If we had a best offseason award, the Ducks would certainly win it in 2016. They have two potential Nba players coming back in Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey and the two seniors Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis were granted one extra year of eligibility. Jordan Bell, one of the best rim protector in the nation, will still be around to solidify their defense, and the team will rely on Casey Benson’s leadership. They lost both Elgin Cook and sixth man Dwayne Benjamin (worth 23 points and 8 rebounds combined) and were replaced by Kavell Bigby-Williams (Njcaa Player of the Year) and freshman Keith Smith. They will also have two more freshmen at roster, Payton Pritchard, a very good scorer, and Michael Cage Jr., a center with a good shooting touch.
We would have to go back to 1939 to find a more successful season than the last: Oregon set the all-time record for wins (31), earned the number 1 seed in the tournament and won both the regular season and the title in the Pac 12 conference. The Ducks finished the season undefeated at home and undefeated against the top 25 teams but, once they reached the Elite Eight, they became one of the victims of the Buddy Hield experience.
The coach: Dana Altman
Dana Altman is one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball, despite winning the Pac 12 Coach of the Year award last season. He is sitting on Oregon’s bench since 2010 and in a few years he managed to turn a mediocre program into one of the best in the nation, and now he has one goal: to win it all next April in Phoenix.
Key player: Dillon Brooks (SF, Jr)
His best skill is versatility, because he can literally do it all. He can play in the backcourt or in the frontcourt, he can shoot from distance, play in both post position and attack the rim, he is a good defender and, depending on the game, he could be the best scorer, rebounder or passer of the team. He will be sidelined until December, but if the Ducks want to make some noise in March, they’ll need him.
Prospects: Dillon Brooks (SF, Jr), Tyler Dorsey (PG, So), Chris Boucher (PF, Sr)
There’s more talent on this team beside Brooks. Dorsey might be a late first round pick next season, but he will have to prove he is a real scorer and improve the efficiency of his jump-shot, decision making and cut down turnovers. Boucher is the kind of all around player who could be the best shot blocker as well as one of the best three-point shooter. Considering his age (24) he might be a second round pick. Otherwise, Europe will welcome him with open arms, together with Dylan Ennis, “the best player and leader at roster” according to coach Altaman.
Likely starting five
PG – Casey Benson (Jr)
PG – Tyler Dorsey (So)
SF – Dillon Brooks (Jr)
PF – Chris Boucher (Sr)
C –Jordan Bell (Jr)
Relevant players from the past
Terrell Brandon, Luke Ridnour, Aaron Brooks, Malik Hairston, Maarty Leunen.