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Oguchi looks to redeem himself

by: , OGUCHI

On a team of unconscious shooters, Chamberlain Oguchi reached another level in the final 10 games last season.

The summary: 40 of his team-high 68 3-pointers, a .377 3-point percentage, four of his five games with six 3s and 14 3-pointers in three Pac-10 tournament games. Playing a more prominent role because of Bryce Taylor's right knee injury, Oguchi shot himself into the hearts of teammates -and expected to continue the trend this season.

Taylor and Oguchi started nine of the first 10 games together. Oguchi had some good shooting games, but he sprained his ankle at Georgetown, Taylor soared and Malik Hairston got healthy. Oguchi soon found himself in the sixth-man role, which he has not embraced.

The 2006-07 summary: 16.7 minutes per game, .255 3-point shooting (28 of 110) and 5.1 points per game. In the Ducks' current eight-game winning streak, Oguchi has averaged only 8.5 minutes, making 1 of 7 shots from long range.

'Even though my role has diminished, I'm still confident,' he says. 'I'm doing whatever I can to help the team.

'You go to the gym and work on your shot when nobody is looking. As long as you know in your mind that 'you shoot, it's going in,' that's how you maintain your confidence.'

He has not shot well, though, and doesn't possess the best defensive and rebounding abilities.

Taylor, Hairston and Tajuan Porter are slated to be back next season, and Oguchi sees himself slipping into the spot vacated by Aaron Brooks.

'That's what I'm thinking about. That's 18 points a game leaving,' he says. 'Somebody has to step in.'

- Jason Vondersmith