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MBB: filling the open spots

Altman has done a great job bringing in some ballers for 2024, both through recruits and transfers

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s July, the weather is balmy, bbqs and swims in the Willamette are aplenty, and football is only about six weeks away.

So let’s talk about basketball!

Men’s hoops underachieved in both 2022 and 2023, failing to reach the NCAA Tournament with rosters that, on paper, should have been able to do so.

The outlook for 2024 was already a bright one, with a Top 10 national recruiting class incoming and a few key players from 2023 opting to stay put.

There were still, however, a few holes to fill from departed players, and Dana Altman, who has been a wizard with the transfer portal before it was “a thing”, again found some additional help.

One of the things that plagued Oregon the last couple seasons was shooting, particularly from beyond the arc. Altman addressed that by bringing in forward Jadrian Tracey from Florida Southwestern State, where he averaged 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists a game while shooting 45% from the field and 43% from 3-point range.

Dana also got Kario Oquendo, a guard from Georgia, on board. Oquendo, who interestingly enough began his collegiate career at FSS where Tracey had been playing, also averaged 14 points per game for the Bulldogs, starting 59 of 60 games and shooting 43% from the field.

Devan Cambridge from Arizona State was on board…then, suddenly, he wasn’t.

But no matter, Altman secured a commitment from journeyman guard Jesse Zarzuela, who most recently played at Central Michigan where he averaged 16 points per contest and shot 36% from the 3-point line.

With that kind of shooting and experience joining a blue-chip palooza and some key returners who will bring back some cohesion, it looks like the conference is wide open for men’s hoops.

Now, back to your beach trips and outdoor swimming pools.