lThe Ducks return one starter, Payton Pritchard, from their 2016-17 team that advanced to the Final Four with a program-best 33-6 record. The West Linn product is expected to be more aggressive offensively during his sophomore campaign.
Let’s take a look at the 2017-18 roster with our individual player profile series. After placing you in an intro class to Oregon’s five new freshmen last week, this week we profile the entire 2017-18 roster before we get serious next week (tip-off week).
UNFOLDING THE 2017-18 OREGON ROSTER
MiKyle McIntosh (Nov. 5)
Paul White (Nov. 6)
Keith Smith (Nov. 7)
Roman Sorkin (Nov. 8)
Evan Gross (Nov. 9)
“IT’S GOTTA BE THE SHOES”
Pritchard is listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. However, he plays bigger than his size would indicate. The most impressive asset to his game is his quickness. He can stop on a dime, change direction and has handles for days. He is a cold-blooded assassin with his stroke. He’s a good defender with fast hands and wins in undersized match-ups.
“Because of his experience, we want him to score more than he did a year ago,” said head coach Dana Altman. “He’ll take more shots. He’ll be more aggressive offensively.”
Similar to last year, Payton should be the starting point guard this season. However, it’s a deeper roster so he could be asked to play shooting guard when certain players are together. Regardless, Pritchard will be on the floor a majority of the time.
He averaged 7.4 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.4 RPG and 1.2 SPG over 28.3 minutes per contest during his true freshman campaign. Pritchard actually pushed two-year starter Casey Benson to the bench, which eventually led to his transfer from the program.
Payton scored 16 points in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament vs No. 14 Iona. He tallied five points, four boards and an assist against No. 1 North Carolina in the Final Four from Phoenix. West Linn’s finest registered a career-high 19 points in a loss to Colorado in Boulder on January 28.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
The Oregon kid has spent a great deal of time with USA Basketball during his career. Over the summer, he joined head coach John Calipari and the U19 Team in the World Cup from Cairo, Egypt. Pritchard helped his team to a bronze medal finish after Abu Kigab’s Team Canada walked away with the gold.
Pritchard was named to the World Cup All-Star Team alongside Kigab. The U19 Team USA guard tallied 12 points, six assists, three rebounds and a stolen pass. The West Linn product averaged 9.0 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.0 SPG for the tournament.
LEGEND...WAIT FOR IT
When I watch Pritchard play, it’s hard to not remember certain aspects of Aaron Brooks’ game. They both could score from anywhere on the perimeter, alongside having the ability to drive the lane and score in unique ways with elite quicks. They both use their size to their advantage and set nets ablaze when they’re in the zone.
THE BOX SCORE
With an expanded role in the offense this season, Pritchard should see his numbers climb instrumentally. PREDICTION: He will conclude the season with 15 PPG, 7.4 APG, 3.1 RPG and 1.7 SPG amid 30 minutes per night. Payton will finish third in the Pac-12 in assists and be named to the All-Pac-12 2nd Team.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Payton is a leader on and OFF the floor. He’s always positively communicating with his teammates. With a young roster like the Ducks currently possess, it’s never bad to have someone supportive like Pritchard around. It’s not hard to see why his teammates love him.
Love you to my brother keep working— Payton Pritchard (@fastpp3) October 31, 2017
ALL EYEZ ON ME
Payton wants the pressure on him, but he looks to give his teammates the spotlight at every step. He has a swag about him because he’s always prepared and confident in his mindset. Pritchard is a gym rat who lives for the big moment. Last years experience only helped him grow as a player and a person.
There is nothing on the court that will surprise him. When he allows the game to come to him, he’s electric. With the amount of athleticism on this current roster, Pritchard will lead an alley-oop barrage in 2017. Nevertheless, look for Pritchard and Elijah Brown to be the go-to scorers when the season opens.
Stepping out of West Linn, Pritchard was a highly-coveted prospect as most Oregonians witnessed. During his senior season, he was the best player in the state and was drawing the attention of most major programs in the country. He chose to stay home and the rest is history. Let’s take a look at his sterling freshman season at Oregon.
The next seven days at ATQ will be jam-packed with Oregon basketball prep, including player profiles, predictions, previews, interviews, breakdowns and a few history lessons. Every day, we will have something new as we count you down to opening night.
Ready or not? Oregon basketball is set to return soon. The regular season gets underway at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, November 10 against Coppin State. You can catch opening night on the Pac-12 Network at 9:00 p.m. local time.