“What happened to last year’s team? That’s not rhetorical… it’s been a long time, I forget easy”
Arden Cravalho: A lot happened. The Ducks were highly ranked in the preseason AP Poll (similar to this year’s squad) and didn’t really live up to the hype at first. The Oregon fans really lost their faith in this team when the Ducks lost to Texas Southern in Eugene. Bol Bol started off really hot but suffered a season-ending left foot injury after only nine games. When conference play came around, Dana Altman’s team started off a mere 6-8 in the PAC-12 and almost all hope was lost. Then, the winning streak occurred.
Payton Pritchard pushed this team to four straight wins to end the regular season. Oregon then traveled to Las Vegas for the PAC-12 Tournament and won four straight there (including wins over Arizona State and Washington in the championship game) to capture an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Ducks received a #12 seed and weren’t expected to do much. That was wrong. Oregon took care of #5 Wisconsin and handled business against #13 UC Irvine. Oregon landed in the Sweet 16 and and became the only double-digit seeded team to reach that far. Although their season would end against the #1 seeded and eventual national champion Virginia Cavaliers, Oregon had accomplished what seemed impossible for this team back in November. They were PAC-12 Champions, appeared in the Sweet 16, and went on a ten-game winning streak to get there.
“Who gets to play before the winter term? Does the grad transfer have the skills to fit into an Altman system? What’s the projected learning curve for each of our new folks?”
AC: Everyone listed on the Oregon roster on the “Go Ducks” website is available to play except for Eugene Omoruyi and Eric Williams Jr. who will have to sit out the full season due to NCAA transfer rules. N’Faly Dante, who technically isn’t enrolled at Oregon just yet, plans to join the the team on December 14th as he is waiting for the NCAA Eligibility process to finalize. Dante reclassified from the 2020 class to the 2019 class before he committed to Oregon.
The two grad-transfers, Anthony Mathis from New Mexico and Shakur Juiston from UNLV, will fit in nicely with Dana Altman’s master plan. Mathis is a complimentary piece in the backcourt alongside Pritchard. Another deep-threat shooting option will be at Pritchard’s disposal. As for Juiston, he is an experienced big man who can get you a double-double almost any night. Shakur is exactly what Altman needed in what is an extremely young and inexperienced frontcourt.
There should really be no learning curve for Mathis as he already knows Pritchard’s tendencies since they attended West Linn High School together and were pretty successful over there. It should be a smooth transition for him. As for Juiston, it could take some time for him to be completely comfortable in the Oregon playing-style but once he figures it out, he will be a hard man to stop.
On the other hand, the freshmen (Chandler Lawson, CJ Walker, Lok Wur, Addison Patterson), are another story. Dana is asking a lot from them and it will be a slow start. Lawson will be the best of the bunch and should contribute the most on both ends of the floor.
As for the JUCO National Player of the Year, Chris Duarte will see a good amount of time on the court in what is a slim backcourt. I saw a handful of issues with him in the Green and Yellow Scrimmage so their will be growing pains with him. I just wonder who will contribute the most as a backup guard by the end of the season, Duarte or Will Richardson.
“Who are the Washington Generals of the Pac 12?”
AC: The California Golden Bears. They weren’t good last year and that won’t change this season under first-year head coach Mark Fox.