Troy Brown

Oregon basketball mentioned again in secret recording in college basketball corruption trial

Oregon basketball mentioned again in secret recording in college basketball corruption trial

On Wednesday, Oregon basketball was mentioned again in the college basketball corruption trial. This time, in the playback of a secret recording played in court. 

On the recording, Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, two of the three people accused of paying prep players to steer them to certain Adidas-aligned schools, both described Oregon's offer to five-star recruit Brian Bowen as "astronomical" but provided no further details. Bowen was set to go to Oregon, but Code said, "let me work the phones and get something done."

There has been no evidence to prove Oregon's offer yet, leading some to believe it was negotiation tactics by the Bowen family.  

Another development related to Oregon is former Duck Troy Brown Jr. is on the list of college players Dawkins said he was “actively involved with".

The Ducks' program has already come up on a couple of occasions, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. 

On Monday, prospective jurors in the case were read a list of schools that might come up during the fraud trial focused on Dawkins, Code and Adidas executive Jim Gatto. The schools mentioned: Arizona, Creighton, DePaul, Kansas, LSU, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Southern California and Texas.

The report indicates that the mere listing of these universities does not indicate wrongdoing. They were provided as a way to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest during the jury selection process. 

In the opening arguments made on Tuesday, Oregon was mentioned again, this time in the first direct implication against the program since the FBI-led scandal broke a year ago. 

Jim Gatto's attorney said evidence would show that Oregon offered "an astronomical amount of money" to recruit five-star prospect Brian Bowen to entice him to play for the Ducks. Adidas' $100,000 deal for Bowen to commit to Louisville was to "level the playing field."

It is unknown to what extent the UO men's basketball program will be included in the trial that is expected to explore the underbelly of college basketball recruiting. No one with ties to the Oregon program is listed on the potential witness list. Oregon had no ties with the pay-to-play scandal until Monday when Oregon appeared on the university list given to jurors. 

Oregon issued a statement in response to the allegations. The university will monitor the court proceedings and did not mention any plans of internal investiagion. 

"The university is aware of the claim made by a defense attorney in New York's U.S. District court as part of opening statements in a criminal trial related to college basketball recruiting," Klinger said. "To date, the University of Oregon has not been contacted by the federal government or any other party involved in these proceedings. We take the claim seriously and will monitor the court proceedings closely for any further details."

MORE DUCKS:

Best and Worst from Oregon vs. Cal: Did the good outweigh the bad?

Rivalry kickoff time set: Oregon vs. Washington

Ducks win, rise in AP Poll

Oregon flexes resiliency, Herbert makes it rain vs. Cal

What's special about Justin Herbert and his preparation?

 

Oregon's Troy Brown: point guard trapped inside a wing's body

Oregon's Troy Brown: point guard trapped inside a wing's body

Troy Brown Jr. on Thursday was among the latest batch of 3-and-D players to workout for the Trail Blazers, but the University of Oregon wing says he has something different than the other prospects who have passed through the Blazers’ Tualatin facility this month.

He says he is not just a shooter and defender, he can also pass like a point guard.

“I feel like a lot of guys when they say they are 3-and-D it’s offensive scoring and being a defensive player, but I feel like I bring more than that,’’ Brown said. 

The Las Vegas native, who was a 5-star recruit heading into Oregon, says he is a play-maker, which is borne from his playing point guard until his senior year in high school, when his 6-foot-7 height forced him to small forward.

“The versatility side to things,’’ Brown said, referring to how he is different than other prospects. “Being able to make plays for teammates and being that point-guard figure rather than just being a two or three.’’

The Blazers, who own the 24th pick in the June 21 draft, could use depth at the wing behind Evan Turner and Maurice Harkless, and the team seems to value extra play-makers as evidence by their 2016 free agent signing of Turner. 

In the Blazers’ first four draft workouts, the prospects have been mostly wings and guards, with nearly all the wings carrying a reputation of being able to shoot and defend. 

Owner Paul Allen has yet to attend one of the four workouts this month. Usually, Allen’s attendance is a sure sign that day’s prospects are targets to be drafted by Portland. However, on Thursday, Allen’s right-hand-man -- Bert Kolde -- made his second appearance at the workouts to see Brown and guards Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech), Landry Shamet (Wichita State) and De’Anthony Melton (Southern California). Creighton wing Khyri Thomas was also at the facility, but he did not workout for undisclosed reasons.

All told, the Blazers this month have worked out wings Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Melvin Frazier (Tulane), Gary Trent Jr. (Duke), Shake Milton (SMU), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Bruce Brown (Miami), Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy) and Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky).

Brown, who is the first player in Oregon history to leave after one season, said he “didn’t feel great” in his workout with the Blazers, but overall he said he feels he has improved his draft stock during his workouts with 10 teams. He says he still has sessions left with Minnesota and Charlotte. 

He averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 assists and 6.2 rebounds while playing 31 minutes a game for the Ducks this season. He said he focused more on being a glue guy at Oregon, where he did the little things to help the team win. 

The NBA, he says, is more suited to showcase his all-around skills, and it’s one reason why he feels like his “stock has risen” during his workouts. 

“I feel like coming out of college there weren’t a lot of people touting me as a very good player,’’ Brown said. “I didn’t have a great year, so people didn’t think I was good at basketball, period. So just being able to show what I’m capable of doing and having that chip on my shoulder … it has definitely done a lot for me.’’

If there is one question mark around Brown’s game, it’s his outside shooting. Last season at Oregon, he went 32-for-110 (29.1 percent) from three-point range. He said his shooting has been a point of emphasis during his personal workouts.

“We all have things to work on and I feel like shooting is one of mine … along with a lot of other people,’’ Brown said.

Some things, though, come naturally, and are hard to label. That’s why Oregon teammate MiKyle McIntosh – who also worked out in Portland on Thursday – said it didn’t take long for him to know Brown had an NBA future.

“Immediately, when I saw him the first time,’’ McIntosh said. “He just had something to him. His guard skills for his size and the way he passed the ball … just how versatile. But definitely what I saw and was most impressed with at first was the way he could play defense. He has very long arms and is able to guard every position pretty much.’’

Brown has been projected to be drafted as early as 18 and nearly all mocks have him going in the first round. Where ever he goes, he says that team will be getting more than just 3’s and D. There’s passing, play-making, and smarts.

“My IQ level,’’ Brown said. “It comes from playing point guard in high school.’’

NBA Combine Notebook: Blazers take different approach in interviews

NBA Combine Notebook: Blazers take different approach in interviews

CHICAGO – When prospects at the NBA Combine last week were summoned to a meeting with the Trail Blazers, they were in for a surprise.

Unlike meetings with the Clippers, where waiting for them inside a hotel room was NBA legend Jerry West, or unlike meetings with the Lakers alongside Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, prospects walked into their Portland meeting to find …. Dana Sinclair.

“It was … different,’’ Duke wing Gary Trent Jr. said. 

Sinclair is a sports performance psychologist who has been working with the Blazers since 2007. When she was first hired by then-general manager Kevin Pritchard, Sinclair would sometimes convene with the team on the road. But now, she is mostly in charge of handling the Blazers pre-draft intel.

According to some of the players Sinclair interviewed last week, they were given a checklist with various character traits. After they checked what they felt applied to them, there were a serious of questions.

“It was questions like, ‘What would people describe you as?’’’ Brian Bowen said. “And ‘What would you describe yourself as?’ It was interesting. It was her getting to know me personally. I liked it.’’

After the checklist and questions, the players talked with Sinclair and discussed the results. Some of the players said she nailed their personality. 

“She was close,’’ Oregon’s Troy Brown said. “But she said she thought I was a little unsocial, and when she said that I was a little shocked. I was like, not me. Not me.’’

Bowen, the former Louisville recruit, said she nailed him. 

“She formed and said things about me that were so accurate it was crazy,’’ Bowen said. “It was eye opening.’’

Bowen said there was nothing weird about the questions and noted that Minnesota asked him the most interesting question: If you were driving and approaching a yellow light, what would you do?

WILL BLAZERS’ SHAKE?

One of the prospects the Blazers interviewed in Chicago was SMU’s Shake Milton, who notes that he has “had my fair share” of adversity in his life.

This season as a junior, he broke his right hand, forcing him to miss the season’s final 11 games. And when he was 15, his father, Myrion, died in 2012 at age 43 because of a heart issue. 

“My family was in my corner, and that’s all I needed,’’ Milton said.

A 6-foot-5 guard, Milton was the American Conference player of the year after averaging 18.0 points and 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He says he figures he will standout because of his shooting, his basketball intelligence and his defensive versatility. 

“With my length, I can guard multiple positions,’’ Milton said. “I feel like I can do anything the coach asks me to do. The way the game is going – positionless basketball – you have to be able to guard multiple positions and knock down shots.’’

Even though his father is gone, his memory lives on with Milton’s nickname. His father, during his playing days at Texas A&M was called “Milkman.” So when his son was in the womb, he started calling him Shake … as in Milkshake. 

So even though his proper name is Malik, Milton has always gone by Shake since he was born. 

IN THE GENES

One of the top scorers the Blazers appear interested in is Boston College guard Jerome Robinson, who like Milton, has a father who played collegiately. 

Jerome Sr. was a small forward who played at South Florida before a nine-year professional career overseas.

“I remember playing 1-on-1 against him when I was young and he would show no mercy,’’ Robinson said. “He was dunking and everything.’’

It wasn’t until high school that he beat his father and he says he hasn’t lost to him since. 

Lonnie Walker, a standout defender at Miami who is expected to be a lottery pick, was asked at the combine who was his toughest player to guard. He didn’t hesitate.

“Jerome Robinson,’’ Walker said. “He gave me 30 points. I have to respect a guy who gave me a whole lot of buckets like that. He is a vet. You have to pay respect when it’s due. He knows his spots, how to shoot, how to score. It was definitely a challenge.’’

 Robinson, who this season as a junior averaged 20.7 points while shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range,  has been training with Noah LaRoche, the owner of Integrity Sports and the trainer of Russell Westbrook.

Robinson says he will be defined by two traits: hard work and character.

“Nothing was given to me, not even in my own household. I will work in the dark until I see the light,’’ Robinson said. “I don’t have a ridiculous wing span or ridiculous height, but I know that I have a mental advantage against guys I play against. That’s the way I attack the game.’’

FAMILIAR NAME

One of the top names scheduled to workout in Portland in June is Duke wing Gary Trent, Jr.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because his father Gary Trent played with the Blazers from 1995-1998.

“He always he told me stories of those teams, and the name they had, the Jail Blazers,’’ Trent said. “But he told me funny stories, stories of him, JR (Rider), Rasheed (Wallace).’’

Trent Jr. as a freshman with Duke averaged 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds. He carries himself with a brash confidence and says he will show NBA teams that he can be a prolific scorer. He is projected to go anywhere from the mid-teens to the second round. 

“I honestly feel like I’m better than that,’’ Trent said. “I can score with the best of them – post, mid range, three, off the dribble, catch and shoot. I feel like there is not situation on the offensive end that I can’t do. ‘’

Part of that confidence comes from being schooled by his father, not only in the nuances of the game, but also the draft process.

“It’s almost as if I had a cheat sheet,’’ Trent said. “My father has been through it all – the combine, the one-year deals, the three-year deals. He’s been at the bottom of the bench, a key contributor off the bench. He’s been through every situation, and that’s the plus of having a father who played.’’

Trent is also well-schooled on the current Blazers, and said he felt he could make an immediate impact in Portland.

“I think I could come in right away and help be a nice spark, come in and knock down shots,’’ Trent said. “There is so much pressure on Dame and CJ, I would probably just get easy buckets just spotting up and doing little things like that.

“And scoring when I need to – drive, catch and shoot, play make, drop off to them and Harkless and all them guys … the big man, how do you say his name again? Nurkic, yeah, he’s a talented player, too. They have a lot going on, a lot of good things.’’

After 'OK' season with Ducks, Troy Brown thinks he is ready for NBA

After 'OK' season with Ducks, Troy Brown thinks he is ready for NBA

CHICAGO –Troy Brown’s only season at the University of Oregon didn’t go as he planned.  Not only did the team not make the NCAA Tournament, the heralded wing was only good, and not great, on the court.

Even so, after averaging 11.3, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists for the Ducks, Brown said he saw enough in himself to declare for the NBA Draft.

“I would say it was OK,’’ he said of his freshman season in Eugene. “It wasn’t the best year, or the year I wanted. Every kid dreams of going to college and being the star player, but we all go through our ups and downs, and it’s one of those things I learned from, and I feel I matured from.’’

He said he feels the up-and-down tempo of the NBA will better suit his offensive game and complement his defensive versatility. NBA scouts seem to agree as Brown is projected to be a mid-to-late first round selection.

“I can do everything on the court,’’ Brown said. “I feel like I can score the ball really well, but at Oregon that wasn’t my (role). We had a lot of guys who could put the ball in the hoop. I was more of a glue guy, and I was ok with that. I was fine just showing my versatility and doing the hard stuff - rebounding, guarding the best player, diving for loose balls and stuff like that.’’ 

The 6-foot-7 Brown appears to be the type of hybrid player that is becoming valued in today’s NBA game – long, athletic and able to guard several positions. The knock on his game – his outside shooting – has been a point of emphasis in his predraft workouts. 

“The more repetitions, the better,’’ Brown said. 

He said he is embracing the undefined nature of what position he will play in the NBA, noting that the league is trending more toward positionless basketball. 

“I feel like coming out of college everybody sees me as a small forward, but I can still make my way up to whatever position my coach needs me to do to get the W,’’ Brown said. “That’s what I’m willing to do.’

Kenny Wooten is throwing a block party, and everyone is invited

usatsi_10594901.jpg
USA Today Img.

Kenny Wooten is throwing a block party, and everyone is invited

How Oregon won: Two freshmen didn’t quite look like freshmen tonight vs. Washington. Kenny Wooten and Troy Brown Jr., stepped up in a huge way on both ends of the court. Wooten hosted himself a block party and finished with a career-high seven blocks. Whereas  Brown found his stroke and caught fire from the field finishing with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. These two set the tone for the Ducks (16-8, 6-5 Pac-12) to a 65-40 beating over Washington Huskies (17-7, 7-4 Pac-12) at Matthew Knight Arena Thursday evening.

After the game, Brown said, “Well for me personally, I felt that it was a great win. I feel like it was something we need to keep on doing and just build on at this point. I feel like the Stanford loss is something that really gave us an awakening at this point in time…. right now we just need to get back on board. We needed that win, that significant win, and we just got to come out Sunday and keep on building from there.”

The defensive effort from Oregon started on the very first possession. Oregon forced Washington into an immediate shot clock violation that set the tone throughout the entire game.

“Our coach told us that we had to work hard on defense,” said Wooten. “So I just tried to give the maximum amount of effort I could.”

One block was enough for the Huskies as a lurking Wooten was ready pounce on any given drive.

Brown said of Wooten’s shot-blocking capabilities, “After that, it changed the game a lot. They just seemed very timid heading to the basket. They were all kind of pump-faking, and it just changed the game a lot.”

What it means: Let’s flashback to last Saturday afternoon when the Ducks were in Palo Alto facing the Stanford Cardinal. The final score 96-61 Cardinal victory, a 35-point deficit, and expressionless Ducks hitting the road due north. 

The only solution to bounce back from a loss like that? Flush it and move on. And that is exactly what the Ducks did tonight. Quite the opposite team play from last Saturday to know. Call it good coaching or a good week of practice, but these Ducks came out firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. 

Now, the tough question remains: which team is going to show up to each game? A lost, confused team vs. Stanford or an energetic, diving after loose balls team tonight. Consistency will be a big challenge moving forward for Altman and the Ducks.

Brown said, “I feel like we flushed it very easily. I felt like coach Altman did a good job of just kind of keeping us motivated. He didn’t dwell on it. It was kind of one of those things where we know we are better than that and we have to show it. So we kind of just moved on from it and it worked out for the best.”

High flying Ducks: Besides the remarkable play from the two freshmen Wooten and Brown, sophomore guard Payton Pritchard finished with 12 points and dished out eight assists, half of the team total in assists. Redshirt senior Mikyle McIntosh was one rebound and one basket away from yet another double-double. He finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

Foul play: Redshirt junior Paul White finished with four fouls.

Up next: The Ducks host the Washington State Cougars (9-14, 1-10 Pac-12) at 5 PM (PT) this Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon basketball team reloaded for success

usatsi_10341852.jpg
USA Today

Oregon basketball team reloaded for success

Oregon's basketball team won't match last year's run to the Final Four after losing seven of the team's best nine players. 

However, this season's squad will be darn good and could hint toward at possible run at returning to the Final Four the following season.  

The Ducks begin non-conference play at 9 p.m., Friday night at home against Coppin State. Oregon coach Dana Altman will have his work cut out for him this season to mold together a group of mostly strangers in time for when Pac-12 play begins on Dec. 29 against Utah. 

Gone are four NBA players. Dillon Brooks (Memphis Grizzlies), Jordan Bell (Golden State Warriors), Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta Hawks) and Chris Boucher (Golden State Warriors), along with Dylan Ennis (graduated), Casey Benson (transfer) and Kavell Bigby-Williams (transfer). 

Such departures would destroy most programs for at least a season., but seemingly not Oregon, which has pulled off one of the greatest reloading adventures of all time. The only real question is if this collection of new talent can come together in time to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. 

"I think we can have a good offensive team if we make shots for each other," UO coach Dana Altman told reporters following a recent exhibition game. "I don't think this can be a team where (players say) 'I'm going to go make a play this time.'  We've got to move it... Our guys just haven't figured that out yet."

That will take time given all of the new faces. Sophomore point guard Payton Pritchard is the only returning regular rotation player. Sophomore forward Keith Smith played minimal minutes last season. 

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

True freshmen, forwards Troy Brown, a five-star recruit, and Kenny Wooten, and freshman Victor Bailey Jr. will be instant impact players. Transfer forward Paul White, who sat out last season, and new transfers, guard Elijah Brown and forward Mikyle McIntosh, will contribute in a variety of ways. Then there's also freshman forward Abu Kigab, redshirt freshman forward M.J. Cage and senior center Roman Sorkin.

That's quite a bit of talent to work with that will create opportunities for Altman to play several different types of lineups. 

But, again, they must all mesh together and learn to play team basketball in order for the Ducks, picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12, to be successful.

No worries. Altman has proven in the past that he is deft at taking a batch of new talent and getting them to play together on defense and on offense. It often takes a bit of time. But once the project is complete, the results typically prove to be spectacular. 

"We've got potential." Altman said. "But we've got a tremendous amount of work to do."

Oregon basketball picked to finish fourth in Pac-12

Oregon basketball picked to finish fourth in Pac-12

Media members who cover the Pac-12 picked defending champion Oregon to finish fourth in the Pac-12.

Arizona was picked to win the conference title. Oregon State is picked to finish eighth. 

Considering that Oregon, which reached the Final Four last season, lost Jordan Bell, Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Chris Boucher to the NBA, along with Dylan Ennis, being picked to finish fourth is quite complimentary. 

The Ducks return one impact player, sophomore point guard Payton Pritchard, leaving coach Dana Altman to rebuild with a few other young returners, transfers and a loaded recruiting class that includes five-star guard Troy Brown

Oregon will play Northwest Christian in an exhibition game on Nov. 30 before opening the regular season Nov. 20 at home against Coppin State.

Pac-12 conference play begins Dec. 29. The Pac-12 Tournament will be held Mar. 7-10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. 

2017-18 PAC-12 MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

  Team (First Place) Points
1. Arizona (22) 273
2. USC (1) 251
3. UCLA 223
4. Oregon 203
5. Stanford 182
6. Arizona State 146
7. Utah 129
8. Oregon State 125
9. Colorado 112
10. Washington 71
11. California 46
12. Washington State 33