Put in the spotlight, Ronnie Stacy thrived, showing why he landed at Oregon State in the summer of 2016 as a junior college transfer.
Stacy had a significant role in slowing down Washington guard David Crisp, playing 18 minutes after halftime Feb. 10 in OSU’s 97-94 double-overtime win at Gill Coliseum.
“That’s what I do. That’s what I’m best at,” said Stacy, a 6-foot-4 senior point guard entering his last two regular-season home games as a Beaver. “So I make sure I get out on the court and don’t let anybody get by me and stop everybody.”
It was the most time Stacy has played in a Pac-12 men’s basketball game in his two seasons in Corvallis, and one of his biggest stretches of time on the floor in a game that was close down the stretch. He had two points, two rebounds and two assists.
Crisp got to his season average of 11 points, but he did it on 4-of-11 shooting with four turnovers.
“It just showed that they trusted him,” junior forward Drew Eubanks said of the Oregon State coaching staff and Stacy. “I always trust Ronnie, I think everybody here trusts Ronnie.”
Added Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle: “At times he can really get physical out there defensively. Sometimes, what I love, is he brings a different level of passion and toughness that, quite frankly, we lack at times.
“The big thing with for him is to not cross over, because there’s a couple times where he’s gotten a little too physical with some intentional fouls. But I’d rather have a guy playing hard. And he’s playing the right way, he’s not trying to hurt anybody out there.”
Stacy hasn’t been much of a scoring threat, averaging 1.9 points while shooting 40.6 percent from the floor. But that isn’t what the Beavers are looking for from the native of Alexander City, Alabama.
He was recruited to be a strong defensive presence, as he was in helping Tyler Junior College in Texas to a regional championship in 2015.
Against the Huskies, Stacy didn’t get in the game in the first half but played all but 55 seconds of the final 19:30 of the game. The Beavers erased a 13-point deficit in the final 8:24 of regulation, all with Stacy on the floor.
“Ronnie always brings energy during practice and during the games. He’s a great defensive player and he’s a great facilitator, too. He really gets the offense going,” Eubanks said. “It definitely rubs off because Ronnie’s a very physical guy. He gets up into guys and he makes other people better.”
Stacy has tried to make the most of his playing time, which hasn’t been consistent.
He hasn’t played in four Pac-12 games, including last Saturday at USC, and eight contests in all this season. Stacy has averaged 8.4 minutes in 10 conference games.
Coach Tinkle acknowledged Stacy would like a bigger role. But game minutes are decided by practice performance and effort, Tinkle added, and Stacy needs to continue focusing on that.
“When he’s in he gives us a spark. We see his intensity and we know we’ve got to pick it up, too,” said OSU sophomore forward Tres Tinkle. “He’s usually guarding one of the quicker, better guards when he’s in. We see him doing what he does, it makes us say ‘why can’t we do the same thing?’”
Stacy expects to complete his degree in liberal studies and graduate in June.
He wants to continue playing basketball overseas, and when that’s all over he’d like to become a police officer.
He became interested in law enforcement after talking with his girlfriend’s mother, who is a police sergeant in Texas.
“She told me a lot of things about it,” Stacy said, adding that such a career came more and more to the forefront of his mind once he got to Oregon State “because time was winding down.”
He went on a few police ride-alongs near home last year, joining an officer on a daily patrol. He plans to do the same in the local area after basketball season.
“It seems kind of crazy at times but seemed like something I could do,” Stacy said.
But first there’s a season to finish, with at least five games still to play.
Stacy will wait for his name to be called and make an impact the best way he knows how.
“He’s so strong and aggressive. If he’s playing good defense he’s going to get a couple baskets as well, moving the ball,” Tres Tinkle said. “If we need a defender in there, if we’ve got someone who’s been hurting us, he’s able to put some pressure on them using his strength and quickness. When he’s locked in he gives us a great punch.”