Dillon Brooks

Oregon beats WSU with a deep tournament run recipe

Oregon beats WSU with a deep tournament run recipe

LAS VEGAS - Former Oregon basketball star and current Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks sat courtside with Oregon fans surrounding him, laughing at the Duck mascot, analyzing the game and clapping when former teammate Payton Pritchard scored a bucket.

The Oregon men’s basketball team looks a lot different from the 2016-17 season, when Brooks and UO made it to the Final Four. However, the two teams share one important similarity; The Ducks won and will advance in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Oregon crushed Washington State 84-51 in the first round and will face third-seeded Utah in the quarterfinals on Thursday night. The Ducks extended their winning streak to five games and will need to win three more in as many days to be crowned as Pac-12 Tournament champions, which earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Winning four games in four days is a tall task that’s only been accomplished in the conference tournament once when Colorado claimed the crown as the sixth seed in 2012.

The Ducks beat the Cougars with a recipe that could prove vital for a deep tournament run; stout defense and dependable bench play.

UO’s defense continued to be excellent. The Ducks forced 20 turnovers, with 26 points off those turnovers and outrebounded the Cougars 41-33. The victory also marked the first time in the shot clock era (1985-86 to present) that Oregon has held five-consecutive opponents to less than 62 points.

Oregon held the conference's leading scorer, WSU senior Robert Franks, to only eight points. Franks was coming off a career-high 37 points against Oregon State on senior night. 

Pritchard's three steals moved him to third in UO career steals with 156 total.

"The guys are being real active," coach Dana Altman said. "There is a lot more communication. They are a lot more connected, covering up mistakes for each other. I always thought we had the potential to be a good defensive team.”

UO’s bench play was outstanding, scoring 46 points. Yes, you read that correctly.

Oregon reserves lead the team; Ehab Amin scored 17 points, Will Richardson scored 10 points and Miles Norris added a career-high 14 points.

With only nine scholarship players, Oregon couldn’t fully rest its starters, but was able to limit its minutes; Not a single Duck played over 24 minutes.

Oregon’s confidence is soaring and the team is as healthy as it has been, but blowing out Washington State falls short of the Ducks' goal.

"We have to focus on Utah," senior Paul White said. "We don't get a tournament bid or anything from beating Washington State by 33. So I think right now it's about leaving this game behind us and applying it to Utah".

With postseason hopes on the line, the question remains; Will there be enough in the tank tomorrow vs. Utah and then for two more days after that? Can the Ducks repeat as Pac-12 Tournament champions for the first time since the 2015-16 season? 

"Mr. Clutch" Dillon Brooks needs to become "Mr. Resilient"

"Mr. Clutch" Dillon Brooks needs to become "Mr. Resilient"

More injury news for former Oregon basketball star Dillon Brooks... Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” as a Duck, Brooks may need to become Mr. Resilient.

In just his second year in the league, the Memphis Grizzlies wing will likely miss the remainder of the 2018-2019 season due to a toe injury and surgery to repair it, according to a report from Shams Charania of the Athletic and Stadium.

While Memphis will miss the offensive jolt Brooks brings to the team, it is especially disappointing for Brooks, who just recently returned from a sprained MCL that cost him 21 games this season. Brooks scored in double figures in three of the seven games he played in since he got back in the rotation before injuring his toe late in Saturday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

This unfortunate news must be frustrating for the playmaker that was looking to build on his strong rookie campaign. In 2017-18, he played all 82 games and posted 11.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per night.

The silver lining? Brooks is expected to recover in time for summer workouts, leading into his third year in the NBA.

Brooks was the 2016-17 Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. He is one of Oregon’s five alums playing in the NBA; Jordan Bell (Golden State), Chris Boucher (two-way contract, Toronto), Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta), Troy Brown Jr. (Washington). Also, Elijah Brown is in his first season with the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive.

Dillon Brooks breaks down his rookie experience

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USA Today

Dillon Brooks breaks down his rookie experience

The Starters on NBA TV had a very special guest on Friday, former Oregon Basketball star Dillon Brooks.

Brooks recently wrapped up his rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies, and boy did he have a year. Drafted 45th overall in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft, few expected much from Brooks. All he did was silence all his naysayers and put together a great rookie campaign.

Brooks played in all 82 games for Memphis, starting 74 of them, while averaging 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Not bad for a guy drafted in the second round.

While on The Starters, Brooks talked about Memphis, the challenges of being a rookie in the NBA, who he thinks is the toughest player to guard, and much more.

Check out the video below to hear from the former Duck.  

Conley, perhaps Evans, out for Grizzlies tonight vs. Trail Blazers

Conley, perhaps Evans, out for Grizzlies tonight vs. Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers open a five-game road trip this evening in Memphis and it's a journey that should tell us a lot about where this Portland team is at this point of the season. Following the game against the Grizzlies, the Blazers travel to Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Washington and New York.

Two wins on this trip are a must and three would have to be considered a good trip.

And Memphis just may be a very good place to open this journey. The Grizzlies will be without point guard Mike Conley (Achilles injury). That takes 17.1 points per game out of the lineup and his team is 0-3 without him this season. Even more critical, guard Tyreke Evans is listed as questionable. Evans is the leading scorer off the bench in the NBA at 17.7  points pet game and made big shots against the Blazers in the 98-97 Memphis win over Portland in Moda Center in early November. Evans tallied 21 in that game. He is nursing a sore right shoulder.

[NBC Sports Gold “Blazers Pass” 15-game Blazers package for fans without NBC Sports Northwest $34.99 – click to learn more and buy]

The Blazers must also keep an eye on former Oregon Duck Dillon Brooks, a rookie who made key plays at both ends of the court in the earlier win at Portland. Brooks was a draft-day steal by Memphis with the No. 45 pick.

And don't forget, this is an early game in our time zone. Coverage begins tonight on NBC Sports Northwest at 4 o'clock with Rip City Live.

Former Oregon star Dillon Brooks showing NBA he is 'real deal'

Former Oregon star Dillon Brooks showing NBA he is 'real deal'

I don’t know about anybody else, but I left Tuesday’s Memphis-Portland game really impressed with Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks.

The former Oregon star not only started, he was a key player in Memphis’ 98-97 win over the Trail Blazers, making a steal that he converted into an and-one layin with 39.4 seconds left.

Then on the game’s final play, his defense made CJ McCollum hesitate in the corner after the Blazers guard had chased down a potential game-winner that missed. McCollum’s hesitation caused the clock to run out and preserved the Grizzlies win.

“He makes plays in crunch moments,’’ Memphis coach David Fizdale said. “That was something we noticed, our front office guys noticed when they watched the film on him. He always rose to the occasion in crunch moments. That’s something we really liked about him. He finds a way to help you win when everything is on the line.’’

[NBC Sports Gold "Blazers Pass" 15-game Blazers package for fans without NBC Sports Northwest $34.99 - click to learn more and buy]

I’m not sure even the most die-hard Ducks fans who watched Brooks win the Pac-12 Player of the Year award thought Brooks would be making this kind of impact, this quickly.

In fact, it sounds like the more Memphis tours the NBA, the more eyes Brooks is opening.

“He looks like been playing in league for a while,’’ Memphis star Mike Conley said. “Each game he earns more respect, not just from us, but around the league. That’s all people come up and talk to us about – ‘that Dillon Brooks kid, he’s the real deal’ -  and we love that. He plays with chip on shoulder and he’s not afraid of the moment.’’

Because of injuries, Brooks on Thursday started his third game, and it looks like he could stick in that role, in large part because he defended well within the Grizzlies’ active and aggressive system.

It’s why Fizdale had no hesitation putting Brooks on McCollum for the final shot.

“I feel good with him on anybody,’’ Fizdale said. “We’re developing him to be a starter. He has to go through mistakes, getting the respect of officials – all of that stuff. But we can’t hide him from those guys.’’

The question many around the league might be asking is where was Brooks hiding on draft night? He was drafted with the 45th pick overall by Houston, then traded to Memphis. On opening night, he scored 19 points against New Orleans, the highest scoring NBA debut by a Canadian, surpassing Rick Fox’s 13 points in 1991, and the highest-scoring debut by a Memphis player since Rudy Gay had 21 points in 2006.

“Man, somebody made a mistake not drafting him,’’ Grizzlies star Mike Conley said on opening night.

For the season, Brooks is averaging 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 29.7 minutes a game after he finished with seven points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks on Tuesday. He played 38 minutes, the most of any player on Memphis.

“Before I came here I didn’t like playing defense,’’ Brooks said. “But now, I love playing defense. It keeps me on the floor. I get to challenge the best players in the NBA.’’

Today's Blazers' links:

Three final thoughts on Tuesday's loss to the Grizzlies. 

Fan heckles Damian Lillard.

Trail Blazers.com looks at where the Blazers stack up in power rankings.

Trail Blazers move into summer league championship game

Trail Blazers move into summer league championship game

LAS VEGAS --  The Portland Trail Blazer summer-league team will play for the tournament championship Monday night at 7 o'clock in Thomas & Mack Center.

And how unlikely is that?

The Portland entry opened pool play by losing two of its first three games and lost Pat Connaughton and Zach Collins to injury. Yet the team has rallied around Jake Layman, Caleb Swanigan and three free agents and found a new lease on life.

VIDEO: Coach Moran proud to be apart of this team

Sunday night the Blazers knocked off previously undefeated Memphis, recovering from a 19-point, second-quarter deficit.

The Trail Blazers trailed almost from the opening tip and faced a 23-15 deficit after the first quarter, as the Grizzlies shot 47.4 percent from the field while Portland made just 6 of 15 shots. But the summer version of the Trail Blazers is a gritty bunch and they didn't quit.

Portland narrowed the lead to three points early in the third quarter and then finally took a 54-53 lead with 5:50 to play in the third period. The Blazers led by as many as four in the quarter but were down 63-61 heading into the final quarter.

VIDEO: Blazer players excited to play for Championship

Swanigan had his double-double by then with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Trail Blazers grabbed the lead back in the final quarter and led by eight with three minutes left and coasted home.

Free agent big man Jarnell Stokes continued his solid play, standing tall with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Guards Nick Johnson and RJ Hunter continued their solid play.

VIDEO: Stokes - Swanigan is my best friend

Trail Blazers predraft primer: Sleepers, surprises and what's next

Trail Blazers predraft primer: Sleepers, surprises and what's next

Some insights and observations about the Trail Blazers’ predraft workouts after four of the six sessions have taken place at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin:

Top 3&D candidate visits

Saturday saw shooting guard Terrance Ferguson pass through, offering the Blazers a look at one of the younger and more intriguing prospects when it comes to upside.

Ferguson is a stringy 6-foot-7 wing known for his shooting and defense. He turned 19 in May and is coming off a professional season in Australia, where he played 15 minutes a game for the Adelaide 36ers.

His decision to eschew college – he was committed first to Alabama, then later Arizona – came in Portland, after a strong showing at the Nike Hoop Summit. After the game at the Moda Center he said he was approached by representatives from Adelaide, and made the decisions on the spot, which was motivated by the opportunity to get paid and provide for his family.

“It was a teaching point; definitely a teaching point,’’ Ferguson said Saturday of his season in Australia. “It wasn’t the best season ever, not even close. But I learned so much during my time over there – as a person on and off the court. Overall, it was great for me.’’

He averaged 4.6 points while shooting 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range. He said the biggest adjustment was playing against older and more physically mature players. Ferguson is listed at 184 pounds.

“The league was so physical,’’ Ferguson said. “Going there -- as you can see I have a skinny body -- but I tried to hold my ground every game, every practice.’’

It was, Ferguson said, a humbling experience, and one that he feels gives him a leg up on the incoming rookies.

“In the pros, you have ups and downs, and I learned that the hard way overseas,’’ Ferguson said. “Everyone thinks they are the man coming in,, but you know, it’s going to hit you at one point that you are not the man anymore. I learned that quick.’’

His reputation is that he is one of the better shooters in the draft, but on Saturday in the limited two-minute window the media was allowed to watch the workouts, Ferguson was decidedly off with his shot as he went around the 3-point arc.

“Every NBA team needs shooter ,’’ he said, noting that he is also a coachable player and a defender. “I think I can bring that to the table.’’

Ferguson is projected by most to be selected in the 20s. He said he was worked out for the Lakers, Pacers, Bulls, Nuggets and Blazers, and has workouts scheduled with Charlotte, Miami, Detroit, Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

Brooks likes Bacon

Former Oregon standout Dillon Brooks worked out for the Blazers on Saturday, which he said was his 10th workout.

Of all his workouts, he was asked if there was one player who opened his eyes and stood out to him. He didn’t hesitate with his answer, and blurted it out before the question was even finished.

“Dwayne Bacon,’’ Brooks said. “He’s a really, really great scorer. Smooth. I was guarding him the whole workout (Saturday) and he was getting up tough shots. He’s going to be a great player in the NBA.’’

Bacon is a 6-foot-6 guard from Florida State who declared for the NBA after his sophomore season when he averaged 17.2 points and 4.2 rebounds a game. He shot 45 percent from the field last season, including 33 percent from three-point range.

Of note: Bacon was a standout student as well. He was a member of Florida State’s Student Athlete Advisory Council and was one of just 10 freshmen to be named to the All-ACC Academic team. In high school, at Oak Hill Academy, he was named to the honor roll in both semesters.

Potential sleeper

A player whose stock has been rising has been Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans, and his Portland workout on June 8 might be adding to that reputation.

The media has not been allowed to view much when it comes to Portland’s workout, but on June 8, Evans put on probably the most impressive shooting display made available to the media.

With Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell cheering him on, and getting louder and more effusive with each make, Evans nearly ran the table on a drill where players must make three, three-pointers from one area before moving to a different position around the arc. Stone-faced, Evans made it through five of the six stations before missing.

Evans last season as a sophomore at Oklahoma State averaged 19.2 points and 6.4 assists while shooting 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range. He also played big against top competition: he scored 30 points against North Carolina and had 15 assists against Kansas and 12 assists against Michigan.

Draft-and-stash?

Of intrigue in this draft is how the Blazers will handle their three first-round picks (15, 20, 26). One of the options is to draft a European and let him stay overseas to develop while not occupying a roster spot or cap room, which is often called a draft-and-stash (overseas) approach.

A candidate for that tactic came through Portland on Friday in the form of 7-foot-1, 21-year-old center Anzejs Pasecniks.

Pasecniks is from Latvia but played for Gran Canaria in the Spanish ACB League, where last season he averaged 7.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 15 minutes a game. His sparse playing time is common for young players in the ACB League.

He is regarded as an exceptionally skilled big man, much like his countryman Kristaps Porzingis, who is a star for the Knicks, and on Friday he said he likes playing in the pick-and-roll.

If there is a downside, it’s his defense and his strength, which was exposed in the limited access the media watched on Friday. Ohio State center Trevor Thompson, who has 30-pounds on Pasecniks, lowered his shoulder and drove on the Latvian, who was unable to hold his ground. By the time Thompson reached the key, Pasecniks was flailing and was called for a foul.

When asked if he saw himself playing in the NBA next season or staying overseas, Pasecniks said he was open to either.

“It has been my dream to play here since I was 14,’’ Pasecniks said. “Every birthday when I blow the candles I wish to play in NBA someday. I hope to play next season,  but don’t have any problems staying (overseas) a couple more years.’’

Two workouts left – whose coming?

The Blazers have two workouts left – June 12 and June 19 – after seeing 25 players come through during the first four workouts.

CSN has confirmed that Oregon’s Jordan Bell will workout June 19 while agents have acknowledged that both Ivan Rabb (California) and Justin Jackson (North Carolina) have workouts schedule in Portland.

Of the players widely projected to be available to Portland, the only ones who haven’t come through town are Gonzaga power forward Zach Collins, Texas center Jarrett Allen, UCLA center Ike Anigbogu and center Isaiah Hartenstein, who played for Zalgiris overseas.

So far, of the 25 players brought into Portland, 11 have been guards, eight forwards, three centers and three wings.

Based on the latest mock draft from Draft Express, the top-rated prospect has been Mitchell, the Louisville guard, was is projected to go 12th. Also: Wake Forest forward John Collins (14), Indiana forward OG Anunoby (15), Creighton center Justin Patton (19), Duke forward Harry Giles (20), Ferguson (23), Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo (24), Pasecniks (26) and Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon (30).

Blazers workouts: Jordan Bell among up to 50 prospects scheduled for draft workouts

Blazers workouts: Jordan Bell among up to 50 prospects scheduled for draft workouts

Former Oregon Ducks stars Jordan Bell and Dillon Brooks will be among the players scheduled to work out for the Trail Blazers this month before the June 22 NBA Draft.

Workouts will start June 7th  and conclude on June 19.

The Blazers have been attending Agent Pro Days in various cities, but have yet to hold individual workouts.

Brooks will workout for the Blazers on June 10 and Bell on June 19. The Blazers are also scheduled to workout former Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey.

CSNNW has also confirmed other workout participants: North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Creighton center Justin Patton, Wake Forest forward John Collins, California forward Ivan Rabb, South Carolina guard Sindarious Thornwell and guard Terrance Ferguson, who last season eschewed a commitment to play at Arizona to play professionally in Australia.

Among the more intriguing of the confirmed prospects are Patton, an athletic and efficient 7-foot center who left Creighton after his redshirt freshman season, and Collins, a 6-foot-10, 225 pounder who left Wake Forest after his sophomore season, when he averaged 19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. The Blazers are also expected to attend Patton's Pro Day workout on Friday. 

Also, Ferguson, 19, is a 6-foot-7 shooting guard who averaged 4.6 points for Adelaide in Australia, where he elected to play after making commitments out of high school to play for Alabama, and then Arizona. He is regarded as one of the draft’s better shooters and he is also considered a team-oriented player who is adept at passing.

Anywhere from 35 to 50 players are expected to workout for the Blazers, who own three first round picks: 15, 20 and 26.

A source said all of the team’s targets have committed to a workout in Tualatin. The workouts will be June 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 19th. 

Four Ducks set to workout at NBA combine, follow CSN for coverage

Four Ducks set to workout at NBA combine, follow CSN for coverage

Oregon made a historic run to the Final Four last season and now four key catalysts from that team will participate in the 2017 NBA Draft Combine Thursday and Friday in Chicago, Ill.

Forwards Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher, along with guard Tyler Dorsey, were invited to the annual event where NBA executives and scouts will size up the talents of players hoping to get selected in June's NBA Draft.

The 67 invited players will participate in five-on-five games and go through strength and agility drills at Chicago’s Quest Multisport.

For information on the former Ducks' progress, check back to CSNNW.com for coverage from Trail Blazers insider Jason Quick and follow him on Twitter @JWQuick.

The Trail Blazers have three picks in the first round of the draft? Could one be an Oregon Duck?

NBADraft.net projects Bell to be a late first-round pick, and for Boucher and Brooks to go late in the second round. Dorsey is not projected by the website to get selected.

 

Oregon junior Dillon Brooks declares for the NBA draft

Oregon junior Dillon Brooks declares for the NBA draft

Dillon Brooks announced Wednesday that he has hired an agent and plans to enter the NBA Draft.

The junior forward announced the decision on his Instagram with a link to his website:

"I've done so much here and everything has been great. I wouldn't be here right now without coaching staff, believing in me," Brooks said in the video. "I was not highly recruited and they believed in me from the jump. I just feel like now I'm going to take my talents to the next level and enter in the draft.

Brooks was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year after averaging 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists this season.

Not to be overlooked on a stat sheet is his big play ability. The All-American hit game-winning shots against Tennessee, UCLA and Cal this past season.

Brooks led Oregon to the NCAA Tournament in each of his three years, including a history-making Final Four run. He is Oregon's all-time scoring and assists leader in tournament history.

Brooks is projected by most mock drafts to be a second-round pick. This announcement comes two days after Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey also declared for the NBA Draft.

Junior Jordan Bell has not yet announced his future plans.