Oregon has been a different basketball without freshman point guard Dominic Artis the past nine games. Prone to turnovers and dropping into a tie for first in the Pac-12, the Ducks got some good news Tuesday.
After his second day of limited practice, Oregon coach Dana Altman opened up the possibility of Artis returning to the floor when the Ducks face Oregon State in the “Civil War” on Tuesday.
“It’s kind of like limiting a pitch count in baseball…If it’s hurting him we will take him out,” Altman said, according to CSNNW.com. “We could have put him in a few weeks ago but it wasn’t worth it…. He’s a player to build around.”
Regardless of whether Artis is able to go, though, Johnathan Loyd will remain in the starting lineup at the point guard spot, meaning Artis would come off the bench.
Considering Artis has been sidelined for close to a month, Altman tried to push aside doubts about how his freshman would fare once he assimilates back into the regular rotation.
“He hasn’t missed a beat. He’s been to every practice, always asking me ‘Ok,what do I do on this, that, etc.,'” said Altman. “He’s been focused the whole time, and I’m sure there will be an adjustment period…..three weeks to get blended in [before the Pac-12 Tournament].”
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.