Wayne Tinkle hire pays off big for Oregon State basketball

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Let's be honest: Nobody saw the Beavers coming.

Oregon State has gone through a whirlwind recruiting haul. The unlikely prospect grab began with the signing of Drew Eubanks, a 6-foot-10 dynamo who was ESPN's top-ranked player from Oregon in the 2015 class.

Then four-star small forward Tres Tinkle, four-star shooting guard Stephen Thompson Jr. and three-star point guard Derrick Bruce all jumped aboard the ship on Tuesday afternoon.

The reason for the sudden rush to become part of Beaver nation? It all has to do with Oregon State's newly-minted coach Wayne Tinkle. If you don't know the name yet, don't worry.

You will soon.

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Virtually-unknown winner

Tinkle toiled in relative obscurity for most of his eight-year head coaching career at Montana, but that doesn't mean he wasn't successful.

He won 158 games and won Big Sky regular-season titles in 2010, 2012 and 2013. During that run he also had four consecutive postseason trips, with his team playing in the 'Big Dance' three of those years.

Putting it simply, the guy was a big-time coach playing at a small-time school.

Now he's arrived at an Oregon State squad that was decidedly mediocre last season, going 16-16 (8-10) in the competitive Pac-12. 

The last time they were seen, the Beavers basketball players were wrapping up a 96-92 loss to Radford in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational.

But with the kind of talent Tinkle is bringing in, expect to see them in the bright lights of March Madness soon.

Already making waves

There are only so many ways to quantify what Tinkle has already done since being announced as the new head coach in May.

Bringing in a nation-leading class in a single whirlwind week is one of the more impressive accomplishments on that list.

As of Sept. 2, the sudden arrival of Tres Tinkle - the coach's son and a 45th-ranked recruit - helped launch that recruiting class up the charts. Then came the addition of 55th-ranked Thompson Jr., who is the son of assistant coach Stephen Thompson, and a 150-prospect in Bruce.

Those pieces came together to create what and rank as the No. 9 and No. 8 recruiting class in the country, respectively.

It will now be incumbent on Tinkle to make the most of his talented freshman class next season.

But if he can show that his coaching is as good as his recruiting, Oregon State could be a serious player on the national scene very quickly.

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