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Oregon Basketball

Dana Altman Press Conference

December 30, 2020

No. 21 Oregon (6-1) started off conference play on a positive note, squeezing out a close win over Washington in Seattle. The Ducks followed that up by defeating a strong San Francisco squad that handed No. 23 Virginia a surpising loss in the HomeLight Classic.

The Ducks haven’t played a game in more than ten days dating back to their near 40-point blowout win over the in-state Portland Pilots. Dana Altman’s squad was fired up for a home contest against UCLA one week ago, but that game was postponed due to COVID-19 testing protocols for the contest’s officials. 

The team is now crossing its fingers in hopes that it will be able to play tomorrow in its second conference game, this time against the California Golden Bears (5-4). Dana Altman met with the media over Zoom on Wednesday morning, providing an update on the rescheduling of the UCLA game and how his players are handling the long break in action.

You can watch tomorrow’s game against Cal at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. 

On team’s energy

I hope they’re rested, relaxed and ready to go. We’ve scrimmaged the past couple of nights and it hasn’t been as good as I was hoping. I hope we’re fresh and ready to go but it’s been a long layoff since the 19th.

On Cal guard Matt Bradley 

He’s dangerous because he scores at the basket, midrange and the three. He’s a tough matchup. He’ll give us problems. We’re gonna have to recognize where he’s at and not let him have a big game. He’s going to score but we can’t let him have 30. 

On Aaron Estrada’s waiver and development

Aaron’s case was different than L.J.’s. Their reasons for transferring were diferent. We felt like that (blanket) NCAA waiver was the best opportunity for him to play. 

I see him continuing to give us minutes when needed. He makes the right decisions and calls. We need him to continue to do that and be ready. We’re going to have nights when injury or sickness will affect our team. I do like his development and he is working hard on his body to become more explosive. He has a lot of upside. 

On team’s testing results since Christmas

All the tests have been negative. We’ve had four tests since Christmas. Everyone was able to see their family and took precautions. Looks like initially we’ve come back negative and that’s a big relief. We want to work with the families when we are able to. 

On Frank Kepnang’s availability

He stayed here over the holiday. He’s worked and his conditioning isn’t great. We’ve tried to keep it really simple for him. He’s a sponge and he’s trying to get up to speed as quick as possible. Eventually he’s going to help us. He’s a work in progress. 

On UCLA postponement 

We’re working on rescheduling it right now. I think we have a date worked out but I don’t think I can say yet. Yesterday I was on the phone with our assistant athletic director. I believe we have it worked out but I’m not sure it’s finalized. 

On Pac-12 teams getting to goal of 20 games

It’ll probably be just like football. Whatever happens, happens. You can’t get too caught up in it. Prepare your team and try to keep them healthy. I don’t think everyone is going to get 20 games in. 

We’re barely starting the season and you already see postponements and cancellations. 

On Payton Pritchard

I did get to watch him a couple times. I’m really happy for him. I’m not surprised because I knew he was going to get an opportunity with Kemba Walker hurt. Payton has worked really hard to put himself in that position. It’s not like he’s a 19 or 20 year-old going into it. He’s had four years of college. He’s older and mature. 72 games is a long season. That’s going to be a grind for him. 

For him to go five-for-five is pretty dang good. I saw a couple clips. He’s working really hard to guard and sticking his nose in there for rebounds. Not surprised that any of our guys are playing well. When Bol Bol gets more of an opportunity he’ll play well. I really believe in them and believe they’ll do well. 

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