Oregon Week: Incoming Freshman Dominic Artis Bolsters Seven NewcomersPosted by Connor Pelton on August 11th, 2012
On the heels of last year’s good recruiting class, head coach Dana Altman landed a huge six-man class this season, signing two recruits from traditional southern Nevada powerhouses, a pair of small forwards from southeastern Texas, and two shooting guards from a midwestern high school and community college, respectively. We’ll also take a look at a much-needed lane clogging big man who redshirted in 2011-12. We’ll break all seven of them down below, roughly in the order of the contributions we expect from them.
Dominic Artis, Freshman, Point Guard, 5’11” 165 lbs, Findlay College Prep, Henderson, NV – Artis’ height and frame will remind Duck fans of former Oregon point guard Aaron Brooks. He is a speedster with handles and his slight frame allows him to easily fit into seams in the defense and find teammates around the perimeter. He is definitely able to knock down the three-point ball, but consistency is a whole different matter. If he wants to really make an impact this season, Artis needs to keep defenders from focusing on E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory down low and be a threat from behind the arc. Regardless, the freshman could find his way onto the court with tight, lockdown defense. Oregon’s D outside of the paint last season was mediocre at best, bordering on bad, and with their best defender in Devoe Joseph graduating, there is a need for a new top defender. It’s tough for any point guard to be an impact immediately in a power conference, but Artis definitely has the most talent, and potential, of all seven newcomers. With the departure of Garrett Sim, Artis is in a prime position to replace his minutes. The only question remains is this: Will Oregon’s star recruit transfer two games or less into the season, as last year’s did?
Damyean Dotson, Freshman, Small Forward, 6’6” 181 lbs, Jack Yates Senior High School, Houston, TX – Once again we meet a player who could earn early minutes thanks to his defensive ability. Dotson can guard the one, two, or three, but is tough enough to rebound down low as well. He also has a long wingspan, making him a shot-blocking threat. According to reports, Dotson will do a lot of damage as a help defender and trapper when the Ducks are in a zone. As a senior at Jack Yates HS, Dotson averaged 21 PPG and 5 RPG, good enough to garner the title of 2012 Greater Houston Player of the Year by the Houston Chronicle. He had offers from Dayton, Colorado, and Georgetown, among others, before deciding on Oregon.
Fred Richardson III, Freshman, Small Forward/Shooting Guard, 6’5” 215 lbs, Clear Brook High School, Harris County, TX – Another player, another small forward from southeastern Texas. Richardson will stay play the wing, although he is a bit bulkier than Dotson. He is currently the all-time leading scorer at Clear Brook, and he averaged 20.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 1.3 SPG as a senior while leading the Wolverines to a 29-4 record. He could very well be the Ducks’ top defender in 2012-13 as he is athletic and big enough to guard positions one through four. On offense, Richardson is a tremendous spot-up shooter, but is even better moving without the ball and rolling off screens to get open. Out of all the incoming recruits, Richardson has the most raw talent with loads of upside. He’ll be called on first to fill the very large shoes that Devoe Joseph left behind.
Austin Kuemper, Redshirt Freshman, Center, 6’9” 230 lbs - Kuemper enters his second season in Eugene with four years still to play after redshirting in 2011-12. He figures to be a major part of the rotation against bigger teams as he is one of just two centers on the roster. While he doesn’t have as big a wingspan as fellow center Tony Woods, it will do the job to knock away any weak shots by the bucket. Kuemper averaged 16.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 1.2 BPG as a senior at Portland’s Westview High School. He chose the home-state Ducks over San Diego State, Washington State, Iowa State, and USC. Look for 2012-13 to be used mainly as a teaching year before Kuemper takes over a starting role a year from now.
Devon Branch, Junior, Shooting Guard, 6’5” 175 lbs, Cloud County Community College – After spending the first two years of his college career playing in the clouds, Branch has earned his way back to playing on Earth. If Richardson proves unable to handle big minutes early on as a freshman, Dana Altman hopes that he can turn to Branch to provide a stable and consistent jumper to keep defenses honest. Branch led CCCC with 20.4 PPG in 2011-12.
Ben Carter, Freshman, Power Forward, 6’8” 215 lbs, Bishop Gorman High School, Las Vegas, NV – A possible replacement for Olu Ashaolu, Carter can score through a myriad of ways. Opponents without tape on the power forward will likely give him the elbow jumper, which he can make. He also has a high basketball IQ and is able to finish with both hands, making him a handful to guard. Due to the lack of bigs on the Duck roster, all Carter needs to do is prove he can score. If he does that, minutes will be soon to follow.
Willie Moore, Freshman, Shooting Guard, 6’3” 175 lbs, Aiken High School, Cincinnati, Ohio – This is looking like a redshirt year for the freshman out of Aiken High, the southwestern Ohio school named for singer Clay Aiken (I didn’t bother to fact check this, but I don’t see any way how this couldn’t be true). A mediocre defender and a shooter that has been known to force up shots, Moore would benefit from a year learning Altman’s system. He will be behind junior Nicholas Lucienti, Richardson, and Branch on the depth chart heading into the season.