Oregon welcomed eight new players to the floor as they took on Northwest Christian in a preseason exhibition at Matthew Knight Arena. Head coach Dana Altman wanted to see the most of his new crop of transfers, and could only watch as guards Joseph Young and Jason Calliste lit up the scoreboard.
14 of the 15 Ducks on the roster played Sunday, and all but two of them saw at least 8 minutes of the floor. The only name missing from the box score was a freshman from Salem, Ore., A.J. Lapray.
“I wanted to play everybody today, it’s been a long month of practice. I wanted to get everybody out there on the floor,” Altman said, saying later that Lapray missed too much fall practice to see time against NCU.
That scoreboard said 99-59 in favor of Oregon, but the exhibition against NAIA member NCU was never really in doubt and Oregon won’t add a 1 to their win column after this one.
Calliste and Young saw the most action of any of the new guys in critical moments, both scoring 20 points. Young added 5 steals and 3 assists. Guard Damyean Dotson scored 12, forward Elgin Cook added 10 and last year’s starting point guard Dominic Artis scored 6.
“It’s going to be really hard to replace E.J., Carlos really came on as the year went on. So those two guys are hard to replace, but I think Jason and Joe are different types of players,” Altman said. “So Jason, Joe, Dot, D.A., Johnny (Loyd) are going to have to rebound really hard.”
Leading the Ducks on the glass was high-profile transfer Mike Moser. The 6-foot-8 combo forward grabbed 7 rebounds and added 8 points in his 17 minutes, although his smooth shot release and command of the post indicated more on the way. The senior attended UNLV for his sophomore and junior seasons, averaging a double-double for the Running Rebels his sophomore year. He attended Portland’s Grant High School before taking to UCLA for his freshman year.
Young stood out on the scoreline, but his five steals really became apparent. The Ducks who ranked among the worst in the Pac-12 in committing turnovers last year, and finished with 14 giveaways Sunday, will figure to benefit from his hot hands as the season wears on.
“Defense wins games, so we do that and we’ll be a good ball club.”
Loyd only played 12 minutes but made his presence felt across the box score. The senior scored 3 points on an early bucket from distance, and added 4 assists and 2 steals. His versatility will be key to this Duck squad as he’s the only Oregon senior to play for Altman all four years.
“Whatever coach wants me to do, I’m willing to do whatever he wants,” Loyd said. “Just want to help this team win.”
NCU was littered with familiar names, from Ducks last year who transferred away in Coleton Baker and Austin Kuemper, to NCU coach and Oregon legend Luke Jackson, coaching his first game in blue and gold. Loyd talked after the game about getting to play against his former teammate in Baker, and joked about his disappointment in not keeping Baker scoreless.
“He got a couple buckets on me, so I was disturbed about that,” Loyd said lightly. “It was cool, I was happy for him.”
Loyd said he tried a little bit of trash talk, but added, “He got two buckets, so it didn’t really work.”