Jordan Bell - Page 6

Ducks Back On Track, Drop Viks 81-59

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOregon needed some home cooking and it received plenty on this Thanksgiving weekend.

The Ducks came home to defeat Portland State 81-59 to go to 4-2 on the season. The loss was the Vikings’ first setback thus far.

After a slow start, the Ducks used a 27-1 midway through the first half to blow the game open and it stayed that way. Portland St. was never in it from that point on.

Jalil Abdul-Bassit scored a career-high 19 points on 6-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-8 from downtown. Joe Young also scored 19 and Dillon Brooks recorded his first of what should be many double-doubles of his career with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Casey Benson added 13 and Jordan Bell filled the stat sheet with 10 points, 10 boards and six block shots.

DeShaun Wiggins came off the bench to lead the Vikings with 15 points for a team that had a rough night shooting the ball. As a team, PSU shot just 26 percent from the field on 17-of-66 shooting and just 4-of-20 from three-point range. The Vikings came into the game shooting 46 percent as a team, including making their threes at a 50 percent clip (30-of-60).

But Matthew Knight Arena’s hoops were not very kind to the Big Sky team. And this was a Portland State squad that went down to USC and handed the Trojans a 76-68 loss to begin the season.

Oregon will now host Concordia (Ore.) on Wednesday before seeing Ole Miss come to town on December 7th.

~ Don Smalley
www.DuckNews.com

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Behind Jordan Bell’s career night, Oregon men’s basketball hands Portland State their first loss

There was a lot to like for Dana Altman and his staff as the Oregon men’s basketball (4-2) took down visiting Portland State (4-1) 81-59, a team who recently beat USC on the road.

Coming off back-to-back losses to Michigan and VCU in the Progressive Legends Classic, the Ducks hit their first roadblock of the season. That was quickly put behind them with tonight’s performance.

Led by freshman Jordan Bell, who boasted a career-high six blocks, the Ducks not only set a new school/arena record for rejections with 12 (set roughly 30 years ago against Davidson), but they also strung together one of their most complete games of the season thus far.

“Jordan did a nice job there of getting a few (blocks),” Altman said. “Jordan’s got the ability to get off his feet quick. When his knees are bent, he’s a pretty good athlete.”

Altman wasn’t kidding when he said the Ducks had a tough non-conference schedule road ahead of them. The Ducks have just simply done their part to be competitive in every one of those games.

“The first half, I was really pleased with,” Altman said. “The second half performance took away from that a little bit. It was a step in the right direction especially bouncing back from two losses, but we’ve got to have a great week here.”

Jalil Abdul-Bassit’s coming out party

The first half was all about Jalil Abdul-Bassit, who finished with a game-high 19 points. Hitting his first five shots, four of them coming from beyond the arc, the senior guard was undoubtedly the leading performer of the half. His first miss didn’t come until the 8:43 mark. He even banked one in during his hot streak.

“He’s been a little up and down, he’s missed a lot of practices,” Altman said about Abdul-Bassit. “His shot selection was really good (today). I thought he played really well until his last shot.”

Abdul-Bassit may not see heavy minutes in Altman’s current tight seven-man rotation, but tonight, he could do no wrong. His performance led to a 42.3 percent three-point shooting performance for the Ducks.

“Jalil played fantastic tonight,” Benson said. “To have him come in and shoot the ball like he did and make big plays like he did, was tremendous, uplifting off the bench.”

A glimpse into the future 

Bell nearly recorded a triple-double tonight, finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. The freshman forward, who Altman has been praising since his arrival, was firing on all cylinders.

“We don’t expect him to do it,” Altman said in regards to Bell’s production tonight. “He’s really working on his offensive game. He’s been staying after practice trying to get some go-to moves down there (paint area).”

Aside from his four personal fouls, an area he continues to work on, Bell continues to make noticeable strides. Altman was especially impressed with his production on the boards.

“The rebounding part was really good,” Altman said. “He didn’t rebound well against VCU and to see him active again on the boards, I thought he did a great job.”

Also making contributions were Dillon Brooks and Casey Benson, who started in place of an injured Dwayne Benjamin. Brooks boasted Oregon’s second double-double with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and a game-high 14 rebounds, while Benson added 13 points.

“It felt really good,” Benson said about starting. “I just wanted to make little plays take care of the basketball and knock down some open shots.”

Joseph Young, who has been struggling as of late, finished with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting and a game-high seven assists.

Early on, the two underclassmen have taken the initiative and it’s paid off under Altman’s team-oriented system.

A work in progress 

Like every coach, Altman is far from being content with his team defense, but that doesn’t mean the Ducks didn’t take another step in the right direction tonight. Containing an undefeated Vikings team, who had entered the game shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc to 25.8 percent from the field, the Ducks were sound defensively.

Aside from a sloppy stretch to open the second half, the Ducks accomplished their goal of limiting the Vikings on the perimeter. Portland State finished 4-for-20 from the outside.

On the horizon

As the Ducks head into the second half of their non-conference schedule, they’ll have upheld their standard of making improvements every game.

While the Ducks wish they could have had those two games against the Wolverines and Rams back, they’ve successfully moved forward.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do,” Altman said. “If we’re going to make the progress that we need to make to have a competitive team, we got to get a lot better.”

Next on the schedule is Concordia OR, a team that is coming off of a 87-59 loss to Portland.

Injury update

According to Altman, Benjamin is now walking without a boot. A date has yet to be set for his return.

Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim

Oregon’s Freshmen Fantastic Four

Shake off those uncertainties about the off-season and confusion about the identity of our Oregon men’s basketball team. It’s time to meet your 2014 Oregon Ducks freshman class. This year has ushered in four new freshmen: Jordan Bell, Casey Benson,...

Gameday: New faces on 2014 Oregon basketball roster

Dana Altman will have his hands full this year as Oregon returns just three players from last season and welcomes five walk-ons. Here is a look at the 11 new faces on the 2014 roster:

Dwayne Benjamin (F) – Benjamin figures to see lots of play time with the Ducks, who returned just one forward from last season (Elgin Cook). Benjamin, at 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, boasts freakish athleticism and the ability to spread the floor and generate rebounds. He led Mt. San Jacinto College in scoring last year and possesses the speed and versatility to play anywhere on the court, although he excels from the outside.

Ahmaad Rorie (G) – Rorie joins the Ducks as one of the more highly regarded recruits of the class. After putting up 2,000 points in high school, he decided on Oregon after entertaining offers from several schools including Wichita State, Arizona State and Washington. Rorie is a natural dribbler with above-average court vision, and looks to make an immediate impact in Oregon’s fast-paced offense.

Michael Chandler (C) – The Ducks’ success at the post will likely hinge on the performance of 6-foot-10 junior transfer Chandler. A top center recruit out of high school, he found success playing with Elgin Cook at Northwest Florida State College and will now fill the role as Oregon’s newest big man. Chandler is a strong defender and should be a top rebounder this season.

Jordan Bell (F) – Bell, a four-star recruit out of high school, looks to make an immediate impact in the middle of the floor for the Ducks.  At 6-foot-9, Bell is a terrific defender and prolific shot blocker with an excellent vertical jump. He has a solid inside shot and should see a lot of playing time this season.

Horrible Situation Turns into an Incredible Outcome

 

A few weeks ago the University of Oregon basketball team took a huge hit, as it lost three vital pieces to the future of the program due to some unacceptable actions that have been covered in depth. The entire nation heard of the situation, and surely an untrue stigma has been placed upon the university.

Coach Dana Altman has expressed his disappointment in his group of guys in his most recent interviews, as he has stressed multiple times that this behavior is unacceptable, and was totally shocked about the actions of those individuals. Altman is a recruiting genius, as he’s been able to recruit some incredible players to boost the team’s credibility across the nation. This situation was a setback in what the Ducks’ ultimate goals are … or was it?

Oregon has struggled for many years to establish a feared basketball program, and as strange as it may sound, this may have opened a door that no one would have ever imagined could have been opened. Yes, the situation that was presented to the program was disgusting, and sickening, regardless of whether or not the athletes are innocent. But, with Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson, and Brandon Austin now dismissed from the team, the Ducks have become a team in a very prosperous position.

Prosperous? Favorable? Dean, are you insane? If this happened when Altman first began to coach here, yes, I would agree that this is a terrible situation for the Ducks and it could take years, maybe even decades for their recovery. However, with the timing of the players’ departure, Oregon can make some situational moves.

Coach Altman a master not only of the X's and O's, but bringing order as a leader

Coach Altman a master not only of the X’s and O’s, but bringing order as a leader.

As Dana’s time has gone on as the Oregon coach, the success of the program has only grown more and more, and a greater number of highly recruited players have shown their interest in our incredible athletic establishment every year. It started with Jabari Brown, who unfortunately didn’t feel fit for the program, all the way to today as we have an incoming three 4-star recruits and one 5-star joining our program, three of them being freshman!

The positions include a center, a guard, and two forwards. Hmmm, and don’t we already have an established shooting guard (Joseph Young) in the program who can lead by example and mentor the younger players in their roles?

Dana Altman is always thinking one step ahead of everyone else, and with the situation playing out as it is, the Ducks have put themselves in a position to be one of the best teams in the Pac-12, if not the nation, within the next couple of years, something I never could have said confidently with the personnel that was previously on the team.

It all starts with a position that has been long lost for the Ducks — center. Who was the last great center for the Ducks that was really able to dominate the paint? Yeah, I don’t remember anybody either. But, with 6’10”, 240 lbs., Michael Chandler – former teammate of Elgin Cook with Northwest Florida State – joining the squad, he’ll probably be the closest thing to a great center that the Ducks have had in recent years. With height, and size, and the ability to score on the inside, Oregon should feel a lot more comfortable with Chandler starting things off for the Ducks.

It doesn’t end there, as right next to Chandler on the other side of the paint, will be Jordan Bell. He is a 6’7″ monster, as he puts fear in every person coming into the key. In fact, they usually get embarrassed badly at the rim. I can’t say enough about this young man, so check out Lawrence Hastings’ analysis of Jordan Bell for more in-depth coverage on whom Lawrence calls, “The Bug Zapper.”

Elgin Cook throwing it down like a boss.

Elgin Cook throwing it down like a boss.

But, the fun doesn’t end there, as Coach Altman has acquired an incredible amount of talent in such a short period of time. Starting at the three spot is a little unsure, as Cook has worked his tail off. However, incoming freshman Dwayne Benjamin may be even more talented!

The young man dropped 21 points and 8 rebounds a game in his senior year of high school, and his ceiling for growth goes as high as he’s willing to work. The kid is a beast, and it will be interesting to see who wins the battle between the two, or maybe three if Bell’s starting job is challenged due to this kid’s talent. Here’s a little taste of what Benjamin can do to spice up the squad:

We obviously know Young has incredible ability, so no need to talk about what our MVP adds to the team. As long as he continues to improve on his ability to handle the ball and take it to the basket, the Ducks should be set with the best 2-guard in the conference.

But finally, who’s going to get the ball to all of these talented athletes? Who’s going to take over the role that we’ve loved so much over the past four years with Johnathan Loyd running the point? Coach Altman has an answer for that too, as he is bringing in one of the most talented point guards in the nation, something we haven’t heard about in a very long time. The name is JaQuan Lyle, and this kid will be your favorite point-guard in the games to come.

At an incredible height of 6’5″, the guy can handle the ball. Handles, stroke, vision, rebounding, defense, aggressiveness … he’s got it all, baby! He may not be as quick due to his height, but man can this kid run the point. If he can develop into the player he has the potential to be, watch out as he could be the future of not only this league, but the big boy’s league too. If you don’t believe me, just watch:

So, yeah, whatever you knew about the Ducks as a team, scratch that. This is a whole new dynamic squad, and they’re coming harder, faster and stronger than ever!

Go Ducks!!

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

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