Oregon Week: Running Down The ReturneesPosted by Connor Pelton on August 9th, 2012
Oregon returns four players who were part of the extended rotation last year, highlighted by E.J. Singler – a second-team All-Pac-12 player – but also extending down to a center back for his senior season who made tremendous strides towards the end of 2011-12, another senior big man who became a major part of the offense in the second half of conference play, and a junior-to-be point guard who is ready to become the team’s main distributor. We’ll go through all of those guys below, in order of last year’s scoring totals.
E.J. Singler, Senior, Forward (13.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.4 BPG) – With his brother already starring at Duke, Singler entered his freshman year in Eugene with high expectations. But despite being a major part of the rotation, his freshman campaign could have been classified as a disappointment. However, he bounced back to average 11.7 PPG and 5.6 RPG in his sophomore year, and he was arguably the team’s top defender as well. In 2011-12, Singler combined with guard Devoe Joseph to make a perfect scoring combination. The two kept opponents guessing on the defensive end, and combined with Garrett Sim, were unstoppable throughout stretches of a game. Now that Joseph and Sim have graduated, it will be interesting to see how the offense runs early on with only one known scorer. Johnathan Loyd can shoot the ball, but he is more of a true one guard. The job of replacing the points left by Joseph and Sim will likely fall to incoming freshman Fred Richardson III, and if he can step out and hit the three consistently, the pressure on Singler’s shoulders will be lifted.
Tony Woods, Senior, Center (6.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.6 APG) – A highly touted center coming out of high school, Woods found himself sitting on the bench for most of his Wake Forest career. He transferred after two years in Winston-Salem and landed with the Ducks. Overall, his junior season would probably be classified as a disappointment. With enough scorers already on the roster, Woods was expected to help out on the glass. He didn’t do much of either, but he did show major growth in Oregon’s final four games. After sitting out against Utah on March 3 with a sore left shoulder, Woods returned to average 14.8 PPG and 2.0 BPG in the Ducks’ Pac-12 Tournament and NIT contests. If Woods can build on those performances and become more of a low-block scorer, he should play an integral part in his senior season.
Carlos Emory, Senior, Power Forward (6.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.9 APG) – After becoming a bit of an afterthought in the first half of the year, Emory exploded toward the stretch run of Pac-12 play. The junior college transfer went from only scoring in double figures once in 20 games to doing it five times in Oregon’s next six. All of the sudden, the Ducks had another option on the post when Singler was being double-teamed. His emergence forced opponents to ease up on the senior forward, giving them both plenty of scoring chances down low. Thanks to his quickness and strength, Emory was able to explode to the hoop and finish with authority, even against much longer defenders. The next step in his game would be becoming a better ball-handler. Dana Altman is going to need bigs that can occasionally play the wing, if just to spread the floor out and give their athletic point guards a chance to create. So if Emory can begin handling the ball on a wing, expect him to become a much larger piece of the puzzle in his final season.
Johnathan Loyd, Junior, Point Guard (3.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG) – Garrett Sim is gone, and Loyd is ready to become the team’s starting point guard. His numbers last year don’t exactly invoke much confidence, and his ultra-small frame is part of the reason for that. But, small Oregon guards haven’t had a problem in the past making noise (Aaron Brooks, Tajuan Porter), and coaches are hoping Loyd can take on a role similar to theirs. Loyd excels at getting the Ducks out in transition opportunities, whether through a steal or long rebound. He will be counted on improving Oregon’s perimeter defense from a year ago, as his cat-like quickness and active hands should create a plenty of opportunities.