2008-09 Oregon Basketball Preview: #58

    
September 25th, 2008

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Oregon Ducks

 

Overall Rank: #58

Conference Rank: #6 Pac-10

2007-08: 18-14, 9-9, 5th  

2007-08 postseason: NCAA

 

When you live by the three, inconsistency follows. And that is what happened to the 2007-2008 Oregon Ducks. Still, the team managed to slip into the NCAA Tournament, but the expectations were much higher. The lack of an interior presence has plagued the Ducks during the Coach Ernie Kent era and that might continue to a be a problem and keep Oregon underachieving.

 

Who’s Out:

Malik Hairston was supposed to bring great things to the program. An Elite Eight appearance a couple of years ago was not bad, but overall his time in Eugene was a disappointment to most fans. The 6-6 wing had a solid senior campaign and averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists. The absence of Bryce Taylor means the team will be looking for another scorer to fill his role. Taylor tallied 12.8 points per game and, like Hairston, was a threat from long range. Speaking of outside shooters, Maarty Leunen hit 49.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The 6-9 forward also led the team with 9.2 rebounds per contest. Big men Mitch Platt and Ray Schafer have also wrapped up their collegiate careers after seeing limited action as seniors.

 

Who’s In:

Just like four years ago when Hairston and company came to town, this year’s class is creating plenty of buzz and hope. And most of that is centered around 6-9 Michael Dunigan who could finally give the team a legitimate post threat. But the Chicago, Illinois product is more known for his shot blocking ability. It has been a while since Oregon has had a shot blocking presence and having Dunigan will make this team look very different than it has in past years. Fellow Chicago native Josh Crittle is a bruiser who will immediately add some strength to the roster. The Chicago pipeline continues with the highly recruited Matthew Humphrey. The 6-5 guard is a great athlete and will be a great scorer once his outside shot becomes more consistent. Drew Wiley and Teondre Williams will add more size to the perimeter. Williams is a great athlete who could work his way into the regular rotation as a freshman. Garrett Sim is quick and will develop into a solid scoring point guard before his days in Eugene are over. Ben Voogd, a transfer from LSU, and redshirt freshmen John Elorriaga and Nicholas Fearn will add even more depth to the perimeter.

 

Who to Watch:

Tajuan Porter is ready to emerge as the leader of the Ducks. His sophomore season did not go as well as his freshman year, but the 5-6 guard still averaged 13.9 points per game and is always a dangerous threat to knock down a ton of three-pointers. The success of Porter depends on the emergence of Kamyron Brown. When Porter is able to play off the ball, he is much more productive and Oregon needs Brown or Sim to be able to handle running the show. Brown, who did start eight games as a freshman, has the experience and ability, but he is not much of a scorer. As long as Porter’s shot is falling and the team can find another scorer on the wing, it will not matter if Brown scores or not. LeKendric Longmire and Chuchill Odia are options in the backcourt, but will have to compete with the talented newcomers for playing time.

 

Final Projection:

It will not just be the newcomers who man the frontcourt. Joevan Catron is a decent scorer around the basket and will do the dirty work in the paint. At 6-6, he is a little undersized for a power forward in the Pac-10, but he makes up for it with his toughness. Frantz Dorsainvil gives the team some slightly experienced depth in the frontcourt, but neither Catron or Dorsainvil will be the leaders of the unit. They are more suited to do the dirty work while somebody else does the scoring. If the frontcourt can find a consistent scoring threat and Porter can play off the ball, the Ducks will be an NCAA Tournament team. But that might be asking a little too much of a young team.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Kamyron Brown, Sophomore, Guard, 4.2 points per game

Tajuan Porter, Junior, Guard, 13.9 points per game

Matthew Humphrey, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season

Joevan Catron, Junior, Forward, 8.8 points per game

Michael Dunigan, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

 

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