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June 14, 2014

Recruiting Taking Off for Tinkle



Who said rebuilding takes time?

At Oregon State, the Beavers intend to win, and win in a hurry.

Already with coaches' sons Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. in play, Wayne Tinkle and new assistant Gregg Gottlieb are looking to score a two-for-one.

Derrick Bruce and Khalil Fuller would be just that.

The pair grew up in Southern California's Inland Empire and has a long history of playing together. Fuller spent his junior campaign polishing his skills at Florida's Elev8 Academy and this coming season will rejoin with Bruce during the latter's prep year.

"They're going to go to school together," Elvert "Kool Aid" Perry, an Inland Empire AAU coach told BeaverBlitz. "Those two kids can play against any top 20 kids in the country. They're not going to be the glamour kids that are seeking out attention but everything is ahead of them in terms of what they can do on the court."

Perry is no stranger to the youth basketball scene so when he speaks, people listen. The list of those who have hoop'd for his AAU squads is lengthy, and includes former McDonald's All-Americans Malcolm Lee and Michael Snaer.

As impressive as that resume is, Elvert can't say enough about Bruce and Fuller.

"Derrick, he's the most underrated point guard in the country. He can score inside and out, he can pass it, and he can already shoot the NBA three… Wherever he goes, I think he's going to start from day one."

Bruce's physical attributes are certainly attractive. At 6-3, he has terrific size for a point guard, and his 6-8 wingspan creates headaches for opposing teams on both ends of the floor. He keeps defenders on their heels with one of the nation's best crossovers (see video) and has developed an effective floater. He scored 21-points in the second half (31 overall) against 2016 5-Star Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills, then again dropped more than 30 when he faced 4-Star Marquese Chriss of Pleasant Grove.

Fuller's numbers aren't as gaudy but his ceiling is just as high, according to Perry.

"Khalil can be a monster. He's 6-8, about 240-pounds. He's a 6-8 kid that can play against a 6-11 player."

The 2015 big arrived at Elev8 closer to 260-pounds, and since achieving his stated goal to drop weight, has added a bit more bounce to his game. Soft hands that allow teammates to feed him in traffic and an efficient midrange game have California, Georgia, UCSB, Colorado, and Wyoming among those in pursuit.

Still, there's no denying that part of Fuller's success stems from his sturdy build, which he uses to create space under the basket and lean on opponents on defense.

"He can be like Dejuan Blair but with a better jump shot," said Perry.

So where do the Beavers stand in both players' recruitment?

"Oregon State is intriguing because, you know, they could get Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. and be good right away," said Perry. "I like Coach Gottlieb a lot and Derrick and Khalil would like to play in the Pac-12, so it's a good situation…We're going to go up and visit - that's happening for sure."

Another attractive feature of Oregon State is its new basketball facility.

"Coach Gottlieb was telling me about that," Bruce told BeaverBlitz on Thursday. "It sounds really cool."

Wayne Tinkle has also scored points, reaching out to Bruce shortly after taking the job.

"He said that he needs someone to come in who can play right away."

As for his potential running-mates, Bruce hasn't played with Tres Tinkle before, but shouldn't have any trouble imagining sharing the floor with Stephen Thompson Jr.

"He was actually on my team at the Under Armour Camp last fall, so I know him a little."

As for Fuller, early conversations with the Beavers have been productive.

"I talked to Coach Gottlieb the other day," said Fuller. "I like him. He gave me a quick [basketball] lesson."

One thing's for certain, if Thompson Jr. and Tres Tinkle do follow their fathers to Corvallis, Bruce and Fuller won't have any trouble adopting the familial style of play.

"He's always in the right place," said Bruce of the post player. "I just know his game," piggybacked Fuller.


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