Oregon coach Dana Altman is winning a game most NCAA coaches refuse to play because they don’t like the rules.
While others bemoan and chastise the NCAA’s confusing policy on hardship transfers, Altman has created a hoops haven for basketball refugees looking for a second chance.
You could argue he relentlessly pursued transfers his first few years at Oregon because he was desperate to fill out a depleted roster. But in Year 4, Altman has continued finding gems in transfers.
This summer Oregon added fifth-year senior Mike Moser from UNLV and the 6-8 forward is considered a potential NBA first-round pick in next year’s draft.
The Ducks also received great news today when Joseph Young took a spin of the NCAA’s transfer-hardship waiver roulette and hit the jackpot. The 6-2 junior guard, who played at Houston the past two seasons, is immediately eligible to play this season for Oregon. He averaged 18 points last season and was voted third team all-Conference USA.
Young gives Oregon another perimeter scorer to add to a loaded backcourt. Damyean Dotson was voted to the Pac-12’s all-freshman team last season. Dominic Artis was the Ducks’ top incoming freshman last season, but the dynamic point guard missed nine games due to a foot injury. Johnathan Loyd, who took over for Artis, led Oregon to the Pac-12 Tournament title and won the tourney’s most outstanding player award.
Many believed Young’s hardship case was a long shot, but the NCAA determined he had a right to play this season at Oregon after his father Michael Young was demoted on the Houston staff. It’s a messy and potentially embarrassing situation. Michael Young, a member of Houston’s famed Phi Slamma Jama, filed a lawsuit against Houston after the school took away his director of basketball operations position.
There’s conflicting reports on if Michael Young is employed at Oregon.
What’s certain is Joseph Young makes the Ducks a legitimate threat to challenge Arizona for the Pac-12 title. There’s also no doubt Altman is something of a pied piper to wayward hoopsters. In his previous three seasons, he’s had success with transfers Devoe Joseph (Minnesota), Tony Woods (Wake Forest) and Arslan Kazemi (Rice). Joseph was voted first-team all-Pac-12 in 2012, Kazemi was chosen to the league’s all-defensive team after last season and Woods was a steady contributor the past two seasons.
“We’ve been able to identify and find guys who bought into the idea of playing for their teammates and making the team better,” Altman said last week at Pac-12 media day. “There’s no secret to it. Anytime you bring young people into your program you do the same things whether is a high school player or a fifth-year senior. You do your due diligence. It’s got to be the right fit for the young man and for your team.
“I can’t tell you what other schools or programs do or how they fill out their rosters. … That first year, we had to rely on transfers in order to just survive. Lately, it’s been a little different. We’ve had some success there so I think that may play a part in how people view us.”
The Ducks’ roster includes six transfers: Moser, forward Richard Amardi (Indian Hills Community College), forward Elgin Cook (Northwest Florida State), guard Jason Calliste (Detroit), forward Brian Crow (Sonoma State) and guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit (North Idaho College).
FRIDAY AFTERNOON LINKS:
— New Mexico fans went all out in their pursuit for 2014 prospect Zylan Cheatham during his visit with the Lobos. Not to be outdone, a Washington fan created a large poster of the four-star recruit that appeared on ESPN’s College GameDay two weeks ago. Cheatham told the Albuquerque Journal: “That was phenomenal.” San Diego State made an in-home visit Tuesday, followed by New Mexico on Wednesday and Washington on Thursday. He’s expected to make a decision Saturday.
— Washington State junior center Jordan Railey, who was suspended in September for an unspecified violation of team rules, has been reinstated.
— Seth Davis at SI.com has five questions for Arizona.
— Arizona assistant Emanuel ‘Book’ Richardson, who left the team for unspecified health reasons, has returned.
— Chasson Randle scored 18 points and Anthony Brown had 14 during Stanford’s Cardinal-White scrimmage Thursday.
— If Utah’s intrasquad scrimmage is any indication, keep an eye on 6-6 freshman Kenneth Ogbe who took scoring honors with 21 points. He was 8 for 9 from the field, including 3 for 3 behind the arc. Jordan Loveridge added 20 points.
— Colorado coach Tad Boyle tells the Buffaloes to avoid the hype and stay hungry and humble. He told the Denver Post: “There’s people blowing smoke up these guys’ rear ends, every day. On campus, every time they pick up the paper or listen to the radio or get on Twitter. It’s my job to make sure they don’t buy into that hype. I feel I’m the bad guy right now. But that’s OK.”
— Here’s a Pac-12 preview from Colorado’s point of view.
— Last year, Oregon State’s freshman didn’t add much in terms of productivity. This year, coach Craig Robinson sees improvement in the sophomore class.
— Oregon State’s newest walk-on Alex Roth is a local legend.
— Former Washington standout Terrence Ross is breathing a little easier after the Toronto Raptors exercised the option to pick up the third year of his rookie contract. He’s signed through the 2014-15 season. Ross earned $2.6M as a rookie. He’ll make $2.7M this season and $2.8 next season. Toronto has the option on the fourth (and final) year of his contract that would pay him $3.5M in 2015-16.
— No one makes highlights and behind-the-scenes documentary style videos like Tony Wroten Jr. and his crew. The former Washington star, who created Seattle’s L.O.E. clan, has started a new group in Philadelphia called WHOP (We Handle Our Problems).