Oregon Ducks

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. 

Report: WNBA considering 22-game regular season in Florida

Report: WNBA considering 22-game regular season in Florida

Looks like Sabrina Ionescu will make her WNBA debut in the Sunshine State. 

The WNBA is proposing to have a 22-game regular season starting July 24, with games being held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, according to ESPN

A structure for the postseason is unclear but it would end in October. Players have not agreed to the plan yet with some still being informed of the details. 

The league did not confirm the report when reached out to for comment. 

Last week, Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports reported that Walt Disney World would "be happy" to host the WNBA in addition to the remainder of the NBA season if the league wants, but it appears that the WNBA will be going a different direction.

On April 3, the WNBA season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no longer targeting to begin training camp on May 15. With this proposed schedule, the WNBA would begin a week before the NBA returns to the courts 106 miles away from IMG Academy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

IMG Academy has four basketball courts which are enough to host the 12-team league this summer. 

Currently, the WNBA playoffs include single-elimination games for the first and second rounds, and then best-of-five-games series in the semifinals and finals. 

All of Eugene has been waiting to see the professional debuts of Sabrina Ionescu (No. 1 to the New York Liberty), Satou Sabally (No. 2 to the Dallas Wings) and Ruthy Hebard (No. 8 to the Chicago Sky). The city may not be waiting too much longer. 

Be sure the listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks podcast with host Jordan Kent.

Per Oregon Governor Kate Brown: Ducks, Beavs return to train by mid-June

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USATI

Per Oregon Governor Kate Brown: Ducks, Beavs return to train by mid-June

It has been a long, tough process trying to balance getting back to normalcy and the coronavirus pandemic. There has been a ton of uncertainty as the future is still unpredictable. More specifically, sports fans in the state of Oregon want to know when their Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers will return to the gridiron.

On Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown delivered some good news in that regard during a press conference:

I’m happy to say that our collegiate athletes will return to train by mid-June, under specific health protocols to keep them safe and healthy, and the staff healthy as well. — Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Phase I of Governor Brown’s three-phase plan began on May 15. If individual Oregon counties showed progress in the right direction after 21 days, then they would be eligible to apply for Phase II. Those 21 days are up on Friday, June 5.

“To enter Phase II, a county must again ensure that crucial public health metrics have been satisfied,” Brown said in a letter sent to county leaders around the state.

We are working with… experts, to make sure that collegiate sports can begin training mid-June. I’m confident that regardless of the time frame, and the comparison to the state of Washington, that our Ducks and Beavers can tackle the Huskies and the Cougars any time. — Oregon Governor Kate Brown

As much as consumers of college football would love to see the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers take on rival Washington and Washington State and the rest of the Pac-12 Conference, it is also serves as a reminder to continue to take safety measures and precautions. Healthy and safety remain at the forefront of this plan.

Governor Brown lists what reopens in phase II: 

According to Governor Brown's three-phase plan, Phase III focuses on large gatherings. The state has announced that they will not be allowed in Oregon until reliable treatment or prevention of COVID-19 is widely available. Specifically, all concerts, conventions, festivals, sports and other gatherings with large audiences are canceled through at least September, under the governor's order.

What exactly football in mid-June will look like is still to be determined. Sure, Oregon is doing well, but there are 10 other Pac-12 conference schools that are on different timelines.

But returning to the gridiron is definitely headed in the right direction.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Paul Swangard, the voice of Hayward Field. 

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly under fire after tweet regarding protests

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly under fire after tweet regarding protests

Following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly released a statement. But not everyone is convinced Kelly’s words are authentic, including three of his former players.  

“It’s hard to see our community — and humanity — so deeply hurting,” Kelly wrote in the post. “The pain is felt by everyone in our Bruin family. In a time of such tragic destruction, we have been trying to understand how to best offer support to our players.”

Kelly’s statement continued with a quote from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the need to “organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.” He added “We must listen to each other, and learn from each other, and realize that all of us are connected to the sorrow and suffering and anger. We must unite, it is our only hope, and the first steps must be taken now.”

His post caught the attention of three of his former players: Bolo Olorunfunmi, Stephen Johnson III and Breland Brandt. 

Johnson III played for Kelly during the 2018 season before departing from the team with one season remaining on his eligibility. He retweeted Kelly’s message and asked, “What does this mean?” On another tweet, the former UCLA receiver wrote “Let’s let the truth be known he threw away classes of black athletes’ careers and did not care.” 

Former UCLA outside linebacker Breland Brandt responded to one of Johnson III’s tweets, saying Kelly “dismantled an entire class of athletes (majority black) and thought it’d be a good idea to copy and paste some sympathy.” 

Brandt retired from football after four concussions in three years, but ultimately said a UCLA staffer calling him a “quitter” over text message led to his departure.  

Bolu Olorunfunmi, a former running back whom the UCLA medical staff barred from participating in the final games of his senior season in 2018 after repeated concussions, questioned Kelly’s intentions and criticized him for using MLK quotes rather than his own. 

“But what are YOU going to do???,”Olorunfunmi said in a thread. “How is UCLA gonna be different and take that first step you are talking about?? Can’t ride the quotes of MLK forever. I wanna hear YOUR true take.”

Not everyone agreed with the criticisms of Kelly. Many Oregon players came to his defense, including former Ducks linebacker Tyson Coleman. Coleman said he wouldn't "let these scrubs try and defame this man."

Former Oregon wide receiver Elvis Akpla responded to a story from the LA Times and said, "I'm not going to hear this toxic garbage. Chip has done so much for so many players."

Nick Cody, who played for the Ducks from 2008-11, agreed with Akpla's sentiments. 

The 52-year-old coach has not yet commented further than his original tweet on this matter.  

Kelly, who coached at Oregon from 2007-12 before stints in the NFL with Philadelphia, San Francisco and now UCLA, has received criticism for his decisions from other former players. 

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson recently spoke out about his controversial release in 2014 and how upon becoming a free agent, he wanted to stay in the NFC East just to face Philadelphia and Kelly twice a year. 

Be sure the listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks podcast with host Jordan Kent.

Oregon WBB lands 6'6" JUCO transfer Arielle Wilson

Oregon WBB lands 6'6" JUCO transfer Arielle Wilson

The Ducks just got bigger.

6'6" JUCO transfer Arielle Wilson will transfer to the University of Oregon to play this upcoming season per her Twitter account.

"First of all I would like to thank GOD," wrote Wilson. "Second I would like to say thank you so much, to my mother Michelle and my father Kent. You guys have always been there for me through the ups and downs, always believing in me. I will never forget all the sacrifices that you BOTH went through to get me here. I would like to thank my family and my friends. A true thank you to Coach Lees for giving me that hard PUSH, because it was truly needed. I want to thank Coach Dorian Williams of Hoop Dreams Athletics. He pushed me to limits I could of never imagined. He forced me to be uncomfortable...

I believe that Coach Kelly Graves is the best in the business. With that being said, I will be furthering my academic career at the University of Oregon. Let's go Ducks. - Arielle Wilson

Wilson spent last season playing for Kilgore College in Texas where she averaged 1.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 14.1 minutes. She started in 10 of her 29 appearances last season.

She will most likely add depth at center for the Ducks who currently have 6'7" redshirt sophomore Sedona Prince and 6'6" senior Lydia Giomi retuning in Eugene next season, as well as incoming five-star freshman 6'4" Angela Dugalic. 

Wilson was rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN coming out of Northwood Temple HS in 2018. 

Be sure the listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks podcast with host Jordan Kent.

Drew Brees called out by Oregon Ducks for opinion on taking a knee

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USA Today Images

Drew Brees called out by Oregon Ducks for opinion on taking a knee

Drew Brees became a trending topic on Twitter Wednesday afternoon after saying he would disapprove of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem this upcoming season: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

The New Orleans Saints quarterback explained when he hears the anthem he thinks of his grandfathers that fought in the military and taking a knee during the song would disrespect the flag. 

Many online found the comments insensitive or ill-informed given the nationwide outcry against systemic racial injustice in this country in response to police brutality, and more specifically the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police Custody last month.

Some protests have transitioned into rioting or looting, which has some calling for only peaceful protesting.

Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem to peacefully protest police brutality in 2016. Following that season and becoming an unrestricted free-agent, he has not been signed by any NFL franchise. He reached a settlement with the NFL to set aside his lawsuit for collusion to keep him out of the league in February 2019.

Current-San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted that Brees is "beyond lost."

Among those criticizing Brees were multiple players on the Oregon Ducks football team, which itself has been outspoken in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement with Coach Cristobal even attending a rally in Eugene, Oregon.

[RELATED]: Oregon football, CFB coaches call for change amid death of George Floyd

Saints fan Thomas Graham. Jr said he "lost mad respect" for Brees while Johnny Johnson III called him a clown. 

Additionally, senior defensive tackle Jordon Scott retweeted the following tweets condemning Brees' comments, including one from Tennesse Titans wide receiver AJ Brown.

Former Ducks safety also spoke out against Brees.

Former Oregon basketball player Chris Boucher was also disappointed in Brees' comments.

He wasn't the only NBA player to do so. Lakers star LeBron James also chimed in. 

Even Brees' own teammates tweeted their disapproval of his comments including Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Alvin Kamara.

Kelly Graves' advice to young coaches, "love your players."

Kelly Graves' advice to young coaches, "love your players."

"If you're a young, budding coach out there somewhere that's listening; love your players. Love 'em. Be there for 'em and in the end, they're gonna be there for you." 

This is the advice Oregon Women's Basketball coach Kelly Graves has for young coaches out there. 

Graves has built a powerhouse at Oregon. The Ducks went 31-2 this season, finishing as the No.2 team in the country and were a favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. 

Unfortunately for the Ducks, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the tournament, thus ending the season early.

Graves has no doubt that his squad would have won it all had the season played out. 

If you were around our team, you would see a team that is very lighthearted. We have fun. We kid each other. We're very sarcastic. And I think that's the beauty of what we do.  I'm convinced we woulda won this thing. The pressure wasn't gonna get to this group. - Kelly Graves

That loose and free spirit that led to so much success over the years all started with strong relationships between a coach and his players, something Graves says integral for team success. 

"If you build strong relationships with your players, even though I can be hard on them from time to time, they understand and they know that I love them," said Graves.  "I care for them more than just how many points or rebounds they can get in a game. I think once you get to that point as a coach, and that player relationship, the players are gonna do anything for you." 

While this approach has led to success on the court, the wins and losses don't matter. What matters is the ability to build strong bonds. To show a player that you are in their corner, not just during the game, but for the rest of life. 10, 15, 20 years down the road, your players know you will be there for them, and vice versa.

If I had to talk to my 25-year-old or 30-year-old self, what would I say? I think the first thing is, don't focus on the wins and losses. They're irrelevant in terms of the richness of your own life.- Kelly Graves

Be sure the listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks podcast with host Jordan Kent

DeSean Jackson stayed in the NFC East to play Chip Kelly twice a year

DeSean Jackson stayed in the NFC East to play Chip Kelly twice a year

We all know that Chip Kelly made few friends while as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

[RELATED]: Chip Kelly was 'the worst communicator,' rubbed people the wrong way with Eagles

Well, add DeSean Jackson to the list. 

After Chip Kelly's first season in Philadelphia, he cut DeSean Jackson after failing to find a trade for the then-27-year-old receiver coming off a season where he had 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

However, NJ.com reported that the Eagles had concerns over "Jackson's continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members who have been connected to two homicides since 2010." This in addition to "a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly" caused Jackson to reportedly fall out of favor with the organization.

Jackson came out with a statement denying the claims shortly after. 

In a conversation with current Eagles teammate Lane Johnson for NBC Sports Philadelphia, Jackson spoke about how he took the Eagles' decision to cut him. 

“Honestly, bro, the past is the past, but I will say when I was released by the Eagles it was definitely a shove in my face, you know?” said Jackson. “The story that was made up and the reason behind it was hard for me to respect. I would have respected it a lot more, man, if they would have just came to me and just told me basically it’s a money issue or we’re going a different route. But no, you want to come up and say I’m a hoodlum and I’m doing all this crazy [stuff]? That [stuff] was personal to me.”

After becoming a free agent, Jackson wanted to stay in the NFC East division for one reason: to play the Eagles, and Chip Kelly, twice a season. 

“I remember the Redskins were one of the teams that hopped in and was really trying to sign me because of all the damage I did to them earlier in my career,” Jackson said. “Dan Snyder personally sent me his private jet. I was in L.A. and he sent me his private jet, he was like, ‘Get on the plane and we’ll figure out the contract.’ [Robert Griffin III] actually came to my house in Calabasas and he was like, ‘Man, please bro, just come play with me.’ I just wanted to go play against y’all twice a year. I’m staying in the division because I want them to see me twice a year... I was going to let them see what they were missing out on.”

In Week 15 of the 2014 regular-season, Jackson saw dividends on his decision when the Washington Redskins defeated the Eagles 27-24, dropping Philly to 9-6. The former Eagle had four catches for 126 yards. The Eagles would finish 10-6 that season and miss the playoffs. 

After coaching the Eagles to back-to-back 10-6 seasons to begin his coaching career, Chip Kelly was awarded with control over personnel decisions by ownership. He then went on to trade away LeSean McCoy, trade for Sam Bradford, and sign Demarco Murray while using a zone-blocking scheme.

Kelly would ultimately only have control over the Eagles' personnel decisions for one offseason. His roster moves were so bad that Kelly would be fired 15 games into his third season after starting 6-9. He then would coach the San Francisco 49ers for a season, going 2-14 before being fired again and accepting the head coaching job at UCLA. 

Looks like cutting Jackson was the beginning of the end for Kelly. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

2021 four-star WR Xavier Worthy AKA ‘The Real Flash’ places Oregon in top-6

2021 four-star WR Xavier Worthy AKA ‘The Real Flash’ places Oregon in top-6

The University of Oregon could potentially be getting a little taste of the DC Universe in 2021.

Announced on Monday, 2021 four-star wide receiver Xavier Worthy AKA ‘The Real Flash’ has narrowed down his recruitment to six schools, Oregon being one of them.

The Ducks are the sole Pac-12 conference team in Worthy’s top-6.

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound wide receiver from Central East High School in Fresno, California is the No. 11 recruit from the state of California and the No. 24 receiver in the national ranks in the class of 2021, according to 247sports.

Here’s why Worthy is called ‘The Real Flash’:

Should Worthy commit to the Ducks, he would join other 2021 wide receiver commit Kyron Ware-Hudson. 

Oregon's also in the running for Troy Franklin, the nation's No. 2 wide receiver, and Dont'e Thornton, the nation's No. 6 wide receiver per 247Sports

The Oregon Football 2021 class is sure shaping up nicely.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Sabrina Ionescu taking a stand for George Floyd & Black Lives Matter

Sabrina Ionescu taking a stand for George Floyd & Black Lives Matter

The recent death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has sparked outrage, confusion, and protests all across the nation, which has prompted many people from across different spectrums to speak out.

Athletes are among those strongly voicing their opinions on this matter and how things need to change drastically.

From LeBron James to Michael Jordan, the Trail Blazers organization, OSU's Wayne Tinkle and Jonathan Smith and Oregon's Mario Cristobal, many are coming out in support against racism and social injustice

Former Oregon Duck Sabrina Ionescu is the latest to vocalize her support against injustice.

This past week has been a tough one for all Americans.

It is important, now than ever before, that people come together to recognize there is a problem that needs to be addressed, specifically between law enforcement and African Americans. 

The issue has been ongoing and people are fed up with it.

Will George Floyd’s death spark change? Most would hope so, but as of now, it is too early to tell.

What matters is that athletes, including Ionescu, are using their platform and speaking out.

Justice needs to be served for George Floyd and his wrongful death.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.