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  • COLLEGE BASKETBALL

    Ducks find successful formula

    UO continues to travel one-and-done route with senior transfers
  • Yes, Oregon men's basketball coach Dana Altman has turned down a senior looking to take his last shot with the Ducks.
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  • Yes, Oregon men's basketball coach Dana Altman has turned down a senior looking to take his last shot with the Ducks.
    "Sometimes, it's not a good mix," Altman said.
    Yet, the four players who have arrived at Oregon with just one year of eligibility remaining during Altman's previous three years with the Ducks have all added to the mix. That's made Altman comfortable continuing to bring in his own type of one-and-done players as three more senior transfers have joined the team this season.
    Forward Mike Moser and guard Jason Calliste both took advantage of the NCAA rule that lets a player who graduates from one school transfer to another without having to sit out a season. Forward Richard Amardi has finally reached the Division I level after two previous stops at junior colleges.
    "I think they are excited about being here, excited to play in the Pac-12," Altman said. "They want to have a good year and they realize for them to have good years, we have to have a good year. It is not an individual sport; there's no individual entries into the NCAA Tournament.
    "Either we all go or nobody goes and they get that, so they want to be part of the team."
    Moser, a 6-foot-8 Portland native and Grant High grad, played one year at UCLA before transferring to UNLV. He earned honorable mention All-America honors as a sophomore when he averaged 14 points, ranked 10th in the nation with 10.5 rebounds and led the Mountain West Conference with 1.9 steals per game. His numbers fell to 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last year as he missed seven games because of injury and Anthony Bennett arrived for one season before being drafted No. 1 overall in the NBA draft.
    "Mike's a real focused young man and he's talented," Altman said. "He went through some injuries which took away from his last year, but he's a really good player. I hope he has a big year for us. That's what he came here to do and I think he will.
    "He has a level of experience that a lot of our guys don't have and I think that will help."
    The 6-2 Calliste brings similar experience after starting 92 games in three years at Detroit, including all 33 last year when he averaged 14.4 points, 3.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
    "I think he can help us in a number of ways," Altman said. "His experience level, his toughness. We are going to play a lot of three-guard sets this year, and Jason is going to be a big part of that."
    The 6-9, 215-pound Amardi, who like Calliste is from Scarborough, Ontario, originally committed to Iowa State out of Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. The Cyclones ended up with too many players on scholarship, so Amardi got his release and joined the Ducks.
    Altman said he and his staff analyze how a transfer will fit in with the Ducks and let the player know his role before adding to the roster.
    "You look at talent, you look at track record, and then you have some heart-to-heart conversations with them," he said. "We're pretty honest in the recruiting process about how we are going to try and blend all this together and them being a part of it. Whether it is one year or two years, it has been different for a lot of guys.
    "(We say) 'this is where we see you fitting in and to expand that you are going to have to really improve or develop,' and guys take that as a challenge. They come here to get better."
    Senior transfers also know they have just one year left to boost their chances of playing professionally.
    "A lot of them have aspirations of going to play in the NBA or overseas, which they have all been able to do," Altman said. "The last three years, every guy who left here has gone on to play somewhere."
    In Altman's first year, Jay-R Strowbridge ranked third on the Ducks with 9.4 points per game after previously playing at Nebraska and Jacksonville State.
    The next year, Altman added two senior transfers. Devoe Joseph was an all-Pac-12 selection who averaged 16.7 points per game after leaving Minnesota. Olu Ashaolu arrived from Louisiana Tech and averaged 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
    Arsalan Kazemi transferred from Rice last year but under different circumstances. He had not graduated but petitioned the NCAA so that he would not have to sit out a year, and he averaged 9.4 points and 10 rebounds per game while powering the Ducks to the Sweet 16.
    "We've had really good guys," Altman said. "I'd like to say it is something we do, but Jay-R Strowbridge was really easy to work with. Olu and Devoe were two real mature guys, easy to work with. Arsalan was real easy to work with.
    "They came here to be part of a team. They didn't come here for themselves."
    Altman said the recruiting trips are an important part of the process.
    "Visits are interesting because they are evaluating you and we are evaluating them," he said. "Sometimes there have been guys we felt like it just wasn't going to work.
    "You hope you get it narrowed down because those visits are precious ... so you want to be sure you bring in guys you think have a chance."
    Oregon's track record with one-year transfers has been a recruiting tool for Altman.
    "We wouldn't take them if we didn't feel like we had a spot for them," he said. "Why do guys look at us? Because they look at the guys who have come in and they all played a big role. They did not all start, Jay-R and Olu came off the bench but had great years. They were unselfish about it and that is why it worked. I see roles for all of them."
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