I know, I know, it's supposed to be all football, all the time until January 9th around here, but indulge me. I like hoops, and this whole Mike Dunlap fundamental extravaganza has got me excited.
Note: most of this was written before the Kamyron Brown transfer and the Malcolm Armstead signing. I tried updating it, but be aware in case i missed anything.
Tajuan Porter-G: TP has to be the man 100% of the time for this team to be successful. When he's hot, he makes everyone around him better. When he isn't, he's not only a defensive liability, but he's taking his shots anyway and taking looks away from his teammates. I understand the need for TP to get his shot, but forcing up bad looks is no way to get into a rhythm. It also remains to be seen whether he can be a dependable point guard with some passing ability. There are times when I'd rather have
Kamyron Brown out there distributing than TP, and that's never a quality you want in your #1 backcourt player.
Garrett Sim-G: The more viable option amongst the point guards, Sim still has a long way to go before he is an effective Pac-10 point guard. He showed flashes of brilliance, scoring in double figures nine times including a season-high 28 against Utah. But only three of those games came in Pac-10 play, where he averaged only 4.7 ppg. He also never dished out more then four assists in any game last season. We know he can shoot the 3, but a big part of Ernie Kent's offense relies on a PG who can create off the dribble and get to the hoop. With three years to improve his ball handling and penetrating ability, we should expect to see Sim as an integral part of Oregon's basketball future.
Kamyron Brown-G: If only he weren't the worst perimeter shooter in our backcourt. He's almost definitely the best passer on the team, and if we had consistent frontcourt scoring and an offense that was more reliant on ball movement he'd be our best option at point guard. But Ernie Kent's offense requires a point guard that can create his shot off the dribble, and only creates passing opportunities when the point guard is a big-time scoring threat. I'd compare Kamyron to Brady Leaf: a talented athlete stuck in completely the wrong system for his skill set.
Matt Humphrey-G: If any of the freshmen have the ability to step up as the team leader of the future, it's Humphrey. He has the fire and the attitude necessary, and has the skill set to be able to take a team on his back when they need him. He's already proven to be a scorer both on the perimeter and off the dribble, and thrived off of crunch time minutes against Stanfurd and OSU. He should be a heavy rotation mainstay for the rest of his Duck career.
Teondre Williams-G: The mystery wrapped in an enigma on this team. Due to injuries and a lack of PT when healthy, we never got the chance to see what Teondre is capable of last season. His time to really see action may not come this year either, as the only departing member of the backcourt is Churchill Odia, who spent most of the year on the bench with Williams. He was recruited as a guy who can get to the rim and score off the dribble, and could be utilized as a weapon when opposing defenses take away the perimeter.
LeKendric Longmire-G: I don't know what to think. At times, he seemed to be the slasher I hoped he'd turn into, a player that could finish at the hoop and hit the occasional 3 to keep defenders honest. He was the vocal leader, jawing with opposing players and getting his teammates hyped. His free throw shooting isn't absolutely horrendous anymore. But for the Ducks to succeed next year, I think LeKendric needs to make "the leap". If anybody has the demeanor to be THE emotional leader next year, it's him.
Joevan Catron-F: If it were up to me, he'd never see the court. He's got great big man footwork, and can bang on the boards. He's also 6'5". It's just too bad. If he were 6'9", he'd be a good player. But he's not. He doesn't have a perimeter game or ball handling skills that can be counted on at the D-1 level, and while he plays bigger defense than 6'5", he doesn't play big enough to be effective against Pac-10 bigs. And he's shown very little improvement during his time here. With the incoming slew of forwards, could this be the "produce or sit" year for Voltron?
Drew Wiley-F: If you combined Maarty Leunen and Luke Jackson, you'd have Drew Wiley's best case scenario. He's got the prettiest shot on the team, and showed last year that he can really stroke it if he gets his looks. He's trapped behind Catron in terms of getting minutes, and has the ability to earn more floor time if he can improve his inside game and his rebounding.
Josh Crittle-F/C: My first thought on Josh Crittle last year was, "Good God he's enormous!" And he proved to be more than just a big body last year. By my eyes, he, along with Humphrey, showed the most improvement on the roster last season. His post defense isn't great, but it's fundamentally better than Dunigan's, as is his rebounding positioning. Offensively, he's very raw and is in need of a lot of work both with his feet and his hands. I would love to see Ernie use both Crittle and Dunigan in the same lineup more next year, especially if Jacob, Wilson, and Singler turn into viable forward options off the bench.
Mike Dunigan-C: It worries me that we could be seeing another Malik Hairston instead of a bonafide star. As much as I love Malik, he never really developed into the potential lottery talent he could have been, and Dunkigan showed as many flashes of underachiever last year as he showed flashes of All Pac-10 big man. Apart from bulking up, one of the keys for his development will be working on the little things in his post defense, i.e getting better position at the start of possessions, as well as his rebounding technique. He's got good offensive instincts, and I think he's one of the players on our roster Dunlap will impact the most.
EJ Singler-F: Last year's Gatorade player of the year in Oregon and the brother of Duke's Kyle, EJ is a versatile forward that can play both inside and out. He averaged 21.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.4 blocks last season, leading South Medford to a sixth-place finish at the state tourney. He is known as a "glue" guy, and can bring a lot to the team off the court as well as on it.
Jeremy Jacob-F: Listed at 6'8", Jacob looks to be the a type of player this team's really missing: a 4 that can bang inside. He was the leading rebounder (9 a game) at Chipola CC in Florida last year, a team that finished third in the national JC tournament. He has three years of eligibility left, and has a great chance to contribute immediately on the glass.
Jamil Wilson-F: The "big fish" of this recruiting class, Jamil Wilson is a versatile forward who has the ability to contribute immediately as a freshman. Offensively, he has a very polished inside game and can shoot it up to 20 feet. Scout.com compares him to Marvin Williams athletically. Marvin Williams is in the NBA, so I'm okay with this. He is a good ball handler, and a better finisher. Bob Rickert sees a lot of Grant Hill in his game as well. I'm excited to see him in action next year.
Malcolm Armstead-G - The newest Duck should see plenty of the floor next year. A teammate of Jeremy Jacob at Chipola CC, he is known for being able to make his teammates better, and being a more than capable floor general. He's left handed, quick, has good penetrating ability, and can and will hit an open 3. Sound familiar? He was garnering interest from schools like Memphis and Kentucky, but wanted to come in and play immediately. And with our current point guard situation, he's got a great shot at doing just that.