2009-2010 Oregon Ducks Basketball Preview
Last season, the Oregon Ducks (8- 23 overall, 2- 16 Pac-10) under coach Ernie Kent, missed March Madness and the NIT. Oregon had made it to the NCAA’s Elite Eight in 2007 and went one and out in the tourney in 2008. The lack of a post-season venue for Oregon was not surprising since most of the team’s roster was composed of freshmen. This year looks to be another lean one as the Ducks, who finished last in the conference in 2009, struggle to fly out of the cellar.
The Ducks finished last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (76.1 PPG), field goal percentage (40%) and rebound margin (minus-4.6). Their best stat was completion rate from downtown, which was 36%, earning them a ranking of sixth. The team’s 67.4 PPG scoring offense rated them eighth and gave them a points for/points against differential of minus-8.7. Oregon’s free throw rate of 67% was ninth in the league. The problems for the Ducks were at both sides of the court.
Sophomore center Michael Dunigan, who stands six-foot-ten, is a talent. He needs to stay out of foul trouble and maintain his health for this team to succeed. Freshman forward Jamil Wilson, who averaged 21.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG in his senior prep school year, was ranked fourth amongst all prep school forwards by ESPN.com. He’ll compete with LeKendric Longmire (9.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.8 APG) and Joevan Catron (7.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.3 APG) for playing time.
The point guard spot was a problem last season. To that end, the Ducks signed junior college star Malcolm Armstead. Armstead looks to be the real thing. Tajuan Porter (15.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.8 APG) who played point last season, will move to his natural spot and play shooting guard. Porter brings a fine shot to the floor and an ability to hit threes over and over again and again.
Coach Kent has brought in a bunch of new coaches and one of the better freshmen classes in the conference. He’s expressed hopes that his Ducks will finish in the top half of the Pac-10. That seems to be pie in the sky, but you never know. He’ll need to put a highly improved team on the floor; one that’s able to play better defense and score more points. Ninth or perhaps even eighth place and a dormant post season are in this team’s near future.