Mar 23, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)
Not only is Oregon State watching arch-rival Oregon survive and advance in March Madness while the Beavers sit at home, but they may be staring down a future without their best player.
Eric Moreland, the 6’10” forward who stood out in OSU’s dismal 14-18 season, has declared that he will explore his NBA draft stock without the help of an agent. He has until April 10 to decide whether he’ll take a shot at the pro level, or return to school in Corvallis.
Moreland has proven to be an excellent defensive player, averaging 2.5 blocks per game, and hauling down more than 200 defensive boards during the season, but his offensive game was erratic at best. Moreland averaged 9.4 points per game, but yawed widely between a one-point effort at home against Colorado and a season high of 20 points against WCC also-ran San Diego.
According to John Hunt of the Portland Oregonian, Moreland has been encouraged to test the waters by watching the experience of a former teammate.
After watching former teammate Jared Cunningham go through the process a year ago, Moreland said he learned to take with a grain of salt the feedback he will get from NBA personnel people over the next few weeks.
“They can only tell you so much,” Moreland said. “And it ended up being totally opposite.”
The consensus was that Cunningham needed more seasoning, but he stayed in the draft and went in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks – although he has played a total of just 26 minutes for the Mavericks in his rookie season.
Moreland would clearly benefit from an extra year in college, where he can work on his offensive game. He claims money is the least important factor in his decision, so this may not be the end for him at Oregon State just yet. He’ll have a whirlwind few days to think about it, and gather information, before his final decision must be made.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
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