Dana Altman

How Oregon MBB's Dana Altman became one of the most successful coaches in collegiate basketball

How Oregon MBB's Dana Altman became one of the most successful coaches in collegiate basketball

Dana Altman is on a very short list of successful coaches in men’s collegiate basketball.

The Oregon Duck men’s basketball head coach is part of an exclusive fraternity that includes Hall-of-Famers Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Bill Self and Jim Boeheim and is one of only five active coaches in NCAA Division I with 23 consecutive winning seasons.

The 2013 National Jim Phelan Coach of the Year, 3x Pac-12 Coach of the Year (2013, 2015, 2016) and 2018 member of the Creighton Athletic Hall of Fame, has proven to the Pac-12 Conference that the Oregon Ducks will consistently be a challenge for any foe.

And ‘consistent’ is the perfect word to describe the 19th head coach in the history of the University of Oregon.

Director of Operations Josh Jamieson, who has been by Altman’s side for 14 seasons, is the latest guest on the Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

It boils down to consistency. We preach that, we’re trying to communicate that, but it really doesn’t work until you live it. I think coach [Altman] loves consistency. In practice, in film, in games, in his approach to things. — Josh Jamieson on Dana Altman

That approach has led the Ducks to deep NCAA tournament runs in the postseason.

He led Oregon to five straight NCAA Tournaments (2013-17) for the first time in school history, winning at least one game in each of those years. Included in those NCAA appearances are a Final Four (2017), two Elite Eights (2016, 2017) and three Sweet 16s (2013, 2016, 2017).

If you’ve ever watched an Oregon men’s basketball game, you can always see or hear Altman on the sidelines, stomping his black leather dress shoe on the court to get the attention of his players and always sporting a plain white, long sleeve button up, black slacks and either a green or yellow tie. His consistency is found in his wardrobe too. 

All that expression and fiery coaching is the complete opposite of what you’ll see in the postgame press conference. It’s as if someone slipped Altman a shot of NyQuil PM: he is calm and answers all questions from the media in a respectful, insightful and his voice is soft-spoken.

And the answers always fall back to, “We got a lot more work to do.”

If you look at a coach Altman press conference, a snapshot at virtually anytime of the year, you’re going to hear fairly similar things. You never hear him go over the top about a performance that we’ve had because he understands that these performances tend to average out over the long run. — Josh Jamieson on Dana Altman

It’s not that Altman doesn’t acknowledge the positives from his team’s performance, but he realizes that growth and success come from what improvements need to be made. It’s this mindset and coaching philosophy that make Oregon a dangerous threat year after year. 

Altman signed a three-year contract extension in 2019 that makes him the head coach in Eugene, Oregon through April 2026.

Jamieson’s duties as Director of Operations include scheduling, coordinating the team’s travel, budgeting, academic support and equipment oversight. He also serves as the Director of Oregon Basketball Camps.

Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

Chris Duarte out for Pac-12 Tournament; Will Richardson questionable vs. CAL

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NBCSNW

Chris Duarte out for Pac-12 Tournament; Will Richardson questionable vs. CAL

Just one more weekend left on the Pac-12 men's regular season conference schedule.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman met with members of the media on Wednesday ahead of the Ducks' weekend series hosting the Bay Are schools starting with the Cal Golden Bears on Thursday. Altman gave an injury update to Chris Duarte along with sophomore Will Richardson:

The Ducks starting guard Duarte had a procedure on a broken finger on his shooting hand last Thursday, February 27 ahead of part two of the Civil War series. He originally injured the finger in practice the week of the Oregon State game back on February 8.

Without Duarte in the lineup, redshirt senior Anthony Mathis has stepped back into the starting role after starting the first 18 games for the Ducks.

[RELATED]: Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

As for Will Richardson, this would be a huge loss as well. While the Oregon men's team were tossing out t-shirts during an Oregon women's game last week, Richardson was seen wearing a boot. It looked like he landed on his opponents foot against Oregon State last Thursday. He left the game limping but checked back into the game.

Richardson is a game-time decision as of Wednesday. If he was also ruled out against Cal, that leaves Payton Pritchard and Anthony Mathis as guards on Oregon's roster who have seen consistent minutes this season. Possible we'll see more of Eddy Ionescu or Luke Osborn in this one?

Richardson is averaging 10.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season for the Ducks.

The Ducks have an opportunity to close out regular season play with wins vs. Cal and Stanford. Earlier this season on the road in the Bay Area was a challenge for Oregon: a 77-72 win in Berkeley followed by a 70-60 loss in Palo Alto to the Cardinal. This time, a rematch in Eugene and a chance to become the Pac-12 conference outright champions.

Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

EUGENE, Oregon - Less than one hour prior to tip-off in chapter two of the 2020 Civil War series vs. the Oregon State Beavers, the Oregon Ducks announced that starting guard Chris Duarte would not be available to play due to an injury.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte has procedure on broken finger

30 minutes later, Duarte was in street clothes and sporting a new cast on his right hand. His shooting hand.

Replacing Duarte in the starters role was Anthony Mathis, the 6-foot-4 redshirt senior who has started the first 18 games of the season. 

Just try and play a lot of defense. He’s our second-leading rebounder, so I’m trying to pick up on defense, rebounding. Pretty much just helping in any way I can. We’re so deep on offense, I’m not necessarily worried about scoring. I’m just trying to do other things to help the team get wins. — Anthony Mathis

Mathis finished with 13 points hitting 3-of-7 from three-point range, three rebounds and two assists. No. 14 Oregon (22-7, 11-5 Pac-12) snapped the three-game losing streak to rival Oregon State (15-13, 5-11 Pac-12) with a 69-54 win in Matthew Knight Arena.

Replacing Duarte is not easy. He lives big shoes out there on both ends of the court. Oregon head coach Dana Altman has no timetable for return and it’s “up to the doctors”, he told reporters following the game.

As a team, the Ducks defense really stepped up in Duarte’s absence holding their opponent, Oregon State, to a season-low 54 total points. Oregon also committed a season-low four turnovers. 

While one presence will surely be missed, the Ducks welcomed back one player who has a high ceiling and a long career ahead: N’Faly Dante.

The 6-foot-11 freshman center is coming off knee tendinitis. The last time he suited up for the Ducks was back on January 18 at the Washington Huskies up in Seattle. 

In his first game back, he jogged onto the court with a limited minutes restriction and a warm cheer from the Oregon faithful. Although Dante finished with zero points and two rebounds in five minutes played, he sheer presence alone on the court draws eyes inwards and leave shooters open on the perimeter.

You see him double teamed, teams really playing him hard. Dante is really skilled at that. Cause troubles offensively and defensively. We lose one, we get another one, it’s okay. — Francis Okoro said with a big smile on his face

We got him four, five minutes and that was all I planned on. He wanted to play more, but he hadn’t practiced much. Just wanted to get him started, get him back on the floor. Hopefully he’ll have a good week here. — Dana Altman

This one game weekend comes at an optimal time for Oregon. 

Not only do the Ducks have two days off (according to Dana Altman who “threatened” the team if they lost to have them practice the next few days), but they have an entire week to rest and recover and finish on a strong note. In their final regular season series, Oregon will host Cal (12-16, 6-9 Pac-12) and Stanford (19-9, 8-7 Pac-12) both middle tier teams in the Pac-12 conference. 

Dante will be needed against both the Bears and Cardinal who took advantage of Oregon’s smaller forwards the last time these teams met. Having Duarte back would be huge too, if the doctors say so.

Although Dante played just five minutes against Oregon State on Thursday night, he’s just getting his feet wet.

Why No. 14 Oregon couldn't stop the bleeding against Oregon State in Civil War loss

Why No. 14 Oregon couldn't stop the bleeding against Oregon State in Civil War loss

CORVALLIS, Oregon - Basketball is a game of runs. It’s about how you respond when your opponent has all the momentum: do you shut down or stop the bleeding.

In the case tonight for Oregon, it was poor timing paired with poor execution. 

The Beavers outscored the Ducks 33-13 in the final 14:50 left in the game. It was the combination of Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson’s sharp-shooting on the perimeter paired with Kylor Kelley on the inside that Oregon had no response for defensively. 

If it felt like there was a gaping hole in the paint when Oregon was on defense, it was probably due to two of Oregon’s bigs being out: the 6-foot-11 freshman center N’Faly Dante is still battling an injury that has kept him out since the Washington game on January 18; sophomore Francis Okoro was also absent as he is in Nigeria attending his father’s funeral, who passed away back in December.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman hopes to have Okoro back this week. As for Dante, he hopes he'll be "healthy one of these days" with no set timetable for return.

That left 6-foot-7, redshirt senior Shakur Juiston and 6-foot-8 freshman Chandler Lawson to guard the 7-foot Kylor Kelley. Down the stretch, Altman had to switch the rotation and go smaller with four guards. Kelley took advantage with simultaneous dunks and a layup during that Oregon scoring drought.

Offensively, that’s on me. We’re just not getting any flow that second half. We take the 10-point lead and then 13 points the rest of the game. Not getting very good shots, not executing anything out of timeouts - we had two turnovers out of two timeouts. — Dana Altman

It’s not just a battle inside amongst bigs. Kelley’s presence alone is enough to steer drives away from the hoop, but there still has to be that threat of driving the ball inside from the guards. Pritchard, who has been shooting 40% from 3-PT range this season, was held to just 1-for-8 from downtown. As a team, the Ducks were 7-of-23 from three-point range.

We got to get better inside finishing for guards, bigs, we just got to be more dominant in there. We got to get in the paint more, passing it, driving it. — Payton Pritchard

What does this loss mean for Oregon? Besides a drop in both the national rankings and Pac-12 conference standings, Oregon has a huge opportunity coming up. Of the remaining seven conference games on their schedule, the Ducks will play five at home: host No. 24 Colorado and Utah; then on the road at the Arizona schools; and then back home for a three-game homestand hosting Oregon State, CAL and Stanford.

We got five games at home out of the next seven… let’s make something happen. — Payton Pritchard 

UP NEXT: The Ducks host No. 24 Colorado on Thursday night, tip-off set for 6 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.

Ducks fall in AP Poll after another conference loss

Ducks fall in AP Poll after another conference loss

After losing to unranked Stanford 70-60 over the weekend, the Oregon Ducks (18-5, 7-3 Pac-12) fell to No. 14 in the latest Associated Press poll

Despite the loss, the Ducks remain the top-ranked team in the conference. The only other ranked Pac-12 team is No. 23 Arizona. Stanford received seven votes. 

The top-ten was as follows:

  1. Baylor (19-1)
  2. Gonzaga (23-1)
  3. Kansas (18-3)
  4. San Diego State (23-0)
  5. Louisville (19-3)
  6. Dayton (20-2)
  7. Duke (18-3)
  8. Florida State (18-3)
  9. Maryland (17-4)
  10. Villanova (17-4)

Let's recap the weekend for the Oregon Ducks.

At California, WIN 77-72

The Ducks took care of the first leg of the Bay Area road trip by taking care of the Golden Bears, 77-72. Cal likes their games to be played in the 50s, or 60s and Oregon saw it as a necessity to make the game more high scoring than Cal would want. Senior point guard Payton Pritchard scored 19 points and dished out eight assists, becoming the program's all-time leader in assists in the process.  

[RELATED: Instant Analysis: Second half-surge by Payton Pritchard leads Ducks past Golden Bears]

At Stanford, LOSS 70-60

Oregon headed into Saturday with a chance to sweep the Bay Area schools on the road for only the third time since 1977, however, they fell short. Despite holding a 36-28 lead at halftime, the Ducks' offense sputtered in the second half only producing five second-half buckets. The Cardinal would outscore Oregon 42-24 in the second half. 

[RELATED: Instant Analysis: No. 11 Oregon falls to Stanford on the road at The Farm]

UP NEXT: A date with the Oregon State Beavers (13-9, 3-7 Pac-12) in chapter one of this year’s Civil War on Feb. 8 in Corvallis.

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.