2008 Oregon Ducks Basketball Preview
In 2007-2008, the Oregon Ducks (18-4 overall, 9-9 Pac-10) played well enough to get a NCAA Tournament berth. In the tourney, the Ducks lost to Mississippi State 76-69 in round one. Three key loses—guard Malik Hairston (16.3 PPG), forward Maarty Leuen (15.2 PPG) and guard Bryce Taylor (12.8 PPG)—will hurt this team’s chances of a tournament invite.
The front looks to be talented but very inexperienced. Frosh center Michael Dunigan will start. The six-foot-ten player could become a dominant force in the paint. Freshman forward/center Josh Crittle is a big banger who will need some time to get into the mix. Joevan Catron (25.7 MPG, 8.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 51.2 FG%, 66.3 FT%), a junior forward with a good shot, will spend time at small forward. He’s got double-double potential and is a team leader. Senior forward Frantz Dorsainvil (8.1 MPG, 3.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.1 APG, 57.4 FG%, 33.3 FT%), a fairly raw player, will see action until Dunigan and Crittle can find their stamina and become comfortable with the game plan.
In the past, junior guard Tajuan Porter (32.4 MPG, 13.9 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 38.7 FG%, 78.7 FT%) has shown great accuracy from downtown. But recently, he’s been missing the mark. He needs to get back on target again for the Ducks to win. Plus, he also has to also become a more sure-handed ball handler. Now a sophomore, LeKendric Longmire (12.0 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.2 APG, 54.8 FG%, 31.0 FT%) proved to be skilled at defense and a high-motored player. Two freshmen bring three-point chops to the floor—Matthew Humphrey and Teondre Williams.
Coach Ernie Kent has a fine group of recruits but even he admits
that they are raw and inexperienced. Look for one or two of those
frosh to start. The good news is that various Pac-10 teams have
had key loses upfront, making the conference a bit more friendly
for teams with inexperienced rosters and new guys in the paint.
Still, this club has a lot of work to do. During the 2008-2009 season,
Kent will focus on development.