Oregon Ducks

Oregon WBB starts off signing week with No. 1 recruiting class in 2020

Oregon WBB starts off signing week with No. 1 recruiting class in 2020

The 2020 college basketball season is a year away but for the No. 1 Oregon women’s basketball team and high school seniors across the country, the future started on Wednesday.

The Ducks are probably used to the “No. 1” wording: the No. 1 ranking in the nation; the No. 1 player in the nation in Sabrina Ionescu; and now the No. 1 recruiting class for the 2020 season.

Yesterday, five of the top 33 players in high school hoops signed their National Letters of Intent to join Coach Kelly Graves and the Oregon program.

These players include: Sydney Parrish (a 6-foot, five-star shooting guard from Indiana); Kylee Watson (a 6-foot-3 five-star forward from New Jersey); Maddie Scherr (a 5-foot-11 five-star guard from Kentucky); Angela Dugalic (a 6-foot-4 five-star forward from Illinois); and Te-Hina Paopao (a 5-foot-9 five-star guard from California).

Not to be overlooked, Graves’ elite recruiting has an impact all over the country. Only Paopao is from the west coast. 

222 days ago when Ionescu wrote a letter to Ducks Nation in the Players’ Tribune, she stated that Oregon was building something special. Although Ducks fans are witnessing greatness from Ionescu and for just this final season, the program is sustaining itself for the post-Ionescu (and Ruthy Hebard) era. It just goes to show that she was right; that Oregon is a prestigious basketball program that isn’t run by just one individual. The Ducks have gone from under 1,000 fans attending their games in 2014 to now season tickets being limited ahead of the 2019 season.

The Oregon Ducks aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

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Oregon linebacker Troy Dye creates make-shift Pro Day video

Oregon linebacker Troy Dye creates make-shift Pro Day video

We are exactly two weeks away from the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Unfortunately, we are in a time where face-to-face contact, workouts, meetings, and everything that goes into preparing for the Draft has been flipped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be a time to showcase your talents one last time, interview and meet with teams, post workout videos, etc. Some players need that extra lift in the eye of general managers across the league.

Oregon linebacker Troy Dye is one of those guys. 

We saw his talent showcased during the season, leading Oregon to a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl victory and doing it with one hand and a bum knee. It is as important now more than ever for Dye to showcase his talent as much as possible since he did not participate at the Combine or play in the Senior Bowl. 

Turns out Dye made his own makeshift Pro Day:

Not bad for a guy coming off half a season with a broken thumb and meniscus tear!

HISTORY AT OREGON

Dye made a name for himself in the Oregon history books. 

He is the only player in Oregon history to lead the team in tackles four consecutive seasons and finished third in program history in career tackles (397) and tied for fourth in tackles for loss (44.0). 

Dye has been the backbone of this Oregon defense since his freshman season. From a 4-8 to Rose Bowl champs four years later, having Dye return to Oregon for his senior season was huge for the Ducks last season. During his four-year reign, the defense went through three different defensive coordinators and needed a guy like Dye to step up. He definitely did.

DRAFT PROJECTIONS

As Rapoport stated above, Dye is a potential ‘Friday pick,’ meaning day two of the NFL draft which consists of rounds two through three.

Here’s how Dye weighed in at the NFL Combine: 6-foot-3, 231 pounds; arm length 32 1/4 inches; hand size 9 3/8 inches.

NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein had this to say on the linebacker:

It's easy to fall in love with the tackle production, football IQ and sideline-to-sideline range but his slight frame and difficulty keeping weight on could become a major stumbling block for him in the way teams view his pro potential. His skill set and recognition are best suited along the inside, but due to his size, he might need to ply his trade as an outside 'backer in a 4-3 defense. He has three-down talent with the aptitude to cover or blitz and is in line to go from plus-backup to eventual starter if he can keep good weight on his frame.

According to the latest mock drafts, Dye is a projected late second round, early third round pick:

No. 62 overall to the Green Bay Packers (Draftsite.com)

No. 81 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders (Sports Illustrated)

Oregon Ducks players call out Mike Gundy's blatant hypocrisy

Oregon Ducks players call out Mike Gundy's blatant hypocrisy

With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down all sporting events nationwide, few are as frustrated as Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy who made some controversial comments regarding the safety of student-athletes in a recent teleconference with reporters.

The NCAA, the presidents of the universities, the Power 5 conference commissioners, the athletic directors need to be meeting right now, and we need to start coming up with answers. In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them. They’re all in good shape. They’re all 18-, 19-, 20-, 21- and 22-year-olds. They’re healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies and the build that they have. There’s some people that are asymptomatic. If that’s true, then we sequester them. And people say that’s crazy. No, it’s not crazy because we need to continue and budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma. -- Mike Gundy

The comments went viral on Twitter for many reasons, but the most blatant is the seeming lack of regard for the safety of his student-athletes. He even says at the end of his statement that's because they need to "run money through the state of Oklahoma" all but saying that the money matters more to him than the health of his players. Gundy also said that he was planning to begin football activities again on May 1st. 

Contrast that with Mario Cristobal's statement to the media when the pandemic canceled their spring football plans: "Obviously making sure that we are aware of all the developments that are going on and making sure that player safety and everything else that goes with it is at the forefront of our decisions. So now we'll make sure and get with the administration, gather all the information necessary to take the next steps necessary to ensure that our student-athletes are taken care of. And that their health..is at the forefront of our decisions so that's what I'll like to do. " 

Since Gundy's outlandish remarks the school has responsibly stopped his plans to move forward on May 1st, but that didn't stop the internet from seeing the insane plan of action.

Many players nationwide have reacted to his lack of empathy including many from Oregon who see what we're all seeing: Why would they risk not only their health but the health of their families when they aren't allowed to be paid? 

Oklahoma State gave Mike Gundy a contract extension in January 2019 that extended him through 2023 and paid him $5.125 million in 2020.

That's $5.125 million more than thousands of division one college football players receive when it's their bodies on the line to fill the NCAA's pockets. No wonder he's in such a rush to get back on the field.

Some state senates such as Oregon and California have passed bills that could allow for student-athletes to receive compensation in the form of sponsorship deals as soon as 2023. 

Which brand should Sabrina Ionescu sign with?

Which brand should Sabrina Ionescu sign with?

Sabrina Ionescu has one of the toughest, coolest questions to answer coming up: which brand should she sign with?

It is a question only some professional athletes get the pleasure of answering and one that has been in the making for some time for the Oregon basketball prodigy. 

According to Ionescu, she has narrowed down this decision to three brands: Nike, Puma and Under Armour.

Let’s break down why she should sign with either of these three:

WHY NIKE?

Nike has shown much interest in the prodigy from Oregon. 

The company designed and sold her #20 jersey for retail which anyone could purchase in either white or green. The jersey sold out within a day and Nike had to restock immediately.

If there was this much enthusiasm of fans wanting to represent their favorite player, imagine what a brand like Nike could do with a shoe deal for Ionescu. 

Ionescu would become another in a small elite crew of women’s basketball players to get a shoe deal with Nike: Sheryl Swoopes became the first female Nike athlete to have her own Nike signature shoe. 

WHY PUMA

Puma is trying to establish itself as the next up and coming brand for young professional athletes. 

The company signed former No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Deandre Ayton to a deal in 2018. Shortly after, Zhaire Smith (2018 NBA Draft pick No. 16 overall) signed to Puma along with Sacramento’s Marvin Bailey III. 

Not just athletes, but Puma announced rapper Jay-Z as the next creative director of its basketball operations.

WHY UNDER ARMOUR

Perhaps Steph Curry has something to do with this….

Ionescu and Curry are long time friends. The two have supported one another for years now, attending the other’s games, holding workouts, giving advice, photos, etc. 

[RELATED]: Sabrina Ionescu, Steph Curry make the most of self-quarantine 

Their relationship could be one of the biggest factors in the pull towards Under Armour.

I’ve been kind of going between Nike, Under Armour and Puma. Obviously have a good relationship with Steph [Curry] so hearing what he has to offer and the opportunity I can take that with and also having a relationship with Phil Knight and being a Nike athlete [University of Oregon] for the last 10 years of my basketball career is also appealing. Just trying to weight out all my options and see what the best opportunity for me would be. — Sabrina Ionescu on the Bald Faced Truth Podcast

Ionescu will make her decision in a few weeks.

Oregon OC Joe Moorhead sends pizza to Starkville PD

Oregon OC Joe Moorhead sends pizza to Starkville PD

Although Joe Moorhead's stint as head coach at Mississippi State didn't go according to plan, he still appreciated his time there and in the surrounding community. 

Now, following in the footsteps of Oregon Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal who along with his wife Jessica fed the Eugene Police Department this week, Moorhead fed a police department but he chose the one from the last community he coached in: Starkville. 

Despite no longer residing in Starkville, Moorhead made the classy move of donating them lunch to show his appreciation for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic, by purchasing them some Papa John's pizza.

The new Oregon Offensive Coordinator responded to Starkville PD's thankful post with one of his own.

"You’re very welcome. Keep up the great work," said Moorhead. "My family and I are very appreciative of everything you have done and continue to do for the community. Particularly in this time of uncertainty. God Bless"

The Mississippi State family gave Moorhead well-deserved recognition for the kind gesture.

Sabrina Ionescu, Steph Curry make the most of self-quarantine

Sabrina Ionescu, Steph Curry make the most of self-quarantine

The coronavirus pandemic won’t stop Sabrina Ionescu from getting some hoops in with Steph Curry.

The two GOATS are both quarantining in the Bay Area and luckily, they have one another to stay in tip-top shape. 

Don’t worry, they were 6-feet apart. See Sabrina’s recent Instagram post for evidence. 

Ionescu, who grew up in Walnut Creek, is expected to be the top pick in the WNBA’s virtual draft on Friday, April 17. 

She’s coming off a historic collegiate career at Oregon and completed a clean sweep of the major individual awards in college basketball, including the illustrious John R. Wooden Award, which recognizes the nation’s most outstanding player. 

Over the past few years, Ionescu’s developed a close relationship with mentor Curry. The Warriors star cheered on Ionescu and the Ducks as the triple-double queen became the only player in NCAA history to record 2,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

"It's pretty amazing to see her set new levels of expectation for what greatness is, not just for women's basketball but for basketball in general," Curry told ESPN. 

"She's blazing a trail nobody has set foot on." 

It takes one legend to recognize another. 

WATCH Sabrina Ionescu featured in Sabrina the "GOAT" independent film

WATCH Sabrina Ionescu featured in Sabrina the "GOAT" independent film

Sabrina Ionescu will leave Eugene a legend that'll be remembered forever, but her tale is not confined to the University of Oregon.

The GOAT has become a national sensation while in a Ducks uniform becoming the first player in NCAA history, men's or women's basketball, to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a college career. She's also the all-time leader in triple-doubles regardless of gender, by a large margin. 

It's no wonder that her status has spawned fans not only nationwide but across the globe, including in her parents' homeland: Romania. 

A new short film displays the global outreach of Ionescu's legend.

Okay, you got us. Sabrina Ionescu may not star in the film but Sabrina the goat does. And that's close enough. 

Plus, she put on the best performance from a goat since Black Phillip scared stan twitter in A24's The VVitch. That's easily worth the watch alone. 

Also, plenty of people were on the correct side of history praising the film.

The film was written by Michael Bishop. Directed and shot by Matt Wilcox & Blue Ox.

Bishop was one of the original members of Supwitchugirl, which became popular with their "I love my Ducks" song and slogan. 

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal and wife donate box lunches to Eugene police

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal and wife donate box lunches to Eugene police

Mario Cristobal and his wife Jessica realize there are many police officers working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Tuesday, the Oregon football coach and his family decided to give back to those local responders working the lunch shift at the Eugene Police Department. 

The Cristobals packed individual meals for police personnel, each containing this message: “Thank you for your selfless service to our community! We appreciate you! God bless and stay safe.”

The Eugene Police Department was taken back by the selfless gesture from the Ducks community and shared this thank you post on Twitter. 

“BIG THANKS to @oregonfootball, @coach_cristobal, @jesscristobaLLL, who donated these delicious box lunches today.The whole stack disappeared a short time after they arrived. We are grateful for your support.”

During a press conference with the media Friday, Cristobal expressed his appreciation for those who are serving the community during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I've always had the ultimate respect for teachers and police officers and obviously doctors, nurses, practitioners, and now more than ever homeschooling is hard,” Cristobal said. “It's been quite the challenge but love the challenge and the opportunity that comes with that. I think everybody is reconnecting in a way that they never thought they would.”

Cristobal has certainly become one of the most beloved figures in the Eugene community. The third-year coach led Oregon to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin in 2019. The future is bright for Ducks football, but Cristobal knows in times like these, it’s all much bigger than football.

Oregon named in top 6 for four-star 2021 safety JD Coffey III

Oregon named in top 6 for four-star 2021 safety JD Coffey III

While all official visits have been canceled for the foreseeable future, the recruiting world has not stopped.

One day after Oregon was named one of the top-six schools for five-star wide receiver Troy Franklin, the Ducks have been added to another top-six.

247Sports four-star safety JD Coffey III tweeted out his top six, that included Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Baylor, and Texas.

The prospect told 247Sports that he was planning to make a decision before his senior season of high school football, but with the canceling of his official visits, he may not make that target date. He still plans to make five official visits, however, when able.

He took an unofficial visit to Oregon on March 10th right before all recruiting was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He's the 7th ranked safety in the nation according to 247Sports, the 31st ranked prospect in Texas and 186th nationally. Oregon hasn't had that much success lately recruiting out of Texas compared to California and Florida, so it's interesting they're in the running for Coffey III. 

Oregon sent him a scholarship offer on January 23rd of this year. 

You can watch his junior season highlights here:

 

Oregon becomes first school to have both of the nation's top point guards

Oregon becomes first school to have both of the nation's top point guards

Despite their senior seasons being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sabrina Ionescu and Payton Pritchard still made plenty of history.

That includes both of them winning the award given to the nation's best point guard: Pritchard winning the Bob Cousy Award and Ionescu winning her third-straight Nancy Lieberman Award. The honors have made the University of Oregon the first school in NCAA history to take home both awards and therefore becoming the first school ever to have the nation's best point guard in both men's and women's basketball.

Ionescu spoke to Pac-12 Network about what it means to her to see Pritchard get the national recognition he deserves.

That makes me so happy. Being able to come with him these last four years, I mean he's made me a better player just because everytime I go to workout at the gym whether it's 6:00 a.m. or 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. he's in there working out. We workout together. We bounce ideas off of eachother and I think we both make eachother better. He's one of the best point guards that I've seen and I've been blessed to spend these four years with him and learn from him and how hard he works. He's more deserving of this award than anyone that I know and so I'm so happy for him and for the school and to really, kind of share that award with him is awesome.

The kid out of West Linn 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. While Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 8.6. rebounds and 9.1 assists per game leading the Ducks to a Pac-12 Regular Season Championship, Pac-12 Tournament Championship, and the nation's second overall ranking.

This season, the all-time leader in triple-doubles became the first player ever to score 2,000 career points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds, ending her career as the program leader in wins points (2,562) and assists (1,091).

While Pritchard became the first player in Pac-12 men's 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.

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