With the loss of four players from last year’s front court, Oregon was hopeful that incoming freshman Cristiano Felicio would be one of the players who could help the Ducks replenish their ranks in the paint. At 6-9, 245, the Brazilian had the size and talent needed to be a factor inside for head coach Dana Altman as Oregon looks to make its second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.
Unfortunately for Oregon the freshman won’t be joining the program, as it was reported by Matt Prehm of Duck Territory that Felicio will not be cleared by the NCAA. Apparently there was concern that Felicio, who has reportedly signed a professional contract with a team in Brazil, signed a professional contract while attending high school in his native country.
With he and the school unable to prove that this was not the case according to Prehm’s report, Felicio will continue his career in Brazil with an eye towards entering the 2015 NBA Draft.
So where does this leave Oregon? With the additions of UNLV transfer Mike Moser, junior college transfer Richard Amardi and freshman Jordan Bell, the Ducks won’t lack for numbers inside. But the issue comes with the 2014-15 campaign, as Prehm points out.
The loss of Felicio hurts Oregon’s front court depth with just five true post players on roster. The loss of Felicio won’t hurt Oregon in 2013-14 as as much as it will in 2014-15 due to three (Mike Moser, Waverly Austin, and Richard Amardi) of the five remaining post players being seniors. Oregon however will return just two (Jordan Bell and Ben Carter) players after this upcoming season who can play center or power forward for the Ducks and Oregon was counting on Felicio being a key cog as a sophomore.
This puts a premium on Oregon’s coaching staff to find multiple post prospects who can come into the Oregon program and a play right away for the 2014 recruiting class.
Oregon, which finished the 2012-13 season with a 26-9 record (12-6 Pac-12), ranked second in the Pac-12 in both offensive (35.8%) and defensive (72.8%) rebounding percentage last season. With players such as Kazemi and Woods gone, the hope was that Felicio would be one of the players capable of helping Oregon maintain this level of production on the glass.
With Felicio now out of the picture, Austin (2.7 rpg) and Carter (2.3) will need to be even more productive on the glass this season.