All things considered, Oregon had as good of a season as Dana Altman could have asked for.
They won the Pac-12 tournament. They probably would have won the Pac-12 regular season if it wasn’t for the foot injury that sidelined Dominic Artis. They made a surprising run through the Midwest Region, upsetting both No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 4 St. Louis en route to the Sweet 16.
And while the Ducks couldn’t make it past No. 1 Louisville, losing to the Cardinals 77-69 in the semifinals, they never quit. The Cardinals, the best team in the country, jumped out to a 24-8 lead on the Ducks in the first half, but Oregon never rolled over. They fought and they scrapped and they cut the lead to six in the second half before eventually losing by eight points.
That’s what I took out of this game.
Louisville is just as good as we all thought they were. They did nothing to dissuade me of the fact that they are the current favorite to win the national title.
But Oregon never rolled over after digging themselves a massive hole.
Heading into next season, the Ducks will lose four seniors — EJ Singler, Carlos Emory, Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi. But they have a lot of young talent on their current roster and Altman brings in a talented seven-man recruiting class, headlined by big man Jordan Bell and twin guards Tyree and Tyrel Robinson, who also play football.
The future is bright in Oregon.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.
The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.