Josh Holmberg-US PRESSWIRE
The Oregon Ducks basketball team is in the midst of a great early season. But if you're looking for a reason to PANIC, what's up with E.J. Singler and his newfound shooting inability?
Over the past four seasons, a time marking the highest amount of of upheaval and roster turnover in the history of Oregon basketball, E.J. Singler has been the rock of this basketball program. Singler has been such a model of consistency, that you pretty much know what you're going to get from him at all times: around 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, and a guy that can shoot (46%FG, 34% 3PT, 85%FT were his career lows coming into this season, all from his freshman season, with last year's stats being vastly improved).
So why is E.J. having so much trouble shooting?
Through the first eight games of this year, Singler is shooting 32%FG, 30%3PT, and 78%FT). Those numbers are all the lowest of his career by large margins (16% off his career low in FG%). In his last four games, E.J. is 10-38 from the field, and 3-17 from behind the arc. He's already missed eight free throws in 36 attempts this season, after missing only 11 in 121 attempts last season. Futhermore, whatever is ailing him seems to be just affecting his shot, as his other stats are roughly in line with his career production.
To this point, I've written all this off, believing that E.J. track record will shine through and he'll be back to his old self by conference play. E.J. was out with knee issues in the off-season. He missed a lot of basketball, and surely his body is still recovering and his game rounding back into shape. Slumps, even extended ones, happen in basketball, and usually the way to break them is to keep shooting. But there is also a legitimate question of whether the injuries are taking a toll on E.J.'s game and body, and whether this slump is something more than just a slump.
At what point do we start becoming concerned?
This team is by far Dana Altman's most talented since he's been at Oregon. The one thing that has been lacking is consistent outside shooting, which is something E.J. has provided his entire career. The Ducks have potential for great things. But they need their leader to get back to his old self to achieve them.