Alex Roth has Setback after Making Huge Progress at Oregon State University


Alex Roth #22 Oregon State Beavers

Alex Roth was offered a walk-on spot for the Oregon State University Men’s Basketball Team this past season. He impressed former Coach Craig Robinson enough to finally get into the playing rotation next season. Everything was clicking for him and it seemed as if he would be traveling with the OSU Beavers and contributing in 2015.

Alex is the son of Michael and Leslie Roth. He has a sister, Alyssa, and two half brothers, Jason and Danny. His dad is the owner of ten IGA stores in the northwest and his mom works as an office administrator. His grandfather is the late Orville Roth and former owner of the IGA stores.

Alex was raised in a middle-to-upper-class neighborhood with plenty of friends to run around with – everyone knew each other. He never had any real issues with friends while growing up. Some people might describe Alex as a happy kid and very social – he smiled a lot.

“I pretty much get along with everyone. I don’t like to fight – I’m into making friends not wars,” Alex said

One day his older brothers were playing basketball in the backyard. Alex discovered that he wanted to give basketball a shot. Alex was little and loved hanging around his older brothers. They inspired him to start playing the game of basketball. He was fast and could jump – and eventually developed a great shooting hand. His brother, Danny, eventually went on to play at Western Oregon University.

Alex was close to his Grandpa Orville. His dad was always working – a busy man. It was Orville that took him to the games and spent a lot of time with him.

“My grandpa was my inspiration for a lot of things. He was the type of grandpa that took me out for ice cream after a game – we hung out together – he was a great guy,” Alex said.

Alex attended Chapman Hill Elementary School, and then Walker Middle School in Salem, Oregon. During that time he played on an AAU traveling team, Salem Select.

His freshman year at West Salem High School, he became a starter. He was contributing as a freshman but was a little frustrated due to the struggles that some teammates were dealing with.

“I remember my freshman year at West our record was 5 – 20. By my senior year we improved to 24 wins and 3 losses,” Alex said.

Alex admits that during his high school days, one of the obstacles was staying straight and not falling into the drug scene like some of the other players. That lifestyle definitely ruins players and their futures.

“There’s a lot of peer pressure, but I just wasn’t into that – I just focused on choosing the right road – I wanted to play college basketball and I knew I had to be straight,” Alex said.

He played with a Nike team – EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League). That team traveled to many cities to play in tournaments against other teams that had talented athletes.

“I did the Nike EYBL for awhile, but then I wasn’t comfortable with the way everything was just given to you – they put you on this high pedestal. I like working for what I get,” Alex said.

His sophomore year and junior year in high school, Alex started putting in some hard work during the off-season. He trained with Kevin Turner and Matt Espinoza– two performance development coaches. Whether it was lifting weights, basketball drills, or running steps at WillametteUniversity, it didn’t matter to Alex. He just wanted to excel as an athlete and prepare himself for the future.

Boise State discovered Alex during a basketball tournament in Idaho. This was before his senior year of high school. They were very interested – they recognized his talent. Alex verbally committed to Boise State early on. He had also made plans to join a prep school for his senior year and not play for West Salem.

“No one had contacted me – it was AJ Lapray from Sprague High School that was the big U of O commit – a lot of the attention was focused on him. So I jumped at the chance with Boise State. Later on I started getting letters from all sorts of Division I schools,” Alex said.

Alex decided to decline the prep school idea – he remained at West Salem for his senior year – the coaches were happy to hear that. In the 2012-2013 season he helped the Titans win the CVC Championship. They also advanced to the first round of the state playoffs that year.

The 6’ 4” guard averaged 28.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He led all scorers in the state of Oregon. He was named to the first-team All-Central Valley League and he captured the CVC Player of the Year Award. He also earned the All-Mid-Valley Player of the Year honor.

One of his all-time favorite moments was beating the Sprague Olympians who had standouts like 6’ 5’’ AJ Lapray and 6’ 10” Tanner Morgan. Alex scored a game high of 31 points at that CVC match up. Another favorite moment was shattering the glass backboard on a dunk against North Salem.

“I never really cared about points, but it felt so good to win against a team that had real good talent,” Alex said.

Alex’s grandpa had a store in Corvallis, Oregon. The OSU Beavers would come into the store and buy food regularly. Orville got to know the players and some of the people there. He fell in love with Oregon State.

“When I found out how much my grandpa loved the Beavers, I decided to not attend Boise State. I really wanted to make my grandpa proud,” Alex said.


Alex Roth - Oregon State University

Alex was headed to OSU. Coach Craig Robinson liked what he saw. He wanted his incoming freshman to redshirt the first year. There are so many benefits to redshirting. You get to learn so many things about the program – the offense and the defense take time to learn and what better way? Weightlifting is a must to get stronger the first year – Alex needed to get stronger and bigger – he would spend 7 hours in the weight room during workouts. He had a chance to get prepared for the following year.

During the practices Alex was so thankful for the opportunity to play against the starters every practice. He was one of the players chosen to run the scouting offense. His jersey number would be 22.

“I’d have to say that my freshman year was amazing! During practice I was playing against the starters and actually scored on them. I think one practice I scored 50 points while scrimmaging,” Alex said.

Alex was very close to his Grandpa Orville. The future looked bright and it seemed that someday his grandpa would watch him from a front-row seat at Ralph Miller Court – formerly known as Gill Coliseum.

Orville had taken a vacation trip to Hawaii. He was relaxing while sipping on some wine with a few friends. He went to the bathroom for a break and then after that he fell down to the ground – he was struck with a heart attack.

Alex received painful news. It was not an easy thing for him to hear. He lost his friend and his inspiration.

“It was tough to handle. I was honored to speak at my grandpa’s funeral with over 2,000 people attending,” Alex said.

Alex played in his first college exhibition game against Corban University wearing number 22. The entire OSU team wore black in honor of his Grandpa Orville.

“It was an honor to play representing him – I know he was smiling down on me,” Alex said.

Moving on – he fought through tough times. The college life is very busy with so many things going on and so many things to do. His grades were good and his drive to become a better player increased even more.

One day, during a practice, he discovered that all of his shots were falling very short of the rim. He did not have the strength to lift his shooting arm up – it was a huge struggle. He didn’t know what was going on with his body. Was it possible that he had been overworking and his body was struggling to keep up?

On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, Alex came down with mononucleosis – a virus that is transmitted through saliva (often referred to as the kissing disease). One can also be exposed through coughing or sneezing.

The doctors discovered that he had mono and shingles. The mono came in and attacked the shingles in the long thoracic nerve (located in the back of the shoulder) and almost killed the whole nerve. The complexity of this rare occurrence is one that had not been seen before. Not to add anymore, but Alex had also injured one of his muscles in that area while lifting weights.

“Everything happens for a reason – I really believe that. I can’t dwell on this, but I just keep saying to myself, if I can look up I can get up,” Alex said.

This set Alex way back – he can’t even lift his arm up. Alex is doing some therapy and running a lot these days. The long thoracic nerve takes a very long time to heal. His attitude is beyond what anyone would expect. He’s staying very positive through this and is very hopeful for a comeback.

“If I’m not healthy by next season I plan to apply for a medical redshirt – until then I’ll keep working out – I’m not giving up. I challenge anyone out there to be in better shape running-wise than I am right now,” Alex said.

Alex faces many challenges in his early college basketball career. With the recently departed Craig Robinson, a new coach has come into the program. Wayne Tinkle, who coached at the University of Montana, will be the new head coach.

“I had a great relationship with Craig Robinson, I don’t know what’s going to happen with the new coach – I’m just taking it a day at a time. I feel that things happen for a reason – I mean, what are you gonna do?” Alex said with a smile.

I’ll be praying for Alex’s speedy recovery, he is such an amazing athlete and full of life. I wish you the best Alex.

Alex, what is your favorite subject in school?

I’m a business major, and I like Geography and Physical Science.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I like hiking, boating, swimming – outdoor stuff.

Favorite NBA team and college team?

Blazers – rip city baby! Oregon State is the best team in the world!

What advice can you give a young athlete?

Life throws things at you – there will be setbacks. It’s all about overcoming. If you can look up you can get up.

What is your goal at this point?

I want to get back healthy and I want to improve my GPA from 3.1 to something better.