By Wally Jeter
If I was to summarize Tanner Riley's game with one word, it would be GUNNER. Tanner has never seen a shot he hasn't liked.
North Bend, Washington is known for two things: it's the place where they filmed David Lynch's Twin Peaks TV series and Tanner Riley. Tanner came to the University of Portland from Mount Si High School after averaging 18 ppg as a high school Senior and being named to the Washington State 3A All State First Team. Also, Tanner played 3 years of AAU ball with future Pilot teammate Ryan Nicholas.
The first two games of Tanner's Freshman season were his best of the season: 14 pts against Milwaukie and 15 pts against UC Davis. While Tanner played in all 32 games, his minutes were never consistent. Depending on how much Reveno liked him that day, he could play anywhere from 1-23 minutes. If nothing else, Tanner proved that he wasn't afraid to shoot and on occasion could catch fire. However, he was only getting Jared Stohl's garbage time at this point and would have to wait him out to get more playing time.
Sophomore year Jared Stohl left but Tanner was now splitting time with freshman David Carr. Had more of the same in terms of inconsistent minutes until deep into the season when his minutes suddenly skyrocketed and he began to turn on the scoring; including becoming real dangerous beyond the arc (4 3-pointers against BYU, 3 against LMU).
Junior year rolls around and Tanner gets more minutes then he's ever seen (13.6 mpg sadly), but has his best season as a Pilot. Some of my favorite Tanner moments happened. Such as this classic BYU game where he really makes the most of his 1 minute of playing time (1-1 3 pointers, 1 reb, 1 Ejection)
Something I've always wondered about watching that video, if you watch at the 24 second mark, Reveno puts his hands on Tanner to calm him down, is it just me or does Tanner tell him to "GET THE FUCK OFF ME"? We may never know for sure.
However, classic Tanner style after his 2 game suspension he comes back with a great 18 point performance vs LMU:
As for his current Senior year, I can't see how it has been anything but frustrating for Tanner. Pressley has improved enough this season to warrant the bulk of the SG minutes and Bobby Sharp has come in as a transfer and out Tannered Tanner, becoming the new long range spark plug off the bench. He hasn't played since the December 20th game against Bradley and who knows if he's been sentenced to the bench for the rest of the season. All I know for sure is this, when the offense is struggling and no one wants to shoot, sub in this guy because HE AIN'T AFRAID!
Tanner thank you for your service, it has been a pleasure watching you (especially when you're tossing BYU players to the ground), good luck on all future endeavors. Keep Gunning!