While the Sweet 16 is currently in progress for those still in the tournament, for the Ducks the offseason began after Sunday’s 85-77 loss to Wisconsin. While the taste of a repeat loss to the Badgers is a tough pill to swallow, there is plenty to look forward to in the 2015-16 season. The Ducks are bringing back a youthful, yet experienced roster that will include six sophomores, two (benchwarmer) juniors, two experienced seniors, and a stellar recruiting class. To top it off, four out of the five starters from this season will be returning next season:
* Elgin Cook: Future Senior/ Forward/ 6’6″/ 2nd on team for PPG
* Dwayne Benjamin: Future Senior/ Forward/ 6’7″/ 2nd on team for RPG
* Jordan Bell: Future Sophomore/ Forward/ 6’9″/ led team in RPG and BPG
* Dillon Brooks: Future Sophomore/ Forward/ 6’6″/ 3rd on team for PPG
Of course, it is hard to ignore the elephant in the room, the 5th missing starter: Joe Young. Young and Jalil Abdul-Bassit (who is also graduating) accounted for almost 40% of the Ducks’ points per game. What’s even more important to point out is that both Young and Bassit were the most talented and experienced point guards.
While most of the starting lineup at Autzen Stadium has pretty much been solved, the Matt Court quarterback/point guard competition will begin. Future sophomores Ahmaad Rorie and Casey Benson are the safest candidates for starting point guard. There is also a good chance that 4-star recruit Kendall Small will start at point guard, continuing with Altman’s theme of starting freshmen.
Since neither Benson nor Rorie have displayed spectacular shooting ability, and Small hasn’t yet had a chance to, Cook could likely assume the same role he did this year, as a pseudo-shooting guard/small forward hybrid. That is unless, five star shooting guard recruit Tyler Dorsey can shine scoring the deep ball.
The starting guard position for the Ducks may end up being a more complex decision than the starting quarterback for the football team. Nevertheless, it should equate to another 20+ win season for Coach Dana Altman and the Ducks.
Top Photo Credit – John Reed