Oregon State's men's basketball coach Craig Robinson will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions!
Coach is here!
Now that we've had a full season of the Pac 12, what do you think the newbies Utah and Colorado added to the league this past year?
First of all, it's great to add a new geographical footprint to our viewing audience, because we have a lot of Beaver fans. From a competitive standpoint, it was great to have Colorado so successful this year. It also opens a new recruiting area in the Rocky Mountain area.
How hard is it to make a schedule year to year? Is that something that you alone work on?
The scheduling is, after recruiting, the hardest part of our business. It's something that I oversee, but I have one assistant that lays out our plan and I sign off on it.
Coach, it seems like everyone was down on the Pac-12 as a whole this year...what did you think of the conference during the season?
First of all, I thought the statements were accurate, that the conference was down. Over my past four years, there have been 12 players that left early to go to the NBA. In retrospect, you look at the non conference games and Washington had a close loss to Marquette, we had a close loss to Vanderbilt. All of those teams were ranked in the top 25 at the time. If you win those games, the stories might have been different. In conference, I thought the games were tough. We have to take care of our business in the non conference season.
What do you think of the Pac12 tournament being held in Las Vegas?
I couldn't be more excited for the new venue. I think the MGM Grand is a fabulous place to have an event. It will be a great destination spot for all of the fans of the Pac-12. I think the atmosphere in Vegas always lends itself for a very entertaining experience.
Coach, how hard will it be for the team to adjust to losing Jared?
It's going to be hard for us to adjust. I think most people think it will be harder on offense. I think we'll be able to absorb his 18 points, I think it will be harder to account for his on the ball defense.
With never knowing which players will stay in school or leave early, how hard is it to develop a long term plan for your team?
Since we have to have a long term recruiting plan anyway, it's just a matter of tinkering it when you have a player leave that you don't expect. In most cases, we know if a guy has an opportunity to consider the draft, so we're always thining along those lines. It just becomes a part of your standard operating procedure.
So which school that you've been with - Brown, Princeton, Northwestern - has the smartest people?
They all have very smart people in their own ways.
What were your conversations with Jared like when you were discussing whether he would leave or not?
My main goal was to make sure he had all of the correct information, coming from teams, the league, agents. I wanted the family to be able to make the most informed decision. We talked a lot, we talked often and it was a very hard decision for him, but I think it was the right one.
Hi Coach Robinson. It seems your team has improved every year since you've arrived in Corvallis, but what looked to be a very strong 2011-2012 season early-on floundered a bit in the middle. Was that disappointing? How do you feel going into next season?
It was disappointing, because we thought we should be playing better and we lost some close games. But when you look back, I realized that during that stretch, we were starting three juniors and two sophomores, still a relatively young team. Our goal this year is to have a similiar start and not have the same lull in the middle. I'm very excited about the prospects for 2012-13.
How hard is it to turn around a program like Oregon State? They had a few rough years prior to your arrival.
I won't lie, it's a very tough proposition. But with the support of my staff, the administration, the fans and ultimately the players, we've been able to right the ship and move in a very positive direction. I actually feel that we're right on schedule for what our five year plan was, but it's not an easy task.
What's the hardest part about the Pac12?
The talent level in our conference is extremely high and combined with the great coaches in the league, make every conference game a tough game. Our travel isn't bad, but the venues we play in are very spirited and are always tough to play in.
What's a big selling point about Oregon State that you use with recruits?
First and foremost, we sell the conference. Playing in the Pac 12 is, I feel, as close to playing an NBA style as you can ge tin college. And No. 2, while turing this program around, there have been huge opportunities for young players to get significant playing time. And finally, Corvallis is a wonderful place to go to school away from the hustle and bustle of a big city.
My in laws, whether it's my mother or sister, are always stopping by unannounced.....I'm guessing you don't have that problem?
After I've picked myself up off the floor laughing, no, if my relatives want to come in unannounced, there's usually an advance team. So, I know when they're coming.
Coach, with the success you guys had down the stretch playing man to man, do you expect to see more of that in 2012-13? It seemed like the zone led to way too many open buckets (wide open 3s or easy layups) this year. Not sure if that was execution or Pac-12 teams getting more comfortable against the 1-3-1.
Absolutely, We've always wanted to play man to man, but we had to wait until we got the personnel to do it. In order to play good man to man defense, you need depth and athleticism. We've added both over the last couple of years and hope to continue to.
Can you talk about the new signee, Victor Robbins, and what he will bring to the court? Do you expect him to play a lot of minutes to fill Jared's role?
Yes, I can say that Victor is a 6-5 wing who can guard a 1, 2 or 3. He's long, he's athletic and he has a really high basketball IQ. We're looking forward to him developing into a really good Pac12 player for years to come.
Is the extra attention due to your famous family a good thing or bad thing?
It is mostly a good thing. It gives Oregon State brand awareness. We found that while a lot more people know who we are, who Oregon State is, it's never a reason why a kid picks a school, but being in the running for kids that we wouldn't necessarily be in the funning for is always a positive in the recruiting game.
So, coach, have you ever thought of getting your brother in law on the phone and asking him to give a call to help you land a big recruit?
That would be a recruiting violation. But it has crossed my mind.
Are there any incoming players that you expect to make a immediate contribution to the team?
Yes. Daniel Gomis, 6-9, from Senegal sat out last year with an injury. He should have an immediate impact. Then we have our four incoming freshmen will all be fighting for playing time and all are capable of helping us out immediately.
This has been great. Thanks for the terrific questions. I look forward to doing this again soon. Go Beavs!