Oregon State's Tyler Bilodeau wanted to be like his dad. Now he's taking after his mom.
Oregon State's 6-foot-9 sophomore is leading the Beavers' turnaround after trading his skates for sneakers.
For the longest time, Tyler Bilodeau tried to take after his dad.
Brent Bilodeau was the former professional hockey player, a 230-pound tank of a defenseman from Texas who was picked in the first round of the 1991 NHL Draft by Montreal after a stand out career with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Tyler grew up playing hockey in Kennewick — Brent took a job coaching with the Tri-City Americans after his playing career ended — and wanted nothing more than to be the third generation of Bilodeau to make a career of the sport.
But here’s the thing: Brent is 6-foot-4 and fell for the 6-foot-4 Cass Bauer, a hall of fame forward at Montana State who spent seven years as a pro between the ABL and WNBA.
That pairing hasn’t exactly led to hockey-playing physique for their offspring. Yes, there has been a 6-foot-9 player in the NHL, but it was around his junior year of high school that Tyler began to realize the next one wasn’t going to be him.
“I wasn’t super quick, but I had these long strides and could get up to speed pretty good,” Tyler said. “I was a little skinny. Long arms and legs. I was kind of all over the place.”
So instead of trying to be his dad, Tyler picked up the torch of his mom. Eleven games into his sophomore season, it’s the Oregon State Beavers who have benefitted from the change the most.
Tyler scored 26 points, grabbed five rebounds and hit eight of his nine free throw attempts in leading Oregon State to a dominating 86-70 win over USC on Saturday. It was Oregon State’s ninth win of the year, leaving them just two shy of last season’s total as the Beavers hit the road this week for the Washington swing of the Pac-12 schedule.
The Beavers are scrappy and have impressively corrected from that nose-dive of a three-win season two years ago. They’ve yet to win on the road, but Wayne Tinkle has seen massive strides from young players like Bilodeau, who is averaging 12.5 points in his first season as a full-time starter.
“He played with a different level of confidence,” Tinkle told reporters this week. “He didn’t play so nervous and edgy. That’s been the big thing — he got a ton of experience last year, but we remind ourselves he’s a sophomore. He’s got to play with confidence and not be in a hurry and I think he’s really slowed down.”
That, Tyler said, is where his mom has come up clutch.