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Oregon Basketball

Dana Altman Press Conference

December 22, 2020
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Aside from an early loss to a solid Missouri team, the Ducks look like they’re finding their footing in the Pac-12. A crazy year continued for Oregon after losing big man N’Faly Dante to a knee injury last week. 

Head Coach Dana Altman met with the media over Zoom Tuesday morning to provide updates on his team’s progress as well as plans for the holidays.

On UCLA

Their experience is very good. They’re only adding that one player from Kentucky,(Johnny) Juzang. He’s an experienced player. That’s their biggest thing. They go nine, ten deep. Phsyicality--they’re very talented. They’re gonna give us some problems inside without Dante.

When they have the opportunity they push it but otherwise they try to get the shot they want. They’re a veteran team and they’re only going to get better.

On facing UCLA with no fans

It’ll be different. We’ve always had solid crowds. UCLA and Arizona are two names in our conference that draw national attention. We’re trying to do that. To do that you have to win consistently for a long period of time. We’ve got a long ways to go but we’re trending in the right direction.

On Frank Kepnang

He practiced for the first time yesterday. It’ll take him some time to get up to speed. He’s a talented young man, a little raw offenisvely. If the first day is any indication of his work ethic we are really excited. Couldn’t have been any more pleased with a first day.

I think he has a big time future. We’ve been fortunate to get young men from different countries and cultures that are so easy to work with that are so grateful for the university and the opporunity. He wants to be the best player and student he can be.

On using or not using timeouts to control crowds

I haven’t studied it. The communication is a lot easier. We can yell out what we need to say during dead balls now when we may not have been able to do that in years past. Confrence teams are going to pick up on that so we’ll need to changs our calls up a bit. 

On Chris Smith’s versatility 

When he’s playing well it’s tougher. He is very versatile, scoring inside and shooting 3’s. He’s a matchup problem with that size. We know how important of a factor he is. 

On team’s progress

I thought we got better last week defensively. Now our big challenge is going against a gifted offenisve team. We didn’t give up nearly as many uncontested shots as we did prior. Our rotations were much better, we have to continue that. Without the rim protection we’ve had in years past we have to be connected on the perimeter. We can’t let them blow by us all the time. I was glad we got our young guys, Aaron, Jalen, and Lök Wur some minutes last week. 

On managing Chandler Lawson’s minutes with shallow depth 

His length is going to be really important to us now. His experience is important. He has a good feel for what we’re doing. I want him to use his length more to keep guys in front of him and challenge shots. His role will increase without Dante, he has to take a bigger presence for us on the interior. We’ve gotta take advantage of his passing skils. 

On holiday plans for players 

I thought it was really important for players and their families to decide their plans. Selfishly I’d like them to stay but this year I don’t think I can do that. I just don’t think that was my decision. I think we have about half the team going and half of them staying. With Cameroon and Mali and the Domincan Republic it might be a little tough but I think some of those guys will be with us.

I’m staying and the coaches will stay in town. For those that don’t go home I hope they can spend some time with us and spread out on Christmas so they don’t feel so isolated. For those that go home we want them to use some discipline because if they test positive we can’t do anything they’ll have to sit out. 

On looking for another non-conference game to add

We’re gonna keep our schedule open for that seventh non-conference slot. I’m keeping those weeks with Oregon State to make up conference games. If someone is on protocol and we’re not--picking up someone during the season isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Our biggest goal is to get 20 conference games this year.

 
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