Teondre Williams is leaving the program, but Oregon basketball is improving.
It was mentioned in Monday's Quack Fix that Teondre Williams and Martin Seiferth will transfer, joining Malcolm Armstead on the way out of Eugene. This is also in addition to the departure of walk-on Nicolas Fearn, who left the team toward the end of the season. While these departures answer the question I posed a month ago about the signing of Carlos Emory, they have left questions in the mind of some Duck fans, namely, why is all this movement continuing into Altman's second offseason? Does it foretell more hard times for the program?
Let me attempt to explain. Not only do I not think these transfer are a sign of anything, I actually think they will be beneficial for the long term health of the program.
Lets start off by getting a current roster update.
ON THE WAY OUT:
Joevan Catron, F, (graduated)
Jay-R Strowbridge, G, (graduated)
Malcolm Armstead, G, transfer
Teondre Williams, G, transfer
Martin Seiferth, C, transfer
Nicolas Fearn, G, left team
ON THE WAY IN:
Jabari Brown, G, frosh
Brett Kingma, G, frosh
Bruce Barron, G, frosh
Austin Kuemper, F, frosh
Carlos Emory, F, junior
Jeremy Jacob, F, senior
Tyrone Nared, F, senior
Garrett Sim, G, senior
Devoe Joseph, G, senior
E.J. Singler, F. junior
Johnathan Loyd, G, sophomore
John Elorriaga, G, (walk-on senior)
Matt Losli, G, (walk-on junior)
Nicholas Lucenti, G, (walk-on sophomore)
Two scholarships remain open.
Obviously, minus the graduation of Catron, the loss of Malcolm Armstead hurts the most. However, point guard is also the position that we could most afford the major hit. Johnathan Loyd started much of last season, and proved capable, and there will be a myriad of other options as Devoe Joseph or Garret Sim could get a look there, and Bruce Barron is coming in as well. I'm not going to pretend the loss of Armstead doesn't hurt, but there are options there, and options that could be really good by the time conference play rolls around.
The departures of Williams and Seiferth are much less concerning. Williams has never really panned out at Oregon, showing flashes of freakish athleticism, but never being consistent enough to demand major floor minutes. Seiferth, in hindsight, may have been somewhat of a mistake, a desperate attempt by Altman to add some depth to the roster with what was availiable, but, ultimately, not showing to be anywhere near ready for Pac-10 caliber basketball. Of the losses, only Armstead really affects this team's prospects for next year, though the pieces are in place to mitigate that loss as much as possible.
As for the idea that the movement of these players means anything bad? Armstead thought about transferring last season and ultimately decided to go closer to home. He went out of his way to say that Coach Altman had nothing to do with his decision. Williams is likely in search of more consistent playing time for his senior year. Who knows with Seiferth?
Look at the roster, though, and you will find one that is remarkably balanced in several ways. Of the eleven scholarships, there are five forwards and six guards, enough players to provide depth at all positions. Remeber when we had eight scholarship players in next season's senior class? That number is down to a downright reasonable four, the prospective crisis of losing almost the whole team in a senior year gone.
The class breakup is four seniors, two juniors, one sophomore, and four freshmen. This puts Altman in a great position in terms of filling his last two scholarships. With four freshman already part of next season's class, it doesn't leave Altman in position wondering where to find high school freshmen late in the game. He needs to fill spots in the sophomore and junior classes. He can do this with availiable JUCO talent, or the depth already on the roster affords him the luxury of being able to look at current D-1 transfers and allow them to sit next season without sacrificing the year (and there are rumors that senior to be Olu Ashaolu, a forward from Louisiana Tech that averaged almost a double-double last season, is Altman's top target). Further, the fact that there are now only three holdovers from the Ernie Kent era, and two of those are native Oregonians, suggests that the player movement is likely over.
I don't know what next year's basketball team will bring in terms of wins and losses. It will be tough to replace the production of Catron and Armstead last season. But I'm excited to see what Jabari Brown can do. I'm excited to see the development of Johnathan Loyd. Excited to see EJ Singler take another step. Excited to Jeremy Jacob get healthy. Excited to see what Tyrone Nared can do with a year under his belt. And excited to see who else Altman brings in for next season.
For the first time in years, I have excitement when thinking about the next Oregon basketball season. These few roster changes do nothing to damper that.