2009-10 Oregon Basketball Preview: #86
Overall Rank: #86
Conference Rank: #6 Pacific 10
2008-09: 8-23, 2-16
2008-09 postseason: none
Coach: Ernie Kent (219-157 at Oregon, 309-237 overall)
The 2008-2009 Oregon team certainly had more talent then their awful 8-23 record indicated, but it was a very young team. This group is still relatively young, but at least this year, unlike last year, they have a couple seasoned seniors on the roster to build around. If things go half as bad as they did in 2008-2009, the Ducks are due for some major rebuilding and that will start with Coach Ernie Kent.
Key Losses: G Kamyron Brown, G Churchill Odia
The talent level is rising in Eugene. Malcolm Armstead, a junior college transfer, could step right into the starting point guard role. Even if he does not start, he is expected to contribute right away. The same can be said for Armstead’s former teammate at Chipola Community College, Jeremy Jacob. The 6-7 sophomore spent a little time at Georgia and should provide the team with some depth up front. However, Coach Kent has his eye on the future too and Jamil Wilson and E.J. Singler are a couple of very talented incoming freshmen. Wilson has a ton of potential and could be one of the best incoming freshmen in the Pac-10.
The 5-6 Tajuan Porter has had an up and down career during his time at Oregon, but one thing is for sure…he plays much better off the ball. Having a 5-6 shooting guard creates some problems, but that is where Porter needs to be and that is where he will spend his senior season. Even in what was a very bad season for the Ducks, Porter averaged 15.4 points per game and connected on nearly three three-pointers per contest. With the transfer of Kamyron Brown, it is now up to Garrett Sim and Armstead to handle the ball and allow Porter to move on his own and get open. Sim started 26 games last year, but he committed as many turnovers as he dished out assists. However, that was as a freshman, but he needs to improve quickly or Armstead will take his job.
Michael Dunigan was one of the few bright spots last season. As a freshman the 6-10 center averaged 8.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and one block per contest. If he can stay out of foul trouble and stay on the floor, Dunigan could be the big man this team really needs to open up shots for Porter beyond the arc. While Dunigan is a good emerging young player, it is Joevan Catron that is the leader of the frontcourt. The 6-6 senior may be a little undersized, but he certainly does not lack in toughness. He is a decent scorer around the basket and can step outside and hit the mid-range jumper, but it is his ability to rebound on both ends of the floor that makes him such a dynamic and dangerous player.
Who to Watch:
The problem the Ducks will have again this year is in the rebounding department. Dunigan needs to improve in that area and forwards Drew Wiley and Josh Crittle have to play their part when they give the big guys a rest. Yet, the frontcourt cannot be blamed for a majority of the rebounding woes. That is what happens when your shooting guard is 5-6. That means the small forward, in this case LeKendric Longmire, has to do more on the glass. Longmire did average 3.7 rebounds last year, but it is mostly his scoring that will keep him in the lineup. He is a consistent outside shooter and ranked second on the team with 9.9 points per game.
But unlike last year, Coach Kent can bring in Wilson when he needs some more rebounding prowess on the floor. Wilson is 6-7 and has the ability to turn into the rebounder this team needs on the wing. Whether or not that will happen right away is another question, but it should happen at some point this season if Wilson comes close to living up to his hype.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Garrett Sim, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 points per game
Tajuan Porter, Senior, Guard, 15.4 points per game
LeKendric Longmire, Junior, Guard, 9.9 points per game
Joevan Catron, Senior, Forward, 7.2 points per game
Michael Dunigan, Sophomore, Center, 8.4 points per game