Wayne’s Walk-Ons: Did They Cost Him a Game? Irrelevant

Wayne Tinkle started five walk-ons for Wednesday’s Civil War. Normally that would be senior night but the Beavers have no seniors. This bodes well for their long term prospects considering:

  1. Top-25 recruiting class
  2. First winning record in 4 years with a roster that could actually start 5 walk-ons

As for the move, many are questioning whether or not it cost his team a game? The walk-ons (henceforth WOs) played about 30-seconds and coughed up 3 turnovers. They left down 5-0. The Ducks won by 3. Oregon State also held a halftime lead. Does this negate the WOs’ effort? I dunno. Malcolm Duvivier turned the ball over with 13-seconds left and down three. The Beavers had a chance to win the game. The game was tied at 52 with 3:52 remaining. Wayne’s starters – or presumably his closers – lost that 4-minute game, 13-10.

So did the WOs cost Oregon State a basketball game?

It’s impossible to say and irrelevant in assessing Wayne’s decision.

Tinkle didn’t decide to start five players whom we’ve all known wouldn’t be invited back in favor of an actual Division 1 recruiting class. He chose to begin a Pac-12 basketball game against a conference foe because he felt it’s what the kids deserved. He didn’t take into account the game’s outcome. In his estimation, the right thing to do was to give these kids some face time on the main stage because of everything they’d done behind the scenes.

This wasn’t a decision based on results but rather merit. Thus, analyzing the decision cannot be results based either. This wasn’t a play call to isolate for the 24% shooter or to have Olaf Schaftenaar try to post up Kaleb Tarczewski. This wasn’t a timeout on a GP2 steal just as he was about to dunk. Those are decisions that cost you games.

And we can agree or disagree with his choice. Criticize the decision because we want to believe in the constant immediacy of victory. Hail the decision because we want to believe in the greatness of ‘team.’

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, you’re entitled to that feeling. Just as Wayne Tinkle felt he needed to start five young men who’d walked onto his brand new roster with no promise of anything beyond a whole lot of work.

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