Great season for Ducks and Dana Altman
The Oregon Ducks‘ season came to an end after running into Louisville in the sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Louisville is the best team in the country, in my opinion, and Oregon played it tough all the way to the end.
This was a very respectable effort from Dana Altman’s Ducks, and it was the first time in the head coach’s career that he made it past the second round.
Under a lengthy career at Creighton University, where he had a record of 327-176 throughout his 16-year tenure, Altman was unable to make it past the second round of the tournament. He only advanced past the first round twice in the seven years in which they qualified.
He did a great job this season of putting it all together and allowing his team to give its best effort. It was no secret that Oregon got shafted on selection Sunday, as it received a low seed of 12 in the tournament. Even the Colorado Buffaloes were seeded higher, and they finished fifth in the Pac-12 during the regular season.
Colorado got put out in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament, while Oregon tied for second in the regular season and ended up winning the conference tournament.
Altman didn’t allow that to faze his team. They just went out and played to the best of their ability, showing why their leader was able to win the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award.
Oregon’s freshmen guards, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, were outstanding this year. Damyean Dotson’s scoring came alive during tournament play – that was fun to watch, and I look forward to seeing more from him as a Duck.
These two have made for an unbelievable combination this season, and should be a great guard combo for the next few years. They’re quick, they have great ball-handling skills and simply put, they can knock down shots.
Their ability to handle and apply pressure is up there with best of them. They showed it against Louisville, and that goes to show you how hard they work and how much they believe in their coaching.
Altman has his guards. Now, he must turn his recruiting toward big men. Not just guys with size, but guys that fit the system. I see them playing a similar game style to Louisville with these two guards. They need guys with length and athleticism and guys that are consistently willing to play defense.
The seniors that will be leaving will hurt this team right away. Arsalan Kazemi, E.J. Singler, Carlos Emory, and Tony Woods will all be gone next season. Finding replacements for these guys won’t be an easy task.
Arsalan Kazemi will be missed the most. He was everywhere you needed him to be, as he had a knack for finding the ball and finishing around the rim.
All of these guys played major minutes, and their senior leadership will definitely be missed. Even without these four guys, it’s not far-fetched to say that Oregon can return to the NCAA tournament next season. Not with the way Altman was able to get the best production out of his players – from all grades and all positions.
Altman is really one of the better coaches in college basketball today. He showed that in the regular season by winning the Pac-12 Coach of the Year after leading his team to its third straight 20-win season (all done under his three years with the team).
He also showed it by leading his team to a Pac-12 conference tournament title and advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
As long as Altman is the man in Eugene, this will be a team near the top for years to come.