Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson:

That anxious, expectant mood around the Oregon State basketball team involves more than Thursday night’s Pacific 10 Conference opener against No. 17 Washington at Bank of America Arena in Seattle.

The wives of head coach Craig Robinson and lead assistant coach Doug Stewart are both expecting soon.

Although Kelly Robinson’s official due date isn’t until Jan. 14, and Lindsay Stewart’s (it’s a boy!) is Jan. 12, that doesn’t mean the babies won’t show up early - perhaps at some point during OSU’s road trip, which began Wednesday afternoon with both coaches keeping close watch on their BlackBerrys.

ROMAR ROMAR.jpgUW coach Lorenzo Romar says Oregon State is a dangerous team capable of beating anyone “Any day now,’’ said Craig Robinson of a Baby Watch that is being monitored by Robinson’s sister, Michelle, and her husband, President Barack Obama.

The Stewarts are also approaching zero hour.

“Ready or not, here it comes,’’ said Doug Stewart.

Easy for him to say.

Robinson wondered about the wisdom of having a rental car near the team’s Seattle hotel, in case he couldn’t get back to Corvallis fast enough by plane.

Stewart said that if Robinson got called away, he would be acting head coach for the New Year’s Eve game against the defending Pac-10 champion Huskies (9-2) with assistants Nate Pomeday and David Grace sliding over one spot on the bench.

And if both coaches got frantic cell phone calls before the game?

“That’s not beyond the realm of possibility,’’ said a laughing Stewart, who noted that Pomeday and Grace would take over the team if the expectant fathers suddenly bolted.

While OSU (6-5) has been practicing for a difficult opponent that is unbeaten at home this season, the players are also aware of what is going on behind the scenes with Robinson and Stewart.

“They don't bring their personal lives (into practice) but’s kind of exciting for both of them,’’ said junior guard Calvin Haynes.

“We congratulate both of them and hope everything goes well with the baby situations.’’

There is also the actual basketball situation to think about: Robinson said Oregon State is as ready as it will ever be to play the Pac-10’s best team on the road.

“It’s a tough place to start, but if we do what we’re supposed to do, it should be closer,’’ said Robinson.

He meant closer than last season’s game in Seattle, which saw the Beavers hang around for more than a half before getting blown away 79-60.

Robinson said if OSU holds its own on the boards, limits turnovers, keeps the Huskies’ vaunted transition game in check and handles Washington’s full-court pressure, “then we’ve got a shot.’’

Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar’s team is an overwhelming favorite but Romar is taking the approach than anything can happen in a Pac-10 opener.

“Last year … they opened with USC,’’ said Romar of the Beavers. “And they were coming off the season before where they didn't do very well in the Pac-10. And they weren't stellar in their non-conference. And all of a sudden they beat the most athletic, talented team in the league.

“So Oregon State will be ready to play, and they are certainly capable of beating anyone in this league.’’

After stumbling through the pre-season while trying to integrate the talents of freshmen Jared Cunningham, Joe Burton, and Angus Brandt, the Beavers seemed more themselves in a 73-65 win over Fresno State on Dec. 23, a game in which Haynes broke out of a shooting slump with a career-high 25 points.

“It was the first full game where from start to finish we looked like the team we were at the end of the season last year,’’ said Robinson.

Robinson’s freshmen know all about the Huskies but seeing them on a TV screen isn’t the same as seeing them up close.

OSU’s returning players know that it will take a nearly-perfect game to pull out a victory at Bank of America Arena.

Comment (1)


May 14, 2010 at 3:45 PM

It will be great to watch Washington Huskies, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.