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The Maturation Process of Dylan Ennis

Oregon is finding leadership from an unlikely source

Arizona v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Not many believed sixth-year senior graduate transfer Dylan Ennis would be the leader of the No. 7 Oregon basketball team, but that is exactly what he has become. The veteran has proven to be instrumental in 2016-17.

Let’s call Ennis the “X-Factor” if the Ducks want to achieve greatness.

One of three Canadians on the Duck roster, the Ontario native started his college basketball career in 2011-12 at Rice University. There, he saw 26.5 minutes per game his freshman season. Not to mention, adding 8.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.1 APG and 1.1 SPG. However, it wasn’t enough for him to stick around.

The next season was lost due to the “old” transfer policy. Yet, the talent around him grew exponentially overnight at Villanova.

Villanova v Syracuse
The jerseys on his back may change, but Dylan Ennis is continually improving. After one season with Rice, Ennis transferred to Villanova for a two-year ride with Villanova before his final stop in Eugene.
Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

It took some time, but he was back on the floor in 2013-14 for his sophomore campaign with the Wildcats. He only fielded 16.0 MPG, but understandably the roster was loaded with depth.

His junior year would be his time to shine. The Canadian averaged his highest MPG of his career with 28.1 per night in 36 games. Ennis registered 9.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.0 SPG for the Big East powerhouse.

Following his second unsatisfying year with Nova, Ennis transferred yet again. Fortunately for us, he decided on the beautiful confines of Eugene.

Three games into his senior season, a foot injury cost him all of 2015-16. The NCAA granted him a sixth season, and everyone in green and yellow could not be more thankful.

The downtime helped Ennis grow as person, and a player. He gained comfort in his new surroundings, while learning the Oregon offense explicitly. It is no easy task to learn a new system and playbook, let alone three different.

Enter the 2016-17 season, and the Ducks are once again on the verge of history. Not only do the Webfoots possess a nation-best 41-game win streak, but Oregon has lost just four games this season. The Ducks are 12-2 in the Pac-12, as well.

Arizona v Oregon
The instrumental Duck leader has helped guide Oregon to a 23-4 record, alongside continuing their nation-best 41-game win streak from Matthew Knight Arena.
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

A great deal of “experts” and fans alike believed the loss of Elgin Cook to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors would be detrimental to this Duck team. In fact, it has done just the opposite. The squad has developed and matured together, but most of all Ennis.

This season, the full-time starting guard has been the measure of consistency. He has started every game this year. Nightly, Oregon can count on Ennis to provide a spark. He fills the role of utility man. Whatever the Ducks are lacking from night-to-night, Ennis will fill the vacancy.

Ennis is currently averaging a career-high 10.9 PPG, alongside 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.1 SPG. He reminds me of Corey Brewer from the back-to-back champion Florida Gators with Joakim Noah and Al Horford. His defensive presence goes unnoticed, while his offensive game continues to improve.

If the Ducks are seeking a long run, Ennis is going to be a vital cog in the wheel. Look for DE to finish strong with five regular season games prior to the postseason stretch.