The basketball season is just hours from getting started. With that, staff reporters Christopher Keizur and Ryan Kostecka answered a roundtable of questions about Dana Altman’s job security, Joseph Young’s level of productivity and the biggest issues Oregon might face this year.
Is Dana Altman on the hot seat? Why?
Kostecka: Of course Altman is on the hot seat and the most unfortunate thing is that it’s not entirely his fault. Yes, he messed up in the handling of the tumultuous offseason (something I don’t stand by), but it was the players who screwed up. Anyways, Duck fans want wins and so does the athletic department brass and if Altman can’t deliver that, you can be sure another coach will.
Keizur: How crazy is it that this question is being asked? A couple of years ago, when the Ducks were a perennial Pac-12 contender, Altman’s job security wasn’t in question. Now, after a disastrous offseason, Altman is definitely on the hot seat. Fans want to see W’s on the schedule, and no matter how optimistic you want to be it seems unlikely that this current Duck team will be able to generate victories. As the losses pile up so to will the grumblings from the Duck faithful who have grown accustomed to enjoying the madness of March.
With the lack in experience from this team, does Joseph Young have better or worse productivity than last year?
Kostecka: Young will score more points than his 18.9 points he averaged last season but he will do it while shooting at a worse percentage. He will be worth the price of admission for all Oregon games because he’s capable of doing whatever he wants on the court and watching him do it against double and triple teams will be very entertaining. The constant defensive pressure he faces will make it tougher for him to get any open looks but the amount of shots he’ll have to take, and hopefully make, to keep Oregon in games will be remarkable.
Keizur: Joseph Young is in the perfect situation for a score-first guard. He can have all the shots he desires because lets be honest, who else is going to score? Young is built for this role; he can shoot from anywhere on the court, get himself open away from the ball and is superb at making his way to the free throw line. Expect Young to lead the conference in scoring this season, putting up somewhere around 24 points per game. While it may not be his most efficient season shooting — double and triple teams incoming — he will definitely put on a show.
What’s the biggest issue going to be for the Ducks this season as far as being competitive in games?
Kostecka: Everyone talks about Oregon’s lack of size and depth but that won’t be the most challenging aspect of this team. Adversity. Oregon is going to get trounced by opponents this year, something no one on the roster is used too, so how the Ducks fight in all these games and respond to the adversity will be the most challenging aspect. Can Oregon keep clear heads amidst the turmoil — I’m not sure — but it will be what makes or breaks the Ducks.
Keizur: Where is the size? This roster is short, and with no height down low the Ducks are going to struggle to protect the hoop and rebound. The tallest player on the roster is junior transfer Michael Chandler at 6’10. After that, it goes downhill fast; 6’9, 6’7 and a handful of players at 6’6. To counteract their lack of size, the Ducks are going to have to find a way to rebound as a team. The guards are going to have to sacrifice the fastbreak to make sure they can check back and help the bigs corral the loose balls. But man, if Chandler doesn’t pan out or if the Ducks struggle with injuries, Altman may have to consider running a five guard look.