Oregon Ducks

Oregon MBB moves up in the AP Top 25 after Arizona sweep

Oregon MBB moves up in the AP Top 25 after Arizona sweep

After a weekend sweep of then No. 24 Arizona and Arizona State, Oregon men’s basketball (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) jumped up one spot in the AP Poll rankings this week to No. 8.

The No. 8 Oregon Ducks and No. 20 Colorado Buffaloes are the only Pac-12 schools ranked in this week’s AP Poll Top 25.

It started with a nail-biter on Thursday night against then No. 24 ranked Arizona, who fell out of the AP Top 25 this week after losing to the Ducks and then to the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday.

Whenever Oregon and Arizona meet up, it’s usually calls for a good game. This edition was no different as Oregon defeated Arizona 74-73 lead by the guard-play of senior Payton Pritchard and sophomore Will Richardson who dropped a season-high 21 points in the showing. 

[RELATED]: A performance that literally took Oregon Coach Dana Altman’s breath away

On Saturday, the Ducks rained in the three’s and found their outside shot lead by Pritchard’s season-high 29 points hitting 6-for-9 from three-point range. Oregon defeated Arizona State 78-69 at Matthew Knight Arena.

[RELATED]: After all this time, the Pac-12 still has no answer for Payton Pritchard

Next up for the No. 8 Ducks is a trip up north to visit the Washington schools, both ranked at the bottom of the conference. First up on Thursday, the Ducks will face the Washington State Cougars (10-7, 1-3 Pac-12) in Pullman and then a trip to Seattle on Saturday afternoon for a date with the Huskies (11-6, 1-3 Pac-12).

Payton Pritchard receives Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award

Payton Pritchard receives Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award

Meet the nation’s top point guard.

That’s right. After being named unanimous All-American, Payton Pritchard has taken home the Bob Cousy Award, which recognizes the best point guard in the country.

Pritchard topped Duke’s Tre Jones, Kansas’ Devon Dotson, Marquette’s Markus Howard and San Diego State’s Malachi Flynn for the prestigious nod. 

The kid out of West Linn is coming off a senior season at Oregon where he averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds while leading the Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship and 24-7 overall record. 

This season, he became the first player in Pac-12 history to record 1,900 points, 500 rebounds and 600 assists. Pritchard also capped off his career as the school record holder in assists (659), wins (105), games played (144) and games started (140). 

He joined Gary Payton, Damon Stoudamire and Jason Terry, as the only players in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and assists. He also joins this illustrious cast as consensus first-team All-Americans. 

Pritchard’s shelves are packed full of hardware, too. The Oregon star took home National Player of the Week honors three times this season and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on two occasions. 

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 Player of the Year landed a spot on the John Wooden All-American team. He also became the first Oregon men’s basketball player to earn first-team AP All-America honors this season.  

Sabrina Ionescu wins prestigious Wooden Trophy for Nation’s Most Outstanding Player

Sabrina Ionescu wins prestigious Wooden Trophy for Nation’s Most Outstanding Player

Sabrina Ionescu is simply the best. 

Hours after being named the Nancy Lieberman Award winner for the nation’s top point guard, Ionescu has been awarded the prestigious Wooden Trophy, recognizing the nation’s Most Outstanding Player, in back-to-back seasons.

It is the Cadillac of postseason awards; The Heisman Trophy of collegiate football; The MVP of the NBA. 

This is a huge honor and one fit for a queen.

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award Program hosts the most prestigious honors in college basketball recognizing The Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player for men and women, The Wooden Award All American Teams for men and women and the annual selection of the Wooden Award Legend of Coaching recipient. 

Ionescu beat out Lauren Cox (Baylor), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky) and her teammate and best friend Ruthy Hebard. 

Here is a list of the postseason awards following her senior season:

- Wooden Trophy Winner - Most Outstanding Player (2x)

- Nancy Lieberman Winner - National Point Guard of the Year  (3x)

- Wade Trophy Winner - National Player of the Year (2x)

- Naismith Trophy Winner - National Player of the Year

- Associated Press National Player of the Year (unanimous)

- USBWA National Player of the Year

- ESPN.com National Player of the Year

- Senior CLASS Award Winner

- Associated Press First-Team All-America

- WBCA First-Team All-America

- Wooden Award All-America

- USBWA First-Team All-America

- AAU James E. Sullivan Award Finalist - Nation's Top Amateur Athlete

- Pac-12 Player of the Year (unanimous)

- All-Pac-12

- Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player

She is the NCAA leader in career triple-doubles (26), averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists and is the first player (male or female) in NCAA history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. 

Forget video game numbers, Ionescu would have broken the console with those stats.

It was a glorious four-year run in Eugene. One that will be remembered forever, whether you’re ordering the famous “triple-double” at the Wild Duck Cafe in Eugene, or perhaps one day seeing her #20 jersey hanging in the rafters of Matthew Knight Arena. 

Ionescu is and has been since last season the overall No. 1 draft pick in the upcoming 2020 WNBA Draft. 

Oregon Ducks land MAAC Rookie of the Year Aaron Estrada

Oregon Ducks land MAAC Rookie of the Year Aaron Estrada

The largest question looming surrounding the Oregon Ducks men's basketball team was who was going to replace the program's all-time winningest player and four-year starting point guard Payton Pritchard.

Obviously those are huge shoes to fill, but it appears the Ducks are on the right track securing a transfer from Saint Peters guard Aaron Estrada, the reigning MAAC Rookie of the Year. 

Despite only playing 19.4 minutes per game, Estrada ranked second on the team in points (8.0) and assists (1.9) in his first season playing college basketball. He ended the season playing in 28 games, including starting the last eleven games played, ultimately recording 227 points, 53 assists, and 69 rebounds. He led the Peacocks in scoring eight times including a career-high 20 points against Fairfield on February 16th. He helped the Peacocks finish one game short of a conference championship. 

He entered his name into the transfer portal on March 22nd after the conclusion of his freshman season. 

After shooting 34% from three and 87.9% from the free-throw line he should help the Ducks spread the floor and give his big men some room to operate in the paint.

Report: College football could be played in Spring 2021 due to COVID-19

Report: College football could be played in Spring 2021 due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sports world to come to a screeching halt with little end in sight.

This week, President Trump said that he wants to see spectators gathering at sporting events as soon as August or September, which would be in time for college football to begin on time, but whether that is a realistic goal remains to be seen.

However, if the season isn't ready to be played in the fall perhaps there's another option beyond canceling the entire season.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, a few coaches around the country and one administrator are considering moving the college football season from fall to the spring of 2021 to give teams more time to prepare for the season given their entire spring schedule has been ruined by the pandemic, and who knows if they will be able to have a normal training camp over the summer.  

Fellow writer Andy Staples further elaborated that the majority of schools need a college football season to be played in the 2020-2021 academic school year to fund nearly every other sport. 

The fact of the matter is that for most college athletic departments to survive as we know them, there needs to be a football season played at some point in the 2020-21 academic year. That doesn’t mean it has to be played on time. It just has to be played. That means you could finish up in late April or early May if you had to... No offense to the other sports, but football is the only college sport that needs to be played next school year. Everyone else’s job/scholarship relies on football. If no football gets played, football will come back. But... a lot of those other sports won’t come back.

Playing the season in the spring would bring up multiple questions, such as when would the NFL Draft be held. If the NFL doesn't want to push back their calendar then perhaps the NFL Draft can happen during the college football season as a one-time exception, but the NCAA would need to approve that. We all know the NCAA hardly ever makes the right calls when it comes to these sorts of things.  

Stewart Mandel speculates that it could eliminate the entire 2021 Draft class from playing because the NFL would not want to push back their draft. If that happened then there could be a lot of younger talent getting unexpected playing time next season. 

The Oregon Ducks are currently scheduled to have one of their most stacked home schedules in recent memory hosting Ohio State, Washington, Stanford, USC, and Arizona State. 

Oregon State is scheduled to travel to Stillwater to open their season at Oklahoma State.

If any non-conference games get canceled due to the pandemic, it would be up to the schools to reschedule in good faith. However, if the season just gets pushed back it should be likely teams would play the same teams just at a later date in the academic year. 

Ruthy Hebard wins Katrina McClain Award for Power Forward of the Year

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NBC Sports Northwest

Ruthy Hebard wins Katrina McClain Award for Power Forward of the Year

The postseason accolades keep raining in for the defending Pac-12 conference champion Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team.

For the second time in the past three seasons, Ruthy Hebard has been named the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year.

Hebard beat out Baylor's Lauren Cox, Florida State's Kiah Gillespie, Michigan's Naz Hillmon, and Princeton's Bella Alarie.

The 6-foor-4 senior from Fairbanks, Alaska averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game during her senior season. She led the nation in field goal percentage (68.5) and is the NCAA record holder for consecutive field goals made with 33 in a row.

Hebard will finish a historical career in Eugene, Oregon as the No. 2 leading scorer (2,368 points), double-figure scoring games (123) and games played (144). The No. 1 leading scorer in Oregon women’s basketball history? Her counterpart and best friend, Sabrina Ionescu. The double-double machine (55 total, third in Oregon history) will also end her career No. 3 in Oregon history in rebounds (1,299).

Hebard first won the Katrina McClain award during her sophomore campaign, where she averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. That 2017-18 season ended in a historic run to the Elite Eight.

Oregon's 'Big 3' of Ionescu, Hebard and Satou Sabally will wait to hear their names called during the 2020 WNBA Draft, coming up on April 17. Hebard has been projected somewhere between the No. 7 (Dallas) and No. 11 (Seattle) picks, according to the latest mock drafts. 

Satou Sabally wins Cheryl Miller Award as Nation's Top Small Forward

Satou Sabally wins Cheryl Miller Award as Nation's Top Small Forward

After being named a finalist for the Cheryl Miller Award last season, Satou Sabally is finally taking home the hardware. 

Sabally was named Cheryl Miller Award winner on Monday, which recognizes the nation’s top small forward.

She topped UConn’s Megan Walker, Iowa State’s Ashley Joens, Kentucky Rhyne Howard and UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere, who were finalists for the award. 

The junior made the decision to forgo her senior year and declare for the WNBA Draft after averaging 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds in 2019. She is anticipated to be a top-four lottery pick. 

Sabally was named Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year for the 2017-18 season, when she averaged 10.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. In 2018, she helped the Ducks advance to the Final Four for the first time in program history, before falling in the semifinals to the eventual champions, Baylor. 

Sabally, along with teammates Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard, were left with unfinished business this season. The Pac-12 champions hoped to avenge their Final Four loss, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. 

Sabrina Ionescu tabbed Nancy Lieberman Award winner for third-straight year

Sabrina Ionescu tabbed Nancy Lieberman Award winner for third-straight year

Sabrina Ionescu has defended her title as the nation’s top point guard…again. 

Ionescu has just been named winner of the Nancy Lieberman award for a third-straight year. The award recognizes the top point guard in women’s Division I college basketball. To be considered for this prestigious award, candidates exhibit the floor leadership, playmaking and ball-handling skills of Class of 1996 Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.

Ionescu joins Sue Bird (2000-2002) as the second player in women’s NCAA history to win the award on three occasions. 

The Oregon star guard beat out UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield, South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris, Baylor’s Te’a Cooper and Rider’s Stella Johnson for the nod. This is Ionescu’s third season taking home the Lieberman award. She was also the recipient during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. 

Behind Ionescu’s 17.5 points, 8.6. rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, the Ducks won the Pac-12 regular season and conference tournament. Oregon was poised for another deep postseason run before its season came to a halt, as the NCAA announced it would suspend the March Madness tournament due to coronavirus concerns. 

Ionescu finished her career at Oregon with 2,562 points, 1,091 assists and 1,040 rebounds along with 26 career triple-doubles. She is expected to be the first pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft this month. 

Marcus Arroyo, former Ducks OC, has high praise for Justin Herbert

Marcus Arroyo, former Ducks OC, has high praise for Justin Herbert

Sending love all the way from Sin City, one of Justin Herbert's former coaches has some high praise for one of the NFL's top prospects. 

Marcus Arroyo spent three seasons at the University of Oregon as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

From the sideline to the war room, no one knows Justin Herbert better than Coach Arroyo. 

Arroyo is now the head coach at UNLV, but he still has high praise for his former quarterback. 

Countdown is on for my man! Someone is about to get a great QB, but even a better person! - Marcus Arroyo

The NFL Draft is right around the corner, still scheduled to take place as planned starting April 23rd. 

Herbert is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, likely to be a Top 10 pick on draft night. 

Most mock drafts have Herbert going either No.5 to the Miami Dolphins or No.6 to the Los Angeles Chargers. 

In four seasons as the Ducks quarterback, Herbert passed for 10,541 yards and 95 touchdowns. 

His passing touchdowns are the sixth most in Pac-12 history, and he finished just 255 behind Marcus Mariota for the most passing yards in Oregon history. 

The stats, and the eye test, back up Coach Arroyo - someone is about to draft a great quarterback. 

 

Payton Pritchard impressed by young boy's dribble challenge emulation

Payton Pritchard impressed by young boy's dribble challenge emulation

Even though his historic college career may be done, Payton Pritchard continues to make headlines, even from his garage in West Linn.

Last week, the all-time winningest player in Oregon basketball history went viral for his impressive dribbling skills.

After the video spread around the web, many other people started trying the 'Payton Pritchard' challenge' to show off their skills, including his teammate Will Johnson and little sister Lexie Pritchard.

[RELATED]: The 'Payton Pritchard Challenge' spreads through social media

After the challenge grew in popularity, Pritchard released his full dribbling routine to help out people trying to improve their skills. After all, this drill set the foundation for the player he's today; a winner of four OSAA 6A State Championships, a Pac-12 Champion three of four years in college, a Final Four finalist, and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year. 

Now after releasing his routine, we may have found the best one yet from seven-year-old Blake Swedberg. It was so good, even Pritchard himself gave the young baller some much-deserved recognition.

Pritchard finished his senior season as one of the nation's elite, averaging 20.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. The West Linn native is one of just four players nationally who led his conference in both scoring and assists and became the fourth player in conference history to do so, joining Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90), Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95) and Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99).

Next up for Pritchard is preparing for the NBA Draft currently scheduled for June 25, 2020 but is likely to be pushed back.