Basketball: a sport that many a casual fan judges merely by points scored. Points, however, ultimately have little to do with final outcomes. As we know, teams can score 90 points and lose, then score 65 and win. This is a complex game where, as in many sports, many interdependent movements determine success. The points scored result from, not in spite of, these complexities.
For those who know the game, the big picture resolves not from baskets scored, but rather the blocks, steals, assists and screens. These are the statistics that make points possible but oftentimes go unnoticed. But without these, basketball would simply be not the fast pace, competitive and thrilling game it has become. Impact players have the ability to rack up numbers in these non-scoring categories, and this is often what sets them apart from their contemporaries. Unfortunately, great success in these areas is not easily coached, but rather accomplished through superior individual effort and grit.
Enter Dominic Artis. As a freshman, he led the team in assists (3.2 per game) and was ranked sixth in the Pac-12 with 1.6 steals per game. Artis appeared in 28 games and was a starter in 25 of them.
He achieved 6 assists in a game on four separate occasions, two of which were victories over UCLA and USC. In the NCAA tournament, Artis broke through with a pair of double-digit scoring efforts against Oklahoma State and Louisville.
Artis spent his first three years of high school at Salesian High School in Richmond, California, where as a junior he averaged 14 points and 4.1 assists per game. During his freshman year in 2009, Artis helped lead his team to a California Division IV state title.
He completed his high school career as a senior playing for national powerhouse Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nevada.
Artis was instrumental in Findlay’s near perfect 32-1 record and their ESPN National High School Invitational title. It was a season in which he averaged 14.5 points per game along with 4.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.5 steals. Assists and steals are stats not commonly paired with high scoring players – but Artis is not common.
Dominic has been such a strong player that, in several statistical categories (assists, steals), he managed to maintain very similar numbers as a college freshman to those he produced as a high school senior.
In addition to stellar numbers in steals and assists, he can also score. In high school, Artis averaged 52.7% from the floor, 33.7% from three-point land and 78.1% from the free throw line.
These numbers are evidence, as if we needed any, that Artis is a well-rounded impact player for the Ducks. College basketball, especially at the Division One level, is obviously a much more competitive environment than high school. It is not enough just to put numbers on the score board. A player must contribute in all aspects of the game to be successful. The Ducks are eagerly anticipating Artis’ continued growth into a statistically dominant player. In just his sophomore season at Oregon, there remains much for him to accomplish.
Top photo by Craig Strobeck