Ducks Open Season With Beacons

EUGENE -The Oregon men's basketball team opens its season Sunday versus fellow Eugene school Northwest Christian. For the 18th-ranked Ducks, the two pre-season games, the second against Point Loma, will be about defining roles.

EUGENE -The Oregon men's basketball team opens its season Sunday versus fellow Eugene school Northwest Christian. For the 18th-ranked Ducks, the two pre-season games, the second against Point Loma, will be about defining roles.

Altman's fourth season feels an awful like each of the past three seasons, lots of new faces, plenty of experience, but relatively little on-court, in-game cohesion. The 2013-14 team is comprised of seven new scholarship players, six of which have collegiate experience and three of which have played at other D-1 schools.

Mike Moser has played three years of NCAA basketball at two different schools, and feels the uniqueness of this ball club.

"Right now, at least in this time period, with all of the 'one and dones', 'two and dones', you lack that experience and leadership on teams. I feel like we have an overabundance of it," he said Thursday.

Guards Jason Calliste, Joseph Young, Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Elgin Cook all played collegiate basketball last year, while forward Richard Armadi did as well. And one can't forget Dana Altman's first four-year player Johnathan Loyd or returning starters Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson.

"It's kind of in the process of who designating who's chiefs and who's Indians. We definitely have a lot of chiefs," Moser said.

These are the challenges for Altman leading up to the Ducks' regular season-opener with Georgetown on Nov. 8. Altman says he doesn't have a starting line-up for the game against NCU, but will probably go with "the vets and seniors".

That chief-indian designation became that much more difficult when the NCAA ruled Young, who led Conference-USA in scoring last year while at Houston, eligible to play immediately Friday.

"Offensively he's a handful. Nobody wants to guard him, nobody can guard him. He'll definitely be that factor for us. He's kind of that unstoppable force on the perimeter," Moser said before learning Young was good-to-go.

Young and Moser are arguably the most-heralded of the incoming transfer sextet, having both been all-league selections at their past schools.

"He's a good player. He's energetic. He shoots the ball well. He moves his feet defensively. He needs to be a little better rebounder, but I like his ball handling. He's a good player. He'll help us.," Altman said of Young. "He's been really easy to work with. The group as a whole I have to commend them. They've been really easy to work with."

Despite Altman's reluctance to name a starting line-up, most expect both to be a part of the opening five along with returning guards Artis and Dotson, with the center spot still up for grabs.

With all of the new faces on Sunday, one face won't be all that new, but for the sideline he'll walk. Over the off-season, NCU hired former Oregon star Luke Jackson as head coach, a decision that is already creating excitement for the Beacon season.

"It's almost like having a local legend on the sideline. It's going to be really cool. It's going to make me want to compete that much harder," said Moser, who grew up in Portland and recalls watching Jackson lead the UO to the Elite Eight alongside Fred Jones and Luke Ridnour.

"I think a lot of him. I talked to him about a GA spot with us, so I was really happy when he got the job and hoping for good things for him," said Altman.

Altman hasn't decided on redshirts either, but many expect the lone true freshman A.J. Lapray to sit a year, while Abdul-Bassit seems the most likely of the transfers.

"We're ready to get out in front of a some people and play a little bit, we're not ready for a game," said the always pragmatic Altman. "We've got a long ways to go."

The first leg in that journey begins Sunday at 5 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.


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