Opportunity is what Payton Dastrup went looking for and what he believes he’s found at Oregon State.
It just hasn’t quite happened yet.
The 6-foot-10 junior forward landed at Oregon State this summer after feeling as though his abilities weren’t being fully utilized at BYU, where he spent the past two seasons following a two-year mission to Panama with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I felt like I could have produced a lot more if given the chance,” said Dastrup, who averaged 6.4 minutes while playing in 56 of 69 games with the Cougars.
The 23-year-old Dastrup, a former four-star high school recruit out of Mesa, Arizona, wanted to play right away with the Beavers if possible.
His initial waiver to the NCAA requesting immediate eligibility was denied in early October. He learned later in the month that his subsequent appeal to a separate committee was also turned down.
Oregon State wasn’t happy and Dastrup took it hard.
“It was a little upsetting, looking at the other people that transferred around the nation, maybe some high-name recruits that they got their waivers,” Dastrup said, pointing out that former Oregon State players Kendal Manuel (Montana) and JaQuori McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara) were allowed to compete right away after transferring from OSU this past offseason.
“I haven’t seen many people that have gotten denied, aside from myself.”
Dastrup has two years of eligibility remaining. He wouldn’t be faulted for accepting the NCAA’s decision and preparing for next season to get back to the court.
But OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said this week that the Dastrup family has hired an attorney and will make an additional appeal to get Dastrup into a Beavers uniform this year.
Oregon State obtained a list of granted waivers for the current season and the reasons given by the athletes for their requests.
“We just think that there’s way too much ambiguity there on what they’re accepting and what they’re not,” Tinkle said. “Disappointing process. It’s got to be cleaned up on all fronts, for sure.”
Oregon State proved to be an optimal transfer spot for Dastrup, given his many connections to the school, when it didn’t work out at BYU.
Tinkle recruited Dastrup when the coach was at Montana. Dwain Schallenberger, Dastrup’s club coach and mentor, played at Montana when Tinkle was an assistant there.
OSU assistant Gregg Gottlieb recruited Dastrup when Gottlieb was at Cal. Kerry Rupp, the Beavers’ associate head coach, has connections to Dastrup’s mother Kristen’s side of the family.
Dastrup said he’s made fast friendships and fit in well with his new team.
“It was a little slow, because the whole transfer process didn’t allow me to be around the guys in terms of workouts” before the transfer was official, he said.
But he was able to bond with the five new freshmen and junior college transfer Kylor Kelley soon after he arrived in the summer.
He also helped the freshmen in their transition to college life and a higher level of competition. Since the start of the season, that mentoring has turned to more on-court guidance, such as understanding terminology and learning more-complex systems.
“Even though he’s not on the court with us he’s a leader. He kind of calms us down if we’re getting hot-headed or frustrated,” Oregon State junior Tres Tinkle said. “Right now his positivity is probably his biggest role for us and making sure we’re all on page and staying together.”
Added coach Tinkle: “He fits in great. He’s got an unbelievable personality. He’s one of the guys’ favorite teammates. It’s a shame that we don’t have the fruits of that on the court come game time.”
Coach Tinkle noted that Dastrup and his father David traveled on their own to last Sunday’s game at Saint Louis “because they wanted to be a part of it.” Dastrup couldn’t travel with the team due to NCAA transfer rules.
“He’s really ingrained himself into this club, and I know the guys are looking forward to the day that he can get out there and start helping us,” the coach added.
Wanting what he had
It’s been five years, since his days at Mesa’s Mountain View High School, that Dastrup has been heavily involved on a basketball team. It’s something he’s missed, along with the confidence he had as a player back then.
When it got to the end of last season, and he had averaged less than eight minutes a game despite what he believed was good production, he decided it was time to do what he felt was best for him.
When his NCAA appeal was denied last month, Dastrup went to social media.
He posted on Twitter: “Wouldn't change where I am and the decision I made to come to OSU for anything in the world. Minor setback for a major comeback. Go Beavs!!”
Despite the waiver being denied, Dastrup has seen his confidence rise along with the belief that his value to his new team is high.
“Being around these guys; being in a place like Corvallis, where people are invested in Oregon State as much as they are; being here with the coaching staff that is pushing me and motivating me to get my body in shape and work on the little things that are going to be seen next season, is something that’s huge to have,” he said.