Younger Ducks need seasoning
An under-the-weather Luke Jackson helped Oregon win its second game Tuesday night, then philosophized about how the Ducks' young players could look so tentative and inexperienced when they had looked so aggressive and confident after practice started in October.
'A younger player has to go through a game to feel what it's like,' says Jackson, UO's star senior forward, who had 22 points and eight rebounds in the 62-55 win over Portland State. 'It was the same way for me.
'The best thing we can do is learn something about ourselves,' he says. 'We have to come to play every night, or teams like this can beat us. We can be really good, or we can play down to someone's level.'
The line against PSU was unimpressive for four first-year players: Mitch Platt, 0-for-3 shooting, no points, 16 minutes; Aaron Brooks, 1-for-5, six turnovers, four points, 34 minutes; Jordan Kent, no points, nine minutes (in his first appearance since foot injury); Adam Zahn, one minute.
With Luke Ridnour gone, the Ducks need Jackson to be the leader.
'I don't want to completely take over and make it my team,' he says. 'There are players on this team who will contribute every night. Ian (Crosswhite) has an opportunity to be a key player.'
The Ducks (2-0) play Marshall at 6 p.m. Saturday in the PapŽ Jam at the Rose Garden.
The Duck women, 5-0 headed into Thursday's game with Portland, suffered a blow when senior forward Cathrine Kraayeveld damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during practice Tuesday. She could miss the rest of the season. Kraayeveld had a staph infection in the same knee last year, forcing her to miss the final 13 games.
She was averaging 17.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. With her back, the Ducks had rounded into shape under third-year coach Bev Smith, scoring 69.2 points, shooting .466 and dishing out 19 assists (on 25 baskets) per game.
How will things change? Andrea Bills, averaging 15.2 points and 5.8 boards, will have to be the go-to post player.
The Ducks play Colorado State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the PapŽ Jam.
Portland swept Portland State in the intercity rivalry games last year, and the Vikings have their chance at revenge at 7 p.m. Saturday at UP's Chiles Center.
'They've significantly improved their team,' Pilots coach Michael Holton says. 'Very talented now. Athletic. They're a physical team with size. It'll be an important factor, how we handle it.'
'They have returning players. It's chemistry. They have it,' Vikings coach Heath Schroyer says of UP.
It's a matchup of complete opposites: Holton mellow, Schroyer bombastic; UP mostly prep recruits, PSU mostly JC transfers; UP the college campus, PSU the commuter school; UP uptempo, PSU big and physical.
Portland Ñ Has Holton's team arrived? It was 3-1 heading into Thursday's game against Nevada, with big road wins at Oregon State and New Mexico. É The Pilots are led by the guard foursome of Donald Wilson (16.8 points a game, 6.8 rebounds), Casey Frandsen (25 points at New Mexico), Eugene Jeter (18 ppg) and Adam Quick (12.8 ppg). É Dustin Geddis is a gutty frontcourt player, averaging 11.3 points and 7 rebounds. É Frandsen was slowed by a sore hip in first three games. É 'Portland's guards were great. They controlled the game. We had to scramble a lot,' OSU coach Jay John said after Portland's double-overtime win. É Wow! A 32-0 advantage in bench points against New Mexico, former OSU and PSU coach Ritchie McKay's team.
Portland State Ñ Dropped to 1-3 after Tuesday's loss at Oregon. É Seth Scott's two best college games have come against UO, including 15 points and eight rebounds Tuesday. 'I have to come out every freakin' game and practice like this,' he says. 'Bring 110 percent and let everybody feed off me.' Sounds like self-realization from an underachieving 6-10 center who wants to play pro. 'I'm a leader, and I know what's on the table. Got no more chances after this.' É Scott had offseason surgery on his wrist, which isn't 100 percent yet. 'Can't even palm the ball,' he says. É Blake Walker, averaging 20 points in his first three games, shot 3 of 17 against UO for seven points. É Walk-on DeShawn Anderson, stuck behind Sheu Odiniyi as backup guard, left the team.
Intracity II Ñ When Wilson and Walker go head-to-head, it'll be like old times. Each grew up in inner-city Los Angeles, playing in summer leagues, often on the same team. Last summer they crossed paths in an L.A. tournament.
'He could always jump out of the gym,' Walker says of Wilson. 'I've seen him dunk on big dudes all summer. That's what he does. I can nullify that.'
Intracity III Ñ The Portland State and Portland women also play this Saturday: 2 p.m. at the Stott Center. Each team has its best player back, UP's Khalila O'Rielly-Williams and PSU's Sarah Hedgepeth. The Pilots have won eight of the last nine in the series, including 66-52 last year.