The Oregon Ducks men's basketball team began practicing today in preparation for the upcoming season.
The Ducks, who last season reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament after winning the Pac-12 tournament, are starting the process of retooling their team chemistry on the court after losing a glut of talent from last season.
Gone are four of the team’s top five scorers and rebounders: E.J. Singler (11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds), Carlos Emery (11.1, 4.4), Tony Woods (8.9, 3.5) and Arsalan Kazemi (9.4, 10).
A glut of transfers will be asked by coach Dana Altman to help Oregon reinvent the Ducks' inside game but the backcourt is as healthy as ever with the return of guards Damyean Dotson (11.4 points), Dominic Artis (8.5) and Johnathan Loyd (5.0).
As for the inside, the Ducks will hope for major contributions from three key transfers led by Mike Moser, a senior who two seasons ago averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds as a sophomore at UNLV. A hip injury slowed him last season when he averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Moser, out of Portland’s Grant High School, originally signed with UCLA before transferring to UNLV where he was named honorable mention All-American as a sophomore.
Senior transfer Richard Amardi, out of Indian Hills Community College (Ottomuwa, Iowa), could be counted on to add scoring. He’s an athletic, 6-9 forward who can score inside and has a strong mid-range game.
Sophomore Elgin Cook, a 6-6 transfer out of Northwest Florida State College (Niceville, Fla.) also could play right away.
Freshmen forward Jordan Bell, a four-star recruit out of Long Beach Poly High School (Calif.), and guard A.J. Lapray, a three-star recruit out of Salem’s Sprague High School, also could compete for playing time.
In May the NCAA voted to move the start date up from the former start date of Oct. 15. Two years ago the women’s teams began starting earlier. Now men’s teams are allowed to hold 30 practices over a 42-stretch leading to season openers.
Oregon’s first exhibition game is Oct. 27 vs. Northwest Christian. The Ducks’ first game that counts will be held Nov. 8 against Georgetown as part of the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Humphreys in South Korea.