Tajuan Porter is sadly, in his last year of play. He's the dominant force and driving spirit of the team.
He has one year left. One year make the Ducks the best they can be.
Porter got national recognition in his freshman year. As Ducks fans recall, that was the year they got to the elite eight in the March Madness tournament. He averaged 14.6 points that year; leading the team even in his young age.
Since the tournament, the loss of Aaron Brooks, among others, the Ducks haven't had as much success as in the 06-07 season.
In his sophomore and junior years, Porter failed to match the total points he had in his freshman year by 66, and 35 points respectively.
No Ducks team has compared to the 2006 squad. Porter was a huge part of that success; as he will be this year.
Porter will lead the Ducks from the ashes. I predicted Oregon will go nearly .500 this year (14-15). That would be a major boost from last years last place finish in the Pac-10.
Porter has an elusiveness about him that a lot of guards lack. He has a lot of talent, even at his small frame (5'6", 150 lbs). Heck, I have three inches and 20 pounds on him at the age of 14.
He uses his size to his advantage; weaving through defenders, or leaping from nowhere to regain possession or to score.
Such was the tenacity with which he played in March Madness 2007. When they played Miami (OH) in that first game, it was magical. I still remember that.
Porter lit up the game. He made some great boards, got a lot of points, and really carried this team to victory. Obviously he wasn't technically "leading" the team his freshman year, but he was well on his way.
This season he has a great supporting cast with Longmire, Sim, Armstead, Dunigan, and freshman Jamil Wilson.
Look for Porter to light up opponents, shock teams like Stanford, get revenge on Washington State, and maybe, just maybe, throw in a few upsets along the way.
If there's one guy that can turn around this team, it's Porter. Oregon will lose a lot of players next year. It's safe to assume that the Ducks aren't going down quietly.
Do not underestimate him due to size. Porter is threat on the court, and may shock some people.
One thing is for sure. Oregon will be better and Porter will be the reason. He's back, and better than ever.