Despite falling on hard times in recent years, the Oregon State Beavers basketball program has produced its fair share of quality hoopsters that have moved on to leave their mark on the NBA, including time All-Star Gary Payton and “Iron Man” AC Green.
Let’s take a look at my Top 5 Beavers Basketball Players of All Time!
Payton, the only point guard ever to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, was an intimidating player, trash talking his way to becoming one of the most decorated basketball players in OSU history.
Featured on the March 5, 1990 cover of Sports Illustrated magazine as the nation’s best college basketball player, Payton was a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, named the Pac-10 conference’s 1987 Freshman of the Year, and was the Pac-10 Player of the Week nine times.
In contrast, a soft spoken Green finished second in Beavers history in rebounding and fourth in scoring before going on to play in more consecutive games than any other player in NBA and ABA history.
Then there was Steve Johnson who pulled duty on legendary coach Ralph Miller’s 1980-81 Orange Express.
That season, Johnson set a single-season mark, which is an NCAA men’s record to this day, netting 235 of 315 buckets en route to a 74.6 field goal percentage.
And who could forget the lofty Harvey Wade “Swede” Halbrook who was once declared the “World’s Tallest Basketball Player” on his way to a trio of Oregon State single game rebound records.
At 7 ft 3 he was a beast!
Finally, Puerto Rican born Jose Ortiz rounds out our top five.
Also a part of Miller’s Orange Express, Ortiz was named 1986-87 Pac-10 Player of the Year defeating, among others, “Knick Killer”, Reggie Miller of UCLA.