2011/12 Pac-12 Preview – Oregon

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by: John Chase

Dana Altman turned what looked to be an absolutely dismal season due to transfers, graduation, and early departure into a respectable 7-11 conference finish and 21-18 overall record. Oregon ended up competing in and winning the CBI basketball tournament, though on very questionable conditions due to their terrible court design and paint job.

Some magazines and reporters are predicting Oregon to make a run at the top of the conference, even predicting finishes as high as fourth place, ahead of UW. While Cal finishing in the top four is very plausible, Oregon finishing in the top four seems down right silly to me.

They were a mediocre team last season who do have some incoming talent so I expect them to finish around the middle of the Pac again this season. Oregon graduated two seniors this past year and have brought in five recruits to fill out the roster.

Key Losses:

  • Joevan Catron, 6-6 245lb – Catron was a huge part of the Duck’s success. A very undersized forward at 6-6, Catron used his weight to have his way down low on the block. He led the team in points and rebounds at 16 points and 7 boards per game. He will be a tough man to replace, but with two incoming forwards at 6-7 and 6-9 the Ducks look to be a bit taller and more capable in the post.
  • Jay-R Stowbridge, 5-11 180lb – Stowbridge was third on the team in scoring at just under 10 points a game. He was a fast guard with some solid ability at driving the lane. While not a prolific scorer, he had a good enough 3 point shot to demand coverage outside and in.
  • Malcolm Armstead, 6-0 190lb – Armstead nearly transferred prior to the 2010-2011 season, but Altman managed to convince him to stay and effectively saved the Ducks from being trampled on by the conference. The convincing didn’t seem to last as Armstead transferred to Wichita State in the off-season. Armstead was a very strong guard for Oregon. He averaged over 8 points per game as well as team highs in assists at 4.4 per game and steals at 2.3 per game. He was a terrific defender with fast hands and feet.

Incoming Freshmen:

  • Carlos Emory,  6-7 225lb – Emory is labeled as a tenacious player, but lacks the overall skills and size to compete at a high level. He will likely be a role player for the Ducks without too much significant impact. He will likely need a year or two to develop, but in high foul situations he will be a bigger body they can use to take up space on the court.
  • Austin Kuemper 6-9 240lb – Kuemper is a better post prospect for the Ducks. Originally listed at 215lb, Kuemper has appeared to have put on some weight during the summer and his size is likely inflated (as per usual in basketball). He has a nice mid range shot and decent post moves that allow him to score from a variety of places on the court. He has been known to struggle defensively when his head is not in the game. Hopefully Altman can get his head on straight and keep him in the weight room to make him a legitimate 4 at the High Major D1 level.
  • Bruce Barron, 6-2 200lb – Barron is a solid shooting guard with a little more muscle and size than most. At 200lb he can be a tough match-up for opposing guards and has a high enough outside shot percentage to keep defenders from cheating in on him. He has been know to shoot a little more often than he should and needs to learn team ball a little better before his full impact can be achieved.
  • Brett Kingma 6-1 165lb – Kingma is the younger brother of UW’s own Kristi Kingma who was a prolific scorer for the Huskies. Brett had offers from UW, ASU, UO, and a few others and opted for the Ducks where he will likely find more play time as a guard. Brett can score with the best and showed of his impressive shot at the Washington vs Oregon game this past summer. Though a tad small for a top tier shooting guard at 6-1, he can elevate enough and put on enough ball handling moves to create shot opportunities for himself and others. Kingma may find himself with some early conference struggles as he learn to compete with bigger, stronger guards.
  • Jabari Brown 6-3 200lb – Brown was a guard looked at by Washington and many thought he would end up at UW. The commitments of Hikeem Stewart, Tony Wroten, and Andrew Andrews likely turned Brown away as there would not be as much play time for the hot shooting guard. Andrews is a point guard, while Brown is a shooting guard. Brown and Kingsma should light up the court for the Ducks along with E.J. Singler.

Returning Players:

  • Johnathan Loyd – 5-8 160lb
  • Garrett Sims – 6-1 181lb
  • Nicolas Lucenti – 6-3 212lb
  • Devoe Joseph – 6-4 180lb
  • E.J. Singler – 6-6 210lb
  • Olu Ashaolu – 6-7 220lb
  • Jeremy Jacob – 6-8 226lb
  • Tyrone Nared – 6-8 210lb
  • Chris Larson – 6-11 220lb
  • Tony Woods – 6-11 250lb

E.J. Singler will be the star and face of this Oregon Ducks team. He was a tremendous player for the Ducks last season and will be just as good this next year (Kyle is still better). Tony Woods in a transfer from Wake College who has two years of experience under his belt, which should enable him to make an immediate impact for the Ducks who desperately need some talent in the post.

Predicted Starting Line-Up:

G – Johnathan Loyd 5-8 160lb
G – Jabari Brown 6-3 200lb
F – E.J. Singler 6-6 210lb
F – Austin Kuemper 6-9 240lb
F – Tony Woods 6-11 250lb

Season Predictions:

The Ducks have some decent size this year, but they still lack the overall depth to compete against the high level teams. I don’t seem the Ducks finishing any higher than 5th in conference play and no lower than 8th.

Oregon should certainly beat ASU, Colorado, Utah, and WSU. OSU, Stanford, and USC should be on a similar level to the Ducks and make for decent competition. I just don’t see such a turn around from missing the NCAA and the NIT to compete for the top spot in conference and a spot in the NCAA.

On the off chance the Pac-12 does get 5 teams in the NCAA, Oregon would be one of my picks for the 5th and final spot.