OSU Men’s Basketball: Freshman Tyler Bilodeau adds skill and toughness to roster |

Tyler Bilodeau has athletics in his blood.

His father, Brent, was the 17th pick in the 1991 National Hockey League draft and played 12 years of professional and semi-professional hockey. His mother, Cass, played professional basketball, in the ABL and WNBA, for seven years.

Bilodeau’s basketball skills landed him a Division I scholarship and a spot on the Oregon State men’s team.

He says his mother, whose maiden name was Bauer, was the most influential person in his life when it came to basketball, especially the mental aspects of the game.

“I talk to her about things and she helps me get my bearings. This is the most important thing,” Bilodeau said.

A 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward from Kennewick, Washington, who also played baseball and hockey as a youth, he works on his communication, puts the ball on the ground and makes plays and his shooting, among other areas of his basketball game.

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In addition to Oregon State, Bilodeau’s other scholarship offers included Boise State, Montana State (where his mother played), St. Louis, Washington State and UC Davis.

But the Beavers were his choice when he signed in November.

“The most important thing for me is that it felt like a family, it felt like home. I liked the culture and the coaches were great,” Bilodeau said.

Describing his own game, he says: “I can stretch the ground, play hard on defense and bounce back and try to do whatever it takes to win.”

Some new teammates have favorable impressions of what they’ve seen from Bilodeau so far this summer.

Fellow Washington and OSU freshman Jayden Stevens, who played Bilodeau twice in high school and was also an All-Star Game teammate, said Bilodeau was difficult to guard because of his height.

“Billy, he’s not a traditional big man, but he’s a big man. He can get on the rim, he’s got a nice hook, he’s got a nice left hand. He can shoot basketball. He can play everywhere,” Stevens said. “A new-age big man who can reach the rim and take you (on the outside) if you’re a 7-footer and do a few moves and get to the rim, get to a pull-up .”

A former three-star rookie and two-time conference player of the year, Bilodeau averaged about 23 points and 10 rebounds per game while leading Kamiakin High to a fourth-place finish in the 4A state tournament held last season. One of Kamiakin’s wins eliminated Stevens’ Gonzaga Prep team from the tournament.

Another OSU newcomer Christian Wright said Bilodeau surprised him with his skill and ability.

“You can’t really leave it open or it’s going to take a shot,” Wright said. “He has a post-game. He plays hard. He can play indoors and outdoors.

Dzmitry Ryuny, who joins the Beavers for the upcoming season after four years in San Francisco, sees Bilodeau’s talent and a work in progress.

“He can shoot a bit and he has a good understanding of the team’s defense,” Ryuny said. “He needs to get a little more physical and stronger, and I feel like he’s going to be a great stretch 4, maybe even 3 if he can improve his footwork.”

Bilodeau said he understands the importance Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle places on the defensive end of the field. He spent his first few weeks on the program soaking up everything there is to know about his new team.

“I have a lot to learn and I think I can do a lot more,” Bilodeau said. “But it was good. I like our defensive plan.

At the time of Bilodeau’s signing, Tinkle noted the young star’s skill and tenacity, saying, “you don’t see a kid of his age and size in that suit very often.”

The coach said playing hockey and other sports contributed to that stamina, but more so to his parents’ athletic background as well as the influence of certain coaches.

“Because of these factors, we are confident that he is the kind of young man who will respond to the way we coach,” Tinkle said.

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