Less than two weeks after the Ducks’ loss to USC in the Sweet 16, Dana Altman met with the media for the final time this season. Here are my 10 main takeaways from the wrap-up conference.
- Senior guard Amauri Hardy will be “moving on,” according to Altman. Hardy played one year for Altman after spending three years at UNLV. He averaged 3.9 points and 2.2 assists per game while playing all 28 games. He started 13 games while Will Richardson recovered from a thumb injury.
- Senior forward LJ Figueroa has not made a decision on whether he will return to Oregon or pursue the NBA Draft. Altman said he expects Figueroa to explore professional opportunities.
- Altman thanked longtime assistant coach and new DePaul Head Coach Tony Stubblefield for his 11 years at Oregon. “I’m not going to try to hide it; I’m going to miss him professionally and personally. I think within two to three years, Tony will have them rolling.”
- After a season filled with COVID-19 pauses and injuries, Altman reflected on the oddness of it. “I want guys to reflect back and say ‘I had a good time with the fellas,’ and we would go out to the movies and have fun together,” he said. “But we just didn’t have that.”
- N’Faly Dante, who missed most of this season with a torn ACL suffered in December, is expected to return in November or December, according to Altman. “We’re going to be very cautious with Dante,” Altman said. “We’ve been really pleased with his work ethic, and he’s attacking his rehab.”
- Altman predicted that senior guard Chris Duarte will be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. Duarte has not officially declared for the NBA Draft, but he posted a goodbye to Ducks fans and to the program on social media last month.
- Senior Eugene Omoruyi has also posted a goodbye on social media, but he has not officially declared for the draft. “He’s one of the toughest dudes I’ve ever been around,” Altman said. “I don’t care what level you’re at, toughness translates, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he can help an organization.”
- The Ducks are once again communicating with players entering the transfer portal across the country, and they will look to fill some big shoes. “We lose a lot of scoring with Chris, and we lose a lot of scoring with Eugene and his physicality,” Altman said. “Fortunately, there’s a lot of young men calling us. We’ll look for the best fit and the kind of guys that want to be here.”
- Altman said that the Ducks could run a big lineup in 2021 with the additions of 5-star Nathan Bittle (6’10”) and 4-star center Isaac Johnson (6’11”). “They give us a little size, but they’re freshmen,” Altman said. “Isaac and Nate can both shoot the three, so if they’re both shooting well, we could spread the floor offensively.”
- Altman had no update on the Ducks’ non-conference matchups with Michigan, Houston, and Baylor and whether those games will happen in 2021. The Ducks are also scheduled to participate in the Maui Invitational next season, but the status of the tournament is uncertain as well.
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