Dana Altman

Oregon Ducks ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll

Oregon Ducks ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll

The Oregon Ducks (10-2) have their highest ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 since 2017.

The Ducks haven't been ranked this high since 2017, when they were ranked fifth heading into the PAC-12 tournament. That year, the program reached the Final Four. 

Despite playing a tough schedule, the Ducks have largely passed the tests put in front of them. They have wins over No. 9 Memphis (who had James Wiseman when they played) and a road win over No. 11 Michigan. Both of their losses came down to the final possessions in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, including a 73-72 overtime loss to now No. 1 Gonzaga. 

As the Ducks enter conference play, they should be the presumed favorite to win the conference. The only other PAC-12 teams ranked are No. 21 Washington and No. 24 Arizona. 

It's early, but if they can maintain this level of play, the Ducks may be able to grab the program’s second ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Given the parity in college basketball this season, in which six teams have now held to No. 1 spot, who knows what their ceiling could be.

Dana Altman will unleash the freshmen soon

Dana Altman will unleash the freshmen soon

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks defeated the No. 13 Memphis Tigers at the inaugural Phil Knight Invitational 82-74 at Moda Center.

After the game, Oregon head coach Dana Altman discussed how he thinks the freshmen are coming along.

As the season goes on and they get more comfortable... their talent will come through...so as the season progresses and they get more experience, I’ll be a bit more comfortable [to play them more].

Altman relied mostly on his returning players against the Tigers because they had been there before. He specifically cited sophomores Will Richardson and Francis Okoro as players who learned what it took to win last season and how he hopes that rubs off on this freshman class as the year progresses.

You can watch Altman’s full evaluation of the freshmen in the video above.

Oregon men's basketball: Reloaded and better than ever?

Oregon men's basketball: Reloaded and better than ever?

Just a few months ago when forward Kenny Wooten, forward Louis King and center Bol Bol declared for the NBA draft and Oregon’s roster was comprised of six scholarship players, it appeared UO was plunging towards a rebuilding season. Now, the Ducks have 11 eligible players and are brimming with fresh, elite talent.

Oregon’s 2019 recruiting class finished fourth in the country, first in the Pac-12 Conference and second-best all-time for the program, according to 247Sports rankings.

Oregon coach Dana Altman has built a reputation as a transfer wizard and an elite roster builder. His history of accumulating talent to buy into his vision and click at the right time has resulted in two regular season Pac-12 Conference championships (2016, 2017), three Pac-12 tournament championships (2013, 2016, 2019) and NCAA tournament success (including a Final Four run in 2017).

Altman’s 2019-2020 roster is turning heads around the college basketball world and in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the Westgate Superbook, the Oregon basketball team is currently 10/1 odds to make the 2020 Final Four and at 40/1 odds to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

Booking flights to the Final Four? You’ve got some new names to learn. Here is a look at the Ducks' roster, which includes only three returners: point guard Payton Pritchard, guard Will Richardson and center Francis Okoro.

The fresh faces eligible to play right away:

Five-star center N’Faly Dante

The 2020 class 6-foot-11 big man reclassified into the 2019 recruiting class and chose Oregon over Kentucky. With a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Dante is an excellent shot blocker and finishes with force at the rim. Oregon needed another center along with Okoro and Dante fills the missing piece.

Four-star shooting guard Addison Patterson

The 6-foot-6 Canadian prospect also reclassified to 2019 recruiting class after spending this past year at Bella Vista Prep. His intensity and competitiveness have been compared to former Duck Dillon Brooks. A solid shooter, Patterson is able to create his own shot and wants to be the next big Canadian star.

No. 1 junior college prospect guard Chris Duarte

The Northwest Florida State College guard was selected as the NJCAA National Player of the Year. The 6-foot-6 sophomore is the third Duck to receive the honor during Altman’s tenure, joining Chris Boucher and Kavell Bigby-Williams.

Five-star forward CJ Walker

The 6-foot-8 forward from Orlando committed to Oregon in November over LSU and Miami. Walker could be Oregon’s next exhilarating shot blocker. Also, you may have seen this stunning dunk.

Four-star forward Chandler Lawson

The 6-foot-8 combo forward picked the Ducks over offers from Kansas, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech. His length, elite defense and ability to create turnovers will be crucial for Oregon this season.

Three-star forward Lök Wur

The 6-foot-9 forward from Papillion, Nebraska originally was heading towards junior college because of academic eligibility issues. When the NCAA declared him eligible in June, 20 scholarship offers flooded in. Wur chose Oregon. His evolving offensive game and length are an asset.

New Mexico guard Anthony Mathis

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard was basically the splash bro of New Mexico. He set a program record with 106 made three pointers on 41.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Mathis is also high school teammate of Pritchard’s, they won three 6A Oregon state basketball titles together at West Linn High School.

UNLV wing Shakur Juiston

Previously the national JUCO Player of the Year, 6-foot-7 Juiston was injured last season. He (and his rebounding) will be immediately available for Oregon as he was granted a medical waiver for his fifth year.

The pieces are in place for another excited and winning season for the Ducks. Altman’s ability to bring a team together to find chemistry will surely be tested. The sooner the new Ducks buy in, the better for Oregon basketball.

Five takeaways from the 2019-20 Oregon men's basketball schedule

Five takeaways from the 2019-20 Oregon men's basketball schedule

The Pac-12 Conference released the schedule for the 2019-20 men's basketball season. Coming off a run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, the Ducks currently have just eight players eligible to play, led by star point guard Payton Pritchard and two returners from last season's team; Francis Okoro and Will Richardson.

A few takeaways from Oregon's schedule;

-Oregon will host USC and UCLA, but won’t make a return trip to Los Angeles as part of this year’s rotation.

-Oregon travels to Washington and Washington State and will also meet just once. 

-A home-heavy tail end; Oregon will play five of its last seven games at home for the first time since 2015-16.

-Mark your calendars! The Pac-12 Tournament, which Oregon won over Washington last season, will be held at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas March 11-14.

-Things are changing; Next season, the conference moves to a 20-game conference schedule, which includes 10 pairings instead of nine. 

[RELATED: Ducks to open with Seton Hall in Battle 4 Atlantis]

From the UO Athletic Department:

Oregon will play five of its last seven Pac-12 men’s basketball games at home in 2019-20.

The conference announced the Pac-12 pairings for the 2019-20 season on Monday.

Oregon will open the league season at the mountain schools, Colorado and Utah, the weekend of Jan. 4.

The Ducks’ Pac-12 home opener will come a week later against Arizona and Arizona State.

The only regular season meetings between Oregon and the Washington schools comes the weekend of Jan. 18, when Oregon treks to Seattle and Pullman.

The Ducks return to Matthew Knight Arena to host UCLA and USC the weekend of Jan. 25. Oregon will not play in Los Angeles this year.

Then it’s three-straight road games for the Ducks with California and Stanford in the Bay Area the weekend of Feb. 1 and a trip to Corvallis the weekend of Feb. 8.

After the Civil War, the schedule flips with five-of-seven games at Matthew Knight Arena.

Colorado and Utah are in town the weekend of Feb. 15.

The Ducks make their final road trip of the year to Arizona and ASU the weekend of Feb. 22.

The 2019-20 regular season wraps with OSU visiting Eugene the weekend of Feb. 29 followed by Cal and Stanford the weekend of March 7.

This will be the first time since the 2015-16 season that the Ducks will play five of their last seven games at home.

The 2019 Pac-12 Tournament will be held March 11-14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Monday’s announcement reflects the games being played and the home/away designations each week of the Pac-12 regular season. Specific dates and times for each game within a week will be announced later this summer after selections by the league’s television partners are finalized. All 108 Conference games will be televised by either Pac-12 Network, ESPN/2/U, FOX/FS1 or CBS.

Oregon’s 2019-20 non-conference schedule will also be released in the coming weeks.

Some non-conference dates previously announced include Memphis in the Phil Knight Invitational Nov. 12 at the Moda Center in Portland, the Battle for Atlantis Nov. 27-29 in the Bahamas and a road game at Michigan on Dec. 14.

This will be the final season that teams will play an 18-game Pac-12 schedule. The conference announced this past May that it will transition to a 20-game league schedule beginning with the 2020-21 season.

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.

Oregon basketball loses another player this offseason: Victor Bailey Jr.

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US Presswire

Oregon basketball loses another player this offseason: Victor Bailey Jr.

Oregon sophomore Victor Bailey Jr. is transferring, according to multiple reports. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 7.4 points, two rebounds and shot a team-best 39.8 percent from three-point range. He averaged 19.1 minutes with eight starts in 37 games last season, but his playing time faded off, only playing five minutes in Oregon's first two NCAA Tournament games. Bailey did not play vs. Virginia in the Sweet 16.

Bailey's departure marks Oregon's fifth open scholarship spot. The Ducks are still piecing their 2019 recruting class together, but will also need to replace senior Paul White, senior Ehab Amin, freshmen Bol Bol and Louis King (intend to remain in the NBA Draft). 

This comes on the heel of Oregon missing out on two top recruiting targets: five-star point guard Cole Anthony and four-star guard Cassius Stanley. 

Anthony committed to North Carolina live on ESPN, he had Oregon in his final four. Anthony was the MVP of both McDonald's and Jordan Brand Classic, and had a strong showing at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Cassius Stanley committed to Duke on Monday. A commitment from Stanley and Anthony would have likely launched Oregon back into the discussion for a top-10 class nationally. Currently, Oregon’s 2019 class is ranked 12th nationally and third in the Pac-12 Conference. Here is where UO's 2019 recruiting class stands

[Official] Oregon basketball whiffs on Cassius Stanley; Where the Ducks stand

[Official] Oregon basketball whiffs on Cassius Stanley; Where the Ducks stand

Oregon basketball is still piecing its 2019 recruiting class together.

The Ducks whiffed on Cassius Stanley, who committed to Duke. The No. 29 player in the country is ranked No. 3 among combo guards, according to 247 Sports. Oregon was heavily pursuing Stanley, who originally narrowed his top three schools to UO, Kansas and UCLA, ahead of his visit to Duke last weekend, when he added the Blue Devils to the finalist list. 

During his announcement, Stanley praised Oregon as an “up and coming program” with “elite coaches” before selecting Duke.

A commitment from Stanley and consensus five-star combo guard Cole Anthony, would have likely launched Oregon back into the discussion for a top-10 class nationally.

Anthony is expected to make his college decision tomorrow. He’s narrowed the choices to North Carolina, Oregon, Georgetown and Notre Dame.

Oregon defensive lineman and the nation’s top football 2019 recruit, Kayvon Thibodeaux made his feelings known on Twitter.

Currently, Oregon’s 2019 class is ranked 12th nationally and third in the Pac-12 Conference after landing a big verbal commitment from transfer guard on Saturday.

After visiting Eugene for the Oregon spring football game, Duquesne sophomore guard Eric Williams, Jr. announced on Twitter that he committed to the Ducks will enroll at Oregon for next basketball season.

6-foot-6 Williams, who averaged 14 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season, will sit out the 2019-20 basketball season and then be a redshirt junior for the 2020-21 season.

The Ducks have also landed commitments from junior college national player of the year candidate Chris Duarte and consensus four-star big man Isaac Johnson, who is expected to take a two-year LDS mission and won't be back in Eugene until 2021. Rounding out Oregon's 2019 class is two 6-foot-8, four-star prospects CJ Walker and Chandler Lawson. 

Meet the Ducks' latest basketball recruiter: Oregon WR Mycah Pittman

Meet the Ducks' latest basketball recruiter: Oregon WR Mycah Pittman

Oregon men's basketball is trying to land one of the nation's top high school athletes, four-star shooting guard Cassius Stanley.

Coach Dana Altman should thank Oregon freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman, who is already fighing for a starting spot, for doing a little recruiting on Stanley's Instagram. Pittman wrote a simple "Sco (Ducks)" comment. 

Kansas, Oregon, and UCLA were originally Stanley’s top three schools. Ahead of his visit to Duke last weekend, he added the Blue Devils to the finalist list. 

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard out of Sierra Canyon High School (Los Angeles, California) will commit today at 12:30 p.m.. 247 Sports ranks Stanley as the No. 29 player in the country, No. 3 among combo guards and No. 3 in California. 

Louis King officially NBA bound: Ducks still capable of greatness

Louis King officially NBA bound: Ducks still capable of greatness

Louis King won’t be in an Oregon Duck uniform next season. The 6-foot-9 forward declared on Twitter that he'd be hiring and agent and submitting paperwork to the league office to make himself eligible for the 2019 NBA draft.

The freshman becomes the third one-and-done player at Oregon in two seasons (Troy Brown and Bol Bol). He’s largely projected to be a second round selection although some mock drafts do not have him listed.

Of course, a strong NBA Combine workout and workouts hosted by NBA teams could increase King’s draft stock.

This decision comes on the heels of Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu choosing to forgo the WNBA draft, where she would have likely been the top pick.

If King had stayed for his sophomore season, Oregon had the recipe to be a Final Four contender; returning seven scholarship players and adding a top 10 recruiting class. But don't fret, Ducks fans, next season is not lost. The Ducks can still find success and make a posteason run with Dana Altman as head coach, Kenny Wooten and Payton Pritchard's likely return, a strong incoming class and the team buying into elite defense. However, without King, Oregon will again need to find its centerpiece star, similar to when Bol was lost to a season ending injury.

“My incredible coaches, teammates, managers, and training staff made me a better player on the court and a better person off the court,” King said on Twitter. “And to the fans who supported me and lifted me up - Oregon fans are the best in the world and there is no better place to play college basketball.

"As grateful as I am for the journey that has brought me to this point, my family and I have decided the time has come for me to pursue my next dream. This is the one that has driven me since I first started playing basketball as a young kid, and that is to pursue the opportunity to play at the highest level, in the NBA. For that reason, I am declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft with the intent to hire an agent. Thank you, God bless."

The former five-star recruit gained a lot of attention in Oregon’s postseason run, helping the Ducks win the Pac-12 tournament and advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to eventual national champion Virginia. His 7-foot-1 wingspan helped Oregon’s excellent defense and makes him an ideal NBA selection. In seven postseason games, he averaged 16.4 points per game on 50 percent shooting, including an impressive 61.1 percent from beyond the arc. 

King, the No. 35 prospect in the ESPN 100, finished second on the team in scoring this season behind Bol. He was named to the Pac-12 all-freshman team and was an all-conference honorable mention selection after averaging 13 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game and shooting 38.6 percent from 3-point range.

Big decision time: Four Oregon Ducks enter NBA draft

Big decision time: Four Oregon Ducks enter NBA draft

The Oregon men’s basketball roster could be looking very different next season.

Louis King, Payton Pritchard and Kenny Wooten will all declare for the NBA draft, as first reported by John Canzano. Who will actually take their talents to the pros and who will return? That will be decided in the next two months.

The three Ducks join freshman center Bol Bol, who has already hired an agent and made his decision official.

[READ: Bol Bol, worth the gamble?]

Making the decision to enter the NBA Draft and go through the draft process doesn’t mean all three won’t be wearing green and yellow next season. It’s called “testing the waters” for a reason, like dipping your toe to see if you might make millions or not. Totally relatable, right?

This news comes days after Oregon women's basketball star guard Sabrina Ionescu chose to pass on the opportunity to go pro

[READ: First Herbert, then Ionescu: The time for Oregon Duck titles is now]

Here is how it will go down for the Ducks before they have to decide on their future. Players invited to the NBA Combine can attend from May 14-19 and attend workouts hosted by NBA teams. The deadline for players to withdraw from the draft and return to school is June 10.

A new NCAA rule also allows prospects to hire an agent but terminate that agent relationship prior to May 29 and still be eligible to play in college. This will be very helpful when weighing whether to go back to Oregon or not.

Currently, King, who was a five-star recruit, is the most likely Duck to join Bol in the draft. His draft stock certainly climbed through Oregon’s run in the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments after scoring in double-figures in each game and being named to the Pac-12 all-tournament team. The 6-foot-9 freshman forward has been listed as the No. 36 prospect in the draft by ESPN.

[READ: Oregon Ducks won't rule the basketball world without its King]

Pritchard also got attention from his postseason play. In seven postseason games, Pritchard took command of the team and averaged 16 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.4 rebounds.

Wooten swatted his way to 74 blocked shots and averaged 6.3 points and 4.8 rebounds last season

The 6-foot-9 sophomore also tore up the postseason; blocking 10 shots in Oregon’s two NCAA tournament games and four blocks in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Neither Pritchard or Wooten are currently listed as a potential draft pick on any mock draft I could find. Most likely, it'll be all eyes on King. 

Next season could be destined for success after building on the 2018-19 season, which I view a success. After losing star Bol to a season ending injury, overcoming injuries to King and Wooten, Oregon finished the season with a 25-13 record and was the last Pac-12 team standing in the NCAA Tournament. No Oregon coach has more victories than coach Dana Altman (235 wins, 9 seasons), who also signed a contract extension through 2025-26. Oregon could return as many as seven scholarship players and add a top 10 recruiting class.

The NBA Draft is June 20. Be sure to check back all through April, May and June as Jamie Hudson brings you updated Mock Draft for the entire first round!