28 July 2010
Calvin Haynes is ready for the season and it’s only the end of July.
Oregon State University's leading scorer for the past two seasons, Haynes – who will be a senior this season for the Beavers – believes this is the most talented team he has played with to date and has lofty goals for himself and team this season in Corvallis.
"This is a good group of guys, and there's a good atmosphere right now," Haynes said.
Before working out with his teammates this summer, Haynes spent time back home in Los Angeles developing his individual skills. At 6-foot-2, Haynes said he'll be a point guard at the next level, but for now the OSU shooting guard is coming off a year where he averaged 12.5 points per game last season.
Haynes is ready to work and lead.
In Los Angeles, Haynes worked on "a lot of pick and roll” situations where he had to make plays for himself and others by reading defenses and getting his teammates open shots. While Haynes is looking to expand his game and prepare himself for the next stage of his basketball career, his developing point guard skills might make the OSU offense more potent this season.
"Obviously everyone has individual goals, but my goal for the team is to look to help my teammates make plays. Our goal is to win 20-plus (games) and make it to the (NCAA) Tournament,” continued Haynes.
Beavers head coach Craig Robinson has high expectations for this year's team as well. Oregon State won seven Pac-10 games in Robinson's first season (2008-09) and eight Pac-10 games last season.
"He (Robinson) told us he expects us to win this year. He expects us to take down big name teams, make the (NCAA) Tourney, compete to win the Pac-10 championship."
Last season, the Beavers competed for the second straight year in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), a tournament created in 2008, losing 96-78 to Boston University in the first round after winning the CBI Championship in 2009. The season didn't end the way Haynes wanted it to, and it was a difficult season for him off the court, as well.
His mother began treatment for a blood cancer, stage three multiple myeloma, which was reported by The Oregonian in January. Haynes said that a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders going into the 2010-2011 season.
"Mom's fine. She's doing her treatment, doing good, fighting, doing what she has to do to take care of herself," he said. "I leave it all in God's hands, not in her hands, not in my hands."
Still, Haynes acknowledges that his mother's illness took its toll on him, to some extent.
"I put some urgency on myself to do better. I might have pressed it a bit too much, put a bit too much pressure on myself."
Nevertheless, Haynes said basketball has always been his escape during trying times. This season, Haynes expects to be opening the floor for sophomore guard Jared Cunningham, and for Cunningham to create space for Haynes.
"It's really fun playing with athletic players like Jared, and I'm excited to get back on the court with him. He feeds off me, and I feed off him. He knows where I'm going to be at, and I know where he's going to be at," Haynes explained.
The backcourt combination of Haynes and Cunningham is a big part of this team's high expectations.
"We're all excited as a team because it's been a long time since this program's been on top," Haynes said.
Twenty years. The Beavers haven't reached the NCAA Tournament since 1990, which was also the last time they won the Pac-10 regular season championship.
"We're playing in March," Haynes added, knowing the challenge that awaits this coming season in Corvallis.
“Not in a brand new tournament (like the CBI), but in the Big Dance. That's where we're headed."
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