Oregon gets early wake-up call with exhibition

Medford's Singler says Duck players embrace chance to play someone else
E. J. Singler drives to the basket during Oregon's victory over Southeast Missouri State Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena. (Brian Davies/The Register-Guard)THE REGISTER-GUARD

EUGENE — Yes, the Oregon men's basketball team does have an exhibition game today, two days before Halloween.

"It's crazy," senior E.J. Singler, from Medford, said.

"Way too early," chimed in coach Dana Altman. "I would like to have three or four more days to get ready, but we'll be ready."

The first exhibition game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but that would have conflicted with the Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, and the conference makes it mandatory for coaches to attend, prompting the change in Oregon's schedule.

Whatever the date, players don't mind an earlier-than-usual exhibition game to break up the routine of practices.

"We're kind of tiring of playing each other," Singler said. "Monday is going to be good for us, to play somebody new and see how we're doing."

The opponent is Concordia, an NAIA school located in Portland that plays in the Cascade Collegiate Conference along with Southern Oregon and Oregon Tech, in addition to Northwest Christian of Eugene.

Concordia was 14-16 a year ago and returns leading scorer Adam Herman, a 6-foot-6 junior who averaged 19.6 points. There isn't a senior on the roster, with eight transfers joining the team this year.

Oregon matches that total of newcomers, with five freshmen and three transfers, plus a redshirt freshman. The Ducks have only four lettermen returning from last season, and Singler might not be available today after missing recent practices with tendinitis in his knees.

"They're feeling a little better," Singler said, adding that "rest is the only thing" that can lessen the pain.

He said, however, "I shouldn't miss any regular-season games."

Oregon's first counting game is Nov. 10 against Northern Arizona.

In other news about the team, Altman said Oregon hasn't received a ruling from the NCAA on the appeal by transfer Arsalan Kazemi to be granted a hardship waiver so he can play this season rather than redshirt.

The 6-foot-7 senior, who averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in his three seasons at Rice, is practicing with the Ducks, though he was hampered by a strained groin in recent workouts.

"He's a guy with a lot of experience, a lot of maturity, who could really help us," Altman said.

The coach believes that the NCAA will "try to get us an answer (on the appeal) before the first game, but I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't know until mid-November."

Altman said he anticipates that all five of the freshmen will play this season. Freshmen are allowed to play in exhibition games without it counting as the start of their eligibility, but a decision will have to be made before the first counting game.

"You never know what we might decide, but right now everybody is planning on playing," Altman said. "We'll investigate that as we get closer" to the Northern Arizona game.

Clearly the freshman the Ducks are most counting on is point guard Dominic Artis, and Altman's initial reviews are "all positive."

"I like his attitude, I like his toughness (and) he's really shooting it well," Altman added. "Dominic is going to go through some growing pains. ... Any freshman quarterback, any freshman point guard, is going to have some ups and downs, (but) he is going to be a very good player for us."


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