Two Months From Tip Off, Who is Oregon Basketball’s Starting Five?

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Dana Altman of the Oregon Ducks speaks with Payton Pritchard #3 during the second half of the game against the UNLV Rebels at Moda Center on December 17, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.The Ducks won the game 83-63. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Dana Altman of the Oregon Ducks speaks with Payton Pritchard #3 during the second half of the game against the UNLV Rebels at Moda Center on December 17, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.The Ducks won the game 83-63. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

Even though the highly touted and talked about Oregon Football team is less than a quarter of the way into their season, I just have to write about basketball, of which, I and only I, think is the better college sport (don’t impale me with your pitchforks yet). I’ve got an itch, a very sore itch, and it needs to be attended to: the basketball itch. Argh, it’s so terrible, so foul, so horrendous. How has it only been three months since the NBA Finals? It feels like a decade. And still, regular season NBA games don’t start up for another 34 days; and college games for another 21 after that. Too long. Too much waiting. So, I figure, in the painstaking dead period before basketball picks back up, I’ll bang out a classic fan site post that only everyone in the media writes in September: Let’s Predict My Team’s Starting Five. Alas, as not to further keep you from one of the great blogging jewels off the college basketball offseason, here’s who Dana should/could/might never go with to start the opening game:

Point Guard: Payton Pritchard 

Pritchard is obviously the guy here at point, starting practically every game he’s been a part of since dawning the yellow and green. A tried and true sharpshooter, and developing passer, Pritchard will and has to be the leader on the offensive end of the court. His three point shooting, Pac-12 experience and passing prowess are all un-matched on Dana Altman’s 2019 squad. My podcast co-host (check us out on iTunes, the Two Man Game) Cameron Goss said back in May that “if [Oregon] wants any kind of chance at making a run in the tournament, he has to be the guy.” Those are lofty expectations, but P-squared is more than up for the challenge. Overall, after a rather down year in which Pritchard was featured, I think he’s ready to make the jump and lead a Top 25 caliber team to the tournament, and hopefully beyond.

Shooting Guard: Ehab Amin

Ah, one of three (spoiler) new faces in the 2019 projected Ducks starting lineup. I actually wrote an extensive piece on Amin a few weeks ago, concluding that he would be a grand addition to the Oregon basketball program, and that his defensive presence would be his key to seeing the floor. And I actually think he’ll end up starting for Dana Altman this November. Why? Because he has experience (5th year senior) and is, sorry to be blunt, a very good overall player. Plain as that. He isn’t a spectacular shooter, but he thrives in transition and can knock down mid-range jumpers at a respectable clip–something useful for breaking a zone. I also believe Amin will be the best perimeter defender on the team. He’s quick with his hands, has long arms (jeez, I’m starting to sound like Jay Bilas) and was one of the best in the NCAA when it came to nabbing steals a few seasons ago. He’s a perfect counter to P-squared. I love this backcourt.

Small Forward: Louis King

King, one of two 5-star freshman in the historic 2018 Oregon recruiting class, was an easy choice here. His combination of athleticism and size and scoring ability is too much to pass up on when constructing the perfect five-man lineup for the Ducks. The only problem is that he’s listed at 6’9 and only weighs 205. For reference, my buddy is 6’2 (but he’ll swear up and down he’s 6’3) and weighs about that much. He’s not a big guy either. So, what I’m saying, is that King is a stick and needs to put on some muscle. Hopefully his first summer with a Power 5 strength and conditioning program really pays off, because I think this guys could be a monster come March.

Power Forward: Paul White 

There was actually some palpable controversy inside the brains of Alex Weber regarding who to start at the power forward positions. And, as you can clearly see, I’ve chosen Paul White. There’s an argument to be made for starting Kenny Wooten because he recorded a blocked shot every seven minutes last year. I voted White though, mainly because a.) he started more games in 2017-18 than Wooten, and b.) The starting center (you’ll never guess who) will probably provide a better version of what Wooten brings to the table. And White, while definitely the worse defender of the two, is undoubtedly the better offensive asset. He can score in the paint or outside (35% from 3) and can fit into essentially any lineup Altman throws out there–a perk of being a modern stretch-4. White should space the floor, score a little bit, and provide more experience as a starter in his second and final season in Eugene.

Center: Bol Bol 

With an all-time name–one I certainly don’t think will ever be topped by another Oregon player, ever–and an all-time body–7’2 and octopus-type limbs–Bol Bol will not only be the starting center, but the most fun player to write about all year long. And I can’t wait. Fist of all, he’s going to block shots, shoot threes and dunk the ball all without leaving his feet–I think he’ll be the first to ever achieve this feat at the collegiate level. Second, I heard that Kentucky backed off recruiting him because he wanted to bring the ball up the court. YES PLEASE. My life would be made if Bol Bol, at 7 foot whatever, ran some point guard at Oregon. Please, Dana Altman, please let him dribble. I know he’d get the ball stolen 65% of the time, but whatever, it’d be worth it. I’m going to be all aboard the Bol Bol content train. And if you’re a regular reader of the website, well, you’ve already bought you’re ticket.

Man, that was fun. I love talking basketball. I just wish the season was here sooner. But, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another two months. Until then, immerse yourself in some Oregon Football. They play this Saturday at Autzen Stadium, 2PM PST, where the Ducks are scheduled to beat the bejesus out of the San Jose State Spartans.