In with the New
Most notable is Mike Moser, who is an Oregon native that played his high school ball in the Portland area. Moser had an offseason last year with UNLV. Injuries and the number one overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Anthony Bennett, was what lead to a down season for him.
Moser will get another fresh start with the Ducks. He spent his freshman year in college sitting the bench for UCLA before transferring to UNLV, where he made a name for himself. At Oregon, he will be a great fill-in for the graduated forward Arsalan Kazemi. They gain a little more offensive versatility and they won’t lose too much on the defensive end. Moser is a great rebounder – he should sure up most of the boards Kazemi was grabbing.
Along with Moser, in come’s two other transfers Elgin Cook and Jalil Abdul-Bassit. Cook should take the starting role at small forward. Abdul Basset will likely see time off the bench at wing. Both of whom can score when called upon.
Another transfer that they recently added is Joseph Young from Houston. It’s unclear whether he will get to play this year or have to sit out a year. If he does play, he will be fighting the other new coming wings for minutes and shots. He was a great scorer for Houston where he posted 18 points per game last season.
What is this Ducks Team Capable of Next Year?
The Ducks can absolutely make it back to the NCAA Tournament next year. Another sweet-16 bid will be difficult, but I like their odds.
The addition of Moser alone makes them a contender. I did a piece on his first playing year at UNLV. I have liked his game for quite some time now. Playing alongside Bennett last year had to be frustrating; he had to play out of his normal power forward position. The injuries he suffered didn’t help, either.I look for him to bounce back this season, especially with the face paced Oregon offense. Yes, their hoops team plays just as fast as the football team.
The Ducks young guard’s from last year are only going to get better. Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson were a solid freshmen duo last year and played even better during the tournament. They should make continuous strides to once again get better in 2013-14.
While a lot of other teams have lost key players in the NBA Draft, Oregon has done the best job of replacing their guys to build a better team. Here is a look at the other four of the top-5 in last year’s standings (Arizona, California, Colorado,
Oregon, and UCLA).
- UCLA lost their best scorer in Shabazz Muhammad.
- California lost their best scorer (to the Portland Trail Blazers) in Allen Crabbe.
- Colorado lost their best player in Andre Roberson.
- Arizona added a top recruit in Aaron Gordon, but they did lose three key players – Mark Lyons, Solomon Hill, and Grant Jerrett.
All these teams are going to desperately miss these key players during the course of next season. Arizona will still be a contender. Will Aaron Gordon be enough to take them to the top? I think it will be close, which leads me to…
Most Intriguing Match-up
Arizona and Oregon make for the best matchup for next season. I am interested in seeing how Aaron Gordon plays against a talented player in Mike Moser. Gordon is your prototypical 1-and-done guy. He will likely be a top-5 pick in next year’s draft. He could play either forward position, but I think power forward suits better for his size.
Arizona also has another potential lottery pick draftee in sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski. Arizona’s bigs will give Oregon some trouble, but I think their guard’s will match up well.
Depth could be a key in the match-up between them. Oregon has sustained depth. They may have even improved it, but only time will tell. Arizona has solid big men with little behind them. They still have Nick Johnson, a tremendous Guard I might add. They will miss Lyons, however, and that could be the difference.
Oregon will take the Pac-12 hoops title this year. Arizona will give them a run for their money, but I think depth prevails as Oregon holds on in the standings. Colorado will slip, as will California. UCLA and Arizona State will round out the top 4 (with Oregon and Arizona).