due to a shoulder injury. It's possible he won't be able to play this season.
• Tanner Sanders, a 6-5 junior from Crescent Valley who played for the Beavers two years ago, has rejoined the team as a scholarship player.
• Also on the team is walk-on Isaac Barnes, a 6-8 freshman and the son of OSU athletic director Scott Barnes.
• The Beavers have some size coming in next year. Tinkle has verbal commitments from two prep seniors — 6-11, 210-pound Warren Washington from San Marcos, California and 7-1, 250-pound Jack Wilson from San Mateo, California — along with Kylor Kelley, a 7-1, 210-pound sophomore at Lane Community College.
• Oregon State, picked to finish eighth in the conference in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, opens the season with a Nov. 3 exhibition game against Pacific at Gill Coliseum. The Beavers open the regular season Nov. 10 at home against Southern Utah. They will play three games, opening with St. John's, in a Thanksgiving weekend tournament at Orlando, Florida.
The Beavers' only Portland appearance will come Dec. 16 against St. Louis at Moda Center. They begin Pac-12 action at home against Colorado on Dec. 29.