Drew Eubanks isn’t stacking up the shot attempts but is still finding a way to contribute.
The Oregon State junior post has found himself as the third and sometimes fourth offensive option for the Beavers in the season’s first six games.
Getting him the ball more is a work in progress.
“I’m just waiting for my teammates to get it inside, and they’re doing a good job, they’re working hard,” Eubanks said. “But even if they’re not passing it inside I can still go get offensive rebounds, I can still get rebounds, run the floor, play defense. There’s still a lot of things I can control and there’s points I can get. I just need to do a better job.”
He enters Saturday’s home game against Loyola Marymount averaging 14.8 points and seven rebounds in 29.8 minutes.
Eubanks is shooting 66.7 percent from the field (30-45) and ranks fourth on the team in shot attempts behind Stevie Thompson Jr. (81), Tres Tinkle (79) and Ethan Thompson (45).
He’s reached double-digit shooting attempts just once, and that came in the first of two games against a Long Beach State that didn’t have the size to match the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Eubanks.
Tres Tinkle, the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, said he and the team realize few players can guard Eubanks under the basket and that he needed to get more touches.
“We know if we go in to him and he can kick it back out, we’re going to be really hard to guard,” Tinkle said. “There’s just a lot of things we’ve got to work on and clean up to really get it efficient.”
Eubanks, whose shot attempts per game are at 7.5 compared with 9.7 last year, took 19 attempts in the team’s contests at the recent AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando. That includes just five against Long Beach State, a team he dominated six days earlier at Gill Coliseum with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Eubanks acknowledges that opposing defenses are doing well to take away what he likes to do.
Coach Wayne Tinkle says the lack of attempts is partially on the big man and partially on his teammates on the floor.
“If they’re throwing up a zone against him he can’t hide back there,” the coach said. “He’s got to demand the ball. He knows he can always get it off the glass and running the floor. But there’s some things that we’ve talked about, him continuing to work and our guys continuing to look in there.”
One area where Eubanks has made a sizable contribution is at the free-throw line. He’s getting there more often and making a higher percentage.
He’s averaging six attempts a game, up from 4.3 last season. He’s climbed from 63.5 percent made as a freshman to 71.2 last year and 80.6 this season.
Eubanks has more help around him this season, which has certainly contributed to fewer shot attempts, and he’s found a way to get to the line more.
Tres Tinkle missed all but six games last year with an injury and Ethan Thompson is a talented freshman guard who can score the ball. Stevie Thompson is finding his shooting touch more consistently.
But feeding the ball inside, to Eubanks in particular, remains a focus.
“We’ve got to throw it in there to get the balance that we need from our scorers,” coach Tinkle said. “Certainly he’s going to be a guy that’s there for us. But it’s nice to know that if he’s not there’s guys that can pick up the slack.”