Posted on: September 12, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 9:25 am
In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin’ related stories.
By Jeff Goodman
Some have begun to throw Dana Altman's Oregon Ducks in the equation for the upper-echelon for the Pac-12, along with the likes of UCLA, Arizona and Cal.
Altman has eight new faces - including a trio of fairly well-known transfers - and after talking to him following the team's recent trip to Italy, it's clear he isn't quite ready to bestow those expectations on his squad.
"We've got a long ways to go," Altman said.
What Altman learned: "I don't know if there was one major thing, but the overall sense is that we've got to improve our passing and catching. Our skill level has to get better. Our guys have got to get familiar with our scheme and what we want to do. Basically, we found out that we've got a lot of work to do."
Who stood out: Jabari (Brown) scored the ball well for us and was the leading scorer on the trip. He also averaged about five rebounds a game. The first three games he scored fairly easy and then the scouting report got passed around and he forced a few shots the last two games. But for a freshman, it was a decent start. E.J. (Singler) was solid and freshman Brett Kingman came off the bench and made shots. He was 11-of-24 from 3 and really shot it well."
What is the biggest concern: "Just trying to get everyone on the same page, blending in the new guys."
On the expectations some have placed on his team: "I didn't know they were there with all the new guys we have. Cal is going to be good with all the guys they have back, Stanford has a lot back, UCLA lost a couple of good players, but they have a lot back - look how Arizona finished last year. We've got a lot of new players. If Devoe (Joseph) and Olu can make a quick transition and Tony Woods can get the rust off and get back into shape. ..."
- Only five players return from last year's team: starters E.J. Singler and Garrett Sim, part-time starters Tyrone Nared and Johnathan Loyd and Jeremy Jacob - who only played 17 games due to a knee injury.
- Altman sounded concerned with who will pick up the leadership role following the graduation of seniors Joevan Catron and Jay-R Strowbridge. "They got everyone else to play," Altman said. "Everyone knew Joevan was all about team - and that's why they followed him."
- Altman admitted that he has upgraded both the depth and athleticism. Remember, there were plenty of defections after he replaced Dana Altman - guys like Michael Dunigan (overseas), Matt Humphrey (BC) and Josh Crittle (Central Florida) left and Altman had nine scholarship guys a year ago.
- Altman said that one-year transfer Olu Ashaolu is as adept a 6-foot-6 rebounder as he's been around, but that the ex-Louisiana Tech forward will need to be patient and work on developing his perimeter game.
- Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph didn't play on the trip because he isn't eligible until after the first six games. The only other player who didn't play was freshman Bruce Barron, who suffered a knee injury in a pickup game this summer. "He'll be fine for the start of practice," Altman said.
- Altman said that Woods, the Wake Forest transfer who was kicked out of school following an incident with his girlfriend, needs to develop a go-to move in the post. "He was easy to work with on the trip and has tremendous upside," Altman said. "He's a talented young man."
- Altman said he doesn't want to get into the habit of taking "quick fixes" such as Joseph and Ashaolu. "Would you like to do that on a regular basis? No. But we were in a situation where we wanted to compete and we had already taken four freshmen. Sometimes adding six or seven freshmen isn't good, either."
- Altman's team went 2-3 on the trip, but he spoke highly of the competition. The Ducks played pro teams in Italy - many of them boasting former NBA players.
- Jeremy Jacob, who was injured much of last season, is healthy - according to Altman. "He's in really good shape and should help us this season. He can score on the block and plays physical."
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:14 pm
By Matt Norlander
Tony Woods has agreed to suit up for the Ducks.
The former Wake Forest big man, who ended up transferring after a legal situation went publicly awry in 2010, will not only play for Oregon but will be eligible once the 2011-12 season starts, a source close to the situation confirmed Friday night.
His former AAU coach, Norman Parker, told our Jeff Borzello last week that a decision was coming to a head.
Schools like Louisville (which Woods initially committed to in October, 2010), Texas and Kentucky were all in the mix for Woods this past year, but Oregon's quirky academic calendar -- it does not run on traditional semesters -- allows Woods to complete necessary academic requirements in order to play at the start of the season for Dana Altman's team.
We blogged about Woods in May, on the heels of a revealing human-interest Yahoo! Sports story. In the story, Woods spoke of being on a road to redemption and how his reputation was unfairly mangled amid his fallout from Wake.
At Oregon, he now has his chance -- and an unlikely one at that. Few considered Oregon to be the next destination for the former five-star recruit out of Rome, Ga.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:14 am
By Jeff Borzello
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The saga of Tony Woods seems to be nearing an end.
The former Wake Forest transfer and Louisville commit is on the verge of making a choice.
“He should be announcing his decision in the next couple of weeks,” said Norman Parker, Woods’ AAU coach with the Georgia Stars.
Parker said Kentucky, Texas, Cincinnati, Auburn, Texas Tech, Oregon and Xavier are the main schools in the mix, although other colleges have reached out.
Before Woods makes a decision, he needs to get his academics in order for the fall.
“He has to finish up a class,” Parker said. “All that other stuff is irrelevant if he doesn’t finish his course work.”
There were rumors recently that Woods committed to Texas, but Parker refused those reports, saying that Woods merely visited Texas – in addition to Kentucky.
Darrick Wood impresses in front of coaches
Despite having multiple offers and plenty of college attention, the first day of the Peach Jam was still exciting for Darrick Wood.
Wood, a 6-foot-3 guard from the Washington D.C. area, knew exactly who was keeping an eye on him from the sidelines.
“I’m watching the coaches,” he said. “I want more scholarships, man.”
Oklahoma State, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia all informed Wood they would be watching him at the Peach Jam.
The NIA Prep prospect has offers from Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Georgetown, West Virginia, USC, Arizona and USC.
“I want a good setting, a family setting,” Wood said. “I want my mom to be able to come see me, and I also want good weather.”
Interestingly, he said location would be a factor – but he wasn’t sure in what way.
“I want to go either really close to home, or really far away,” Wood said.
Physical Martavious Newby looks at two sports
When watching Martavious Newby play for Memphis YOMCA, one immediately noticed his physical brand of basketball and propensity for defense.
Not surprisingly, it comes from Newby’s attitude on the gridiron.
“This is only my third year playing AAU, but growing up, my physical way just came,” Newby said.
The 6-foot-4 Booker T. Washington (Tenn.) prospect has a great body and good strength, which enables him to defend at one end and finish effectively at the other. He can also known down outside shots and score in transition.
For now, he has offers from Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas to play both basketball and football, with Missouri and Nebraska also extending scholarships on the hardwood. Memphis, Arkansas State and Tulane are showing interest.