Robinson updates status of two suspended players, talks Wildcats
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013 21:01
I caught up with Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson early Friday evening, shortly after the Beavers finished an hour-and-15-minute practice — shorter than usual, since Gill Coliseum is being used for a gymnastics meet at 7 p.m. tonight.
Here’s what he had to say…
Sophomore forward Eric Moreland, OSU’s leading rebounder (11.1 RPG) and fourth-leading scorer (10.8 PPG), will not play tomorrow against No. 4 Arizona.
Neither will seldom-used freshman guard Victor Robbins, 10th on the team in minutes played.
Neither player was used during Thursday night’s 72-62 loss to ASU. Robinson announced after the game that Moreland and Robbins, both of whom practiced on Friday, had been suspended indefinitely for a “violation of team rules.”
Today, Robinson shed a little more light on the situation — but not a ton of light.
Robbins’ suspension will last two more games — he’ll travel with the team to Los Angeles next week, will not be available for Thursday night’s game against UCLA but will be available for Saturday’s game against USC.
As for Moreland, Robinson said he’s “still waiting to get the final word on how long the suspension is.”
Robinson declined to reveal whom he’s waiting to hear from.
“It would be nice if it was the same time [as Robbins’ suspension], I hope it’s not longer, but I’m trying to manage my expectations that it could be anything,” Robinson said.
Robinson said Moreland and Robbins’ situations were “similar,” but the incidents that led to their respective suspensions were not connected in any way.
“Just a bad coincidence,” Robinson said of the fact that both players happened to be suspended on the same day. He would not say what either player did to warrant a suspension.
This leaves OSU with eight scholarship players available for Saturday’s game, a 5:30 p.m. tipoff at Gill Coliseum.
“What we have to do is stick with our game plan, even though the personnel is different,” Robinson said. “We have to make sure that, since we’re not going to be as deep as we normally would, we got to stay out of foul trouble. And we have to execute on offense better than we did yesterday.”
• On Arizona:
Arizona is fresh off its first loss of the season. The Wildcats (14-1, 2-1 Pac-12) lost to Oregon, 70-66, last night in Eugene.
“I would expect a team that’s that good to be ticked off no matter what, even if they were undefeated,” Robinson said. “It’s a good team, a well-coached team, they’re going to be ready either way.”
Arizona has lost each of the last two times it has visited Corvallis — 76-75 in 2011, 67-64 in 2010. The teams have split their six meetings over the last three seasons, with five of those six games being decided by single digits — including an 81-73 overtime win by the Wildcats in Tucson last year.
Asked if there’s any particular reason why OSU seems to play well against UA, Robinson pointed to three things:
1) It’s always an important game to the players, because Arizona is “one of those programs that’s storied, and has a lot of basketball culture to it.”
2) A lot of guys on both teams know each other, “so there’s some rivalry/camaraderie there.”
3) Their styles are somewhat similar, though the Wildcats have “way more guys who can play the way they want to play than we do, but we’re slowly but surely catching up,” Robinson said.
Robinson also acknowledged that Arizona has struggled against OSU’s zone defenses in the past — though the Beavers’ 1-3-1 will be much less effective without Moreland’s lengthy 6-foot-10 frame up top — and that OSU has had success against UA’s aggressive man-to-man defense.
Asked which UA players have impressed him on film, Robinson named three:
“I would go Solomon Hill and then Nick Johnson, but the real sleeper on that team is Mark Lyons,” Robinson said. “He’s the one that gets that team going.”
Lyons, a transfer from Xavier in his first and only season at Arizona, averages a team-high 14.5 points per game and is the Wildcats’ primary ballhandler. Hill, a senior forward, averages 13.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. Johnson, a do-it-all sophomore guard, averages 12.2 points and 2.3 steals.
Grady Garrett, managing editor
On Twitter @gradygarrett