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Main Takeaways From Dana Altman's Wednesday Press Conference Following Wins Over USC, UCLA

The Ducks could be turning the corner after some huge wins over Pac-12 powers.

Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman held a media availability Wednesday morning to discuss the successful weekend road trip in Los Angeles, the team’s progress so far, and COVID-19 postponements.

On the Washington State game being postponed:

“We were fired up about playing. You have a good weekend, you want to keep playing, so it’s gonna be a long week. Guys don’t like thinking about practicing for six, seven, days in a row without a game at this point in a season.”

On Will Richardson taking a larger leadership role within the team:

“He’s had experience with those guys (Payton Pritchard, Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte) and he knows how important that is. So I think he finally got a little frustrated with the way things were going and has really done a good job just talking in the huddles, reinforcing what the coaches have to say. It just brings everyone together.”

On N’Faly Dante’s injury recovery and progression:

“[Dante] got here, he had tendinitis, we didn’t get much out of him that freshman year… Then last year, played what? Six games and tore his ACL. So you know he hasn’t played many games for us. It’s taken a while, and coming back from an ACL [injury] in a big fella like that is a little bit more demanding, a little tougher than it would be on a smaller guy.”

“We gotta get him the ball more. He went 6-for-7 against USC; he went 5-for-6 against UCLA. I never claimed to be the smartest guy, but those numbers are pretty good. We gotta get him the ball a little bit more, and to do that he’s gotta consistently post up so our guys know to look for him all the time, but our guards need to throw it in there more.”

On if there’s been a mentality change during the team’s five-game win streak:

“The guys are feeling good. They’re pretty energetic now. They were frustrated early — we all were. It’s hard. As coaches, you try and be really consistent. Win or lose, here’s what we do, this is how we do it. We just gotta keep hammering away if we’re not successful. If we are successful, we don’t change [our demeanor]. This is what we do. We try not to change our personalities off the floor win or lose. We want the guys to know they can count on us. Off the floor, we don’t ever change. This is what our expectations are. We try to be there to support the players all the time. On the floor, we try to be really consistent.

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“The guys are working hard, and that’s one thing I’ll give them credit for. When we were really struggling, they never quit, they never quit working hard. They just kept looking for answers, just like the coaching staff. We worked together to try to get a few answered, and we’re playing better, but I told the guys that’s no guarantee that we’ll continue to play better. We gotta make it happen.”

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