Oregon men’s basketball head coach Dana Altman and select players met with the media early Friday afternoon for the first time since the end of last season.
With the attention already building around the Ducks, Altman must get everyone situated and on the same page before implementing more complex schemes and sets.
“We’ve been working on a lot of conditioning, just trying to get in good enough shape to practice,” Altman said. “We like to go a couple two-a-days here and some long practices just because you gotta go over so many things.”
Altman fielded multiple questions that revolved around the plethora of talent added throughout the offseason.
Like in past years, Altman aggressively pursued transfers. He added players such as guard Anthony Mathis and forward Shakur Juiston, whom will both be eligible to play for the Ducks in 2019.
“Shakur with his experience, Anthony with his experience, that definitely brings a different dimension,” Altman said. “[Shakur] has always been a good rebounder… I think he brings some good physicality. I think he can shoot it.”
While adding veteran talent is always needed, Oregon hauled in plenty of talented young recruits as well. Five-star wing CJ Walker, four-star forward Chandler Lawson, and No. 1 JUCO transfer Chris Duarte have been in the fold for several months. The late summer additions of top-15 center N’Faly Dante — who has yet to practice with the team due to admission issues — and top-50 guard Addison Patterson have helped bolster and fill out an already strong roster.
Even 6-foot-9, three-star freshman Lök Wur was talked up.
“I think he’s got a lot of upside,” Altman said of the lengthy freshman. “It’s one of those things you just gotta preach patience, because the strength does have to improve.”
This year's squad seems to have a renewed focus on work ethic, in spite of its equally talented roster.
“We need a championship,” sophomore center Francis Okoro said. “We think we have a chance this year, we’ve been working really hard… I’m excited for this year especially after how we ended last year.”
Although he provided leadership last year, — a rare attribute for any freshman — Okoro will be tasked with a much greater one this year. Luckily, he will have help as point guard Payton Pritchard elected to forgo the NBA draft and stay for his senior year.
“There were options on the table...,” Pritchard said. “For me I think it’s another year to grow as a player, ultimately it was my choice to come back and maybe further my stock even more, but I’m just excited to go at it again with this team and this coach. One last go around.”
The coming weeks will be crucial for Oregon. The Ducks need to jell and build chemistry after such extensive roster turnover, especially if they hope to be competitive against a tough early-season schedule that includes top-5 Memphis.