First things first, I expected the Ducks to get beaten easily by a more physical and experienced Alabama team in the first game.
Since they wound up blowing them out, I have to say... no matter the result of the other two games...this tourney was a success for the Ducks. We watched a young team grow by leaps and bounds.
A few things I have to mention...
I believe for the first time in the EK era we will actually have big men who win games for us, not just lose them. That's crazy! Dunigan is the real deal and ready to play.
I had doubts about his ability to perform against good teams, but after watching him in Maui, I have no doubt he will be a force come Pac-10 season. Crittle is a beast and with a little bit of polish he and MD will be a force next year.
The play of Dunigan is also huge for Kent recruiting other big men to come and play at Oregon. In the past I'm sure any half-decent big man that the Ducks were fighting to recruit would be told by any other coach, "Hey don't go to Oregon, Ernie has never sent a player over 6-6 to the NBA."
Well, I think that knock on the program is just about over. This bodes very well for the future.
Garrett Sim is impressive. He took a few ill-advised shots, but so did everyone else. He seems calm under defensive pressure, knows how to run the offense, and I think if he learns how to attack the hoop a la Ridnour we're going to have a star at PG.
In three years a starting line-up with Garrett Sim, Mike Humphrey, Teondre Williams, Josh Crittle, and Mike Dunigan (please stay) will be an competing for the Pac-10 championship.
I love Tajuan Porter, but you can't deny he hurts more then he helps. He's a huge liability defensively. He is too easy to shoot over, and he gets lost on way to many screens. And right now he is not even scoring.
Everyone says he needs a strong PG to play off of, and I agree with that, but I also think there is more to it than that. A player like Porter is almost more of a supplement to the offense than he is the offense.
In 2006-07, the team had an offensive identity that didn't go through Porter, so he was just able to take advantage of what other defenses would give him. It wasn't forced, and it didn't have to be because other teams were concerned with Brooks, Hairston, Leunen, and Taylor.
It's really very simple. Porter can't create and that's why I think he shouldn't be starting. He should come off the bench, which will force the Ducks to create an offensive identity not going through him, and then he can come off the bench and give the Ducks an offensive spark when needed.
It'll take pressure off of him and give him a better chance to have an impact in the way we need him to. Ernie will never do this unless things get really bad, but he's holding the team back and we will be a better team in the long run if he does.
LeKendric Longmire can be a star, but he needs to grow three inches, and if he was three inches taller, he'd probably be playing for Duke. Dang.
Did the Ducks ever make the defense rotate and take advantage in this entire tournament? It seemed like the Ducks whole offense was either dumping it down low, driving recklessly into the heart of the defense, or jacking up a three off of a screen.
How about they use a double screen, swing the ball around, and force the D to play catch up while we hit the open man?
A lesson in patience I guess.