We took our first look at the Oregon Ducks on Sunday evening. Oregon is ranked #18 in the preseason AP poll, the second highest ranking for a Pac-12 squad and is rated fourth in the Pac-12 by the coaches in their preseason poll.
This year Oregon will feature a guard-oriented offense and will likely play a three-guard set much of the time. The immediate eligibility of Joseph Young provides the Ducks five top guards to rotate into the three spots. Young will bring scoring ability as well as a defensive presence with his quick hands (he came up with five steals in the 99-59 exhibition win over Northwest Christian College) and he brings 18 ppg from last season at Houston. The other newcomer is senior transfer Jason Calliste, a three-year starter at Detroit where he teamed in the backcourt with NBA draftee Ray McCallum. Calliste was a double-figure scorer each year at Detroit and figures to do more of the same this year at Oregon. A solid three-point shooter who can play both guard positions, Calliste made all six of his field goal attempts in the exhibition, including three from long distance.
The two newcomers will be joined in the crowded Oregon backcourt by point guards Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd and 6’5 shooting guard Damyean Dotson. Loyd returns for his final season after and outstanding showing at last season’s Pac-12 tournament where he was named MVP. Artis and Dotson return for their sophomore years. Dotson will likely be one of the top shooting guards in the conference while Artis will start at the point after having his touted freshman year derailed some due to injury.
Up front is where Oregon may struggle. UNLV transfer Mike Moser arrives at his third school penciled in as the starter at the “4” spot. Moser can rebound, score from inside and out and was looked at as a possible NBA draft pick before his injury-riddled last season. All indications are that Moser is healthy and will have a solid year. At center, time will likely be split between 6’11 Waverly Austin and 6’8 senior transfer Richard Amardi. Neither will score a lot but the coaching staff hopes that they will rebound well. Austin looks tentative on offense with not the best footwork and a minimum of post moves. Amardi has a solid body and will be looked to for the dirty work inside.
Of the ten likely rotation players six are new to the team. How well Coach Altman can integrate these players into his system will be one of the keys to the season. Scoring and shooting will be an upgrade to last season but rebounding and intangibles will be a downgrade. It will be tough to replace two glue guys like E.J. Singler and Arsalan Kazemi. It will be interesting to see this team progress during the season but if they can get decent inside rebounding and defending a top three finish in the Pac-12 is probable.