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Oregon State won't be a Pac-12 doormat much longer

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger
NCAA Basketball: Montana at Minnesota
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Nov 12, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Montana Grizzlies head coach Wayne Tinkle calls a play during the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Williams Arena. Minnesota defeated Montana 84-58. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

In the 12 years since Rivals.com began ranking basketball prospects, Jared Cunningham and Roberto Nelson are the only two top 100 recruits Oregon State has ever landed.

Incredibly, the Beavers matched that total in one day Tuesday evening.

Six-foot-7 forward Tres Tinkle, 6-foot-3 shooting guard Stephen Thompson and 6-foot-3 point guard Derrick Bruce each announced Tuesday that they have committed to Oregon State. Tinkle, the son of new Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle, is Rivals.com's No. 88 prospect in the class of 2015, while Thompson, the son of assistant coach Stephen Thompson, is No. 74. Bruce is also a significant recruit for the Beavers, checking in at No. 123.

That trio joins a recruiting class that already includes rapidly improving big man Drew Eubanks, another Rivals 150 recruit. The highly touted quartet should give Tinkle a chance to win at a school that has enjoyed little to no success for the past quarter century.

Since Gary Payton led Oregon State to its last NCAA tournament in 1990, the Beavers have cycled through seven coaches and have only produced two winning seasons. The Beavers finished eighth or better in the Pac-12 only once in six years under Tinkle's predecessor Craig Robinson and never finished above .500 in league play. 

Oregon State was in desperate need of an infusion of talent when Tinkle left Montana to come to Corvallis earlier this offseason. Between Nelson and Devon Collier graduating, Eric Moreland and Challe Barton turning pro and Hallice Cooke transferring, the Beavers were left with a threadbare roster and zero returning starters for next season.

It's too late for Tinkle to salvage this year, but the arrival of his new quartet of recruits the following season should ensure Oregon State isn't a Pac-12 doormat much longer.

Tinkle, who is finishing his senior year in Missoula, Montana, is a skilled, versatile forward capable of playing on the perimeter or in the paint. Thompson, a senior from Torrance, Calif., is a sharpshooter who makes up for modest athleticism with a great feel for the game. And Bruce, another Southern California native, is a scoring point guard who has played his way into the Rivals 150 this summer.

When Oregon State plucked Tinkle from Montana, the consensus was that he would be a huge improvement over Robinson from a tactical and player development standpoint but that he was unproven as a recruiter at the Pac-12 level.

One outstanding class aided by family ties certainly doesn't prove the skeptics were wrong, but it will provide Tinkle with a strong foundation for a potential turnaround in Corvallis.

For more Oregon State news, visit BeaverBlitz.com.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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