Tariq Silver is used to change.
The Oregon State Beavers junior guard was born in North Carolina, but like every “military brat,” he’s been just about everywhere. Growing up, he lived in Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, New York and Virginia to name a few, but today he calls Corvallis, Oregon his new home.
“Growing up in the South, it’s a lot different than growing up in Oregon for sure,” Silver told Joslyn Tinkle of the Talkin’ Beavers podcast. “Small family, we looked after each other.”
Silver’s love for basketball first sparked when he was in middle school at Fort Campbell in Clarksville, Tenn. He said his coach quickly noticed Silver was a “hustle guy,” the type of athlete who would stay after practice hungry to build his confidence.
At Northwest High School, Silver earned all-state honors and led his team to a district championship. He was also named TN Sports 360 Player of the Year and The Leaf Chronicle All-Player of the Year.
While Silver wasn’t heavily recruited due to the area he lived in, his coach played a huge role in contacting schools, and ultimately Silver landing a Division I offer from Eastern Michigan.
“That was actually the only Division I offer I had,” Silver recalled. “I went out there. Once I was out there, I kind of realized all these guys is human. Even though I see them on TV, and all that, they human just like me, so that kind of made me starting getting after it.”
After spending the 2017-18 season as a redshirt, Silver averaged 3.3. points and 0.7 steals in 9.4 minutes per game for Eastern Michigan during the 2018-19 season. The following year he made the decision to transfer to Tallahassee Community College where he thrived.
Silver was named Panhandle Conference Newcomer of the Year and first-team All-PC after averaging 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8. assists while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three, the third best in a single season and an all-time record at Tallahassee.
“I had to be tough there,” Silver said. “I had to believe in myself there because junior college if you don’t have that self-confidence, it can go either two ways. So, my confidence just really started getting to where it is.”
After fielding offers from Arkansas, Georgia, Wichita State, Utah State, Temple, Texas, Toledo and Cincinnati, Silver decided to take his talents to Oregon State. He said his conversations with associate head coach Doug Stewart were what initially drew him to the Beavers program, as he could tell the team wanted to get to genuinely know him and his character.
“Out here, I knew that they would love me for the person I am and not for basketball, and that drew my attention a lot,” Silver said. “It’s definitely a family atmosphere...
It’s certainly been a first season in Corvallis like any other, as the coronavirus pandemic has led the Oregon State men’s basketball program to “pause” on numerous occasions due to contract tracing. While Silver, who has played in 13 games so far, hasn’t gotten the full Beavers experience just yet, he’s excited for what’s to come.
“I know that this is some of the best fans in the country, the best fans in the country. Best college town in the Pac-12,” Silver said. “I can’t wait for the fans to come out and we get to experience that, but right now being around the team and everybody, loving each other as people, that definitely is one of the best experiences of being a Beaver.”
Hear more from the Oregon State guard on his biggest challenges this season and some of the conversations he's had with his teammates on social unrest in America.
Listen to the full Talkin' Beavers podcast here.