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Montana loses assistant Freddie Owens to Oregon State

Jun 21, 2013, 8:21 PM EDT

University of Montana University of Montana

After spending four seasons as a member of Wayne Tinkle’s coaching staff at Montana, assistant coach Freddie Owens is leaving the program to join Craig Robinson’s staff at Oregon State according to Bill Speltz of The Missoulian. Montana reached the NCAA tournament in three of Owens’ four seasons on the staff.

“I loved his energy on the floor,” Tinkle said of Owens in the article. “He did a great job with individual workouts and getting players better both in-season and during the offseason. Then he really improved his basketball intellect.

“He was a little green and worked his tail off to develop a great sense of the game offensively and defensively. He became a lot more confident in relaying his message to the guys. You add all those things together, along with his great playing career at Wisconsin, and he brings a lot of credibility to the table.”

At Oregon State, Owens will fill the vacancy left as a result of David Grace’s move to UCLA. He joins associate head coach Doug Stewart and Nate Pomeday on Robinson’s staff. June’s been a busy month for the Oregon State program, as the new OSU Basketball Center was unveiled on June 11.

“This is a huge marketing tool and you can understand that being part of Beaver Nation for so long. We all love this place. We all know this place,” Robinson said on the day the facility was opened.

“We all know this is the place most people want to come to go to school, but the fact of the matter is, when you’re recruiting against folks who have more resources, who live in larger metropolitan areas, we have to have something that gets them here to visit this place. That’s what this practice facility will do.”

While a practice facility can certainly provide a boost of sorts on the recruiting trail, the most important recruiting tool is on-court success. With guard Roberto Nelson and forwards Devon Collier and Eric Moreland returning, the hope for Oregon State is to put forth an improved product.

The key to doing so: improving on the defensive end. In each of the last two seasons Oregon State was the worst team in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, and they also struggled when it came to field goal percentage defense as well (12th in 2011-12, 11th in 2012-13). With the conference as a whole showing signs of improvement, Oregon State has to defend better if they’re to do the same.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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