2005 Oregon Ducks Basketball Preview
2005 Oregon Ducks Team Preview
Coach Ernie Kent and the Oregon Ducks have one major fact in their favor—they did not lose one key player from last year. Everyone who was a contributor is back to contribute once again. That certainly makes the Ducks an anomaly in college basketball, but what does it mean in regards to their season-- experience, improvement and chemistry? Well, let’s put it this way—it can’t hurt.
The Ducks are rife with starting guards. Sophomore swingman Malik Hairston led the team in rebounding with 5.0 per game and was second in points per game with 13.1. Because Hairston can make his own shots when the offense breaks down, he’s a perfect match for the run and gun Ducks. Look for more consistency from him on the perimeter this season.
Junior guard Aaron Brooks led the team in scoring with 14.7 PPG and notched 4.6 APG. Although Brooks posted good stats last season, he was erratic when under pressure. Oregon needs him to step up as a leader and not just a shooter.
Guard Bryce Taylor accumulated 11.6 PPG in his first season as a guard with the Ducks. Along with Brooks and Hairston, Taylor must contribute even more for this club to move from the middle of the PAC-10 Conference to the top third.
One thing that could help this team would be a dependable starting center. Ray Schafer at 7’0” and 230 pounds could be an effective play stopper and momentum changer if he can play the necessary minutes with the needed controlled intensity. He had a good freshman season last year but must be a lot better in 2005-06 to really make a difference.
One of the things people are hoping will not be a distraction to this team is Coach Ernie Kent. After last season there were rumors that Kent, whom many felt coached a team that under performed, might be let go. Instead Oregon gave him one extra year at the helm which means one more chance to do better than a 6 and 12, 8th place finish in the conference. If the team can be motivated and inspired to get to that next level, Oregon fans will be on his side.
For more info on the 2005 Ducks check out the official Oregon athletic site.