Key Departures: Eugene Omoruyi (NBA); Chris Duarte (NBA); LJ Figueroa (Grad); Chandler Lawson (–>Memphis)
New In Town: Quincy Guerrier (<–Syracuse); De’Vion Harmon (<–Oklahoma); Jacob Young (<–Rutgers); Rivaldo Soares (JUCO); Nathan Bittle (#27)
State of the Program:
Dana Altman continues to be one of the most underrated coaches in the Nation, as he continually churns out successful season’s at Oregon, as he notched another Pac-12 Championship, making it 4 of the last 6 for Oregon. Altman has been on the forefront of the movement to the transfer portal and really leaning on it to elevate his program. Last season it was Omoruyi and Figueroa who both started and were huge for the Ducks. Because of this there is quite a bit of turnover, but Altman has proven himself one of the best in the Country at gelling transfers with an existing roster. He will once again lean on transfers, but he also welcomes back a few key pieces from last year’s group, including promising guard Will Richardson (SR). Alongside Richardson they get back wing Eric Williams (SR) and big man N’Faly Dante (JR) who was a 5-star recruit in 2019 and a couple other big men in Franck Kepnang (SO) and Lok Wur (SO). The rest of the rotation will likely be transfers and a Freshman, and Altman once again scored some of the best transfers that entered the portal this season.
Leading the transfer group coming to Oregon has to be F Quincy Guerrier (JR), who was an All-ACC selection last season for Syracuse. Guerrier is an extremely gifted athlete that rebounds very well for his size and has a great motor and ability to score inside. His outside jumper improved a season ago and should continue to get better this season and he has a chance to come in right away and replace the production Omoruyi provided a season ago. He will likely start at the 4 and be a major piece for Altman. In the backcourt Altman turned to two very productive guards a season ago, the first of which is for Oklahoma Sooner De’Vion Harmon (JR). Harmon blossomed in his Sophomore campaign, averaging 13 ppg for the Sooners and should come right in and be a major contributor in the Duck backcourt. Richardson will be the cornerstone but Harmon should join him and make for an experienced and talented duo. Harmon is tough and plays a hard-nosed style and has a decent 3-point jumper. The other G coming in is former Rutgers guard, Jacob Young (SR) brother of former Oregon star Joe Young. Young is a quick, twitchy G that has a nice jumper and also can attack and create off the bounce. He came on strong a year ago, averaging 14 ppg and shooting 37% from 3. He likely will be a solid 6th man off the bench for the Ducks and should play a lot of minutes as Altman usually limits his rotation and leans on 7 guys heavily. JUCO G Rivaldo Soares (JR) is the last of the transfers to come to town, and he has some promise as a scorer. He can make plays off the bounce and create space to get his shot off. He likely won’t be a heavy contributor but being 8th or 9th off the bench is an important role nonetheless. The final newcomer is 6’11” big man Nathan Bittle (#27), who is a stretch big that can hit shots from 3 in the pick and pop game and has a decent back to the basket game where he goes to a decent right hook. He needs to fill his frame out a little bit and improve his athleticism, but his outside jumper combined with his size make him an exciting prospect, not just for Oregon but at the next level as well. He will have to fight for minutes behind Dante and Kepnang, but his game should allow him to get minutes and probably become the primary backup behind Dante.
It’s another mystery Oregon team as they bring in 3 transfers who will likely either start or play big minutes but as we’ve seen in the past from Altman he has the ability to gel teams with this kind of makeup. Richardson has the ability to raise his level of play and become the focal point of the offense, and we’ve already seen Guerrier prove he can be a dominant wing playing the small ball 4. Harmon, Young, and Williams give them even more scoring pop and with these athletes they should be able to defend at least at a decent level, especially with Dante inside cleaning things up. The Ducks have the best shot in the Pac-12 to knock off the Bruins, and while I don’t think that will happen I definitely see them right in the mix and getting back to yet another NCAA tournament. The question will be on the defensive side, as this group should be able to score rather easily, and if they can defend at least at a decent level they should be ranked and in contention all season long.