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Pacers Make Duarte First NBA Lottery Pick Of Altman Era

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#Tokyo2020 Viewing Guide | T&F Day 1

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EUGENE, Ore. – Just over a month removed from securing their spots with Team USA, past UO standouts Jenna Prandini and Raevyn Rogers are featured on the opening day of the track and field schedule in Tokyo. Overall, the Ducks had 15 current or past student-athletes qualify for the Olympic Games.
 
Prandini, making her second appearance in the Olympics, will compete in the 100 and 200 meters—the shorter of the two is up first. Rogers, the 2019 World Championships runner-up, will line up in the 800 meters.
 
Click HERE for live results.
 
FOLLOW THE DUCKS
6:25 p.m. – women’s 800 meters | first round
Who: Raevyn Rogers
What: Six heats; top three in each + next six fastest advance to semifinals (7/31)
Watch: NBC/USA | NBCOlympics.com
 
8:15 p.m. – women’s 100 meters | first round
Who: Jenna Prandini
What: Start lists set
Watch: NBC/USA | NBCOlympics.com
 
Broadcast begins at 5 p.m. (PT); there is a 16-hour time difference between Tokyo and Eugene.
 
For more news and information about Oregon Track and Field, follow @OregonTF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Preseason Camp Preview: WR/TE

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WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END

Who’s back: With only Hunter Kampmoyer gone from the group of primary contributors in 2020, the Oregon football team returns a wealth of skilled receivers and tight ends entering 2021. Jaylon Redd was the team’s leading receiver in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, with 25 receptions, followed by Johnny Johnson III with 19. Both Kampmoyer and Mycah Pittman missed time over the course of the season, and in their absences both DJ Johnson and Devon Williams had breakout performances. The combination of a shortened season and an offense that started fast but was less consistent late in the year meant that nobody put up particularly gaudy numbers. But the Ducks boasted talent aplenty.

Limited games meant limited opportunities for depth players, including the likes of Josh Delgado, Spencer Webb and Kris Hutson. All have the ability to contribute going forward, however, as do other returners including Isaah Crocker, Lance Wilhoite and Patrick Herbert. An X-factor is Cam McCormick, who has battled injuries most of his career. His absence played a part in Cooper Shults breaking into the two-deep for a period of last season. Mostly, though, Shults contributed to the developmental squad along with guys including Tevin Jeannis, Jack Vecchi, Korbin Williams and Spencer Curtis.

Donte Thornton Spring Game

Who’s new: For all that experience, it was newcomer Troy Franklin who was the leading receiver in the Spring Game, with four catches for 93 yards. And the last-second touchdown reception that set up QB Robby Ashford’s “game-winning” two-point play was caught by another freshman early enrollee, Dont’e Thornton. Tight ends Terrance Ferguson and Moliki Matavao also enrolled for spring practice, and opened a lot of eyes. Those newcomers were joined this summer by classmate Isaiah Brevard, along with Von Reames, a former high school teammate of freshman safety Daymon David.

ROB’S TAKE

Projected depth chart
WR: Johnny Johnson III, Sr.; Devon Williams, So.; Troy Franklin, Fr.; Isaiah Brevard, Fr.; Tevin Jeannis, So.
WR: Jaylon Redd, Sr.; Josh Delgado, So.; Jack Vecchi, Jr.; Spencer Curtis, RFr.; Von Reames, Fr.
WR: Mycah Pittman, So.; Kris Hutson, Fr.; Isaah Crocker, So.; Don’t’e Thornton, Fr.; Lance Wilhoite, RFr.; Korbin Williams, So.
TE: DJ Johnson, Jr.; Spencer Webb, So.; Cam McCormick, Sr.; Patrick Herbert, RFr.; Terrance Ferguson, Fr.; Moliki Matavao, Fr.; Cooper Shults, Fr.; Tyler Nanney, RFr.

Kris Hutson Spring Game

What to watch: Man, is that a lot of talent to sort through in August. Johnny Johnson, Redd and Pittman have the most experience at receiver, and DJ Johnson was a breakout performer at tight end last season. But nobody better get too comfortable given all the other talented athletes on hand. Williams has as high a ceiling as anyone, and Hutson is as competitive as they come – not to mention an explosive athlete. Webb and Crocker are looking to turn a corner in their careers, while the likes of Franklin and Ferguson are looking to build on impressive debuts in the spring. All in all, it’s going to be fascinating to see who wins reps for the opening game, and how much the ball ends up being spread around amongst all these pass catchers.

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Wright Named To Hornung Award Watch List

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The versatility and dynamic playmaking ability of Mykael Wright was recognized on Thursday as the Oregon cornerback was announced as one of 57 players on the preseason watch list for the Paul Hornung Award.

Now in its 12th season, the Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission.

Wright was honored on Tuesday as a preseason first-team all-Pac-12 selection as a cornerback while also earning honorable mention recognition as a return specialist. Wright led the Pac-12 in 2020 with nine pass breakups, and he was the conference’s highest graded corner against the run (84.2) according to Pro Football Focus.

On special teams, Wright racked up 270 yards on 13 kickoff returns in 2020. As a freshman in 2019, he became just the third player in program history to return multiple kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season. In his career, Wright has amassed 650 kickoff return yards with an average of 28.3 yards per attempt.

Oregon has had one finalist for the Paul Hornung Award in program history – LaMichael James in 2011.

WRIGHT 2021 PRESEASON HONORS
» Paycom Jim Thorpe Award watch list
» Paul Hornung Award watch list
» Athlon Sports All-America fourth team
» Pac-12 All-Conference first team defense
» Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention return specialist
» Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Conference first team
 

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Zavala Named Academic All-America

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EUGENE, Ore. – The College Sports Information Directors of America named Aaron Zavala to the 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Baseball First Team on Thursday. Zavala is the first Duck in Oregon baseball program history to earn Academic All-America recognition.  
 
The Ducks’ right fielder, who boasts a 3.41 GPA, also claimed All-America honors on the field from six different organizations following the season. Five – the ABCA, Baseball America, D1Baseball, the NBCWA and Perfect Game – listed Zavala as a first-team All-America pick, while Collegiate Baseball named him to its second team.
 
Zavala, who was also been named the Pac-12 Conference and NCBWA District 9 Player of the Year, ended the season batting .392 with nine home runs, 38 RBI and 64 runs scored, while boasting a .525 on-base percentage and a .626 slugging percentage. He led the Ducks in batting average, runs, hits (78), slugging percentage, walks (50) and stolen bases (11). He set school records for on-base percentage, runs scored and walks.
 
Nationally after the regular season ended, the Keizer, Ore., native ranked second in the nation in OBP (.001 behind the national leader), seventh in base on balls, ninth in base on balls per game (0.96) and 18th in batting average. He led the Pac-12 Conference in on-base percentage, walks and base on balls per game, while ranking second in batting average, sixth in hits per game and seventh in slugging percentage and hits.
 
He ended the season being named to the Eugene Regional All-Tournament Team batting .333 (6-for-18) with two home runs, four RBI and six runs scored.
 
The Texas Rangers selected Zavala in the second round of the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on July 12. He became the highest MLB Draft pick (No. 38 overall) of an Oregon position player in the modern era.
 
Zavala 2021 Honors and Awards

  • CoSIDA Academic All-America® First Team
  • CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Team
  • MLB Draft Second Round Pick (No. 38 overall selection)
  • Highest MLB Draft pick of an Oregon position player in the modern era
  • Third-highest MLB Draft pick from Oregon during that time
  • D1Baseball All-America First-Team All-America
  • ABCA First-Team All-America
  • Perfect Game First-Team All-America
  • Baseball America First-Team All-America
  • NCBWA First-Team All-America
  • Collegiate Baseball Second-Team All-America
  • NCBWA District 9 Player of the Year
  • ABCA Division I First-Team West Region
  • Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist
  • Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist
  • Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year
  • First-Team All-Pac-12 Conference
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Long Road Leads To Tokyo

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Cole Hocker and Micah Williams are in Tokyo with Team USA preparing for the start of track and field competition at the Olympic Games, a place only one of them had an inkling he might be spending time this summer.

While Hocker and UO distance coach Ben Thomas scripted a training plan for this year with the possibility of an Olympic berth in mind, Williams surprised even himself with a fifth-place finish – and UO school record of 9.91 – in the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. That earned him a spot in the 4×100-meter relay pool in Tokyo.

“It was truly a blessing to even be here,” Williams said before leaving for the Olympics.

Track and field competition begins in Tokyo on Friday morning, which is late in the day Thursday in Oregon. Hocker’s first round in the 1500 meters will be run just after 5 p.m. PT on Monday, and the first round of the 4×100 relay begins Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. PT. The 1500 semis begin Thursday at 4 a.m. PT, and the final is next Saturday at 4:40 a.m.

As Hocker prepared to leave for Tokyo, that race on Aug. 7 was top of mind.

“If I’m in the final, I think I have as good a shot as anyone,” Hocker said. “It’s just another 1500-meter race – just against really good guys.”

Cole Hocker, 1500m, Olympic Trials final

Hocker won a couple of those in recent weeks, first at the NCAA Championships and then at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. In the latter race he outkicked the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Matt Centrowitz.

Hocker and Williams are two of five members of the 2021 Oregon track and field program competing in Tokyo; another nine alums of the program are competing in track and field at these Olympic Games, including Centrowitz. Joining Hocker and Williams from the 2021 team are Aneta Konieczek in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for Poland, Emmanuel Ihemeje in the long jump for Italy and Charlie Hunter in the 800 for Australia.

Day one of the track and field schedule at the Olympics is set to feature two of those UO alum with Jenna Prandini and Raevyn Rogers in the opening rounds of the 100 and 800 meters, respectively. In addition to television coverage on NBC, the full day will be available on NBCOlympics.com beginning at 5 p.m. (PT).

Hunter and Hocker trained together as Ducks along with the likes of Cooper Teare, James West and Reed Brown. Hocker said their influence was instrumental in helping him get to Tokyo.

“They’re top in the NCAA,” Hocker said, “but they’re also top in the world.”

Hocker is looking to put the finishing touches on a season that included NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile and the 3,000, followed by wins in the 1,500 at the NCAA Outdoor meet at the U.S. Trials. Although “it has been a long season,” he acknowledged, the possibility of competing all the way through the Olympic Games was in the back of Thomas’ mind when crafting Hocker’s training plan for the year.

“This was the goal,” Hocker said. “…. You’re either fit or you’re not. And I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.”

Williams, on the other hand, was jubilant in taking fifth at the U.S. Trials, shortly after taking third in the 100 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Though there was no guarantee he’d be called upon to run in Tokyo – in an interview shortly before leaving, Williams wasn’t even sure what leg he might need to be prepared to run – such details didn’t get in the way of his excitement at being an Olympian.

“My role so far is just to be there for the team,” Williams said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to run. But if I don’t, just support the team. It’s a blessing to even go an experience this.”


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2021 Soccer Tickets on Sale

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EUGENE, Ore. – Tickets for the 2021 Oregon soccer season are on sale now.
 
Season tickets for the Ducks’ nine game home schedule cost $40. Individual games are priced at $5.
 
Follow this link to purchase season tickets online: https://am.ticketmaster.com/oregonducks/21SOC.
 
The home schedule includes the Aug. 19 season opener versus Fresno State, as well as nonconference matches with Northern Arizona (Aug. 29), UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 3) and Portland (Sept. 17).
 
In Pac-12 action, the Ducks will host Arizona (Oct. 7), Arizona State (Oct. 10), USC (Oct. 14), Washington State (Oct. 28) and Washington (Oct. 31).
 
There will be no charge for admission to the Aug. 13 exhibition game versus Corban.
 
Oregon is coming off its first winning season since 2006 and returns all 11 starters from a team that went 6-5-5 and set the program season record for lowest goals against average at 0.69.
 
SCHEDULE UPDATE
The kickoff time for the Oct. 14 USC at Oregon game has set for 4 p.m. The match will be broadcast by Pac-12 Network.
 
www.GoDucks.com
 

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Preseason Camp Preview: RB

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RUNNING BACK

Who’s back: Every few years, a tandem of Oregon running backs becomes inextricably linked – think Dino Philyaw and Ricky Whittle, Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson, LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner. Years from now, will it be possible to recall the Oregon career of CJ Verdell or Travis Dye without considering them in tandem? In each of the past three years they finished 1-2 on the team in rushing, with Verdell posting consecutive 1,000-yards seasons in 2018 and 2019, and Dye leading the Ducks with 443 yards in seven games last fall. Though Verdell might be more prone to initiate contact, and Dye has a little more wiggle to his style, they’re both tough, explosive runners.

Verdell_WSU_2019

After Verdell was limited last season, injuries impacted the running back depth chart again this spring, with both Sean Dollars and Trey Benson sidelined. Dollars is a versatile all-purpose back who averaged better than seven yards per carry filling in for Verdell in the Pac-12 title game win over USC last fall. Benson is a burly, agile back in the mold of a Maurice Morris or Reuben Droughns, though his 2020 fall was cut short by an injury that lingered into the spring. The Ducks also return lightning bug Cross Patton; his powerful complement on the developmental squad last year, KJ Maduike, has been replaced by the similarly tough-to-tackle Aaron Smith. In the Spring Game, Smith stepped up to ease the load on the veterans and led the Ducks with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Who’s new: Could the next talented tandem of UO running backs be on hand as of this summer? The Ducks could have their future thunder-and-lightning tandem in big Byron Cardwell and the electric Seven McGee. Each was ranked among the top 10 running back recruits in the nation last year by ESPN; at Pac-12 Media Day on Tuesday, Mario Cristobal said “those guys are going to help right away.” If Dollars and Benson are healthy, this looks like an exceedingly tough depth chart to crack. Then again, Cardwell and McGee are exceedingly talented players, and no doubt offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and running backs coach Jim Mastro have been scheming up ways to take advantage of all this talent.

Sean Dollars

ROB’S TAKE

Projected depth chart
RB: CJ Verdell, Jr.; Travis Dye, Jr.; Sean Dollars, RFr.; Trey Benson, Fr.; Byron Cardwell, Fr.; Seven McGee, Fr.; Cross Patton, RFr.; Aaron Smith, Fr.

What to watch: The first thing we’ll be looking for when preseason camp begins is the status of Dollars and Benson. Not only are they talented backs, they’re team-first guys, and it would be a lift to the entire program to have them healthy and participating in practice. And then, once that’s established, we’ll watch to see how the coaching staff will utilize these talented tandems – Verdell-Dye, Benson-Dollars, Cardwell-McGee and Smith-Patton each fit into the “thunder-and-lightning” paradigm. Dye averaged 9.5 yards per touch last season, and his all-purpose ability was on display in the spring game with a 26-yard receiving touchdown. Having had a more typical offseason schedule in 2021 could lead to more interesting ways to get Dye the ball in space this fall, complementing the reliable powerful rushing of Verdell.

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Battle 4 Atlantis Matchups Set

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EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon will open play at the inaugural Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis against Oklahoma on Nov. 20 following the announcement of the bracket Wednesday.
 
The eight-team event will run Nov. 20-22 in Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Ducks join a strong field that includes Buffalo, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Florida and Syracuse.
 
The Ducks have split their two all-time meetings with the Sooners, winning a 2017 matchup in the PK80 Invitational, 92-74, in Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon dropped the only other meeting between the two schools in 2012 at a nonconference tournament in Hawaii.
 
Game start times and TV information will be released at a later date. Information on tickets and reservations can be found online here.

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Going For Gold On Home Turf

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Scott McGough is getting the chance to play for his home country, and to do it on home turf.

When Team USA takes the field for its first game of this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, on Friday against Israel, McGough will be in the bullpen for the American team. Unlike most of his teammates, he didn’t have to travel far to get there – McGough is currently in his third season as a reliever for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League, a rival of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars whose home park is Yokohama Stadium, which will host most of the Olympic baseball competition.

A native of Pennsylvania, McGough was on the first team in the modern era of Oregon baseball. He made 74 appearances for the Ducks from 2009-11, and in 2015 he became the first Oregon alum since the program’s reboot to make the Major Leagues. McGough made six appearances that season for the Miami Marlins, after being drafted in the fifth round in 2011.

In 2010, McGough played for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. At the time, that seemed like the biggest stage on which he’d ever get to don the red, white and blue; baseball was contested at the Olympics from 1992-2008 but wasn’t in 2012 and 2016. The organizing committee for the Tokyo Games bid to bring baseball back to the Olympics, however, and McGough will once again get a chance to suit up for Team USA.

“The fact that baseball is back in and I was asked to play? Absolutely it’s a dream come true,” he said in a phone interview earlier this month.

Scott McGough USCNT

Scott McGough played for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team in 2010.

After breaking through for six big-league appearances in 2015, McGough spent the next three seasons back in the minors. He was pitching for Albuquerque in 2018 when a scout from the Swallows was in attendance for a game; Albuquerque is the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and McGough re-signed with the organization for another year only to have his contract bought out by the Swallows.

The ensuing three seasons have been an outstanding second act in McGough’s professional career. He has a 3.19 ERA in 154 appearances since 2019, including a 2.39 ERA with 16 saves and 53 strikeouts in 37.2 innings so far this season.

“The older you get, the more you figure out things with your body – how to pitch, what to throw a guy,” said McGough, now 31. “You read stuff a little bit better. Yeah, I absolutely feel great. Everything’s going really well this year.”
 

The milestones haven’t just come on the diamond. In the fall, McGough became a father when his wife, former UO soccer player Lauren Thompson, gave birth to a daughter. McGough was home in the United States for eight weeks at the time, but he returned to Japan on Jan. 14 to begin preparing for this season and was finally joined by his wife and daughter in late June.

The McGoughs live in an apartment about a quarter-mile from Japan National Stadium, which is hosting the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field competition for the Olympic Games. Despite that, McGough planned to relocate to the Olympic Village – he intends to soak up every bit of this Olympic experience.

“I’m going to do absolutely everything I possibly can,” he said.

Scott McGough - Baseball 2009

Scott McGough made 74 appearances for the Ducks from 2009-11, and was taken in the MLB Draft’s fifth round in 2011.

Team USA qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by going 4-0 at the WSBC Baseball Americas Qualification Event in late May and early June. McGough, who had expressed interest in playing for Team USA once baseball was added as an Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020, was in a pool of players considered for that event, his agent told him.

“He was like, your name’s on a list – but it’s a long list,” McGough recalled with a laugh.

Former UO pitcher Jimmie Sherfy did play in that event, pitching a scoreless inning in a win over Canada on June. In the interim, Sherfy got another shot in the big leagues, with the San Francisco Giants and then the Los Angeles Dodgers, and McGough was added to the roster for the Summer Olympics.
 

Recently it was announced that no fans would be able to attend Olympic competition, as Japan deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. McGough had been anticipating the chance for his fellow members of Team USA to experience crowds he likened to those at European soccer matches for their passion and enthusiasm.

When he’s had family and friends visit Tokyo and attend games, McGough said, “they all say the same thing: ‘This is nuts. We’ve never seen anything like this.’ It’s just a really, really cool experience.”

Unfortunately, McGough and the two other members of Team USA currently playing in Japan, outfielder Tyler Austin and pitcher Nick Martinez, won’t be able to enjoy seeing their teammates exposed to the passionate Japanese fan base. But that can’t dampen McGough’s enthusiasm for his upcoming Olympic experience.

“I’m going to take in every moment,” he said. “I’m going to eat it up.”

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