Michael Chandler has been granted his release and will transfer from Oregon after only one season with the program., the school announced on Tuesday evening.
“We would like to thank Michael for being an important part of our team this season, and respect his wish to find the best opportunity moving forward,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said in a statement. “We wish Michael all the best in the future.”
Chandler, the 6-foot-10 center, had committed to the Ducks in October of 2013. At the time, it was the fourth Division I school he had been committed to. The Indianapolis native, had previously made pledges to Louisville, Central Florida and Xavier as a member of the Class of 2011. He ended up failing to qualify academically, beginning his collegiate career at Northwest Florida State.
During his lone season in Eugene, he averaged 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.3 minutes per game in 19 appearances.
With freshmen JaQuan Lyle and Ray Kasongo not being admitted into school, Oregon head coach Danal Altman has some depth issues to address in the weeks leading up to the team’s first game of the season on November 14. And according to a report Wednesday, there’s another ongoing issue that currently has the Ducks practicing with just seven scholarship players.
According to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com, junior college transfer Michael Chandler has yet to practice due to a knee issue that was first addressed in July. Chandler underwent a procedure on his knee in July, and in regards to when the Northwest Florida State product could take the court Altman told Rothstein the following:
“It could be a while,” Altman said. “He’s rehabbing and trying to get it better but he hasn’t practiced. He’s going to be way behind on conditioning and everything that we’re putting in right now.”
Just before Oregon began practice in early October the thought was that Chandler wouldn’t have to wait much longer to be cleared medically, and it was deemed unlikely that he would miss any game action. Based upon Altman’s quote that doesn’t seem to be the case at this point, which is a major concern when taking into consideration the fact that he was expected by some to be the starter at center.
Oregon may have one of the best guards in the Pac-12 in senior Joseph Young, but what they don’t have is depth. If Chandler’s knee forces him to miss game action, Oregon would be forced to field a lineup that was already expected to be small by college basketball standards. Forwards Elgin Cook and Jalil Abdul-Bassit return from last season’s team, with junior Dwayne Benjamin and sophomore Jordan Bell joining Chandler as the team’s front court newcomers.
And of those four remaining front court options, the slender Bell is the tallest at 6-foot-7.
1. Kadeem Allen, Arizona: The NJCAA National Player of the Year tallied 1,425 career points in his two first-team All-American seasons at Hutchinson Community College (Kansas). While the 6-foot-3 power guard likely won’t be in the starting five, he will a key scoring option coming off the bench. This past season with the Blue Dragons, he averaged 25.9 points per game.
2. Cinmeon Bowers, Auburn: An NCAA show-cause penalty didn’t stop Bruce Pearl from landing one of the top JuCo recruits in the country this past spring. The former Florida State signee averaged 12.4 points and 8.9 rebounds last season at Chipola Junior College (Florida) The Tigers lose their top scorer and their top rebounder from last season’s 14-16 team. Bowers can help in those departments, especially on the glass, where Auburn had one of the worst rebounding teams in the SEC.
3. Josh Gray, LSU: No Andre Stringer and no Anthony Hickey this season for an LSU program looking to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. At Odessa College last season, Gray averaged 33.8 points and 5.9 assists per game. The former Texas Tech floor general, who averaged 9.3 points a night in 2012-2013, is joined by UNC Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby. The brand-new back court should compliment the frontline of sophomores Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin.
4. Jordan Goodman, New Mexico: After three commitments and a stint in Harcum College (Pennsylvania), the 6-foot-9 Goodman is set to begin his first season with the reigning Mountain West tournament champion. Goodman, a first-team All-American, has yet to be cleared for full-contact drills after having knee surgery this summer, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
5. Stephen Hurt, Kansas State: The former Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year used a year at Northwest Florida State to catapult himself into a highly-sought after forward. After committing to K-State, he’ll join a team looking to push back up the Big 12 Conference standings. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in his lone season in the JuCo ranks after transferring from Lipscomb.
6. Trahson Burrell & Chris Hawkins, Memphis: Josh Pastner brought in several JuCo recruits who could be contributors this season. The 6-foot-7 Burrell was cleared last month after posting 25.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game at Lee College (Texas). Hawkins, a JuCo forward, averaged 12.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Tigers in their four games in Canada this summer.
7. Ivan Cruz Uceda, Miami: At 6-foot-10 Uceda gives the ‘Canes an inside presence. The ex-Harcum forward made an immediate impact on the glass in Miami’s trip to Spain, pulling down 11.0 boards per game. Uceda’s debut with Miami will be delayed until the second semester due to an NCAA rule.
8. Octavius Ellis, Cincinnati: Mick Cronin needs to replace the production left behind by Justin Jackson on the Cincy frontline. The 6-foot-10 forward Ellis, back in Bearcat uniform, averaged 14.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks as a first-team All-American at Trinity Valley Community College (Texas). He arrives in Cincinnati with another JuCo big, Coreontae DeBerry.
9. Dwayne Benjamin & Michael Chandler, Oregon: Three players dismissed and two more failing to enroll leaves plenty of opportunities for newcomers to make an impact on this Oregon team. The 6-foot-10 Chandler, a former four-star recruit, is the projected starting center while Benjamin can help out on the wing along with freshman Dillon Brooks.
10. Jeff Newberry, Oklahoma State: Phil Forte is back, but Marcus Smart and Markel Brown leave big holes to fill. Insert JuCo guard Jeff Newberry and LSU transfer Anthony Hickey. The 6-foot-2 Newberry could end up playing either guard position this season for Travis Ford’s new-look perimeter.
TEN MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Sam Cassell Jr., UConn: Son of the longtime NBA point guard adds depth to the UConn back court. Cassell was a first-team All-American in his only season at Chipola.
Gary Payton II, Oregon State: The son of the Hall of Famer enrolls as his father’s alma mater, where after a coaching change he will be looked upon to contribute right away.
Kevin Punter, Tennessee: The State Fair Community College product committed to Tennessee and new head coach Donnie Tyndall. Punter averaged 20.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
Torian Graham and Devonta Pollard, Houston: The two-time N.C. State commit is joining Kelvin Sampson at Houston. Graham was once ranked No. 67 overall by Rivals. Former McDonald’s All-American and Alabama forward Devonta Pollard is also an addition for the Cougars this season.
Carlos Morris, Minnesota: The 6-foot-5 combo guard averaged 14.7 points 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for Chipola. The former Rivals 150 guard can crack the Golden Gophers’ starting five.
Tom “Bush” Wamukota, Wichita State: The Shockers have a pair of All-American-caliber guards, but the 6-foot-11 Wamukota could be a lift on the frontline alongside Darius Carter.
Keith Thomas, St. John’s: The nation’s leading rebounder this past season at Westchester Community College (New York) hauled in 15.7 boards per game in addition to his 15.3 points a contest.
Willie Atwood, Arizona State: A season after returning to the NCAA tournament, the Sun Devils will bring in seven newcomers, four of whom are from the JuCo ranks. The 6-foot-8 Atwood was a All-American honorable mention selection, averaging 20.8 points per game for Connors State College (Oklahoma).
The day before the official start of the college basketball season, and Dana Altman’s program took yet another blow, as Michael Chandler, the team’s projected starting center, was sidelined with a knee injury.
Altman informed reporters of the injury on Thursday morning.
According to Prehm, Chandler will be cleared to play in about a week or two and is not expected to miss the start of the season.
The 6-foot-10 Chandler was a former top-100 recruit in the Class of 2011 — who had previously made pledges to Louisville, Central Florida and Xavier — came to Eugene by way of Northwest Florida State after verbally committing to the Ducks in October of 2013.
Oregon is in no position to be dealing with injury troubles, especially on the interior with Elgin Cook as the only returning big. The Ducks currently have 10 players on the 2013-2014 roster. And since July 30, Altman has lost two players in his incoming class. Forward Ray Kasongo was not admitted by the university back in the summer. Five-star guard JaQuan Lyle has also not enrolled.
Oregon begins the season on Nov. 14 at home against Coppin State.
After visiting Oregon this past weekend, the Ducks became the fourth Division I program Michael Chandler has committed to.
Brad Winton of JuCoRecruiting.com tweeted the news on Tuesday night, after the Northwest Florida State center, who drew interest from Arizona and Memphis among programs, picked Dana Altman’s team.
The Indianapolis, Ind. native previously made pledges to Louisville, Central Florida and Xavier as a member of the Class of 2011. The 6-foot-10 Chandler did not qualify academically and ended up signing with Northwest Florida State in June of 2012. Coming out of high school Chandler was the No. 55 overall player and the fifth best center according to Rivals.
Last season at Northwest Florida State, Chandler saw action in 34 games, starting seven. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. He’s the third player from the junior college powerhouse to commit this month. Former Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year Stephen Hurt committed to Kansas State on Oct. 2 and forward Darnell Harris picked Middle Tennessee State four days ago.
Chandler’s fourth D1 commitment makes him the fourth member of Oregon’s incoming class which includes point guard Casey Benson and forwards Dwayne Benjamin and Ray Kasongo, who committed last Friday.
Former Top 100 center Michael Chandler has signed with Northwest Florida State, a junior college in Niceville, Fla., the school announced Saturday.
Chandler, who was originally a member of the Class of 2011, did not enroll in school during the 2011-12 year and will now spend two years at NWF.
Qualifying academically has been the biggest obstacle for Chandler, who chooses junior college now and will work toward Division I eligibility over the next two years.
Before signing with Northwest Florida State, he had previously committed to three schools: Louisville, Central Florida, and Xavier.
The Indianapolis, Ind. native had also drawn interest from schools that include Connecticut, St. John’s, Oregon, Indiana, Kentucky, and Oregon.
Northwest Florida State has recently sent three players on to Division I schools: Rod Rucker to UAB, Trency Jackson to Texas Tech, and Neiko Hunter to Middle Tennessee.
Chandler is an especially rare case because of his numerous commitments and reclassification, now landing in junior college.
At 6-10, 225 pounds he has legitimate size to play at the Division I level, but will need to straighten out his academics before he can qualify. Defensively, he could certainly help a team in the low post with his tall, wide frame.