How Jake Luton's injury-ridden past paved way to NFL Combine

How Jake Luton's injury-ridden past paved way to NFL Combine

Overcoming adversity is a part of Jake Luton’s journey.

The former Oregon State quarterback overcame a thoracic spine injury in 2017 and a sprained ankle in 2018 to help pilot the Beavers to their first five-win season since 2014. His determination earned him the 2019 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year award, a prestigious honor which recognizes a player who battled injury or illness.

The award speaks volumes of Luton’s tenacity. His injury-plagued past isn’t just a part of who he is, but also who he's become. 

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Luton talked about how the game of football has taught him perseverance, something he has experienced first-hand in his collegiate career at Oregon State.

“I’ve had my share of getting knocked down,” Luton said. “I just keep getting back up. I keep fighting. I think that’s something that will help me in this process. I think team’s will see that and see that I have the ability to —I’m a fighter.”

In his “comeback kid” season in 2019, Luton started 11 games, throwing for 2,714 yards while completing 62.0 percent of his passes. He was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year on two occasions and appeared on the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Maxwell Award watch lists.

Luton completed his career at Oregon State playing 23 games with 21 starts and finished his career fifth all-time with 42 passing touchdowns and 5,227 passing yards. 

He reflected on his final year with the Beavers and credited then second-year coach Jonathan Smith with the team's mounting success.

“He’s gonna turn that around,” Luton said of Smith. “I think we proved it this year. We kind of got the ball rolling. Would have liked to get a few more wins than we got, but just to make the strides that we did. They have a lot of great guys in that system. I think they’ll kind of keep taking that next stride and I’m excited to see them work.”

In his career at Oregon State, Luton played 23 games with 21 starts and finished his career fifth all-time with 42 passing touchdowns and 5,227 passing yards.

He is now ready to carve his path amongst the future of the NFL, starting at the combine. He'll use the pre-draft process to prove his rousing success in college can be carried into his professional football career.

The 6-6, 224-pound quarterback has already gained the attention of teams like the Texans and Patriots, who reportedly pulled him aside for informal interviews this week. Now, he just has to do what he's been doing since the 2017 season, be patient, trust the process and persevere.

And if Luton's name gets called in April, he will be ready. 

"I’m going to be prepared as best as I can be," Luton said. "I’ve never let any of the outside noise distract me, so I don’t think that would be an issue. I’d bring it every day and prove that I’m a leader, no matter if it’s a high or a low. Keep doing it every day, however that works out." 

"I’m not going to worry about filling anyone’s shoes. Just doing the best that I can do.”

JUCO SG Tariq Silver commits to Oregon State

JUCO SG Tariq Silver commits to Oregon State

The Oregon State Beavers are receiving some reinforcements.

JUCO transfer shooting guard Tariq Silver announced via his Twitter that he has verbally committed to play basketball in Corvallis.

The 6-foot-5 guard originally enrolled at Eastern Michigan University out of high school and spent two seasons there, redshirting the first and appearing in 22 games his second. 

Then, he transferred to Tallahassee Community College where he became quite the shooting threat. He averaged 12.1 points on 49.3% from the field and 45.5% from beyond the arc in 33 games played. That type of shooting will translate to the next level and create quality floor spacing for Wayne Tinkle's team next season.

The Beavers were able to secure a commitment from Silver despite a strong, late push from Temple, his only other offer from a larger school besides Wichita State. 

Beaver nation gave Silver a warm welcome.

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.

Oregon State guard Destiny Slocum enters NCAA transfer portal

Oregon State guard Destiny Slocum enters NCAA transfer portal

In somewhat shocking news from Corvallis, Oregon State guard Destiny Slocum has decided to enter her name into the NCAA transfer portal.

The redshirt junior has one year left of eligibility.

In just two seasons in Corvallis, Slocum helped lead the Beavers to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2018-2019 and was shaping up to have another NCAA Tournament run in 2019-2020 before the Coronavirus struck.

Slocum averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game during her senior season. She would finish her two-year career twice earning All-Pac-12 honors.

After spending her freshman year at the University of Maryland, Slocum transferred to Oregon State in 2017. She had to sit out her sophomore season due to NCAA transfer rules. 

Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck thanked his point guard:

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. — Scott Rueck

Slocum was once a projected first-round draft pick in the upcoming 2020 WNBA Draft. She turns 22 in the 2019 calendar year making her eligible to declare for the WNBA Draft, however, in her statement above, it sounds like she’s looking to play one more season of college ball.

More on Slocum from our Beavers Insider Ron Callan soon.

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!

Mikayla Pivec honored as Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American

Mikayla Pivec honored as Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American

Mikayla Pivec's devotion to community service has been on display all season long. Now, the Oregon State women's basketball team captain is being honored for her contributions. 

Per a release from Oregon State Tuesday, Pivec was named Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American. 

She was chosen as one of five first-team honorees to receive the prestigious award, which honors student-athletes who make a positive impact as leaders in their community. 

While completing her honors thesis at Oregon State, Pivec focused on finding efficient ways for homeless people to get access to more resources. She was awarded a $5,000 grant for her work, in which she donated $1,000 to local shelters. 

Pivec is also the co-founder of the Beavers CARE, a group that brings Oregon State student-athletes together for service initiatives, such as trips to the Domincan Republic with Beavers without Borders. She has also volunteered with IMPACT for Life, Community Outreach Incorporated, the Corvallis Women's Shelter and DAM Worth It. 

Pivec was also one of six Beavers named to the Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll on Tuesday. 

She joins Taya Corosdale, Aleah Goodman, Patricia Morris, Destiny Slocum and Janessa Thropay as Oregon State women's basketball student-athletes recognized for their work in the classroom. 

Five-star guard Greta Kampschroeder commits to Oregon State women's hoops

Five-star guard Greta Kampschroeder commits to Oregon State women's hoops

Oregon State women’s basketball just got a lot stronger in 2021 with the commitment of five-star guard Greta Kampschroeder.

The 6-foot guard from Naperville, Illinois, is the No. 12 rated high school prospect according to ESPN in the 2021 class.

ESPNW had the following evaluation of Kampschroeder from Nike Nationals in July 2019:

Skilled guard with versatility, size in the back court; playmaker with unselfish persona, executes in half-court game; manufactures shots, delivers off the dribble and finishes plays in traffic; basketball IQ, knocks down shots to the arc; competes on both ends of the floor; an elite prospect in the class of 2021.

Kampschroeder led the Naperville North Huskies in every major statistical category, averaging 17.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals, and ended her junior season as the DuPage Valley conference champions and a regional title (the school’s first since 2005), according to an article in the Naperville Sun.

Kampschroeder also considered Stanford and Iowa at the next level.

The Beavs will have to wait one more season to see Kampschroeder in black and orange in Corvallis, but she will be a great fit alongside last season’s freshmen sensations Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown.

The Beavs’ 2020 recruiting class consists of: five-star guard Sasha Goforth (Fayetteville High School, Arkansas); and three-star guard Savannah Samuel (St. Francis High School, Georgia).

Former Oregon State star Sydney Wiese reveals she has COVID-19

Former Oregon State star Sydney Wiese reveals she has COVID-19

Just days after Sydney Wiese shared that she was in Spain when President Trump announced a travel ban from many European countries, the former Oregon State women’s basketball star has tested positive for the coronavirus.

She opened up about her diagnosis on social media Friday. A previous Twitter post revealed she had been tested for the virus on or around March 16. 

“I tested positive for COVID-19,” Wiese said in a post on Twitter. “I am feeling well- fortunate to only show mild symptoms, but I am capable of spreading it. All of us are united in our fight to stop this spread and keep everyone safe/healthy. I will do my part, and I hope you do too.”

Wiese said she is currently exhibiting symptoms such as loss of taste and smell. 

Well-wishes poured in from her Beavers family. 

On a recent episode of the Talkin’ Beavers podcast, Wiese told Beavers Insider Ron Callan she was overseas playing for AE Sedis Bàsquet when she found out she would have to travel back to the U.S. immediately. An agreement between her and the team allowed her to leave prematurely due to the international uncertainty.

"I woke up randomly in the middle of the night to text messages and updates because that's when President Trump placed the travel ban that was going to go into effect in 48 hours,” Wiese recalled. “This came a couple of hours after our league decided to postpone.

"It hurt my heart because I loved the team I was with, I loved my coaches, I loved Spain."

Wiese is expected to take the court for her fourth season with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. In 2019, she averaged 4.8 points,1.8 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 32 appearances. 

The LA Sparks released a statement following Wiese's announcement.

Los Angeles Sparks guard Sydney Wiese tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from playing overseas in Spain. She’s been in self-isolation at home in Phoenix since her return and is encouraging everyone to practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. The Sparks are in direct communication with Sydney and wish her a speedy recovery.

In her four-year career at Oregon State, Wiese was a three-time All-Pac-12 selection and set a conference record of 373 three-pointers. She helped lead Oregon State to the NCAA Tournament all four years, including two second-round appearances, a Sweet 16 and the women’s Final Four in 2016.

Listen to the full Talkin’ Beavers Podcast below to hear more from Wiese on her experience in Spain.

Wayne Tinkle in favor of extra eligibility for seniors affected by COVID-19

Wayne Tinkle in favor of extra eligibility for seniors affected by COVID-19

Nearly every industry has been affected by the coronavirus, including NCAA athletics that canceled all winter and spring sports championships in attempt to minimize the spread of the virus. 

This includes college basketball and the Oregon State Beavers, who were ready to play in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament before being told the tournament and the rest of the college basketball season was canceled.

"When we broke the news to them, you can imagine the news just from the high that we were on, you know the day before (coming off a game-winning three-pointer to defeat Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament), the excitement we had for what was next. We knew our postseason implications were sitting pretty good after the Utah win, you know, and from there who knows?" said head coach Wayne Tinkle on the latest Talkin' Beavers Podcast.

Tinkle later talked to host Nigel Burton about whether he'd support the NCAA granting additional eligibility for athletes affected by the cancellation of NCAA Championship events in wake of COVID-19. 

Well what we're hearing is that..it could be too tough of a decision, just too much that goes into it. You know, you're talking about extra scholarships and that obviously means money... I see both sides...Life rarely gives you do-overs and we got through a big part of our season, right? Now, that being said there's no experience like postseason play and that college window is so small... you really want these student athletes to enjoy the most and have the best experience...the reality is life's not fair. - Wayne Tinkle

The NCAA is already looking into granting extra eligibility to spring sports athletes who barely got to play their respective seasons, but are more up in the air about winter sports athletes.

Tinkle says if it were up to him he'd want to give seniors the option to come back, although there may be some logistical problems.

I'm all for these seniors that didn't get a chance to go out the way they wanted to, in the spring sports especially, to have another year of eligibility but man it's going to bring up a lot of issues with scholarships and where that money comes from. - Wayne Tinkle

However, despite the logistical issues, he'd support it for winter sports athletes too because they missed out on invaluable postseason experience: "if somebody called me and asked for my vote, I'd support it just because of [the missed postseason] because you want to give these folks the best experience that they can have in their time here at the collegetic level."

The Beavers head coach added that if his son, Tres Tinkle, had the chance to come back he doesn't think he would because it'd be his sixth year, he already has his degree, and "he's ready for the next phase." Tres became the all-time leading scorer in Oregon State history last season. 

Oregon State women's basketball star Mikayla Pivec said if she was offered an additional year of eligibility she'd take it "in a heartbeat." 

There has not been an official word yet on whether senior winter sports athletes will be granted an additional year.

You can listen to the Talkin' Beavers podcast here.