Oregon: 2011-12 Post-MortemPosted by Connor Pelton on April 19th, 2012
Over the course of the next two weeks, the Pac-12 Microsite will break down each team’s season: what went well, what didn’t, and a look ahead at the future. Today’s subject: Oregon.
What Went Wrong
The Ducks couldn’t win a big game. Oregon went 1-7 against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, and if they could have won just two or three more of those games they could have been playing in the NCAAs, instead of the NIT, in March.
What Went Right
Despite Oregon’s struggles to win games against top opponents, they won most of the rest. And because of that, they found themselves on the NCAA Tournament bubble heading into Championship Week. A main reason for Oregon’s second place finish in the Pac-12 was the play of Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph. Expected to be just a role player before the season began, Joseph proved that he belonged from his opening minutes against Fresno State on December 10. The senior guard out of Ontario, Canada, finished the season with a team high 16.6 PPG, good enough to garner a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team. As a surprise, Joseph and fellow Toronto senior Olu Ashaolu were honored on Senior Day with the playing of O Canada before the game began.
It’s got to be Joseph. Night in and night out he was the best shooter on the floor (for either team), and he was the sole reason on multiple occasions for a few of Oregon’s wins.
A lot of them. Seniors Garrett Sim, Ashaolu, Jeremy Jacob, Tyrone Nared, and Joseph are all departing, meaning Oregon will be without three of their top four scorers in 2012-13. Look for Johnathan Loyd and Brett Kingma to garner the minutes at guard left behind by Sim and Joseph.
Players Coming In
Center Austin Kuemper sat out the 2011-12 season, but he is still a year away from seeing any solid minutes due to the influx of centers in Eugene. The Ducks have four signees for this year’s recruiting class and are looking to add as much as three others. The signees consist of shooting guard Devon Branch, small forward Damyean Dotson, power forward Ben Carter, and point guard Dominic Artis. They are also going after five-star power forward Anthony Bennett, three-star shooting guard Jeron Wilbut, and three-star small forward Jarion Henry. Obviously, Bennett (who hails from Henderson, Nevada) is the class of that prospect list. Bennett is also interested in Florida, Kentucky, UNLV, and Washington.
Reason For Hope
Oregon’s workhorse forward returns in E.J. Singler, who by midseason was a viable threat from not only the paint but the perimeter as well. If he can improve on his three-point shot and get it from solid to automatic, I can see Oregon making a run at the NCAA Tournament.
Reason For Concern
Altman just loses so many key players, it’s tough to project Oregon as a threat for conference champion. Of course, players step in every season, but the key is how fast the Ducks find that replacement.
B. The goal was the NCAA Tournament, and the Ducks fell short of that. But regardless, this was a solid season. Joseph made first team All-Pac-12, Altman was in the running for coach of the year, and the Ducks were on the bubble come Selection Sunday.