The inclusion of Dominic Artis has been undoubtedly imperative to Oregon’s success on the hardwood this year. Without Artis, the Ducks were a meager 5-4, turned the ball over routinely and lacked the offensive confidence to win games. With Artis in double figures, as he was in the win against 5-seed Oklahoma State, the Ducks are 14-1. Only playing in four losses, two while fully healthy, there is no question that Artis is the glue to the Oregon basketball team.
Artis is averaging just 8.5 points this season, average in college basketball. Artis has a veteran presence and an ability to make players around him better. Artis is shooting 43% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc, statistics that make him expendable at face value. Watching Pac-12 games this year, though, you would think Artis none other than the most valuable player to the Oregon basketball team.
The Ducks went through some growing pains this season. Learning to play without him proved difficult, but it also set the stage for Johnathan Loyd to emerge as a ready point-guard should he be called upon. The growth and maturation of Loyd alone would imply that Artis’ injury wasn’t a complete travesty, but a blessing in disguise. Oregon is now playing its best basketball of the season because Artis got hurt and Loyd was thrown into the fire. It will pay dividends next season when the Ducks look to build upon the momentum of this run.