Oregon Ducks

Instant Analysis: No. 3 Oregon clinches share of Pac-12 title with win over No. 4 Stanford

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Instant Analysis: No. 3 Oregon clinches share of Pac-12 title with win over No. 4 Stanford

The Stanford Cardinal were ready to avenge their 32-point loss from back in Eugene on Jan. 16. They changed up their defensive scheme, leaving Oregon’s Minyon Moore open on the offensive end, double teaming Ruthy Hebard down low and clogging up driving lanes.

That didn’t last long.

The Ducks put the ball in Sabrina Ionescu’s hands as she fed it to the hot hand, Satou Sabally.

On a night where Ionescu made history in more ways than one, the No. 3 Oregon Ducks (26-2, 15-1 Pac-12) officially clinched a share of the Pac-12 conference title with the win over No. 4 Stanford (24-4, 13-3 Pac-12) in Palo Alto, California.

FINAL SCORE: Oregon 74, Stanford 66

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. EARLY DEFENSE / POOR SHOOTING

The Ducks quickly jumped out to a 10-point lead after going on an 11-0 run to close out the first quarter. It was a nine minute scoring drought for Stanford. Junior Satou Sabally got the hot hand early hitting from both three-point range as well as AND-1 opportunities.

Stanford’s poor shooting start didn’t help the Cardinal either, hitting just 3-for-17 in the first quarter alone.

2. SATOU SABALLY

The 6-foot-4 forward has been a matchup nightmare all season long. She can stretch the floor wide with her sharp shooting which leaves room for her to drive the ball. 

Sabally brought her offensive skill and kept the Ducks afloat giving them a boost and a quick 10-point lead. She finished with 27 points hitting 10-for-17 from the field and nine rebounds.

3. THE BEST EVER, SABRINA IONESCU

Coming into Monday’s game, Sabrina Ionescu needed nine rebounds to reach a stat that no other has ever done before. She got all nine within three quarters. 

On her ninth rebound, Ionescu became the first player in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds.

If those numbers aren’t crazy enough, how about recording her 26th career triple-double, too? Ionescu records back-to-back triple-doubles and finished with 21 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds in the win.

It is her first against a top-10 opponent and eighth this season.

UP NEXT: The Ducks finally return home to host the Washington schools, starting with Washington State (11-17, 4-12 Pac-12) on Friday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. (PT) in Eugene, Oregon.

Sabrina Ionescu repeats as Wade Trophy winner

Sabrina Ionescu repeats as Wade Trophy winner

Sabrina Ionescu may need another room to place all these postseason awards.

On Thursday, Ionescu added Wade Trophy to her long list of awards following a senior season that will be near impossible to forget.

Ionescu joins Nancy Lieberman, Seimone Augustus, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore as the only two-time winners of the Wade Trophy.

The Wade Trophy is presented annually to the D1 National Player of the Year. The winner also earns First-Team All-America honor, Ionescu's third straight honor, headlining a 10-player team that also included teammates senior Ruthy Hebard and junior Satou Sabally (who has decided to forgo her senior year at Oregon and declare for the 2020 WNBA Draft).

Sabrina had another historic season at Oregon and elevated her game and, in so doing, our sport as well. She is an incredibly talented student-athlete, leader and ambassador for women’s basketball. Her mastery of so many skills coupled with her tremendous determination to succeed has excited the national media and fans alike, and has inspired the next generation of student-athletes. -- WBCA Executive Director Danielle M. Donehew

Ionescu finished her career at Oregon with 2,562 points, 1,091 assists and 1,040 rebounds along with 26 career triple-doubles.

The 3x Pac-12 Player of the Year has been named the national Player of the Year by the Associated Press, USBWA and ESPN.com, and she is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Nancy Lieberman Award for the nation's top point guard and the Wooden Award. She was also awarded the Senior CLASS Award earlier this week.

Oregon Ducks PG Payton Pritchard reminisces about working with former Trail Blazer Allen Crabbe

Oregon Ducks PG Payton Pritchard reminisces about working with former Trail Blazer Allen Crabbe

Buckle up for episode No. 103 of the Pull Up Pod with CJ McCollum!

This week, McCollum and ESPN NBA analyst Jordan Schultz give their sheltering in place updates while handing out book recommendations as we all continue to work together in flattening the curve of COVID-19.    

Plus, since this weekend should’ve been the Final Four weekend of the NCAA tournament, Oregon Ducks standout guard Payton Pritchard joins the guys.

Pritchard is very well known around the Portland area after taking home four straight state basketball titles for West Linn High School before becoming an Oregon Duck.

The 6’2” Oregon senior discussed what went into his decision to stay close to home and become a Duck.

“I knew Oregon was going to be a good fit. I had the opportunity to come in right away, to have the chance to start, and play, and be with a good team. I knew with my family being close... I just knew it was the right place,” Pritchard told McCollum.

[RELATED]: The 'Payton Pritchard Challenge' has spread all over social media

During Pritchard’s senior year in high school and early on his college days, he got the chance to workout with former Trail Blazer Allen Crabbe and AC’s trainer. From the sounds of it -- a lot of the training sessions were focused on improving Pritchard's shot and his ability to create off the dribble.  

Allen and all those different players out there I’ve been around, I just try to take things from everybody. For me, any level, even now like high school, college, NBA, if I see something I like or that I like about their game, I will definitely try to add it to mine or different training things they do. So, being in the gym with guys like Allen, and like when I was growing up being around Steve Blake, and just seeing their attention to detail and what it took… I just learned from that and added it to what I needed to do. -- Oregon Duck point guard Payton Pritchard on the Pull Up Pod

Pritchard also gave an update on what a typical day for him looks like during quarantine.

“Right now I’m sleeping in a little bit… So around 10, I’ll probably go out in the garage and start my ball handling – do a bunch of different ball handling drills and jump rope, and quick feet stuff, and that’ll take about an hour and that’ll be my morning session… I’ll run hills about three or four o’clock, and then at night, I’ll do some different strength stuff, lifting and stuff like that.” 

One thing’s for sure, the NBA draft hopeful is working on his game and his overall health right now.

He did admit to McCollum and Schultz that he loves cookies, though.

Listen to the entire Pull Up Pod RIGHT HERE

Official: Graduate Transfer QB Anthony Brown chooses the Oregon Ducks

Official: Graduate Transfer QB Anthony Brown chooses the Oregon Ducks

Earlier in the day, it was reported that Boston College QB Anthony Brown planned to transfer to the University of Oregon, where he would be immediately eligible to play.

It didn't take long for word to be official.

The three-year starter in the ACC announced via his Twitter the decision to join Mario Cristobal and the Oregon Ducks.

"I would like to thank god for all the blessings and opportunities he has given me, that have built me into the man I have become today. To my family and friends who have been invested in my journey from beginning to end, I thank and love you all.

To my brothers at Boston College, it was an honor to be on that gridiron with you guys. We built memories and friendships that I will cherish forever and for that I love y'all and will continue to support. Lastly, thank you to all the coaches that saw my potential, I'm extremely grateful for the time you invested in me.

This has been a long, yet rewarding process that I will be ever-grateful for, after a lot of praying and loving conversations with my family, I would like to announce that I will be attending the University of Oregon this fall as a graduate transfer. Thank you so much Coach Cristobal and Coach Moorhead for taking a chance on me and most of all, for allowing me to be a part of such a rich and successful culture that you guys have built. I can't wait to get to work!

Sco Ducks!"

At Boston College, Brown started 28 games passing for 4,738 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He had to miss the final six games of last season with a leg injury and entered the transfer portal in December.

According to 247Sports, Brown went on a recruiting visit in Eugene in early March before making his decision.

He will be competing for the starting quarterback job with redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough, true freshman Jay Butterfield, redshirt freshman Cale Millen, and walk-on Bradley Yaffee to replace Herbert. However, Shough's experience within Oregon should not be that much of an advantage given that the Ducks will be running a new offense under new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. 

As head coach of Oregon football, Mario Cristobal has implemented a culture that embraces competition between players so the best players get the most playing time on the field, thus bringing in an experienced player like Brown is practicing that philosophy. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks embrace culture of competition with transfer of QB Anthony Brown

The Ducks are scheduled to start the season against FCS Champions North Dakota State on September 5th before hosting Ohio State on September 12th. 

Oregon Ducks embrace culture of competition with transfer of QB Anthony Brown

Oregon Ducks embrace culture of competition with transfer of QB Anthony Brown

What's done here at Oregon is that we introduce competition the right kind of way. Competition cannot be a threatening type of situation. It has to be something that is embraced because it makes everybody better. 

Those were the words of head coach Mario Cristobal when introducing the recruiting class of 2020 and has a lasting effect. 

Since Cristobal took over at the University of Oregon, players are required to earn the playing time by outperforming their teammates during the week on the practice field.

Everything is earned, not given.

And Cristobal and his staff are always looking for ways to improve the program. For example, when Jim Leavitt and Oregon parted ways, many felt that Keith Hayward would get promoted to Defensive Coordinator since he's been with the program for a few years. But, Cristobal conducted a national search for the best candidate and hired Andy Avalos who heavily impressed in his first season.

Cristobal has now applied that philosophy to finding the replacement for four-year starter and soon-to-be top-ten NFL Draft pick Justin Herbert. Again, many felt that redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough would be the favorite to take over the starting job when Herbert left college. Had the Eugene native not came back for his senior season then Shough would have been the starter last season.

Earlier in spring football practice, Cristobal said that Shough is the leader but it's an open competition.

You can never fully hand over the keys because I think you lose the respect and integrity of the program when you do that. Is he the guy in the lead? Without question. He had the most experience. He has put in time.

However, Cristobal wants to find any way to improve the program. So, he recruited and reportedly got a commitment from Anthony Brown, three-year starter at Boston College, as a graduate transfer. Brown is eligble to play right away. 

[RELATED]: Report: Boston College QB Anthony Brown to graduate transfer to Oregon Ducks

Oregon has used graduate transfers in the past to mixed results: Oregon looked like a College Football Playoff contender with Vernon Adams healthy in 2015 but looked pretty bad with Dakota Prukop in 2016 before he got benched in favor of Hebert. Many felt Herbert didn't start despite being the better player because he didn't enroll at Oregon until the summer. The coaching staff ultimately felt more comfortable starting the graduate transfer. 

Oregon will not make the same mistake with Cristobal calling the shots.

He will play the best players regardless of their age. Look back to his first season as head coach when he played two freshman running backs, CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, over senior Tony Brooks-James as the year went on. 

If Tyler Shough wants to be the starter at Oregon, he will need to earn it this summer, and Cristobal will go with whichever quarterback wins the job regardless of past performance. 

Competition breeds greatness, which is what Cristobal and the Oregon Ducks are striving for. 

Report: Boston College QB Anthony Brown to graduate transfer to Oregon Ducks

Report: Boston College QB Anthony Brown to graduate transfer to Oregon Ducks

Thought the quarterback competition to replace four-year starter Justin Herbert was between Tyler Shough and Jay Butterfield?

Think again.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports, Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown will transfer to Eugene as a graduate transfer after starting the last three seasons in an Eagles uniform. He would be immediately eligible to play this season. 

At Boston College, he started 28 games passing for 4,738 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He had to miss the final six games of last season with a leg injury and entered the transfer portal in December.

According to 247Sports, Brown went on a recruiting visit in Eugene in early March before making his decision.

He will be competing for the starting quarterback job with redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough, true freshman Jay Butterfield, redshirt freshman Cale Millen, and walk-on Bradley Yaffee to replace Herbert. However, Shough's experience within Oregon should not be that much of an advantage given that the Ducks will be running a new offense under new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. 

As head coach of Oregon football, Mario Cristobal has implemented a culture that embraces competition between players so the best players get the most playing time on the field, thus bringing in an experienced player like Brown is practicing that philosophy. 

The Ducks are scheduled to start the season against FCS Champions North Dakota State on September 5th before hosting Ohio State on September 12th. 

You can check out some of Brown's highlights here.

Oregon WBB freshman guard Holly Winterburn enters NCAA transfer portal

Oregon WBB freshman guard Holly Winterburn enters NCAA transfer portal

No, this is not an April fools' joke.

Holly Winterburn has entered her name into the NCAA transfer portal.

The 5-foot-10 freshman guard for Oregon women’s basketball posted on her personal twitter on Wednesday:

FRESHMAN YEAR

Winterburn scored a career-high 17 points vs. South Dakota State in non-conference play on December 8, 2019. She averaged 11.4 minutes and appeared in 28 games her freshman year. The majority of those minutes came in non-conference play or at the end of games when Oregon already had a commanding lead. 

She averaged 3.4 points per game, shot 80% from the free throw line and 32.6% from three-point range.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE DUCKS

Winterburn has talent, no doubt about that. She was named to the All-Star Five (all-tournament team) at the FIBA U20 Division B European Championship after averaging 18.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for the Great Britain National Team. 

Her high school play was no different. She averaged 26.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 4.4 steals and five three-pointers per game for Charnwood College as part of the Women’s Elite Academy Basketball League. 

The unfortunate part for Winterburn in her only season in Eugene was just waiting on the bench behind other star players. 

She will find another home, and quickly, no doubt.

The 2020-2021 Ducks will look a lot different next season. Oregon will now be without Winterburn, seniors Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Minyon Moore, and Satou Sabally. However, head coach Kelly Graves has signed the No.1 ranked recruiting class for 2020.

Can't wait for basketball (and all sports) to resume play.

Oregon verbal commit, 4-star OG Josh Simmons, opens recruitment back up

Oregon verbal commit, 4-star OG Josh Simmons, opens recruitment back up

What a difference a few months makes.

Back in January of this year, four-star offensive guard Josh Simmons tweeted he was "10000% locked in" as an Oregon recruit and committed to Mario Cristobal and the Oregon Ducks.

[RELATED]: 'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

Well, just over two months later he has changed his decision as he announced on Twitter.


I want to thank OU and especially coach Cristobal for everything they have done for me. I'm definitely still considering the Ducks moving forward but at this point in my recruitment, I want to open things back up to make sure I'm doing the right thing and exploring all my options

Also, he later clarified he did mean the University of Oregon when he referred to them as OU. 

This doesn't mean that the Ducks are out of the running for the highly coveted guard, especially given Cristobal and offensive line coach Alex Mirabal's excellent track record of preparing lineman for the next level. Last season their line was a finalist for the Joe Moore Trophy given to the nation's best offensive line and tackle Penei Sewell won the Outland Trophy becoming the first Duck to ever do so.

When he originally committed to play for Oregon, he tweeted a graphic that said the following.

"Family is everything to me. I know I would not have been able to get to this point in my life without the love and support of my Mother and Sister." Simmons said. "Through everything I know I have been able to lean on them. I also want to give thanks to everyone from the Helix community, my Coaches, Teachers at Madison and everyone who has had an impact on my academic and athletic career up to this point. Lastly I want to thank all the Coaches that believed in me and gave me an opportunity to further my studies while continuing to play the game I love. With that being said I would like to announce that I am Committing to the University of Oregon. Recruitment is Shut Down. 10000% Locked in #CaliFlock #ScoDucks #Duckforlife."

You can check out his hudl highlights here.

Simmons originally committed to Oregon over offers from UCLA, USC, Colorado, Duke and Washington State. He was Cristobal's sixth verbal commit of the 2021 class and the second offensive line commit with Simmons joining Jackson Light, the nation's No. 6 center.

This day in history: Oregon women's basketball advances to program's first ever Final Four

This day in history: Oregon women's basketball advances to program's first ever Final Four

Let's relive one of the greatest days in Oregon women's basketball history.

The day: One year ago today: March 31, 2019.

The location: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon.

The game: An Elite Eight matchup vs. Mississippi State.

The Ducks advanced to the program's first-ever trip to the Final Four (held in Tampa, Florida last season). Led by Sabrina Ionescu's near triple-double of 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Oregon defeated Mississippi State 88-84 in front of 11,000+ fans at the Moda Center. 

It was a day the players, coaches and fans will never forget. 

Please enjoy the video above to relive all the footage and celebrations that took place on the court when the clock hit 00:00.

Why Justin Herbert can overtake Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Draft process

Why Justin Herbert can overtake Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Draft process

Tank for Tua.

That was the motto for the bottom-dwelling teams in the National Football League heading into and during the 2019 football season.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had finished as runner up for the Heisman Trophy in 2018 and had a National Championship-winning touchdown throw the season before that. Entering his junior season, he was poised for one final college season before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Despite Tagovailoa looking like a franchise quarterback last season, he suffered a season-ending hip dislocation against Mississippi State in November just before halftime. However, he was still considered the draft classes' best quarterback until Joe Burrow finished what may have been the best single-season in NCAA football history. 

So with Burrow as the presumed top quarterback in the draft and widely expected to be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, it leaves the question: is Tua still second?

Perhaps he is, but perhaps he's not.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has also entered the conversation to be potentially the second quarterback taken come draft day, and this isn't the first time Tagovailoa and Herbert have been compared.

Both quarterbacks grew up with the University of Oregon as their dream school. Then-Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich offered Herbert, a three-star quarterback prospect from Sheldon High School in Eugene, near the end of the recruiting cycle as his only Power 5 offer. The same coach also infamously screwed up the recruitment of Tagovailoa and never offered him, despite his five-star status. When Willie Taggart came to Eugene he tried to flip Tagovailoa, but it was too late and he went to Alabama. 

Both quarterbacks enjoyed successful college careers. Tagovailoa won a National Championship after starting the second half against Georgia. Herbert became a four-year starter at Oregon and won a Pac-12 and Rose Bowl Championship as a senior. 

When it comes to their leadership skills, both are as good of people as you can ask for. Herbert has been questioned for his leadership entering the draft, but every teammate he had at Oregon says that concern is unwarranted. That just because he's not as loud, doesn't mean he doesn't lead. 

When it comes to college tape, while both players look like NFL caliber players, Tagovailoa was the top player heading into the season for a reason and the tape reflects that. Herbert can look amazing sometimes, but also has games like at Arizona State last season or the first half at Washington, where he makes mind-numbingly awful throws. Mistakes like that are far less likely to occur with Tagovailoa, but Tagovailoa had superior talent around him at Alabama throwing to Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Judy while Herbert's targets led the NCAA in drops in 2018. That season, the Oregon quarterback was criticized for zoning in on his favorite target, Dillon Mitchell, but could you blame him? Anyone else he passed to dropped the ball. 

Also, Tagovailoa will be the only quarterback in the NFL next season that's left-handed and whichever team selects him will need to change their entire offensive line scheme to protect his blindside on the right rather than the left. Not a dealbreaker, but easily an inconvenience. 

Given the coronavirus pandemic, Justin Herbert may have a chance to overtake Tagovailoa, due to the abundance of postseason information about him. 

While Tagovailoa was finishing his rehab, Herbert was participating in many different draft process events before it all got canceled due to the pandemic. He was named MVP of Senior Bowl Practice and the Senior Bowl game, where he worked closely with and impressed Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan.

He’s very talented physically. He’s got prototypical size and athletic ability. He has a really, really strong arm. On top of that, he’s extremely intelligent and he’s very conscientious. He gathers information, he can process it and he can call it. He went under center for the first time, probably, in his career and he answered that bell with flying colors. Every day I continue to be impressed with the things we ask him to do and he answers really well.

After the Senior Bowl, Herbert participated in the NFL Combine and even threw there, which most top quarterback prospects decline doing. He once again excelled.

Then, the Oregon football Pro Day was among the last pro days that happened before the pandemic canceled all the remaining ones. As always, Herbert looked like a franchise player with all the physical tools needed to succeed in the NFL.

Tua has been "fully cleared and ready to compete without any restrictions" according to the president of Steinberg Sports & Entertainment Chris Cabott, the firm that represents him. But he can't fly into teams for an individual workout nor can a team's personal medical doctors examine him. Even if the tape favors Tua over Herbert, is taking Tua over Herbert, who has impressed scouts much more recently while Tua has been in rehab, worth the risk? With the parity in the NFL, teams don't have top-five draft picks that often in the league and whiffing on one can derail a franchise or hitting on one can save one. 

It'll come down to each franchise's risk tolerance on if Tua or Herbert will be the choice for them, as Bleacher Report Draft Scout Matt Miller broke down recently.

Multiple teams prefer Justin Herbert to Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa because of injuries and the unknown. I was actually talking to a high level team executive yesterday and he said "You know, in a normal year you can honestly make an argument that Tua should be the number two overall pick and maybe number one overall pick but because you're taking a third party's word for it when it comes to his medicals at this point in time that teams are going to be a little bit hesitant," and because of that this guy and other teams have told me don't be surprised if Justin Herbert is the second quarterback picked because there are no questions about injuries when it comes to his evaluations.

As of now, the NFL has no plans to delay the NFL Draft, so we will get our answer on April 23.