The University of Oregon, a school that celebrates the foundations of Nike, suspended star sophomore guard Dominic Artis and sophomore forward Ben Carter for selling shoes the university gave them.
Artis’ impact to the Ducks is greater than Carter, but both were supposed to contribute to an Oregon program with high hopes that have not been in Oregon’s basketball history over the years. This year, things are different: they have a chance once Artis and Carter come back.
After a sketchy first half against the Western Carolina Catamounts, the Ducks figured out how to pull away without its premier ball handler. Mike Moser proved his dominance against this lowly opponent with 26 points and five rebounds. Coach Dana Altman has the Ducks playing similarly to its football program: fast-paced and high-scoring. It’s safe to assume he wants Artis back after his nine-game suspension.
A star emerged in the Ducks’ 107-83 win over the Catamounts in Joseph Young. The junior guard from Houston came into his own in the second half. Young finished with 36 points six rebounds and two assists shooting 15-of-16 from the line and 9-0f-12 from the floor. If the Ducks can keep getting efficient play from someone, anyone, it will be good news for them.
However, Artis does more than just give the Ducks buckets like what Young and Moser did tonight. The suspended point guard facilitates the offense and creates more room for shooters and big men. Artis is the best player on this team by far, but if Moser and Young step up like they did tonight, the Ducks could make an exciting run for the PAC-12 title.
Artis is a known commodity whereas Carter is a bit of an unknown. Regardless of these two players’ production, they provide depth, something this Oregon squad desperately needs. They played eight guys (in meaningful minutes) in the win over Western Carolina; if Oregon only plays eight guys in the PAC-12’s stingy regular schedule, they are in for a world of hurt.
The Ducks need Artis back by the time they play in the PAC-12 conference schedule. A high-scoring affair against Western Carolina is a nice win, but how long can Oregon’s depth issues last?
It will not be long until you see fatigue set in for the fast-paced Ducks. Artis and Carter come back in seven games, and Oregon’s last two games without them are against Ole Miss and Illinois. Needless to say, it’ll be tough sledding for the Ducks without their most valuable player. That said, If they can keep winning against lesser opponents like tonight, Oregon will be in great shape once the conference schedule comes around.