Michael Chandler

Looking Forward to Next Year’s Basketball Squad

Despite the fact that the Ducks didn’t make it far into the 2015 NCAA Tournament it’s still important to recognize the fact that they had one amazing run this year. Redshirt senior G Joseph Young had a legendary impact  serving...

Michael Chandler: Oregon’s Potential Savior

The Oregon Ducks have started off strong this season with a 7-3 record. But records can be deceiving, especially at the beginning of a season when teams are playing lesser talent in non-conference play. Don’t get me wrong, the Ducks...

Ducks Bull Past Matadors 79-56

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOregon had hoped this would be a game that would allow a lot of the young players to get valuable experience.

Cal-State Northridge came into tonight’s match up with a 3-7 record and the Ducks were coming off a stunning win over then No. 25 Illinois.

The plan worked perfectly as Oregon came away with a 79-56 win over the Matadors.

Joseph Young broke out of his shooting slump with 18 points and Dillon Brooks’ streak of scoring in double digits was kept alive with 12 points. Young had been 12-of-61 in his previous eight games from three-point land, but his shooting stroke returned on this night, going 4-of-7.

Head Coach Dana Altman was be pleased with the debut of 6-foot-10 center Michael Chandler, who made his Duck debut with 13 points. He showed a nice touch in close range (4-of-6) and a good free throw shooting prowess (5-of-6).

“He gave us a big lift,” said Altman. “He did a good job posting up strong, and guys did a good job looking for him. He’s a presence in there.”

“It has been a six-month process for him … We don’t want to rush him. Those minutes will gradually increase throughout the next two or three or four weeks,”

Dwayne Benjamin grabbed 10 rebounds and Elgin Cook finished with six assists. Young led the team with eight dimes.

On the other side of the floor, Northridge’s Stephan Hicks led the visitors with 19 points and became the all-time leading scorer in school history in the process.

Northridge began the game hot from the field and quickly built a 16-9 lead. But then the Matadors went into a zone and Oregon took that as a sign to bomb away. Young caught fire with a couple of outside shots and the Ducks went on an 7-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. Young’s third trey gave Oregon a 23-22 lead and the Ducks would never trail after that point.

Oregon would keep on shooting in the first half to take a 39-30 halftime lead.

The second half was just more of the same. The Ducks would end the game shooting 44 percent, while Northridge would shoot just 34 percent from the field, including just 1-of-7 from outside.

The Ducks will next host Delaware State on Saturday for a noon tip-off.

            ~ Don Smalley
www.DuckNews.com
Twitter: @DuckNewsSmalley

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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

Oregon Ducks Bulking Up The Defense

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Are you sick and tired of the Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team’s anemic defense? University of Oregon head coach Dana Altman just might have a concoction that will remedy this deficiency next year.

Altman is bringing in two players and will likely give playing time to one current player who can provide the necessary size, athleticism and defensive intensity to wreak havoc and shut down opposing players and teams.

Michael Chandler:

Chandler is a 6-foot-10, 225 point center.  ESPN described Chandler in 2011 as “a true center who clogs the lane on the defensive end of the floor.” “Chandler is a good area shot blocker and rebounder on both ends of the floor.”

Chandler reneged on his commitment to both Louisville and Xavier before attending the University of Central Florida. However, he was deemed academically ineligible in 2011 and decided to transfer to NW Florida State. He may not be a sure thing, but if he can get his head on straight, Chandler could really fill a need for this Ducks team that ranks 134th in the nation in opponent rebounding despite being a top 20 team in offensive efficiency.

Photo by 247Sports
Photo by 247Sports

Jordan Bell:

Bell is a 6-foot-7 power forward who qualified to join the UO team in early December, but is unlikely to play this year in order to save a year of eligibility. ESPN said last May, “Bell continues to impress with his high energy and awe inspiring shot blocking ability.” Though Elgin Cook has sporadically made some big time plays, UO does not currently have a serious defensive threat at the power forward position, let alone a guy who is deemed to have rare shot blocking ability according to a multitude of scouts. UO currently ranks 187th in the nation in blocks per game. ESPN also remarked regarding Bell, “He has becoming an outstanding rebounder in traffic due to his soft hands and bounce.”

Ray Kasongo:

Kasongo is described by ESPN as a good shot blocker and a good on ball defender. At 6-foot-9 he has more than enough size to match up with Pac-12 power forwards. If he can bulk up from his skinny 190 pound frame, he could become a quality defender for UO.

It’s difficult to tell who will truly make an impact at the D-1 level and who will fail to rise to the challenge, but at least there is more than a glimmer of hope that the Ducks will have a much improved defense in the coming years.

 

JUCO 4-Star Mike Chandler Commits to Oregon Basketball

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Mike Chandler
Mike Chandler

Ducks basketball, well known for finding junior college prospects under coach Dana Altman, picked up a little more size for the 2014 season on Tuesday night when Northwest Florida State center Michael Chandler committed to Oregon.

“Coach [Dana] Altman and his staff will help Michael become a special player and a really special person,” said Chandler’s junior college coach Steve DeMeo. “We are very excited that Michael is going to such a special place like Oregon.”

When Chandler was deciding on colleges, he was leaning towards Louisville, Xavier and UCF — eventually deciding on UCF. However, he didn’t qualify academically at the time to get into Central Florida and decided on NFSU.

DeMeo said Chandler is on track to be academically eligible and qualify out. When he was a high school prospect, he was in the top 50 nationally.

Chandler can defend the post and score down low well, and DeMeo says he has range out to 17 feet.

He joins Casey Benson, Ray Kasongo and Dwayne Benjamin as the other prospects in the Duck recruiting class of 2014.

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