Craig Robinson has a message of hope

Oregon State coach Craig Robinson will participate in the National Book Festival on the National Mall tomorrow, speaking about and signing copies of his memoir, "A Game of Character."

That's just one of the many perks of being brother to the first lady, who along with President Obama are honorary chairs for the event.

But it's away from the Washington scene where Robinson is spreading his own message of hope, as far as the traditionally non-threatening Beavers are concerned.

During a speaking engagement last week near Salem, Ore., The Statesman Journal quoted him as saying, "I'm hoping in two, three years that we're competing at the top of the league on a regular basis."

The road map for Pac-10 respectability seems to have been laid out after Robinson got an early look in workouts at his recruiting class -- one that for the second consecutive year looks very impressive.

Ahmad Starks could make an immediate impact as a true point guard after being recruited out of Robinson's hometown of Chicago. The Beavers got even more athletic by bringing in 6-foot-8 power forward Devon Collier from the Bronx and 6-9 UTEP transfer Eric Moreland, who is eligible to play immediately.

The addition of 6-11 post player Chris Brown not only gave Robinson more height to work with, but also a way for the member of the First Family to stay on message at that United Way event last week.

"Now it looks like we're a real team when we walk around the airport," Robinson joked. "Before I was always asked if I coached the soccer team."

Hope abounds, as a young Beavers squad coming off a 14-18 season is at least a lot more imposing that it once was.