2024-25 Big Ten offseason at a glance: Oregon Ducks

  • 05/24/2024 7:51 am in

Welcome to “Big Ten offseason at a glance,” a team-by-team look at the conference at the start of the summer. We’ll examine roster movement for each Big Ten roster and give an early outlook for each Big Ten program for the 2024-25 season.

Previously: Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa

Today: Oregon (24-12 overall in 2023-24, 12-8 in Pac-12 play)

Oregon reached the 2024 NCAA tournament and advanced to the round of 32 after upsetting South Carolina 87-73 as a No. 11 seed. The Ducks finished No. 55 in the final KenPom ratings. Dana Altman is entering his 15th season in Eugene and reached the Final Four back in 2017.

Oregon roster movement

Players returning with eligibility remaining: Jackson Shelstad, Keeshawn Barthelemy, Jadrian Tracey, Nate Bittle, Kwame Evans Jr., Mookie Cook

Players departing due to exhausted eligibility: N’Faly Dante (attempting to get a waiver), Jesse Zarzuela, Mahamadou Diawara, Jermaine Couisnard

Players who departed via the transfer portal: Kario Oquendo (to SMU), Brennan Rigsby (to Minnesota)

Players arriving via the transfer portal: Brandon Angel (from Stanford), Ra’Heim Moss (from Toledo), TJ Bamba (from Villanova), Dez Lindsay (from Florida Southwestern State College)

Players arriving via high school: Ibrahima Traore

Oregon currently has two scholarships open for next season. If they fill the open roster spots, they could look to add another post player or frontcourt depth as Traore, a freshman, may need more time to be ready to play regular minutes behind Bittle at the five.

What to like about Oregon

Oregon’s surprise run through the Pac-12 tournament rescued a season that was otherwise disappointing in Eugene. The fact that the Ducks went on to win a game at March Madness was impressive, considering Oregon entered the conference tournament ranked 69 in KenPom and not on the tournament radar.

The loss of Couisnard is significant, but Altman has some returning pieces and incoming transfers to work with as he prepares for life in the Big Ten. The headlining returnees are Shelstad, Tracey, Evans Jr. and Bittle. Shelstad started at point guard as a freshman and should take on an even more significant role in the backcourt following the departure of Couisnard. Tracey and Evans Jr., a former five-star recruit, also started in the NCAA tournament. Bittle played just six games last season due to illness and injury but will start at the five.

There are also a few notable transfer portal additions in Angel, who averaged 13 points last season at Stanford, along with Bamba, who arrives from Villanova. He averaged 15.8 points as a junior at Villanova but fell back to just over 10 per game last season. The pieces are there for Altman to make another run next winter. Moss also arrives from Toledo after a highly productive career in the Mid-American Conference. Oregon’s upside is even higher if Dante gets a waiver to return for a sixth season.

What to question with Oregon

Talent is typically not a question for Oregon, but the Ducks have struggled relative to their usual standards under Altman over the last three seasons. Oregon was on course to miss the NCAA tournament for a third straight season until the late rally last March. The Ducks finished just 20-15 in the 2021-22 season and 21-15 in the 2022-23 season.

If Dante isn’t granted a waiver to return, there will be a lot of pressure on Bittle to stay healthy and produce at a high level at the five. The program’s three freshman contributors last season – Shelstead, Evans Jr. and Cook – must take significant leaps forward next season. And Moss, an up-transfer from Toledo, will need to prove himself at the high major level. Moss averaged 15.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and three assists last season for the Rockets.

Oregon’s outlook for the 2024-25 season

Here’s Oregon’s Big Ten schedule for next season:

Home: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers
Away: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Home/Away: UCLA, USC, Washington

Oregon seems undervalued at No. 49 in Bart Torvik’s projections for next season. The Ducks have a strong collection of talent returning from an NCAA tournament team and have added impact transfers in Bamba and Angel.

Oregon’s return to the NCAA tournament is a reasonable expectation for next season. If the pieces come together as Altman hopes, the Ducks should finish in the top half of the Big Ten standings.

(Photo credit: Oregon Athletics)

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