E.J. Singler

Oregon Men’s Basketball: Where Do We Go From Here?


In November, the Oregon Ducks (15-8, 3-8 Pac-12) seemed to be a prime contender for a deep run into March Madness, winning its first 13 games and reaching the No. 10 ranking in the AP Poll.  That incredible start now seems miles away since they reached conference play, as the Ducks are 10th in the Pac-12 standings, and they have only seven games left to make up ground.

It has been a long season for Oregon since matching their school’s best record to start a season.  Of their last six losses, five have come by a margin of four points or smaller.

If a few plays went differently, these games could’ve been quality wins for the Ducks; three of the five losses came to the top three teams in the Pac-12, including No. 2 Arizona (23-1, 10-1 Pac-12) and the UCLA Bruins (18-5, 7-3 Pac-12).

Defense 43, Washington,1314,GB

This kind of intensity is needed in every game from here on out.

What seems to be the missing piece is someone to close out a game, much like E.J. Singler did for Oregon last season.  In his four years at Oregon, Singler averaged .849 percent from the free throw line – which aided in the Ducks upset over the Wildcats last year.

This year against the conference’s best, Jason Calliste and Dominic Artis missed late free throws, which sealed the win for the Wildcats.  The teams combined for an ugly 31-for-53 performance from the line, but in the end, the Ducks suffered from the loss.

According to Joe Lunardi’s Braketology on ESPN.com, Oregon is projected as one of the next four out of the on-the-bubble teams, and that is about the range other experts have predicted as well.

They’re ranked 41st in the RPI, but 23rd in the BPI; the BPI was created to be the most comprehensive college basketball analysis rating systems.  Rich Kurtzman, also of ESPN, gives a detailed explanation of the differences here.  http://www.examiner.com/article/college-basketball-rankings-espn-s-bpi-explained

Fortunately, Oregon’s next three games are at home.  Maybe that will help improve their FG accuracy –  as a whole, the team’s field goal percentage has dropped to .465 percent, which is 71st in the nation.

Mike Moser must be a bigger factor in the Civil War rematch on Sunday

Mike Moser must be a bigger factor in the Civil War rematch on Sunday.

The Ducks will play the Oregon State Beavers (13-10, 5-6 Pac-12) on Sunday, Feb. 16, and they will look to avenge the six-point loss in Corvallis suffered late January.  The Beavers have also endured struggles this year, and, like the Ducks, are coming off losses to Arizona and Arizona State.

Oregon must come with a sense of urgency on the offensive end.  The last time the two met, the Beaver’s held Oregon to just 38 percent shooting.  Ducks leading scorers Joseph Young and Mike Moser, combined for a mere 13 points; much more production is needed out of those two if Oregon is going to compete.

Three days after that, Washington (13-11, 5-6 Pac-12) will visit Eugene to try and sweep the Ducks on the year. The Huskies edged Oregon out by four points in their first meeting.

This was a result of a 26.7 percent performance from three-point range.  At the start of the year, the Ducks were one of the most efficient and lethal teams from behind the arc, but lately, that reliance on the three has come back to haunt them.

There are still many opportunities for Oregon to climb back up the standings before the Pac-12 Tournament.  If the Ducks are able to win the tourney, it will guarantee them a spot in the tournament, but they must gain some momentum with a strong final stretch.  Final games between UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State are also still yet to be played.

 

Top Photo By Steve Francis

EJ Singler to Play for Portland Trail Blazers D-League Team

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E.J. Singler
E.J. Singler | (Jim Taylor)

Former Oregon Ducks basketball star E.J. Singler, despite recently being cut by the Portland Trail Blazers, will continue to play professional basketball. Singler will play for the Idaho Stampede as part of the NBA Development League.

“I really liked E.J.,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “He was really good to have in camp. He was there every day early, he worked hard, he made our practices better. He can shoot the ball, he’s a smart player.”

Stotts and the Blazers staff chose to invite Singler to compete in training camp after being undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft in June. Singler, caught in a numbers game, was dropped as the Blazers need to trim their roster to 15.

“I think the experience of the D-League will do him well,” Stotts said. “As a two-guard, working on his ballhandling will probably be a help. Getting his shot off a little bit quicker, maybe.”

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E.J. Singler Agrees to Training Camp Deal With Portland Trail Blazers

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E.J. Singler
E.J. Singler
(Jim Taylor)

Edward J. Singler is going to get a chance to keep playing basketball in the northwest. E.J. Singler struck a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers to make a spot at training camp.

E.J., a senior last year with the Ducks, is from Medford, Ore., and spent all four years with the Oregon Ducks basketball team.

Singler started 22 games his freshman year and 79 straight going into his senior year and is one of 13 Ducks all-time with 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. The 2009 6A Oregon player of the year at South Medford High played for both Ernie Kent and Dana Altman and was a do-everything forward under Altman.

Now he gets a spot to play with the Blazers and while reports say a roster spot would be a long shot, E.J. could have a good role on an Idaho Stampede roster. The D-League has brought players like Tobias Harris to the forefront and Singler has a lot of untapped potential.

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Former Duck Olu Ashaolu to Play Pro Basketball in France

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Olu Ashaolu
Olu Ashaolu
(Alex McDougall/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Olu Ashaolu spent a year with the Oregon Ducks basketball team under Dana Altman. He did a lot of things with the team, but mostly he was a force on lob passes and when left open in the lane.

He never had a consistent starting spot, but he was always an energetic part of the second unit and along with fellow Canadian Devoe Joseph was a big part of taking the Ducks on an NIT run. When that team got going, it was a thing of beauty with E.J. Singler, Garrett Sim and of course Joseph knocking in corner threes, adding to Ashaolu and Carlos Emory‘s above the rim threat.

But Olu and Devoe were seniors, transfers to the program, so Eugene only got one year with them as Ducks.

Ashaolu will get a chance this upcoming season to keep a pro career going as he got picked up by a professional team in Evreux, France. So if you’re in France any time soon, you might get to see Olu’s powerful dunk one more time.

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Singler Returns for Second Portland Trail Blazers Workout

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EJ Singler (Gary A. Vasquez/US PRESSWIRE)
EJ Singler
(Gary A. Vasquez/US PRESSWIRE)

E.J. Singler didn’t expect that graduation day would be even more of a stepping stone into the professional world as it already would be.

Tuesday, a day after he was decked out in an emerald green cap and gown celebrating with family and friends, Singler received a phone call from the Portland Trail Blazers organization informing the former South Medford High School and Oregon Ducks star that they’d like him to return to the Rose City for another workout.

“It’s been a good two days,” Singler said.

The fact that the Blazers chose for Singler to return points towards a strong interest to either use one of their second round picks on him or choose to go after him in free agency should he go undrafted. The 6’5″ SF competed in six-player workout on June 7 earlier this month that included Duke C Mason Plumlee, a target for the Blazers’ No. 10 overall pick.

“I’m thinking it’s a good thing,” Singler said of the Blazers’ interest in him as a potential prospect. “If they want me back, they saw something that they liked and they wanted to see a little bit more. Just really happy I got the opportunity to come back and showcase my skills.”

Listed below were his career statistics with the Ducks:

EJ Singler Stats

Singler, after requesting not to redshirt his freshman season in Eugene for then head coach Ernie Kent, started 22 games his first year with the Ducks and 132 total over an incredible four-year career.

The 2013 NBA Draft will be on Thursday June 27th. EDN will recap all of the Blazers’ move as well as any Ducks that may be drafted.

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E.J. Singler, Among Others, Works Out for Portland Trail Blazers

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Blazers pre draft workouts (NBA.com)
Blazers pre draft workouts
(NBA.com)

The Portland Trail Blazers held workouts with six more NBA prospects Friday morning. The list of players didn’t include blue chip recruits, but rather potential second round picks. The group was composed of the son of an NBA legend who dominated the D-League last year, a former Oregon Duck, a former UCLA Bruin AND North Carolina Tar Heel, a golden gopher and a few former big fish from small mid major ponds.

The most highly touted recruit of the bunch is Glen Rice Jr. Rice Jr. averaged 25 ppg in the D-League playoffs last year and turned enough heads to be a bubble first round pick. He had an atrocious college career in which he was consistently suspended for off the court issues. From a talent standpoint, if Rice falls to the Blazers at 39, he might be a no brainer choice. But if he wants to make it in the NBA, he is going to have to prove to be just as reliable off the court as on it.

Trevor Mbakwe is the only other workout participant who has a shot at the first round. Mbakwe is a beast on the boards. He led the Big-10 in rebounding and finished second in blocks in his senior season for Minnesota.

Although, according to every reputable source EJ Singler will not be drafted, if he proves that he can provide similar skills as his brother (three point shooting/basketball IQ/defense), he could make an NBA roster this fall.

The other tree participants were Larry Drew II, Ed Daniel and Ian Clarke. Drew finished off his college career well after a disappointing start in which he was unable to run the North Carolina Tar Heels offense before being replaced by Kendal Marshall as an underclassmen. Drew averaged over seven assists a game for the Bruins this year. Daniel averaged a double double for Murray State this year, while earning first team All-OVC honors. Clarke was not only first team all conference four years in a row, but won defensive player of the year in the OVC playing for Belmont.

It wasn’t one of the most pivotal workout days for Blazers nation, but it could prove valuable in determining whom the Blazers go after in the second round.

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5-star Aaron Gordon Picks Arizona Over Oregon

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Aaron Gordon (ESPN.com)
Aaron Gordon
(ESPN.com)

The Oregon Ducks were in the running for 5-star Aaron Gordon for quite some time, but the athletic power forward from San Jose, Calif. went with Pac-12 rival Arizona instead.

Gordon announced a few weeks back that he would make his decision just before the the McDonald’s All-American Game. That game will take place tonight where the nation’s elite basketball players will look to shine.

Gordon (6’8″, 210 lbs) narrowed his final list to Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Kentucky before finally making his decision today.

Gordon, good friends with current Oregon Ducks’ point guard Dominic Artis, is listed by ESPN scouting services as the No. 2 PF in the country and No. 4 player overall. Gordon would have been the second unanimous 5-star commitment of the Dana Altman era, with the first being guard Jabari Brown who later transferred to Missouri. Many believed the Artis connection and strong run by the Ducks would be enough to snag him away from the other elite schools in competition for his talents.

Oregon still features a strong recruiting class led by 6’7″ PF Jordan Bell. The Ducks currently have seven commits for the class of 2013, but will look to add one or two more key pieces before the end of recruiting. Oregon is still in the running for a few other high-profile athletes including shooting guard Keith Frazier from Dallas, Texas and power forward Derrick Griffin from Rosenberg, Texas.

Adding Godron would have been a huge step towards next season. Bell could have taken over the void left by graduating forward E.J. Singler or play a “bigger” role replacing center Tony Woods who also graduated.

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Ducks Lose in Sweet 16 to Louisville, 77-69

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It was an incredible regular season, and an even more remarkable post season for the Oregon Ducks (28-8, 12-6). Unfortunately it all came to an end by a final score of 77-69 to the No. 1 overall seed Louisville Cardinals (31-5, 14-4).

After being picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 in preseason by the coaches, Oregon came within one game of the regular season conference title. In March, the Ducks exploded with a Pac-12 Tournament victory and was overlooked again, this time by the NCAA selection committee, and was given a 12 seed.

From there the Ducks would go on to cruise past Oklahoma State and St Louis in the first two rounds to the reach the team’s first sweet 16 appearance since 2007, and the first in the Dana Altman era.

Oregon center Tony Woods being defended by Louisville bigs (Michael Conroy/AP Photo)
Oregon center Tony Woods being defended by Louisville bigs
(Michael Conroy/AP Photo)

The Ducks defied odds all season, accomplishing something remarkable that will may go down as a defining season in Oregon history. While a win would have been one of the biggest in school history, there should be no heads down with the outcome of this season. Oregon accomplished something that has only happened four times in Ducks history.

Going into the game, there was talk about how the Ducks would hold their own against the sensational Louisville guards and their press defense. Oregon responded by only committing 12 turnovers offensively. It was the Ducks’ defense that struggled containing the Cardinals’ guards.

Louisville’s Russ Smith had a monster performance, going 9-of-16 for 31 points including 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Smith played in foul trouble part way through the second half, but it didn’t seem to effect him. Guard Kevin Ware also had a huge game, going 5-of-7 for 11 points. The only other Cardinal to score in double digits was center Gorgui Dieng who dominated the boards with nine rebounds to go along with 10 points.

The Ducks’ offense was much more spread out. Five different Ducks scored in double digits with senior E.J. Singler scoring 15 points in his final game of a legendary career. Singler is already the all-time winningest player in Ducks history, but could have added an elite eight appearance to his hardware.

Freshman guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson each scored 12 points for the Ducks. Seniors Carlos Emory and Arsalan Kazemi scored 10 and 11 points respectively in their final game as Ducks as well.

The Ducks will lose four players to graduation, including three of five starters. Along with Singler, Emory and Kazemi, the Ducks also will lose starting center Tony Woods to graduation. Woods struggled all game long scoring just three points and only playing 11 minutes.

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With the loss, the Ducks are eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Louisville will advance to the elite eight to face the winner of Duke and Michigan State.

Comment below on your outlook of the Ducks’ season as a whole. Make sure to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

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Is Oregon Primed for a Deep NCAA Run?

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Oregon celebrating with the Pac-12 Championship Trophy (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Oregon celebrating with the Pac-12 Championship Trophy
(Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

The Oregon Ducks (26-8, 12-6) men’s basketball team just completed an impressive run in the Pac-12 Tournament that saw them crowned conference champions and feeling comfortable waiting to hear the selection committee’s seeding.

This 2012-13 season has been, unable to avoid the cliche, a roller coaster ride. The Ducks have seen unprecedented highs, but also incredible lows. At one point, this team was ranked No. 10 in the country and had a firm grip on first place in the Pac-12 conference.

Head coach Dana Altman had each cog of the machine running together from the bigs to stellar guard play. After opening up the season at 18-2, the Ducks began to crack.

When starting point guard Dominic Artis went down to an indefinite foot injury, the team didn’t just slip… it did a bellyflop off of the high dive in epic failure. Oregon lost three straight games to sub-par competition and five of its final 10 regular season games.

But it wasn’t just that they were losing that was so concerning, it was the way they were losing. The Ducks lost by an average of 10.67 points per game during their slip, and that included Artis returning for the final three games of the season.

While you can’t expect a true freshman to return to an all-conference level after just a few games back, Artis had an absolutely horrid Pac-12 Tournament. And I’m not being mean, it’s just the truth. Artis was held scoreless in two of the three games and had a total of five points (1.67 PPG). His assist/turnover ratio was 6/9 (.67) opposed to his 84/59 (1.42) ratio on the season. That type of drop-off is night and day for such a talented player.

Fortunately for the Ducks, junior Johnathan Loyd (Pac-12 Tournament MVP) decided to take some of Michael Jordan’s special drink. Seriously! How did a guy averaging 4.29 points per game go off for 19 points in the Pac-12 Championship game?

So where does this team sit currently? To be honest, it’s hard to really say. If you’re getting the Ducks team that made UCLA’s offense look the Sheldon Irish in the OSAA playoffs (sorry, too soon?) you could have a real threat to make a run. If you’re getting the Ducks team that lost back-to-back games to Colorado and Utah by 36 total points, and wasn’t worthy of being on the same court as the guys across from them, you could see a repeat of the 2008 team.

Here’s how the Ducks look statistically:

RPI

Oregon has an average RPI, but few committee members are naive enough to look at an irrational figure. What will be interesting to see is whether Oregon will be punished for its February-early March lapse. Is a three-game winning streak enough to overlook two abysmal games against Colorado and a below .500 Utah Utes team?

To be fair, Utah finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12, but that won’t show on paper. Again, this is why rankings like the RPI are ridiculous and have no real meaning to collegiate athletics. I’m looking at you too, BCS.

Oregon has a perfect 2-0 record against the top teams it plays (RPI top-25). Oregon went 3-0 against the top-2 Pac-12 teams (UCLA and Arizona) during the season. However, the Ducks also went 0-4 against Cal and Colorado who rank fourth and fifth respectively in the conference.

So what Ducks team will we see in the NCAA Tournament?

Dominic Artis (247 Sports)
Dominic Artis
(247 Sports)

Why Oregon Gets Bounced Opening Weekend

Guard play is pivotal to success in the NCAA Tournament. Both of Oregon’s Elite 8 Runs of 2001 and 2007 were due to phenomenal point guards. The Ducks ran with the Lukes (Ridnour and Jackson) in 2001 and had a guy by the name of Aaron Brooks in 2007 who needs no introduction.

What does Oregon have now? A frustrated freshman struggling at the most important time of the season and a junior in Loyd who is still an unknown. Oregon can’t afford to struggle with turnovers like they did at the start of the UCLA game. They just can’t. Bigger and better teams will make them pay for mistakes at the big dance.

If Artis continues to struggle and Loyd isn’t able to stay at a superhuman level, it will be a short trip for the Ducks.

Oregon's EJ Singler (left) and head coach Dana Altman (center) (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
Oregon’s EJ Singler (left) and head coach Dana Altman (center)
(AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Why Oregon Makes it to the Sweet 16 or Farther

The Ducks have coach Altman, who I believe is one of the best and brightest minds in all of college basketball. In just three seasons the coach from Creighton has had his team playing deep into postseason tournaments.

Oregon won the CBI in his first year with the team, nearly made it to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in the NIT last season, and now it’s time to take this experience and apply it to the big dance.

With experienced players E.J. Singler and forward Arsalan Kazemi, this team has the core of a contender. Guard play will catch up as Oregon takes care of a tuneup game in round one before facing real competition. As long as this team can be a six seed or higher and avoid a one or two seed in round two, this team should be safe to make it to the sweet 16 or further.


In reality, I see this team as incredibly gifted and well-coached with all of the tools ready to make that next step forward as a program. Unfortunately, I expect the Ducks to receive a seed that will pair them with an elite level team in round two where they get bounced before the Sweet 16.

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Ducks Blow Out Utah, 64-45, to Advance to Championship Game

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Senior E.J. Singler and freshman Damyean Dotson scored 14 points apiece as the No. 3 seed Oregon Ducks demolished the Utah Utes for 40 minutes, 64-45, to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament championship game in Las Vegas.

Utah's Brandon Taylor drives between Oregon's E.J. Singler and Tony Woods (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Utah’s Brandon Taylor (middle) drives between Oregon’s E.J. Singler (left) and Tony Woods (right) towards the basket (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Oregon defense held the Utah starting five to an abysmal 10-of-40 (25.0%) shooting. Utes stars Jordan Loveridge and Jarred DuBois were held to 1-of-10 and 0-of-8 respectively from the field while the team as a whole shot 29.4%. Oregon also forced 17 Utes turnovers and only had two fouls in the first half.

Oregon junior guard Johnathan Loyd played a huge 19 minutes off of the bench for retuning starter Dominic Artis. Loyd finished the game with 10 points, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

The Ducks advance to play the UCLA Bruins who played a nail-biter against the Arizona Wildcats. UCLA will be without one of their stars when they play the Ducks. Freshman Jordan Adams re-aggravated a foot injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season. Bruins head coach Ben Howland was careful when speaking about his star’s injury saying, “We’ll see how it is.”

Oregon won the only regular season matchup by a 76-67 final in January, but both teams have changed quite substantially since.

Winner of the championship game will be the Pac-12 guaranteed representative in the NCAA Tournament. Many current brackets have the Ducks projected as an eight or nine seed, but they could rise as high as a five or six seed should they beat the Bruins.

Comment below on who you see winning the championship game. Make sure to follow the conversation along on Facebook and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

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