Quietly Dana Altman is building a powerful basketball program in Eugene. Still to this day in the state of Oregon, if you walked down the street and talk to all non-ducks, probably only 1 in 10 people could tell you who the head basketball coach at University of Oregon is. As a matter of fact, despite a pathetic performance so far, Paul Westhead, the women's coach is much more famous.
And knowing what I know about Altman, while he cares deeply about Oregon basketball, he could care about who knows who is he is or even what he does. In a high profile school, that is known around the world for many things involving their athletic department, going into his second year as head coach of the Ducks, Altman continues to fly under the radar.
But most of the time, in sports at least, flying under the radar is often very good and I can tell you not only from my standpoint, but from people in the basketball know, they all tell me two things, Dana Altman is a terrific bench coach and no one is going to outwork him in the ongoing college basketball recruiting battles. And while it is still going to take Altman sometime to really get things going, it is not all bad to have the glitz and glamour of the Oregon Duck athletic machine behind him, not to mention that fact the Ducks might just have the best arena in all of college basketball, in Matt Knight Arena.
And I would go even as far as to say, while all the attention these days is on the Oregon football program, Dana Altman will bring a national championship to Oregon, long before the Ducks win one in football. He is that good at what he does.
Where in the past, people would often say if someone in basketball is successful they will leave for better job, there probably are not that many better jobs in the country for a person like Altman than in Eugene. He is at a school that is always going to support athletics, as mentioned plays in a great arena, in a superb conference and he loves golf and has access to one of the great golf courses in all the world, in Eugene Country Club. What more can a guy ask for?
While in the first two years coaching the Ducks, Altman often had to will hjs teams to victories with great coaching, this year he will have some really good talent to work with. All the attention of the new players coming into the program has been on potential super-star Jabari Brown and rightfully so, but a player that everyone should get familiar with, is newcomer from the Seattle area, Brett Kingma. Kingma is player in high school that all of a sudden you would look at the boxscore and he would have 40 points. He should fit in great with the Altman system.
In Altman's first season, his Ducks played some pretty good defense, considering the lack of overall talent on the team, now I am sure they will play even better defense with more talent, but as compared to the first two years, there will be plenty of offensive punch on the team, which was lacking badly in the past two years.
I have always felt that teams who have taken advantage of the NCCA rules that allows you to take your basketball team in the summer to play games in different countries gives them a huge edge. The Ducks took a trip to Italy earlier this summer, it will help them lots in this coming season.
This Duck team has the potential to do something special this year and surprise everyone. I not only have them going to the NCAA tournament, but I also feel they will make it all the way to the "sweet 16".
And while Chip Kelly for near future always gets the headlines when people talk about Oregon athletics, upon further review, the best coach at Oregon might just be Dan Altman. He for sure will not fly under the radar much longer, keep an eye on him in 2011-12, he will become a headliner.
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