Growing up, Drew Eubanks dreamed of going to college to play ball – baseball that is. He wanted to pitch in the majors. That dream all changed when he started playing basketball for the first time his freshmen year in high school.
Eubanks grew up in the Troutdale, OR. He didn’t grow up in a basketball family. His freshmen year at Reynolds High School, he didn’t even know much about basketball. I was listening to 102.9 The Game the other day when Fletch and Chop had Eubanks on. Eubanks explained how one day on a trip to McDonald’s he was questioned by some older kids about playing basketball. As a 6’5” freshmen, Eubanks claims that he was the tallest kid in the school. He responded to the kids saying that he played baseball. After a little convincing, he decided to give basketball a shot. He thought at the very least that he could stay in shape for baseball.
Eubanks freshmen basketball season didn’t go too well. As he put it, “I’m just terrible my freshman year. I really don’t know anything about basketball. I’m just going out there running around and jumping everywhere.” Even though he straight up sucked, he stuck with it. He says he isn’t a quitter and that he wanted to stick to his commitment of playing basketball for four years.
Drew started to enjoy basketball. It was new and exciting to him. Baseball was “getting old”. As he started to play more, learn the game more, he started gaining attention. Next thing he knew he was getting recruited by division 1 teams. He was happy to have the chance to stay in state by committing to Oregon State over Washington and Washington State.
His freshman year at Oregon State, Eubanks was slotted to come off the bench. Due to a broken left hand by starting senior forward Daniel Gomis, Eubanks had the opportunity to play more. He made the most of it as he started 30 of 32 games as a freshmen. Head Coach Wayne Tinkle was skeptical about having to give Eubanks more minutes instead of stringing him along slowly. That tuned into a blessing in disguise, as Eubanks got to develop into the player he has become this year.
From a 6’5” 175 pound high school freshmen to now a 6’10” and 250 pound college sophomore, Eubanks is a true big man. He a classic style big who can play with his back to the basket, rebounds well and blocks shots. He runs the court well for a player of his skill set, which has led him to throwing down some nice alley-oop dunks during his time with the Beavers.
Eubanks has had some beastly games this year. Last season he had just one double-double game going for 17 rebounds and 13 points against Washington. In just a third of the games he has already surpassed that with 2 double-doubles this season going for 17 points and 18 boards against Lamar and 23 points and 16 boards in their last outing versus Savannah State. Lest not forget that he also had 6 blocks in each of those contests. He had his best offensive game against Southern Oregon, scoring 32 points while adding 9 rebounds. Eubanks has practically doubled his per game stats in points, rebounds, blocks and assists per game while also improving his FG percentages. Eubanks also leads the Pac-12 in blocks per game at 3.2 BPG.
Wayne Tinkle and company told Eubanks this offseason that they were expecting him to score more this season while also defending and rebounding well. They were asking much more of him with the departures of seniors Daniel Gomis, Gary Payton II, Jarmal Reid and Olaf Schaftenaar. He has answered the call, especially since the injury to fellow sophomore Tres Winkle. Credit the staff for working with him and developing the raw talents of the young big out of Reynolds high.
The Beavers may not be playing great basketball thus far in the season, but they have a cornerstone for the next few years in Eubanks. Long term injuries to Tres Tinkle and Cheikh N’diaye have cut them short of having the season they would like to have.
Watch the Beavers take on Long Beach State and the University of Portland this weekend at the Dam City Classic being held at the Moda Center. If nothing else, check it out just to watch Drew Eubanks in action. Injuries have forced this young raw talent to develop quicker than many expected. He is balling this year.
You can listen to Fletch and Chop’s interview with Drew Eubanks here. His section starts just a few second before the 43 minute mark and goes for about 10 minutes.
Dec 16. 8 PM on Pac-12 Network: LBS vs OSU
Dec 18. 3 PM on Pac-12 Network: UP vs OSU