This series will be reviewing every player who played for the Ducks in the 2019-20 season and is returning for 2020-21, as well as covering what to look forward to from next season’s roster.
Key Stats: 11.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 47.9 FG% (46.9 3FG%)
They say that continuous improvement is the key to success, and when it comes to the 2019-20 Oregon Ducks, no one embodies that phrase more than Will Richardson. The sophomore took a huge leap this year, from a freshman who at times appeared hesitant to make an impact to a sweet-shooting play-maker who looks ready to take over lead duties now that our glorious leader, Payton Pritchard has moved on from Eugene to the next level.
Richardson made improvements in many statistical categories, but two of his most impressive developments came in his three-point shooting and his overall efficiency. In one year, Richardson went from canning less than 30% of his deep shots to 47% this year. For reference, that number would have him as the second best shooter in the NBA right now, just behind Milwaukee’s George Hill. Not to mention it comes at a time when most of the NCAA is shooting worse from three as opposed to last year, as a result of the NCAA moving the three-point line back this year. He also became a more efficient player this year, with his PER (player efficiency rating) jumping from 12.8 to 18.6.
Richardson also displayed more than just his sweet shooting this season. He showed a knack for getting into the paint, with an array of moves off the dribble to beat the defense. Will is also a talented defender who has a penchant for getting steals and has the size, length and instincts to capably guard multiple positions. Richardson has looked much more comfortable and confident over last year and the proof is most certainly in the pudding.
What to look forward to in 2020-21
With Pritchard gone, this team is Will’s to lead. He will have the ball in his hands most often and will be expected to guide the offense. Given his talent and the huge leap he took this year, it’s not out of the question to expect another jump in his performance. I doubt we would see another huge jump in his three-point shooting, but hey who wouldn’t want a 60% shooter from deep? We could see some struggles as he adjusts to becoming the primary ball-handler/distributor, but I’d bet he quickly settles into his new role and runs with it. Richardson has the talent and will have the reigns to guide the Ducks to another run in March.