by Rob Moseley
Oregon's projected roster for the 2014-15 men's basketball season now includes 10 players, three under the NCAA scholarship limit, after the announcement Friday that three players at the focus of a recent police investigation won't return.
The Ducks will have four returners from last season's NCAA Tournament team, after the graduation of six seniors, the decision by two underclassmen to transfer and Friday's disclosure that Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin will not be back.
Dotson, Artis and Austin were the subject of a police investigation in late March and early April after being accused of sexual assault. Local district attorneys elected not to pursue charges against the trio, but they won't return to the basketball team.
"It is very clear that it is conduct that is not fitting of a University of Oregon athlete,” UO director of athletics Rob Mullens said.
Dotson started 69 games over the last two seasons, and was Oregon's fourth-leading scorer in 2013-14 with 9.4 points per game. Artis averaged 16.9 minutes per game primarily as the backup to starting point guard Johnathan Loyd.
Austin never suited up for the Ducks. He transferred in December from Providence, and wouldn't have become eligible with Oregon until December of this year.
UO coach Dana Altman said he agreed with administration that the decision to dismiss the three was "in the best interest of the university and the best interest of the young men, and in the best interest of our program."
"There are four people whose lives have been greatly altered here," Altman said. "I feel really bad for the victim and her family."
Moving forward, the Ducks return their leading scorer from last season, senior guard Joseph Young, after his decision not to test the NBA draft waters. Young averaged 18.9 points per game in 2013-14 after transferring from Houston.
Also set to return are senior guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit, who was hampered by injuries as a JC transfer last season, and junior forward Elgin Cook, the Ducks' top frontcourt player off the bench. Walk-on guard Theo Friedman made 11 appearances as a freshman guard.
Oregon has signed six players to letters of intent for the 2014-15 season. They include freshman guards Casey Benson and JaQuan Lyle; freshman forwards Jordan Bell and Ray Kasongo; and junior forwards Dwayne Benjamin and Michael Chandler.
"We may possibly add a player or two to that number, but right now we've got the nine (on scholarship)," Altman said.