I could leverage my slightly delayed DVR recording into a diatribe on provider monopolies. How a la carte entertainment makes more than sense – while not making cents for the establishment – and would likely provide a better product and service. Service. But this is our The Drive recap not lounge chairs around a fire-pit on a San Diego cliff after pitchers upon pitchers followed by overflow Port (I see you, Trevor). Then a cigar. That’s where I dissect cable.
So how about them Oregon State walkons? They’re the first thing mentioned this week and I really would love to see one of them featured. Open tryouts aren’t anything remarkably new. Seems most new coaches do this: stockpile disposable talent while hitting the recruiting trail during year one, perhaps even into year two. Sean Miller did this with USC’s 2009 recruiting class. But who are these roster fillers? I always imagine they’re 6’3” white frat boys with All-City Honorable Mention level skills and a few letters from local JuCos that their mom most definitely scrap booked. They got a call from coach Tinkle letting them know they’ll be on the team so long as they work hard and are consummate representatives of Oregon State basketball. They accept, text their mom, and Bumgarner a six-pack.
So Oregon State has seven of these according to Pac-12 Overvoice. Then they cut to a reel of Beaver highlights and you wonder how they’re not competing with Kentucky for the first undefeated regular season since last season.
Of course you can’t talk Oregon State basketball without discussing Barack Obama Gary Payton and his son, The Mitten, GP2. The young man speaks highly of his dad, noting his days as a Seattle SuperSonic, while Tinkle encourages the younger Payton to be a more vocal leader; arguably his dad’s strongest characteristic. But that doesn’t mean GP2 and Wayne can’t have fun. In fact, they wager dinner on a half-court shot and break probably six NCAA laws in the gamble. Wayne gets buckets, GP2 takes him to the NCAA mandated limitless snack table.
When we unmistakeably hear Sean Elliott after Pac-12 Overvoice tells us about the impending first major test of the Beavers’ season, we know Tinkle’s team will prevail. Arizona is 0-2 with the native Tucsonan, Elliott, on the mic. GP2 was excited to be a part of his first upset and Tinkle admits that his team’s “done a little more than our staff thought.” He’s not alone.
What Tinkle and his staff do is on full display for us as we transition to pre-game footage of the Beavers’ contest against their Drive partners, UCLA. Wayne Tinkle’s white board is presented to us clear as Caribbean surf. Not blurred out.
Our first view of UCLA is Coach Steve Alford dropping an emphatic, “Let’s GO!” and high fiving his son, Bryce. As we’re given this soft moment of familial support, Pac-12 Overvoice narrates, “With his father’s image hanging high in the rafters…” We transition to more family Payton. The Pac-12 troll game is strong.
The game itself gets quickly out of control for the Bruins. Steve laments his team’s toughness with grunts and a lot of mopey squats. At one point he tells Norman Powell, “I don’t like the facial expressions.” Gyorgy Goloman then gets a breakaway dunk and deadpans right back up the court. Nary a smile, exult, scream, mean mug, nothing. Gyorgy is expressionless which is shocking for a guy I can’t imagine gets too many breakaway dunks.
Alas, there’s more Alford moans as GP2 picks UCLA players at mid-court for what feels like 18 straight possessions (it was 4 steals and 11 straight points which is impressive in its own, non-exaggerated right).
I suppose, however, the real highlight of the game is seeing the extent by which a stressed out 6’10” coach in a raucous college basketball environment pits out a shirt. Wayne Tinkle can sweat and after the game his white board read, “HANG N CLANG.” Lunch pails.
On to UCLA.
Steve Alford opens things by noting what it takes to be a champion. He’s quick to mention the “fact” that his young team is the only team to put four guys in the NBA last year. This is impressive. And then you remember they managed just a Sweet 16 (the second of his career) and you’re like, “Uhhhh…” and disappointment settles in until we’re privileged a slow motion Thomas Welsh chest bump and you can believe again. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
There are two indubitable components to the UCLA segment: Wooden and Family. Interestingly enough, these things go seamlessly for Alford as he grew up in Indiana, playing in the same high school gym as John Wooden, for his dad where he learned the dynamics of family and basketball. That was the foundation for his basketball career and how he’s been able to successfully coach his sons. Unfortunately, he never taught them to shave their chins.
One part that I lamented was that we weren’t made privy to any of UCLA’s play calls in the same way we were gifted PISTOL HAMMER. Steve’s in game footage only involves him barking about geometry and then he yells, “Do it again.” I suppose that works.
By the way, there was nothing on Steve’s white board. It was blank – not blurred – with just a Stanford basketball roster taped to it.