Robinson focusing on big picture

2011-02-22T22:45:00Z Robinson focusing on big pictureBy Kevin Hampton, Gazette-Times reporter Corvallis Gazette Times
February 22, 2011 10:45 pm  • 

Craig Robinson has gone through the tough times.

He experienced down years as an assistant at Northwestern and as a head coach at Brown.

He knows what it's like to lose and then be a part of a turnaround.

There's no doubt the Oregon State men's basketball team is going through a rough patch.

The Beavers have won two of their last 12 games and are coming off an 82-63 Civil War loss in Eugene.

"It was just as bad at Northwestern, similar at Brown," Robinson said. "You have to understand that guys like me don't inherit jobs that are ready-made to be successful already. Every single job I've had has been a rebuild, and when you're rebuilding a program from the ground, you have to be able to take your lumps."

That might be easier for a coach who has been through the bad times to get to the good than it is for the OSU players and fans.

It can be difficult to focus on anything but the record, particularly when the team is losing.

Frustration can build quickly and that leads to negative feedback.

Robinson said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody never lost focus on the big picture: his long-term vision for the program.

"In our business, most of the stuff you hear out there is negative," Robinson said. "That's just the nature of it and you can't let that get in the way of teaching the kids the positive stuff.

"I want our players to see, first and foremost, that we as a staff haven't given up on them, and No. 2, that you have to, in our situation, pick out the positive things and take a look at that and do those as well as fixing the negative things. You can't just harp on the negative stuff."

Losing is not easy for Robinson to take, but he tends to look at the big picture.

He is more interested in whether or not the program is headed in the right direction and how to keep it on track.

The team did not win a conference game the season before he took over and has one winning season since 1990-91.

He's pleased with the development of his young players and how well recruiting has gone.

"I am really excited, but it's hard to lose when you're used to being successful and used to winning games and all that kind of stuff," he said. "You're dealing with young adults and some of these guys are still kids, maturity-wise. I want to be positive for them all the time, but I also want them to understand what hard work can get you."

Right now, one of Robinson's biggest tasks is to keep his players focused on the bigger picture.

For this team, that means working day to day toward winning the next game.

Senior Lathen Wallace said he wishes the season had gone better, but he knows it's not over.

"We've got four games left and hopefully we can win the four and the Pac-10 tournament and then move on and all that other stuff that I'm talking about right now wouldn't even matter," Wallace said. "Win the tournament, that would be great."

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