Oregon Ducks

Payton Pritchard named Lute Olson National Player of the Year

Payton Pritchard named Lute Olson National Player of the Year

Sabrina Ionescu isn't the only Duck taking home a  National Player of the Year award.

After becoming the Oregon Ducks men's basketball program's first consensus All-American in 80 years, senior guard Payton Pritchard has been chosen as the Lute Olsen National Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com. The award is given to the nation's best Division I basketball player. 

Pritchard became the first Pac-12 player to win the award. 

After pondering leaving for the NBA, the Pac-12 Player of the Year decided to return for his senior season in green and yellow and one goal in mind: be the best.

I carry it from last year, this confidence is high and I just wanted to come back this year and... prove a point that I am not only the best point guard in the country but the best player in the country.

Well, one year after returning to school, he's proven just that. 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 is leading his conference in both scoring and assists and is trying to become 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).

Pritchard also became the winningest player in program history earlier this season.

[RELATED: Don't take Payton Pritchard for granted, he's an all-time Oregon great]

Plus, he got to celebrate a Pac-12 championship with a devoted following at Matthew Knight Arena.

After the championship-clinching game, Pritchard addressed the crowd and thanked the University of Oregon for granting him "the greatest experience of [his] life."

With a veteran team, one of the nation's best coaches in Dana Altman, and arguably the country's best player in Pritchard, who knows what kind of noise the No. 13 Oregon Ducks could have made in the NCAA Tournament. 

Ducks safety Jevon Holland leads charge on renaming Deady Hall at Oregon

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Ducks safety Jevon Holland leads charge on renaming Deady Hall at Oregon

Nationwide protests have raged on against police brutality and systematic racial injustice in the United States in response to the death of George Floyd while in police custody. 

Among those speaking out has been the Oregon Ducks football team. 

Mario Cristobal attended a Black Lives Matter rally on Sunday. Multiple players spoke out against New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees saying he will never think kneeling during the national anthem is right. Many other players have been using social media to communicate and aid the movement, including Jevon Holland.

The Ducks safety took to Twitter and criticized the University of Oregon, who released a statement "speaking out against hatred, racism and violence" while having an academic hall (Deady Hall) named after a Matthew Deady, President of the Oregon Constitutional Convention of 1857. 

Deady had the university's first building named after him and was given the position of President of the UO Board of Regents in 1873.

He also was in favor of slavery in Oregon and was quoted saying Black people are just as much property as “horses, cattle and land.”

After gaining some traction on Twitter, Holland posted the same message on his Instagram which has 19.1k followers.

Now two days later, the Daily Emerald reports that University of Oregon board of trustees member Andrew Colas requested an emergency vote in the next two weeks to rename Deady Hall during Thursday's meeting due to the nationwide protests condemning police brutality and racism. 

Colas is the only black man on Oregon's board of trustees. 

“It’s hard being the only Black person on a board,” he told the Daily Emerald. “I’m always that person and I push as much as I can, but it really gets hard. And I hope every one of you — every single one of you — will align with me in understanding that we have to be the university that takes a stand on this, and we have to be the first.”

Responding to the report, Holland approved saying "I LOVE IT!" 

This isn't the first time the University has considered changing the name of Deady Hall.

In 2017, unanimously the board voted to change Dunn Hall, named after a KKK member who was a classics professor at the UO, to Unthank Hall, named after DeNorval Unthank Jr., the first Black student to graduate from the UO’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts.  

However, President Michael Shill decided to not rename Deady Hall.

“In my view, the facts set forth in the historian’s report do not support overturning the presumption of renaming Deady Hall,” Schill said in 2017 per the Daily Emerald. 

Now three years later, renaming Deady Hall has found newfound momentum, along with many other forms of reform. 

Holland, along with his teammates and many in the Oregon Ducks community will continue to fight racial injustice in the United States.

After the video of George Floyd's death went viral, the lack of charges brought upon police officer Derek Chauvin, nor the other three officers, by the Minneapolis Police Department sparked nationwide outrage leading to national protests and riots against police brutality and public pressure to arrest the four officers. 

Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. An additional second-degree murder charge was added Wednesday, too. As well as the other three officers being arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday.

Jake Fromm called out by Oregon Ducks on discriminating text messages

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USATI

Jake Fromm called out by Oregon Ducks on discriminating text messages

One day after several Oregon football players called out New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for his opinion on taking a knee during the national anthem, another quarterback has been called out on his remarks.

Incriminating text messages have surfaced on social media from former Georgia Bulldog and current Buffalo Bills quarterback Jake Fromm.

Fromm issued an apology shortly after:

I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words "elite white people" in a text message conversation. Although I never meant to imply that I am "an elite white person," as stated later in the conversation, there's no excuse for that word choice and sentiment. While it was poor, my heart was not. Now, more than ever, is the time for support and togetherness and I stand against racism 100%. I promise to commit myself to being a part of the solution in this country. I addressed my teammates and coaches in a team meeting today and I hope they see this incident is not representative of the person I am. Again, I'm truly sorry for my words and actions and humbly ask for forgiveness. -- Jake Fromm

And here is what the Bills had to say on the matter:

Former Oregon Duck Tyrell Crosby (2014-2017) and current safety junior Jevon Holland spoke on on their personal social media:

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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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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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.