By Rob Moseley
The Oregon men’s basketball team begins head coach Dana Altman’s latest chemistry project today with the first official practice of the 2013-14 season.
Coming off a Sweet Sixteen run last spring, the Ducks welcome eight newcomers to the roster, including D-I transfers Mike Moser, Jason Calliste and Joseph Young, and freshmen Jordan Bell and A.J. Lapray. Young, a transfer from Houston, is awaiting word on an appeal to the NCAA regarding his eligibility for this season.
The Ducks will also account for the graduation of E.J. Singler, Arsalan Kazemi and company with a junior college class that includes forwards Richard Amardi and Elgin Cook, and guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can contribute, a lot of guys who can step forward and provide good minutes,” Altman said. “We just need everybody to play together and work hard.”
Altman’s returners include point guards Jon Loyd and Dominic Artis, wing Damyean Dotson and forwards Ben Carter and Waverly Austin. Altman said today Carter will be slowed by a sprained ankle at the outset of practices.
Given the presence of Loyd, Artis and Dotson, the Ducks will primarily field a three-guard lineup in 2013-14, Altman said. With all the newcomers, Altman said having two veteran point guards in Loyd and Artis will be critical.
“We’re going to depend on them early to kind of set the tone,” Altman said.
The five returning scholarship veterans, who are joined by walk-on guard Nick Lucenti, could form a workable starting five. But Altman said their experience won’t dictate the lineup he fields for Oregon’s opener Nov. 8 against Georgetown at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
“That’s the advantage,” Altman said of their experience. “But over six weeks, it’s pretty open. If someone’s playing better, it’s equal opportunity.”
Prior to the opener in South Korea, Oregon will host two exhibition games, Oct. 27 and Nov. 2.