The Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball squad began their quest for redemption over the past weekend, after last season’s loss to the Colorado Buffaloes in the conference championship game left a bitter taste in the mouths of players and fans. Following an expected 2-0 start to the season, with wins over Northern Arizona and Portland State, freshman guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson have illustrated a fresh and electrifying look to Oregon Duck basketball. It must be noted that Tony Woods and E.J Singler are the most significant components to this year’s squad, especially if the Ducks plan to take part in the March Madness.
Dana Altman without a doubt has solidified his ability to produce wins, especially after last season. But fans have not yet seen what Altman can do for the future of the squad. Well, that question has just begun to form an answer with the play of the freshman this season, particularly with the play of Artis and Dotson.
Artis stands out with his ability to drive into the lane, and keep defenders off balance with his fine ball handling skills, reminiscent of Luke Ridnour in 2003. Following the first four games that the Ducks have played, it is easy to see why Altman speaks so highly of the kid. With the first two games of the season Artis has scored 26 points, with 5 assists and 5 rebounds. When Artis is on the court, the offense is fluid, and if there is a break up, Artis will simply take it to the hole and make the most of what the defense offers him. For a freshman, he already has developed a leadership role. Although the Lumberjacks were able to force some turnovers on his end, Artis stayed composed and executed the game plan. Expect Artis to make a household name for himself just as De’Anthony Thomas did on the gridiron. Artis is unique because he does not seem to be a “one and done”, and yet he could very well develop the caliber to play in the NBA. Expect Artis to stick around, and if he does he will be a major component to the revolution of Duck basketball.
Damyean Dotson is simply raw. Aggressive on defense and swift on offense; with his potential he will be exactly what Duck fans have been craving. After the first two games of the season, Dotson racked up 25 points with 6 rebounds and 3 steals. But a stat that can not be seen in the box score was his physicality. Dotson has displayed a tenacious element to Altman’s scheme; number 21′s hustle generated several fast breaks, easy layups, scores off turnovers, and plenty of missed shots by opponents. Let’s not forget his ability to shoot! Dotson certainly is a gem in last year’s recruiting class, as both Rivals.com and Scout.com had him ranked as a three star recruit.
Altman has undoubtedly added a unique combo that will light up the Matthew Knight Arena. Adding the presence of a 6’5″ combo guard with immense athleticism, and a savvy ball handler who executes without hesitation, it is easy to see that Altman has reloaded. Both guards will be tested next Friday, at 6 PM Pacific, when the Vanderbilt Commodores come into town. This will be a great first test, and will show where the Ducks stand at the national level. Artis and Dotson will face the challenge of Kendren Johnson and Dai Jon Parker. A win against Vandy will go a long way in determining the improvement of this year’s team from the last.
Recapping Northern Arizona:
Although the Ducks kept the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks too close for comfort, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson have unquestionably improved the pace of the offense. Both guards concluded their college debuts with double figures against Northern Arizona. Tony Woods and E.J. Singler each also produced double figures that game.
Turn of the game:
Oregon was trailing NAU 67-66 with 5:40 to play, after consecutive 3-pointers by Dewayne Russell and Blake Hamilton. Senior center Tony Woods then ignited the Ducks and put them back on top when he wrecked the NAU defense with a dunk. The dunk started a 13-0 run that sucked the life out of the Lumberjacks.
Recapping Portland State:
Freshman guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson combined for a total score of 28 points to power the Ducks over Portland State, 80-69. Artis hit four of the Ducks’ nine 3-pointers.
Emory also had an impressive showing, scoring 16 points, with 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, and a block.
Turn of the game:
The Ducks made seven 3-pointers in the first half, five of which came from Artis and Emory. Leading by seven with 11:55 in the first half, Carlos Emory bucketed a long 3-pointer. On the following possession, with the hustle of Damyean Dotson, the Ducks forced a turnover which lead to two more 3-pointers and a ten point run. Following the run, the Ducks never took their foot off the pedal.