While last weekend brought disappointment over an NCAA Tournament loss to Wisconsin in a game that was very winnable, the general feeling aroud the Oregon basketball program is a very good one. There is really good reason for that--three NCAA Tournament wins in two years, a lot of returning talent, and a recruiting class that rates as one of the very best in school history. The future is indeed bright, but one thing should be made clear:
Someone who is here now won't be a part of it.
This much is just simple numbers. You're allowed 13 scholarships in Division I basketball. Oregon currently has 14 scholarship players on the roster next season:
Joseph Young, Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis, Ben Carter, Elgin Cook, Jalil Abdul-Bassit, AJ Lapray (7)
Brandon Austin, Jordan Bell, Jaquan Lyle, Dwyane Benjamin, Casey Benson, Michael Chandler, Ray Kasongo (7)
Something has to give
There are really two possibilities here. The first is that Dana Altman knows something we don't. Perhaps Joseph Young is leaning toward going pro. Maybe someone is looking to transfer. Perhaps one of the incoming guys has really questionable academics.
The other possiblity is that Altman saw the opportunity to land a five-star talent in Lyle, and is willing to "strongly encourage" a transfer in order to make that happen. I'm not a huge fan of this approach, but in the realpolitik world that is big time college athletics, this kind of thing happens more than we would all like to admit.
We'll have to wait and see what happens but, unless someone voluntarily gives away their scholarship to become a walk-on, somebody is on the outs.