Can Oregon Become A Basketball School?
Great line from Dana Altman, the new basketball coach at the University of Oregon:
“If you look at my wife, and look at me, I wasn’t her first choice either.”
No, Altman wasn’t Oregon’s first choice; he might not have been their 10th. And I have no idea what to think about the hire. It’s certainly not the big splash the media kept promising — the media, not the school — but big splashes sometimes empty the pool. Altman seems to be a solid coach, and if he spent 16 years at Creighton, he’s probably not simply looking at Oregon as a stepping stone to the next job.
The question is: What kind of expectations should Oregon have for its basketball program? The Ducks made two Elite Eight appearances the past nine years, but were those complete aberrations, or the norm? How much will the new arena alter expectations?
The key for Oregon is being able to recruit the Northwest. You can’t develop a top-five program year after year with primarily Northwest kids, but you can give yourself an awfully strong foundation. What if Oregon had kept Kevin Love and/or Kyle Singler at home? What if the Ducks had been able to recruit Brandon Roy or Jon Brockman or Nate Robinson or Spencer Hawes away from Washington?
Ernie Kent’s best teams were built around Luke Ridnour, Luke Jackson, Freddy Jones, and Aaron Brooks — all first-round draft picks and all Northwest products.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the next couple years and whether the Ducks can rise to the level the Huskies have established. Who would have thought Oregon would be a football school and Washington would be a basketball school?