Oregon Ducks

Talkin' with the Ducks pt.2: Coach Cristobal's major impact on Juwan Johnson after his father passed

Talkin' with the Ducks pt.2: Coach Cristobal's major impact on Juwan Johnson after his father passed

Welcome into a new running NBC Sports Northwest feature; Talkin’ with the Ducks. Joining us on the first edition is the largest wide receiver on Oregon’s roster, graduate transfer Juwan Johnson.

Juwan Johnson’s father passed away shortly before he transferred to Oregon and moved across the country. In part two of this feature, we dive into some of his favorite football memories with his father, how he's honoring his legacy and the impact that Coach Cristobal has had during the trying time. 

[WATCH PART 1: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

"(Cristobal) definitely made me feel comfortable being here," said Johnson. "He kinda feels like my father... I really take it to heart that he checked in on me literally every day."

How Johnson has handled his father's passing while in Eugene

Cristobal's major impact on Johnson after his father passed

 

Troy Dye named to Bednarik Award watch list for the College Defensive Player of the Year

Troy Dye named to Bednarik Award watch list for the College Defensive Player of the Year

The Oregon football faithful let out a deep sigh of relief the day news broke of Troy Dye forgoing the 2019 NFL Draft and returning for one more season in green and yellow. 

The senior linebacker, who has lead the Ducks in tackles for the third consecutive year, has been named to the Bednarik Award watch list for the College Defensive Player of the Year, and rightfully so. 

Dye became the first Oregon player with 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons since Michael Clay (2011-12) and the 15th player in program history to reach 300 career tackles. Dye will be one of just two FBS players, and the only Power 5 player, returning in 2019 to lead his team in tackles each of the last three seasons (91 in 2016, 107 in 2017 and 115 in 2018).

Our Oregon Insider Bri Amarathus says, "In 2019, I predict Oregon inside linebacker Troy Dye’s reign of terror on Pac-12 offenses will continue and the senior will take down the Oregon record for career tackles, set in 1971." 

Fun Fact: In three career season openers, Dye has totaled 29 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, two sacks and two interceptions.

Career Notables:
- Enters senior season third among current FBS players with 313 tackles.
- Needs 121 tackles to become Oregon’s all-time career leader.
- Has led the team in tackles 19 of 37 career games.
- Ranks second in program history with double-digit tackles in 17 games.
- One of three FBS players with at least 100 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 2017.

Preseason Honors: 
- Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
- Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List 
- Athlon Sports All-America second team
- Phil Steele All-America second team 
- Athlon Sports Pac-12 first team
- Phil Steele Pac-12 first team 
- No. 85 on Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players 

Justin Herbert named to Maxwell Award watch list for America's College Player of the Year

Justin Herbert named to Maxwell Award watch list for America's College Player of the Year

The 83rd Maxwell Award watch list is out and to no surprise Oregon football senior quarterback Justin Herbert has made his way onto that list for the second consecutive season.

The Maxwell Award is presented to America's College Player of the Year. Herbert was a semifinalist for the award in 2018.

One of the biggest storyline heading into the 2019-2020 Ducks football season is will Herbert live up to his great potential? Will he be unleashed? Will we once again see that absolute cannon for an arm, pinpoint accuracy, quick feet and good speed QB take reigns of this Oregon offense and lead the Ducks into a season of triumph?

Will this be the year we see Oregon football back on top with one of the best, if not THE best, offensive line in the country, a deep run game, and a stout defense lead by senior linebacker Troy Dye?

Our Oregon Insider Bri Amaranthus predicts Herbert 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.

Other Herbert quick hits:

- Two-time Academic All-America first team honoree and the reigning Google Cloud Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year.

- Owns a streak of 28 consecutive games with a TD pass, good for the longest active streak in the nation.

- Has led Oregon to an average of 38.3 points per game over his 28 career starts.

- Oregon is 15-6 in his 21 starts over the last two seasons (2017 & 18).

- Enters 2019 season ranked fifth among active FBS leaders in passing TDs (63) and eighth in passing yards (7,070).

- Has 23 TD passes and two interceptions in 11 career Pac-12 road games (10 starts).

Other Herbert preseason honors:

- Maxwell Award Watch List 
- Phil Steele All-America third team 
- Athlon Sports Pac-12 first team
- Phil Steele Pac-12 first team 
- No. 11 on Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players

Chris Boucher: king of Las Vegas Summer League and the Oregon Duck family

Chris Boucher: king of Las Vegas Summer League and the Oregon Duck family

Former Oregon Duck Chris Boucher made a strong statement in Las Vegas; he has nothing left to prove in the G league or Summer League.

After rebounding from injury his rookie season, Boucher earned G League MVP, G League Defensive Player of the Year and an NBA championship. He was the star of the Toronto Raptors Summer League team, scoring 20 or more points in each of his four games played and showed off his ever-expanding skillset. The 6-foot-10 forward’s dominant play could go a long way in proving to the franchise that his G-League production will translate to the NBA.

“It’s amazing what one year can do,” Boucher said following the Raptor’s final summer league game. “Coming into this summer league you can see what I’ve been working on and I can only get better from there.”

Boucher scored 24 points with seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot across 29 minutes during Friday's 108-102 loss to the Sixers in the consolation bracket of the Las Vegas Summer League. He averaged 23 points per game, good for fifth in summer league through Friday’s games.

His game showed improvement, specifically by bringing the ball up after rebounds, guarding perimeter players and finding the right spots on offense to score. Boucher said he is seeing the floor better thanks in large part from learning from Raptors’ Mark Gasol who exhibits impressive patience.

Last season, Boucher appeared in 28 games in limited action, five minutes per game, with the Raptors. With the departure of Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors could consider Boucher at the three or four. His shot-blocking ability and defensive prowess also gives him a shot a third-string center.

Ducks fans are very familiar with his excellent rim protection, Boucher was a key contributor in 2017 to help Oregon reach the Elite Eight before an ACL tear forced him to sit out and watch the Ducks lose in the Final Four. The “Oregon family” was reunited in Las Vegas.

Boucher mentioned that we got to see Dillon Brooks (his “best friend”), Tyler Dorsey, Troy Brown and Kenny Wooten. Boucher smiled and said it was fun to play (and talk a little smack) against Wooten and the Knicks in their Tuesday game.

“I got one bucket on him and I had to tell him, hey, I was there before you,” Boucher said. “But it’s all family, it’s all family… The Oregon family is always a family wherever we are at.”

After successful summer league, the NBA G League star turned NBA champion took another step towards having a role in Toronto in the near future.

Ionescu's "freaking amazing" evening at the ESPYS

Ionescu's "freaking amazing" evening at the ESPYS

The 2019 ESPY Awards recognized athletic achievements from some of the most renowned athletes and entertainers including Oregon’s own triple-double queen Sabrina Ionescu.

Wooden Award winning Ionescu brought her twin brother, Eddy, and her parents to the award show on Wednesday night at The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

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How would Eddy describe the night? A “freaking amazing” evening that was even more special because the Ionescus made it a family affair.

By the way, Eddy hopes to walk on the Ducks men’s basketball team this season. 

The Ducks women’s basketball star was nominated for two awards; Best Record-Breaking Performance and Best College Athlete against the likes of New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, high school track star Matthew Boling, Duke’s Zion Williamson, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and UCLA softball player Rachel Garcia.

Brees received the ESPY for best record-breaking performance for becoming the NFL's all-time leading passer. Williamson grabbed the title for best college athlete.

The Ionescus didn’t come back with hardware but did get to meet some iconic athletes at the star-studded affair. To name a few; Brees, retired basketball player Julius Erving. Houston Rockets’ PJ Tucker and Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart.  

Which color to wear to every Oregon football game: No black

Which color to wear to every Oregon football game: No black

The Oregon athletic department has released which colors fans should wear to each Oregon football game for the 2019 season. Biggest takeaway? No blackout games and five green games. 

Is this the Ducks taking a step back towards their traditional green and yellow roots?

Ducks to open with Seton Hall in Battle 4 Atlantis

Ducks to open with Seton Hall in Battle 4 Atlantis

From the Oregon Athletic Department-

Oregon will face Seton Hall in the opening round of the 2019 Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Nov. 27 in the Imperial Arena.

The winner of the game between the Ducks and the Pirates will meet the winner of Gonzaga-Southern Miss in the semifinals on Nov. 28, with the championship on Nov. 29.

First-round pairings on the other side of the bracket include Michigan-Iowa State and North Carolina-Alabama.

The only previous meeting between Oregon and Seton Hall resulted in one of the more memorable games of the 2000 NCAA Tournament. After Oregon took a 71-70 lead in overtime, the Pirates’ Shaheen Holloway drove the length of the floor and made a bank shot with 1.9 seconds remaining that gave the Hall a 72-71 win.

The Battle 4 Atlantis pairing pits a pair of 2019 NCAA Tournament teams against each other. Led by Pac-12 Tournament most outstanding player Payton Pritchard, the Ducks (25-13) won 10 games in a row to close the season – including the Pac-12 Tournament – before falling to eventual national champion Virginia in the Sweet 16. The Pirates return nine of their top 10 scorers from a team that went 20-14 a year ago and lost to Wofford, 84-68, in the NCAA First Round.

This will be the Ducks’ first appearance in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Louis King tapping into Dana Altman's advice during transition to NBA

Louis King tapping into Dana Altman's advice during transition to NBA

The Detroit Pistons and former Oregon Duck Louis King are off to a winning 4-0 start in Las Vegas Summer League play.

After a quiet tournament, Wednesday’s victory over Philadelphia featured a filthy King steal and jam.

“(The NBA) is more intense,” said King after the win. “There are more guys that are more active on defense and they are longer (than college). Getting by them and finishing through contact (has been a challenge).”

The 6-foot-9 forward’s goal in summer league is to showcase his perimeter defense, rebounding and ability to score buckets in transition.  King is long, fluid and surprisingly quick and explosive. On the defensive end, he was a menace at Oregon: He had at least one steal in 16 of the 31 games played as a freshman.

Through his transition from college to professional, the former five-star recruit is tapping into advice that Oregon coach Dana Altman gave him.

“(Altman’s advice) is to be a professional… To be aware that not every aspect of the league will be easy for me,” said King. “I’m going to have to grind every day and that’s what I’m capable of doing.”

King agreed to a two-way contract with the Pistons after going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. King was widely expected to be drafted in the second round, but can still can make a pretty penny and develop into an NBA talent.

King is averaging 12 minutes in three games played in Summer League. He’s scoring an average of 2.3 points on 17 percent shooting and 2.3 rebounds per game.

King's numbers don’t pop but summer league play isn’t over. Continuing to show improvement in Las Vegas would go a long way in proving to the franchise that King is ready for G-League and NBA minutes.

King has the potential to be a force on both ends of the floor if the G-League Grand Rapids' staff can tap into his potential. King is a prospect who is able to play positionless ball and develop into a two-way player. His power forward size, tenacious defense and perimeter skill set make him an attractive pickup for the Pistons.  

"Electric" talent to compete for 25 PGA Tour cards at Winco Foods Portland Open

"Electric" talent to compete for 25 PGA Tour cards at Winco Foods Portland Open

The Winco Foods Portland Open, voted the 2018 Web.com Tour Tournament of the Year, is just right around the corner! 25 PGA TOUR cards are awarded on Sunday as pro’s compete on the famed Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, August 8-11.

Among all the talent attending the tournament will be Oregon golf coach Casey Martin, who spoke at the media day.

Martin has an impressive list of accomplishments since taking the job at the University of Oregon; a National Championship (2016), National Coach of the Year (2017) and two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year in (2010, 2017).

A former PGA TOUR player and Eugene, Oregon native, did you know Martin played golf at Stanford with Tiger Woods? In the interview, Martin dives into their history and the emotions he’s felt since Woods’ resurgence.

Also, Martin spoke highly of the level of “electric” talent who will compete in the sixth annual Winco Foods Portland Open. Guests will also enjoy ‘The Grove,’ located alongside the par-3 12th hole featuring local breweries, wineries and one of the most scenic views on the course.

100 percent of all ticket sales are donated to local charities and youth organizations. The 2018 tournament raised a record $1.4 Million for charity bringing the five-year total to nearly $6 million.  Tickets are for purchase here.

LaMichael James' take on Oregon's Sean Dollars: Dangerous

LaMichael James' take on Oregon's Sean Dollars: Dangerous

The best recruiting class in Oregon football history is in Eugene and preparing for their first collegiate season. Hype surrounds the star-powered 2019 class looking to make an instant impact, including Sean Dollars, who has all the tools to have a stand out freshman season and develop into a starting running back before his time is up at Oregon.

He’s also caught the eye of former Duck running back star and Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James who believes Dollars is already “college ready.”

“I think he will be a special player once he gets his opportunity,” James said. “He’s the highest rated running back to come to Oregon since Jonathan Stewart. You pair that with the best offensive line Oregon probably has ever had and it could be a dangerous combo.”

Dollars is the highest rated running back on Oregon’s 2019 roster and the nation’s No.1 all-purpose back, per 247sports. He is one of three Mater Dei High School players to sign with Oregon in the 2019 class. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound special talent is praised for his versatility to be a workhorse, every-down type of back that can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

"Can do it all,” Coach Mario Cristobal said. “Line him up in the slot, line him up in the backfield, empty, wildcat — you name it, he can do it. Excellent as a kick returner, also."

But exactly how can the Ducks’ utilize Dollars and where does he fit on the depth chart?

2018 saw the emergence of Ducks duo CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who will be excellent for years to come. Cyrus Habibi-Likio is poising himself for a breakout season and Darrian Felix had a strong spring showing before being sidelined by illness.

[READ:Underdog Ducks will beat Auburn: Oregon football prediction]

That’s enviable veteran experience, which creates a good problem for UO offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and running back coach Jim Mastro.

Should Dollars enter Oregon’s fall camp in peak physical and mental shape, he could be an elite addition to the backfield. James compared the potential blend of speed and power of the 2019 UO backfield to when he was a Duck (2009-11).

“Verdell is a downhill runner; north and south with force… I love how he runs,” James said.  “Dye is a slasher and a smooth transition from Verdell. Then you have Dollars who can be used in unique ways. (It reminds me of) me, Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas and Josh Huff, who were all pretty exchangeable in backfield.”

Undoubtedly, Dollars’ elusiveness and versatility will make him a special player at Oregon. In the right role, Dollars’ could climb the depth chart and start his Duck career right away with a money freshman season.