Oregon Ducks men’s basketball is on the rise.
Oregon is off to its best start in years, and despite losing stalwart seniors E.J. Singler and Tony Woods at the end of this season, Oregon has seemingly built a young nucleus to lead the Ducks in the coming years. Oregon’s poor play in recent seasons has spelled trouble in keeping young recruits around for the duration of their college career, but with a freshman guard duo of Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis, the Ducks could have young stars in the making.
Oregon hasn’t been known for producing stellar talent for the NBA level, but many of the program’s players have gone on to success in other professional basketball realms.
The 2001-02 Ducks squad that pushed all the way to the Elite Eight of March Madness featured the likes of NBA talent.
Fred Jones, drafted in 2002 at the 14th spot by the Indiana Pacers, was mediocre in a reserve role. But in the 2004-05 season he averaged 10.6 points per game, seeing an increased role due to Ron Artest’s season-long suspension. He also won the NBA’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest in 2004. Jones averaged 9.6 PPG in 2005-06 but never returned to that form. He was traded to Toronto in 2006 and in 2007 returned to Oregon when he was traded to Portland. He then went to the Knicks and Clippers before fazing out of the NBA. He has since played in Italy and China.
Selected 10th in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Luke Jackson had much promise but never realized success. He started only three games in the NBA across four teams in four years. Jones and Jackson were reunited briefly in Toronto in 2007 before both were traded to different teams. Jackson has since played in the NBA Development League, as well as in Israel.
Luke Ridnour is Oregon’s most veteran NBA player and the only one still in the NBA, aside from Aaron Brooks. Ridnour was picked 14th in 2003 by the Seattle SuperSonics. He played five seasons in Seattle, three of which he averaged double-digits in points. In 2008 he was dealt to Milwaukee where he averaged 10 PPG in a total of two seasons. He signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010 and has seen his best years there, averaging 11.8 PPG in the2010-11 season, 12.1 in 2011-12 and 11.3 in 27 games this season.
The Ducks made it to the Elite Eight again in 2007, having an extremely balanced roster led by Aaron Brooks, Tajuan Porter, Malik Hairston, Bryce Taylor and Maarty Leunen.
Leunen was drafted by the Houston Rockets but never played a game for them and has since played in Turkey and Italy. Taylor is currently a starter for the Artland Dragons in a German hoops league, where he has been a standout. Hairston was chosen by the Pheonix Suns before being traded to San Antonio. In two seasons he played in 62 games for the Spurs but without much success. He played in the D-League before heading to his current team in Italy.
Porter, a scoring dynamo for the Ducks was too small for the NBA at just 5-foot-7. He currently plays in France.
Brooks was drafted by the Rockets in 2007 and served as a bench player his first year. He became the starting point guard in 2009 and scored 11.2 PPG. In 2009-2010, Brooks won the NBA’s Most Improved Player honor, starting all 82 games for Houston, scoring over 19 points a contest. In 2011 he was traded to Phoenix and then during the NBA lockout played in China. He is currently on the Sacramento Kings.
Some of the Ducks’ more recent graduates that were key players for Oregon include Joevan Catron, Garrett Sim, Michael Dunigan, Devoe Joseph and Olu Ashaolu. All of them are currently playing outside the U.S.
Catron has played in Australia and Japan, Sim is in Germany, Dunigan plays in Australia, Joseph is in Ukraine and Ashalou plays basketball in Spain.
Former Ducks Tyrone Nared and Jeremy Jacob are also play overseas, with Nared in Germany and Jacob in Japan.