Duck Basketball Graduates
Usually at this point in the year–a few weeks after the college basketball season has finished–fans of the Oregon Ducks switch their attention to other sports, such as football, baseball, and track and field. But this year, at least in comparison to any year during Dana Altman’s tenure as head coach, is different.
You see, Oregon is coming off of one of its best seasons in recent history.
A Pac-12 Tournament Championship, two huge upsets in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and a Sweet 16 appearance were all part of the thrill ride that was Oregon’s 2012-2013 college basketball season. And while it did end, perhaps, a little earlier than some fans would have hoped, an eight-point loss in the Sweet 16 to the eventual national champions isn’t such a bad way to end a season.
Now shifting our focus to future glories, the Ducks definitely have a few of the pieces in place to help them make their 2013-2014 even more impressive than this year.
Returning stars like Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis, and Johnathan Loyd will give Oregon a strong outside presence while Ben Carter and Waverly Austin will look to improve Oregon’s interior presence. In addition to these talented athletes, Oregon is putting together quite the recruiting class on paper that would help to ensure their future success.
With all the praise and accolades that can be given to the Ducks basketball program, they will be without some of their best players in the coming years, as E.J. Singler, Arsalan Kazemi, Carlos Emory, and Tony Woods played their final season in 2012-2013. Catalysts part of Oregon’s run to the Sweet 16, the Ducks will surely miss the services of each and every one of them.
And while all have their own special talents, fans of the Ducks will miss three of these guys the most.
Here they are.
While his brother Kyle may have received more praise for his basketball career, E.J. Singler will go down as one of the most reliable and consistent Ducks in program history. Never really being a player who could dominate the scoreboard, Singler relied on his basketball IQ to fuel his play while generating a passion and energy for the game that helped to revitalize the Oregon basketball program.
The way he selflessly helped other teammates develop into better players will still play huge dividends, as both Artis and Dotson likely received plenty of advice from one of Oregon’s staple players.
Singler finished his career at Oregon with 1,114 points (25th in school history), 546 rebounds, 131 three-pointers, and a free throw shooting percentage of .875 (best in school history). He is just the 13th player in program history to score 1,000 points and rake in 500 rebounds over the course of his career.
Originally coming to Oregon from Howard College, Emory played just two seasons with the Ducks but made the most of them, quickly becoming one of the most exciting players in the nation as well as one of the best off the bench.
Known as the most athletically gifted of all the players on last year’s roster, Emory thrilled fans with his dunks, wooed them with his three-pointers, and electrified them with his speed an up-tempo play that brought an energy to the court that had not been there before his arrival.
What couldn’t Arsalan Kazemi do. Ok, well, admittedly he couldn’t hit a three, but that’s besides the point.
A transfer from Rice, Kazemi was the player that elevated Oregon’s play throughout the year and the player who led them to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Now while some may see that as a drastic statement–especially considering the production levels of other players on the team–Kazemi was the missing piece Oregon had not had in recent years that prevented them from reaching college basketball’s promised land.
He gave the Ducks a dominant inside presence they had been lacking in recent years while commanding enough attention on the court to open up space for other players.
He was a monster on the boards, a passionate player who could rack up the points when he wanted to, and the reason why Oregon was so good this year. The only unfortunate part about his time as a Duck is that it lasted just a year.
Thanks for the service, seniors!