Oregon Ducks

Oregon football prediction: Justin "Record Breaker" Herbert

Oregon football prediction: Justin "Record Breaker" Herbert

Justin Herbert’s teammates gush that he has never been better. His leadership skills have grown immensely, altering the perception of his shy personality. He is receiving instruction from legends at his position. He is utilizing the summer break to better connect with his receivers. Long story short, Herbert is putting it all together for an epic senior season that I predict will be record shattering.

The projected top quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, Herbert decided to forgo the Draft and come back for his senior season at Oregon. He returns to one of the best veteran offensive lines in the nation and a large array of weapons to sling the ball to. He’s in striking distance of many Oregon records. Which brings me to my prediction…

The senior will break Oregon’s record for career pass completions, set by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota with 779 completions.

Currently, Herbert has completed 541 passes in his Duck career, ranking him sixth on the list. He needs 239 more completions to top the list. Last season he completed 240 passes.

This prediction is based on:

Consistency from the receivers

Herbert completed 240 passes in a season that was plagued with dropped passes. An estimated 40-50 passes were dropped in 2018 and at times it seemed former receiver Dillon Mitchell was the only player who Herbert could depend on. Mitchell’s departure to the NFL means consistency is crucial this season, something new wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight has set out to fix.

There are plenty of receivers vying for playing time and the competition has stepped up coming into the 2019-20 season. Between the new addition of graduate transfer Juwan Johnson, improved play from veterans Jaylon Redd, Brenden Schooler, Johnny Johnson III, a healthy Cam McCormick, plus freshman… Oregon should be able to match it’s passing numbers from last season.

Balanced attack

Oregon’s offense must have a balanced attack between the ground and the air. In 2018, CJ Verdell became the third freshman in school history to run for 1,000 yards (LaMichael James, Royce Freeman). Along with Verdell, Oregon returns Travis Dye, Cyrus Habibi-Likio, Darrian Felix plus add recruiting class headliner Sean Dollars to the mix. If the Ducks are keep a similar balance of the rushing attack with Herbert’s cannon in coach Mario Cristobal's "power-tempo offense", the quarterback could reach this record.   

If Herbert stays healthy

Herbert must be healthy and play a full season for this to happen, obviously.

Records don’t mean everything. However in this case, Herbert setting a new record for UO career pass completions would also indicate a strong receiving attack- which the Ducks would undoubtedly need in order to be Pac-12 title contenders.

BONUS

Another streak to keep your eye on: Herbert enters his final season as a Duck with a streak of 28 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, which is good for longest in the nation.

Former Duck Joe Young donating 50k medical masks to city of Houston

Former Duck Joe Young donating 50k medical masks to city of Houston

Former Oregon Ducks basketball star Joe Young is accustomed to hitting big plays. 

He did it at Oregon, he did it with the Indiana Pacers, and he's currently doing it with the Nanjing Monkey Kings of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

But on Sunday, he made what may be the most meaningful play of his career. 

With the world dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and medical facilities running low on supplies, Young came in with a powerful assist. 

Well, 50,000 assists if we're being technical.

That's right, Young, a Houston native, is donating 50,000 masks to the city of Houston. 

As Pacers beat reporter Scott Agness pointed out, Young is helping out even though he is 1000s of miles away.

Young played at Oregon from 2013 to 2015. In 2015 he averaged 20.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game and was named Pac-12 Player of the Year. He went on to play three seasons with the Indiana Pacers before signing with the CBA.

Young isn't the only former Duck giving back to those in need. Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is also helping to provide meals for students in his home state of Hawaii. 

Marcus Mariota helping provide meals for students in Hawaii

Marcus Mariota helping provide meals for students in Hawaii

Marcus Mariota is a special person, and we're not just talking about his football talents. 

For months the entire world has been dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, with the United State being hit especially hard in recent weeks. 

To help ease the burden for those in need, Mariota and his Motiv8 Foundation have partnered with the Island Insurance Foundation and Keith and Bonny Amemiya to help provides meals to the student impacted but the COVID-19 shutdown. 

The program will help provide 1000s public school students in his hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii with both breakfast and lunch. The program will run through at least April 30th, and perhaps longer based on need.

“I’ve been very blessed to be put in a position to help and I think that is a responsibility of mine,” Mariota said in an interview with the Honolulu Star Adviser. 

It's a powerful gesture from one of the greatest athletes in Hawaii and Oregon Ducks history.

It makes you think of a saying that started at Oregon when the Heisman winner left for the NFL Draft.

Two simple words  - Mahalo, Marcus. 

Kelly Graves on the 2019-20 season: This will never be duplicated again

Kelly Graves on the 2019-20 season: This will never be duplicated again

The carpet was completely pulled out from under the sports world when the COVID-19 pandemic spread.

The Pac-12 champion Oregon women’s basketball team was on a well-deserved week break following a dominating Pac-12 Tournament championship in Las Vegas when the news of their season getting cancelled hit. 

Some of the team were back in Eugene, Oregon while others were back home. Head coach Kelly Graves was out on the road recruiting. 

Heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings. It will be the biggest “what if” season to likely ever happen at the University of Oregon.

Coach Graves joined host Jordan Kent on the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast:

We had everything in place, Jordan. We were playing great at the time of the cancellation. We had just come off a championship in the Pac-12 Tournament, a dominating championship game. We had everything in place. This was our year. The analytics had us as the team to beat. We were the heavy favorites on the computers, the B.P.I., even Las Vegas had us as the favorite to win the National Championship. — Kelly Graves

[RELATED]: South Carolina’s Dawn Staley sour Oregon received more attention than Gamecocks. 

This team didn’t just change the way the state of Oregon thought about women’s basketball, but they were huge in the development and progress of women’s basketball throughout the entire country. It wasn’t just a team dominating the field of competition, but rather a movement of women’s basketball as a whole.

Really had everything in place and that’s really disappointing especially for the iconic players like Sabrina and Ruthy and Satou that had been apart of this ascension to national prominence and for them to not realize that final dream. There will always be a hole in my heart and the hearts of every Duck fan. This will never be duplicated again, unfortunately. This team, the way they captured the imagination of not just the University of Oregon and the state of Oregon but I think basketball fans across the country. They were like a rockstar group. -- Kelly Graves.

There will always be an asterisk for this 2019-2020 season. A what-could-have-been feeling. 

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here:

Payton Pritchard shows off insane handles, reminiscent of CJ McCollum

Payton Pritchard shows off insane handles, reminiscent of CJ McCollum

Okay, this is just insane.

It sounds like a helicopter but it’s actually just Payton Pritchard showing off his handles. 

The 6-foot-2 guard gave us a glimpse into his ball-handling warm -up routine via a post to his personal twitter account from what looks like his garage-- and man is it impressive.

What’s impressive about this video is how many dribbles he takes and how low Pritchard is to the ground along with perfect balance. 

It reminds us of Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum's pregame dribbling drills, which are impressive in their own right. 

The Pac-12 Player of the Year, All-Pac-12 First-Team, Lute Olson Player of the Year, and Oregon’s first consensus first-team All-American in 80 years was one of just three players nationally to average at least 20 points, four rebounds and five assists per game and was one of just four players nationally who led his conference in both scoring (20.5 points per game) and assists (5.6 per game).

In his senior year, Pritchard posted a 2.0 assist to turnover ratio.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of this ball-handling clinic.

Also, be sure to check out Pritchard on the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast joins hosts NBA champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon:

Former Duck Arik Armstead urges followers to help Sacramento restaurants

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USA Today Images

Former Duck Arik Armstead urges followers to help Sacramento restaurants

Arik Armstead played college football for the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Oregon and moved to the Bay Area, where he is one of the stars on the San Francisco 49ers daunting defensive line. 

But his hometown of Sacramento, California will always hold a special place in his heart. 

It’s why the recently re-signed defensive end has asked his Twitter followers and Instagram followers to do their part in helping small businesses in his hometown. 

“As you all know Sacramento is my hometown that I love deeply and is home to some of the best restaurants in US,” Armstead said in a post on Twitter. “What you may not know is Sacramento is comprised of over 60% small business (mainly restaurants) that are struggling during this difficult time.”

In effort to support the community, Armstead asked his followers to take photos of food they’ve purchased from their favorite Sacramento restaurants for a chance to win 49ers tickets, memorabilia and more. 

View this post on Instagram

As you all know Sacramento is my hometown that I love deeply and is home to some of the best restaurants in the US. What you may not know is Sacramento is comprised of over 60% small business (mainly restaurants) that are struggling during this difficult time. Many of these restaurants are offering dine-out and delivery options to try to stay afloat. In order to support local, I am rewarding people who support their local restaurants during this time. Buy food from one of your favorite Sacramento restaurants and be entered to win GAME TICKETS , AUTOGRAPHED MEMORABILIA + MORE INSTRUCTIONS ⬇️: . 1. Comment your favorite Sacramento restaurants in the comments 2. Post a picture via story or timeline of your meal using #Eat91Six + tag restaurant 3. Tag @sacnina91 & @unitesac916 so we can share & promote the Sacramento restaurant 4. 5 qualified winners will be randomly chosen starting Wednesday April 1 via my Instagram Story (unlimited entries)

A post shared by Arik Armstead (@sacnina91) on

It’s easy to enter. Simply use the hashtag #EAT91SIX on Instagram or Twitter when you share a photo of the food you ordered and tag or mention the restaurant. 

Here’s a couple of Armstead’s favorites if you are in the Sacramento area and looking for inspiration. 

Before Armstead was a Pac-12 Champion with the Ducks, he attended Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove, a community 15 miles outside of Sacramento. He’s given back to the community on numerous occasions through his Armstead Academic Project, which provides workshops and school supplies for those in need in the Sacramento public school system. 

Oregon football DL Jordon Scott helping out the youth and homeless in Florida

Oregon football DL Jordon Scott helping out the youth and homeless in Florida

In times like this, any help is a big help.

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting everyone, no matter the situation, and Jordon Scott is stepping up.

The Oregon football senior defensive lineman, along with his mom, are doing their part in the Florida community in this troubling time by handing out pizza, chips and soda to the youth and homeless of South St. Petersburg.

Scott embodies what it means to be a 'Man of Oregon.'

It’s approximately a 26-minute drive from St. Petersburg to Largo, Florida, where Scott is from.

The 6-foot-1, 325-pound defensive tackle announced in January that he would forgo the 2020 NFL Draft and return to Oregon for his senior season, along with Austin Faoliu, Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir.

He appeared in 14 games as a junior and recorded 14 solo tackles, 18 assisted tackles and zero sacks. Despite those relatively small stats, Scott draws a lot of attention and double teams from opposing offensive lines. 

ESPN to air WNBA Draft on main network after social media backlash

ESPN to air WNBA Draft on main network after social media backlash

Thursday morning, ESPN announced that the  2020 WNBA Draft will go on as scheduled but a previously planned in-person draft will now take part remotely without players, fans or media in attendance. 

{RELATED: Here's how Sabrina Ionescu will be selected in the upcoming WNBA Draft]

However, the network also announced that the Draft will air on ESPN2... despite sports being canceled or suspended due to the coronavirus. 

When prior drafts aired on ESPN's secondary network, it made sense to do so due to ESPN airing the NBA games on their main network, but that season has been suspended until further notice.

Fans on social media felt that ESPN has no excuse to not air the draft on their flagship station with no competing events happening, including the presumed first overall selection, Sabrina Ionescu.

https://twitter.com/sabrina_i20/status/1243297732929794049

It wasn't the first time college basketball's all-time leader in triple-doubles has criticized the network for their treatment of women's sports coverage.

However, after the response from social media, ESPN has admitted their mistake and has chosen to now air it on ESPN, according to Dan Bernstein of the Sporting News.

After the change in tune, people gave credit where credit was due.

Oregon Ducks teammates Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard are also expected to be taken in the first round along with Ionescu. 

Here's how Sabrina Ionescu will be selected in the upcoming WNBA Draft

Here's how Sabrina Ionescu will be selected in the upcoming WNBA Draft

The WNBA Draft is going virtual.

The league announced Thursday morning the 2020 WNBA Draft will continue on as scheduled, but the previously scheduled in-person draft will now take part remotely without players, fans or media in attendance. 

https://twitter.com/WNBA/status/1243191410058289152?s=20

Does this mean we’ll get to see a hologram Sabrina Ionescu step on stage when the New York Liberty selects her as the No. 1 overall pick? It’s not likely, but if hologram Tupac can perform at Coachella, the sky is the limit.

According to a statement from WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, the league will work with ESPN to “create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honors these accomplished athletes.” 

This means players will not be allowed the tradition opportunity to hear their name called, walk across the stage and hold their new team’s jersey for the first time. The logistics of the draft night event are still being worked out, but it’s more than likely a player like Ionescu would videoconference in when her name is called.

In addition to the triple-double queen, Ionescu’s teammates Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard are also expected to be selected in the first round. Minyon Moore could hear her name called in a later round. 

The WNBA says it also plans to honor Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Gianna Bryant and Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed on Jan. 26 in a helicopter accident.

Ionescu spoke at Kobe and Gianna’s public memorial one month ago and shared what an impact her mentor and mentee had on her career. Just hours later, she became the first college player, male or female, to register 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 boards in her college career.

The virtual WNBA Draft will take place on April 17 at 5:00 p.m. PT on ESPN2. 

Sabrina Ionescu named a finalist for the prestigious Wade Trophy

Sabrina Ionescu named a finalist for the prestigious Wade Trophy

Seems like not a day passes without Sabrina Ionescu either winning a postseason award or being named a finalist for another prestigious award, and with good reason!

On Thursday, Ionescu was named a finalist along with Dana Evans (Louisville), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina) and Aari McDonald (Arizona) for the Wade Trophy.

The Wade Trophy — now in its 43nd year — is the oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award in college women’s basketball. It is named in honor of the late, legendary Delta State University head coach Lily Margaret Wade, who won three consecutive national championships with the Lady Statesmen. First awarded in 1978 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), now known as SHAPE America, the The Wade Trophy has been presented to the WBCA NCAA Division I National Player of the Year since 2001.

Should Ionescu win, she would join elite company of other two-time winners Nancy Lieberman (1979, 1980), Seimone Augustus (2005, 2006), Brittney Griner (2012, 2013), and Breanna Stewart (2015, 2016).

Maya Moore (2009, 2010, 2011) is the award’s only three-time recipient.

While the senior continues to rack up postseason awards, there are still a few more left on the table: Ionescu is also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and is a frontrunner for the Wooden Award, which she took home last year along with the Wade Trophy. 

She is also a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, the Senior CLASS Award and the Nancy Lieberman Award for the nation’s top point guard.