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Bonus freshman experience provides Oregon States Talia von Oehloffen's blueprint for a successful college career

Bonus freshman experience provides Oregon States Talia von Oehloffen's blueprint for a successful college career

Scott Rueck has coached women's college basketball at Oregon State and George Fox for more than two decades.

Rueck had a couple firsts with his current OSU team, and both involved second-year freshman guard Talia von Oelhoffen.

Rueck has never had two players on a team whose fathers played in the NFL. Ruewck may be the first womens coach to encounter such a circumstance before.

Tea Adams, a grad transfer guard from San Diego State, is the daughter of former Seahawk defensive tackle Sam Adams. Kimo Von Oehloffens father, Kim, spent 14 years as an NFL defensive tackle.

During the 2021-22 season, the lack of toughness wont be an issue for those two.

Neither shy away from contact, Rueck said during Pac-12 media day in San Francisco.

Von Oelhoffen not only has an NFL father, but also a mother who is in the Washington state high school Hall of Fame for her extensive athletic abilities. Von Oelhoffen had no choice but to choose toughness, when he was the youngest of three sisters.

My parents being athletes made it tough on me, so it definitely made me stronger. My older sisters played basketball, and they were tough on me for sure, von Oelhoffen said.

Ruecks other first, which isnt a first at all, but more of snubs of praise. It's the smooth transition von Oelhoffen made last season playing for Oregon State during what should have been the second half of her senior year in high school.

Because of the epidemic and uncertainty surrounding a high school basketball season, Von Oelhoffen graduated early and began his freshman year at Oregon State in January. If you will, a bonus freshman year. Von Oelhoffen made her college debut after fewer than a few practice sessions. In a double overtime loss to Washington State, She played 21 minutes and scored six points.

The precocious point guard was just beginning. Von Oelhoffen had appeared in 13 games by seasons end, scoring 11.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.0 assists.

Rueck stated, Ive never seen anything like it. It was a unique opportunity, but to absorb everything so quickly and be able to execute at such swoop was incredible, she added.

If its possible to be not surprised, and yet be a little surprised by von Oelhoffen emergence, thatll be how Rueck perceived his debut. Von Oelhoffen showed Rueck the tools of a potential star on the recruiting trail, from physical skills to decision making.

But even at that, Rueck thought maybe three or four-minute breaks, allowed her to ease into action. Instead, von Oelhoffen showed she was prepared for 20 minutes or 30 minutes a game.

I cant say I anticipated her being that ready, Rueck said.

The hardest part, according to von Oelhoffen, wasn't the game, but the adaptation to new surroundings at a time when things were different. Midway through the season, Von Oelhoffen moved from her family home in southeast Washington to a team that had been together for several months.

I didnt know anybody other than my teammates, so it felt a little bit isolated as everyone did during COVID, von Oelhoffen said. Trying to fit in and figure out what that role was, it was difficult, but I had a lot of support, so they made it easy, says Sheila.

Because of the experience, von Oelhoffen is as prepared as any other candidate in her recruiting class to enter what is supposed to be her true freshman year. Von Oelhoffen faced elite guards from top programs such as Stanford and South Carolina during her 13-game stint.

Von Oelhoffen, according to Rueck, was prompted by those experiences to assess what she needed to be a top-flight college point guard. Von Oelhoffen told Rueck during their postseason meeting that she needed to be quicker and faster.

Then she went to work, Rueck said. "Her body changed. She went home for a month, returned, and she looked different.

That progress continued in the spring and summer. Rueck claims that whatever she had last season's lack of conditioning is now gone.

During von Oelhoffen's bonus freshman season, she was able to learn from an experienced point guard in OSU sophomore Aleah Goodman. Von Oelhoffen soaked up the knowledge gained from Goodman, particularly in the leadership aspect of the position.

Von Oelhoffen stated, "You kind of have to be a leader at that level." Getting a feel for the game from her was incredible.

Those conversations with her parents are now a little different.

Theyre a bit more hands off now that Im in college. Von Oelhoffen said, Just going to enjoy it and watch it,"

--Nick Daschel | ndaschel@oregonian.com | @nickdaschem

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