Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reports: Oregon Will Hire Dana Altman

Oregon has been trying to fill their coaching vacancy for nearly two months, and after striking out on the big name coaches like Tom Izzo and Brad Stevens they grabbed a second tier coach in Dana Altman of Creighton. Of course, it was only three years ago that Altman announced he'd be taking the Arkansas job and waited all of 24 hours before changing his mind and heading back to Creighton, so nothing with Altman is ever certain, but the Oregon job is not the Arkansas job. Arkansas may have had more success over the last 20 years, but the financial backing that Oregon has dwarfs anything that Arkansas has.

The 2010-11 season will be an interesting one for Altman because the team is not going to be that good, but they're going to be opening up a brand new arena, financed by Oregon's super-booster, Phil Knight. The Ducks do have some good young talent, and the first task for Altman will be keeping all of them, particularly Malcolm Armstad, Michael Dunigan and Jamil Wilson. If he can keep the team from having any defections then they could be a pesky, raw squad that gives Oregon hope of a Tournament appearance as early as 2011-12. But if the team blows up then it could be a real rebuilding job that takes two or three years to clean up.

I picked Oregon to finish ninth in the Pac-10 in 2010-11, and the Altman hire doesn't change that belief. If Oregon can pull itself inside the RPI Top 100 then I would consider that a spectacularly successful first season for Altman.

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