Ron Callan

What the Jacksonville Jaguars saw in Oregon State QB Jake Luton

What the Jacksonville Jaguars saw in Oregon State QB Jake Luton

This is one big day for Oregon State Quarterback Jake Luton. 

He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 189th player selected. He is added to a roster that features two other quarterbacks right now: Gardner Minshew, the former Washington State Cougar, and Joshua Gibbs, who played at Tennessee. Nick Foles was in Jacksonville last year but is now with the Chicago Bears.

This is a great opportunity for Luton who had a tremendous redshirt senior season at Oregon State throwing 28 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He did show NFL arm strength at the Combine in February and great accuracy on fade routes.

This is a tremendous accomplishment for Luton. Beaver fans remember September 16, 2017 in Pullman. He was knocked out of the game with a serious back injury. Removed from the field on a stretcher it looked serious. It turned out to be a thoracic spine fracture and he did achieve a full recovery.

Luton is the first Oregon State Beaver to ever be drafted by Jacksonville and takes pretty impressive number from college football into the NFL. He wound up with 5,227 yards passing which is 7th all-time at Oregon State. 42 touchdown passes which is fifth all-time.

Luton joins a pretty good group of Beavers drafted in the NFL. Derek Anderson was drafted in the sixth round by Baltimore in 2005. Sean Canfield went in the seventh round to New Orleans in 2010 and Sean Mannion went in the third round in 2015 to the St. Louis Rams.

More on Luton and his reaction soon!

What the Atlanta Dream saw in Mikayla Pivec

What the Atlanta Dream saw in Mikayla Pivec

It was a crazy Friday for Mikayla Pivec

A lot of people might be thinking that getting drafted at the top of the WNBA's third round is disappointing for Mikayla. But, talk to any basketball insider. Getting a chance to play in the WNBA is one of the hardest things to accomplish in sports. Just 12 teams with 12 player rosters. The draft just three rounds and 36 players. The only thing more difficult might be getting selected to play for the Olympic team.

Pivec got the word she was heading to Atlanta and in true Mikayla style showed off her positive energy to Atlanta fans!

Pivec is currently in Boise, Idaho hanging with her little sister Malia who is a junior at Boise State University and a standout on the Broncos Cross Country team. 

In fact, both of them are on our Talkin’ Beavers Podcast this week talking about a ton of stuff including how weird it is to be just waiting and wondering when things will get back to normal.

Why did the Dream draft Pivec? 

Well during a post-draft news conference, head coach Nicki Collen and her staff say they love her versatility, her strength and her commitment to defense. Pivec also has a comfort zone because two of her fellow draftees played with her on Team USA last August in Lima, Peru: Chennedy Carter from Texas A&M; and Brittany Brewer, who played at Texas Tech. 

Plus former Oregon Duck Maite Cazorla and UCLA Bruin Monique Billings are on the roster so she has plenty of familiar faces to play basketball with in Atlanta. 

Now the big question is when will they be able to actually get back together and play hoops? The are going to have virtual workouts with the Dream staff online.

You can watch more in the video above with an introductory Zoom press conference with the newest members of the Dream.

Why former Oregon State guard Destiny Slocum transferred to Arkansas

Why former Oregon State guard Destiny Slocum transferred to Arkansas

Destiny Slocum has left the NCAA transfer portal and is now going to play her final season of college basketball for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

She made the announcement on Saturday, April 18 on Twitter:

So quite a journey for Destiny, without a doubt one of the most dynamic guards in the nation. 

She will play for head coach Mike Neighbors and knows him pretty well. Neighbors recruited her while she was in high school in Meridian, Idaho when he was the head coach of the Washington Huskies. Slocum chose the University of Maryland and then spent three years in Corvallis before entering the transfer portal. 

No doubt, Neighbors tried again when she left the Terrapins but the Oregon State Beavers won her over. 

Now, I guess you could say third times the charm for Neighbors who is building a winner at his alma mater in Fayetteville. Last season they were 24-8 losing their final game in the SEC Tournament to South Carolina. Neighbors put out an understated tweet to show his approval and glee that Destiny will be a Razorback.

One interesting side note: The Beavers top incoming recruit Sasha Goforth was heavily recruited by Neighbors. Sasha went to Fayetteville High School in the same city where he coaches the Razorbacks. Goforth is a five-star recruit and is ranked the number seven player in the nation according to Blue Star Basketball.

Mikayla Pivec drops to the 3rd round but stays positive

Mikayla Pivec drops to the 3rd round but stays positive

She was picked to go anywhere from the 11th pick in the first round to the 23rd pick in round two. It turns out Oregon State's all-time leading rebounder and the shortest player in Pac-12 history to haul in 1,000 rebounds was taken by the Atlanta Dream with the 25th overall pick in the 3rd round. 

I thought last month that she had a great shot to make it in the late first round. But when three juniors decided to leave college early and enter the draft that hurt her selection location. .I also think her size didn't help her with some WNBA scouts and GMs and she wound up dropping to #25.

So another challenge for Mikayla Pivec to prove her worth on the national basketball stage. She talked to the NBA Draft show on ESPN minutes after she was selected by Atlanta. She was asked how tough it will be to make a roster as a third-round selection. Mikayla says her versatility will help her get a spot on a WNBA roster:

" I am somebody who can do the little things no matter what it takes. This past summer I was able to play for Team USA in Peru and was able to step up my defensive game and it was important for our team to be successful."

The WNBA Draft was dominated by the Ducks getting three of the first eight picks in the draft. I really thought Seattle would take Mikayla at the #19 spot in the second round but really she might have a better chance to play for a team like Atlanta that was 8-26 in the WNBA last season. 

Pivec joins two other Beavers currently on WNBA rosters. Sydney Wiese and Marie Gulich are currently on the Los Angeles Sparks roster

Oregon State DC 'very optimistic' college football will happen

Oregon State DC 'very optimistic' college football will happen

Oregon State Defensive Coordinator Tim Tibesar exudes a positive attitude to his players through Zoom. The same thing goes for his first meeting with the media since college football was canceled.

He met with Northwest reporters Tuesday afternoon and showed us the grease board he is using to teach his defense and keep them focused on getting better. Tibesar is in his third year coaching the Oregon State defense but knows on-line football will never replace a gorgeous Spring day together on the practice field.:

These Zoom meetings, they don't replace spring ball. But they are making the best of the situation we are in now. It's not just us, every program in the country is going through this kind of adversity.

One thing Tibesar is encouraging his players to do is take advantage of the situation to get better:

We can adjust, we can adapt. We can use this time to get better. Can we stay on task with our school work and with our studying and playbook? Can you stay true to your workouts and maybe we can have an advantage over teams that aren't quite as disciplined?

The Spring scrimmage was scheduled for this Saturday. Uncertainty is the centerpiece for all of collegiate and professional sports right now. Coach Tibesar is getting quality time with his family and has a ton of on-line meetings with fellow coaches and players. That will continue for the time being. Everyone inside the Beaver program can't wait for this to end like all of us. The long-term impact of this COVID-19 crisis is unknown. All they can do it what they can and Tibesar is optimistic about what's next. He is even using technology to keep track of the recruits who are considering Oregon State: One thing is for sure, Tibesar believes college football will return, hopefully, sooner than later:

I am very optimistic we will play our season in some fashion and at some point. It may be shortened, it may be just the conference season. I have a hard time believing we won't play some kind of season even if it's pushed back to November, December or January.

Destiny Slocum's destiny is now in the transfer portal

Destiny Slocum's destiny is now in the transfer portal

Destiny Slocum is a tremendous basketball talent and a wonderful person. The redshirt-junior from Meridian, Idaho can take over a game and has a variety of tools in her talent basket. 

Destiny was slated to be a big-time contributor to the next Oregon State Women's basketball team this fall. Now she says she wants to leave Oregon State:

I was blindsided by the announcement. I do know once you enter the transfer portal you can change your mind. According to the NCAA rules regarding the portal:

If student-athletes withdraw from the portal, the original school can return them to the roster and restore athletics aid if it chooses.  - NCAA

I am sure there many members of Beaver Nation who would like to see that happen. But the tweet sounds like she has made up her mind. We can wait to see what is next. In a release put out by the Oregon State Athletic department head coach Scott Rueck said:

I appreciate everything Destiny means to our program and our family. I support her decision to explore her options as she is assessing what is best long-term for her career.

So we can only speculate on what is next for Destiny. I can only say I have heard rumors but I don't deal in guessing games. What I can do is lay out what is next for Oregon State's basketball team without a Destiny Slocum on the roster.

Slocum, Kat Tudor and Mikayla Pivec is quite a trio. How will Scott Rueck and his coaching staff fill the void left by their departure from Corvallis?

Aleah Goodman is of course a tremendous point guard and shooting guard. She is fourth all-time in the number of three pointers made at Oregon State and first all-time in three point shooting percentage. Remember the seven three-point performance January 30th in Boulder:

After Aleah there are a ton of questions about depth at the guard position. Jasmine Simmons will be entering her junior season. The 5'"11 inch guard from Muldura, Australia can hit the three and is pretty impressive on the boards. She averaged 12.3 minutes per game last season.
Noelle Mannon is a walk-on sophomore who provided some spark off the bench in her limited time on the floor. She played in 15 of the 32 games. One of the keys will be the incoming freshman and how quickly they adapt to the college games. Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown showed that it can happen quickly.

Sasha Goforth is a five-star recruit who is rated in the Top 20 in just about every recruiting poll in the nation. She is really excited to get going in Corvallis :

"I chose Oregon State because of the bond I formed with the coaches during the recruiting process, the great team spirit and family atmosphere, the outstanding fan base, and the opportunity to come in and compete for national championships," Goforth said. "I also appreciated the attention that the coaches showed to defensive play and how they described how my game fits with their philosophy on both sides of the ball. Corvallis is a beautiful town and while it was hard to make the decision to leave my home state, Oregon State offered everything I was looking for. I am excited for the opportunity  

 Sasha helped Fayetteville High School to an Arkansas state title in 2017. Here is the most recent video I could find of Sasha playing last summer in the FAA finals playing for the Arkansas Banshees.

So the guard position takes a big hit with the departure of a ton of talent. But the future looks pretty bright with Goforth's arrival and the recent commitment by another five-star recruit Greta Kampschroeder who will join the Beavers in 2021.

The rest of the team includes the return of redshirt Junior Taya Corosdale who missed virtually all of last season with a hamstring injury. Taylor Jones, who made the Pac-12 all-freshman team will be a big factor inside. Jelena Mitrovic the 6-9 Freshman who sat out her first year in Corvallis with a knee issue will be ready to make an impact. Kennedy Brown suffered the torn ACL. She has had surgery but her status regarding next season is unknown at this time. Will she be ready or not. Stay tuned.

Destiny Slocum isn't the first Oregon State player to enter the transfer portal. Breanna Brown did the same thing in 2017 transferring to Georgia Tech. I had a chance to see her in Berkeley this past season she has fond memories of her days as an Oregon State Beaver. 
I wish Destiny the best. She was a standout representative of the Oregon State Women's basketball team on and off the court. It will be fascinating to see if she does change her mind or play somewhere else. The portal has become a popular avenue for college athletes. According to an inside source, 480 players in all sports are in the portal right now. Perhaps the unknown regarding COVID-19 is a factor. That is a guess.

We'll keep you up to date on the future of Destiny Slocum and her ultimate decision right here on the NBC sports northwest website.

Sydney Wiese on the mend after testing positive for COVID-19

Sydney Wiese on the mend after testing positive for COVID-19

A few weeks ago I had a chance to talk to Oregon State alum Sydney Wiese for the Talkin’ Beavers podcast. 

At that time she had just returned home from Spain where she had been playing pro basketball. The coronavirus crisis ended her season a little early and she had quite the odyssey getting back to her hometown of Phoenix. The flight home....Barcelona, Mexico City, Los Angeles and then Phoenix. She arrived back home on March 13th and even before she got back during the trip she said she wasn't herself.

Wiese made a return appearance on this week’s Talkin’ Beavers Podcast. 

It all happened really fast. I got home on March 13th, Friday the 13th. Even the night before I lost my sense of smell and taste. It wasn't a symptom of the virus at the time. I knew I was going to be in self-quarantine at home just to be safe and traveling from Europe. — Sydney Wiese

But after getting home to Phoenix she knew something was wrong:

I knew that my body was off, I know my body and it didn't feel right. I wasn’t showing any major symptoms of the virus. Then Ruth (Ruth Hamblin who is also part of the podcast) sent me an article that said loss of smell and taste were symptoms of the virus. — Sydney Wiese

She was tested and it came back positive. She got a ton of national attention because she was the first WNBA player who tested positive. So she remains in quarantine but feels good! 

I don't feel like a million bucks but a thousand bucks. Feeling much better but I will remain in quarantine and keep an eye on my parents (Troy and Patti) to make sure they are okay. — Sydney Wiese

So Syd will remain in her childhood bedroom, in the backyard and their driveway where there is a basket she has been shooting on since she was old enough to play hoops.

Wiese, like all professional athletes, will now wait to see what happens next in their world. She is slated to begin a fourth year in the WNBA but will the season happen? She will be aided by the fact her former Beaver teammate Marie Gulich was traded from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Sydney is thrilled to have an Oregon State reunion in Hollywood!!

Marie told me and to be honest it’s too good to be true and we didn't want to get too excited because it is a business and you never know. Once free-agency passed we were able to celebrate a little bit. — Sydney Wiese

Sydney is the all-time three pointer shooter in Oregon State history, hitting 373 during her four seasons with Oregon State. This game took place during the later stage of her senior season:

  

Sydney's professional career took quite a turn for the better after two years of basically riding the bench in Los Angeles. Derek Fisher took over as the head coach and Sydney had a chance to show her talent. She started sixteen of the teams 32 games and showed leadership on the floor and as usual was a great cheerleader when not on the court. I had a chance to cover the LA Sparks vs. Seattle Storm game last summer in Everett, Washington and Syd (in the purple uniform) knocks down a nice three-ball.

 

One thing that Sydney loves is any connection to Oregon State. Mikayla Pivec's little sister Malia (who runs cross country at Boise State) attended that same game in Everett which is right next to the Pivec's hometown of Lynwood, Washington and after she had time to pose for a few pics!

Sydney will always be a Beav and during the podcast with Ruth Hamblin and Marie Gulich, I asked her how Gill Coliseum rates after playing basketball in arenas all over the planet. Sydney has played pro ball in Australia, Israel and Spain during her off-season away from the WNBA.

Ron, its not even a question. I mean even going back to college there was no arena like our home court at Gill. To be there for the progress throughout the years. I remember the team making a big basket you were heading back on defense and you couldn't ever hear each other. You could really feel the energy out there. In a tight game and you were tired you could feel the crowd and they helped us win many of those games! — Sydney Wiese

Sydney will now wait and continue to work on her health and hoop game shooting in the driveway. Will there be a WNBA season? Like all of us she is waiting and wondering. 

Check out the full podcast with Syd, Ruth and Marie. It was a treat to get to chat with three Beaver legends thanks to NBC Sports Northwest and ZOOM!!

Catch up with Sydney Wiese, Marie Gulich and Ruth Hamblin!

Catch up with Sydney Wiese, Marie Gulich and Ruth Hamblin!

With the COVID-19 Pandemic putting the sports world on hold. What are professional athletes up to nowadays?  Like us, they are held up in their homes, their bedrooms, their workout rooms trying to stay ready and trying like the rest of us to avoid testing positive and getting sick.

I thought, ya know, would they have time to perhaps get on Zoom and chat? Well, as some of you know I have been broadcasting Oregon State Women's basketball for the past 13 seasons. The 2015-16 season will always be a special one because the Beavers made it to the Final Four by upsetting Baylor in Dallas.

Three members of that squad joined me this week on Zoom for a mini-reunion!!

Sydney Wiese was a junior on that team. She graduated the next season and has spent the past three years in the WNBA playing for the Los Angeles Sparks

She joined me on the podcast from her childhood bedroom at her parent's house in Phoenix.

Marie Gulich was a sophomore on that team and has spent the past two years in the WNBA playing for the Phoenix Mercury and the Atlanta Dream. During this past off-season, she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks!! Reunion time with Syd. For the podcast, she was nine hours ahead of us in Germany and was in a college dorm in Leverkusen.

Ruth Hamblin was a senior on the Final Four team and was drafted by the Dallas Wings. She played a season there but then decided to focus on playing for Team Canada and hopefully being part of the 2020 Olympic team representing her country. I guess we all know how that turned out. Ruth is in self-quarantine in Whistler.B.C. waiting till next week when she can go home to her parents' house in Houston, B.C. after playing pro ball this winter in Russia.

All three joined me on a wide-ranging look at their careers on the Talkin' Beavers podcast. We chatted about the impact of Coronavirus on their lives and how they are coping. And they talked about their greatest Oregon State moments

Sydney Wiese was the first WNBA player to test positive for the virus. She talks openly on the impact of the virus on her body and her well-being. I have to say she sounds great and Sydney is gonna be fine.

Here is the Talkin' Beavers podcast!

A message to Oregon State WBB & fans after NCAA tournament cancellation

A message to Oregon State WBB & fans after NCAA tournament cancellation

I have been dreading this weekend!

Normally, I would be heading to Corvallis to broadcast the Oregon State Women's basketball team in the First and Second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. You see, the Beavs are ranked No. 14 in the final Associated Press poll and that would pretty much guarantee them hosting the first two rounds. Gill Coliseum would once again play host to some intense basketball. Scott Rueck would have his team well-prepared for the style of play of their opponent. Would it be Boise State for a second straight year? Would Troy cross the country to play the likes of Mikalya Pivec and Kat Tudor? Both are seniors who would be getting bonus games at Gill where they entertained and impressed Beaver Nation for four years.

Instead, here we sit semi-quarantined. The women's hoops world is on hold. All sports have been relegated to reruns and a lot of COVID-19 chat on the local sports radio talk shows. NFL free-agency is getting a lot of play of course. You can find some talk about college hoops but it’s mainly about all of the spring sports that have been cancelled. The impact of no College World Series on the city of Omaha was the big headline earlier this week.

I have been relegated to taking long walks with Sagan my dog. 

He actually has his own twitter page (@Sagan34) and has kept me sane through this coronavirus mess. It is a mess that might be the weirdest thing I have dealt with in my life. I can't see my two incredible grandkids (ages 4 and 2 and a half) because my daughter wants to protect me from any potential contact with the virus since I am a little older than some. I have been helping a good friend at a local brewery involved in the canning process for some impressive IPA's. But what I miss most is broadcasting games on the Beaver Sports Network. That is over now for the foreseeable future. Yah, its depressing. Netflix and HBO now shows can only go so far.

Then my attitude was improved a bit by this video. If you love women's college basketball thank Katie Mavis and the Oregon State Athletics department for cheering up all of us:

Now, if you are really into some intense basketball and are willing to watch an entire game check out the Sweet 16 game between Oregon State and Baylor in Lexington, Kentucky in 2018.

The first time the Beavers ever played inside Rupp Arena. The Baylor Bears had revenge on their minds because the Beavs had beaten them in the 2016 Elite Eight game in Dallas to head to the Final Four. This is one great college basketball game that can take your mind off the latest shelter in place edict put out by your local politician.

Hopefully, this crisis will pass sooner than later. We can get back to the things we all love the best. A baseball game in Seattle or Hillsboro or Keizer. Yah, the In n Out lines will be back but so what. We can look forward to Jonathan Smith's third year as Oregon State head football coach and the possibility of a bowl game. We will wait to see what happens to the potential eligibility of the women's basketball players denied their swan song in the NCAA Tourney. 

Yes, this is a tough weekend for what could have been. I guess you can't wallow in it and be positive. The crisis will pass. The long-term impact is unknown so... walk the dog… enjoy cooking and that great Coasters IPA and hope that things will return to normal sooner than later.

Mikayla Pivec: Beaver legend on and off the court

Mikayla Pivec: Beaver legend on and off the court

Let's be straight.

Oregon State Beavers senior Mikayla Pivec was robbed.

Robbed of her final chance to lead the Beavers to the Final Four for a second time. She was primed as a senior on the Oregon State roster to take the Beavers deep into the NCAA Tournament.  But, the Coronavirus took care of that. Now, she is in a kind of limbo no one would want. Will the NCAA allow the seniors who were denied their incredible opportiunity another year of eligibility?  The early returns on that are pretty mixed. Pivec says she would return "in a heartbeat" if given another year of eligibility, She is willing to put the WNBA on hold to make that happen. That tells you a ton about her character, her passion for the sport she loves and her love of Oregon State.

Pivec is possibly the most versatile player in the history of the Beaver Women's basketball program and has been a part of so many incredible moments in OSU's recent runs during her time in Corvallis.

2016-2017

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Pivec's freshman year was a sneak peek into her potential. She made the Pac-12 All Freshman team. She averaged 7.5 points per game and five rebounds. And she was a part of Beaver sports history when Oregon State topped Stanford in Palo Alto in double overtime, 72-69. Pivec had 13 points and three boards. I still have this picture of the scoreboard at Maples Pavilion on my phone.

2017-18

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Pivec showed that versatility in her sophomore season playing a ton of point guard for the first time. She was a big part of college basketball history. The Beavers had to travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tourney. The Lady Vols of Tennessee had never lost an NCAA game at home going all the way back to the first NCAA Tournament in 1982 building up a 57-0 record. Pivec had 18 points and seven rebounds in the 66-59 upset, sending the Tennessee fans home in shock and the Beavers to the Sweet Sixteen in Lexington the following weekend. Here is a post-game interview with Mikayla , Marie Gulich and Katie McWilliams who all played a big part in the win.

A week later the Beavers put together another huge game to make more history. An upset of Baylor in Lexington, Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Marie Gulich was a monster for Oregon State scoring 26 and Mikayla had seven points seven rebounds and nine assists. The Beavers were headed to the Elite Eight for a second time and there was another post game featuring Marie, Katie, Taya Corosdale and Mik.

2018-19

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This was another outstanding season for Pivec. She reached the 1.000 point mark against the Ducks. She was part of another Sweet Sixteen team. Mikayla was the key reason the Beavers got that far. Boise State was ready to leave Gill with a huge upset leading Oregon State by four points with just 17 seconds to go. Mikayla had a key steal and a basket to help the Beavs survive to Overtime and then won it over the Broncos 80-75. Pivec had 20 points and 12 boards. 

The Beavers then topped Gonzaga and eventually fell to Louisville in the battle for the Elite Eight. All in all, it was an impressive Junior season for Mikayla. 

She was a WBCA All-America Honorable Mention, All Pac-12 first team, and an Academic All-America Second Team.

On the court she averaged 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. She shot 52.6 percent from the floor which was the second-best percentage in the Pac-12 and tops among conference guards.

2019-20

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Mikayla's senior season started early. She was selected as a member of Team USA's university division. She made the trek with Team USA to Lima, Peru to participate in the Pan American games.

Mikayla's trip was thrilling for all of Beaver Nation. She not only was representing the United States as a current member of the Oregon State Beavers but she had an incredible reunion with three other Beavers taking part in the Pan Am Games:

Ali Gibson the Beaver alum from 2012-2015 was representing Puerto Rico and Jamie Weisner Scott and Ruth Hamblin who were part of the Final Four team in 2016 representing Canada at the Pan Am Games. Suzie Merchant the Team USA Coach and Michigan State's coach talked about Mikayla after the first game.

Mikayla also went to Italy during her senior year with the Beavers. She was a key member of a team that had to deal with a ton of adversity. Key injuries to Taya Corosdale and Kennedy Brown. Mikayla stepped up...a 5'10" guard. Mikayla became the all-time leading rebounder in Oregon State history. She is a first-team Academic All-American and oh ya...graduated in three years at Oregon State majoring in Bio Health sciences.

Mikayla is also a huge giver. She is an important part of the Corvallis community away from basketball. She volunteers for Catholic Community services helping low-income families with household chores and yardwork. She also volunteered with Earthcorps to help remove invasive  and litter from local parks. She is currently tghe leading vote-getter for the Senior Class Award honoring college basketball players for their commitment to their community.

We don't know what the future holds for Mikayla Pivec, except that her future is bright. Will she end up in the WNBA? Will that league even play this summer? Will she be granted another year of eligibility at Oregon State?  Everything is fluid for everyone in the Sports World right now. 

But i will add this: In my 45 years in the media biz I have never met or watched a more devoted and talented basketball player. I also must say she is one amazing person off the court and all basketball fans, players, coaches and staff members have been fortunate to watch her incredible time in Corvallis Wherever she winds up. she will make a positive impact on all of the people she meets and the teammates she incluences in her positive approach to life.