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Joseph Young cooks up chemistry for Oregon basketball

SAN FRANCISCO – Returning three players from last year's team puts the Oregon Ducks in a bind, but one of those players is All-Pac-12 performer Joseph Young. That at least gives coach Dana Altman someone to lean on heading into the 2014-15 season.

[Related: Arizona picked to defend Pac-12 crown in 2014-15]

Graduation and the dismissal of three Oregon players following last season decimated what Altman thought would be his team. So with a group of newcomers, Young has already taken measures to bring an inexperienced group of players together without much time to spare.

It was a simple idea, but maybe keeping it simple is what helps the Ducks succeed.

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"A couple Sundays ago, everybody went to, I think, Safeway; everybody bought their own food," Young said Thursday at 2014-15 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day. "We came together and everybody cooked their own portion of food. It was good team bonding to be in there, talking to the newcomers, trying to figure out what their mindset is, pick their brains a little bit. We're going to have more of that."

Of course, Young believes he made the best dish seasoned pork chops, if you're wondering – but it was the bonding experience he hopes can translate to the court.

[Related: 2015 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament tickets FAQ]

The Ducks are going through two-a-days with Altman, trying to pack too much new information into too few hours. As the new players develop rapport, Altman hopes Young will keep the Ducks competitive as they fight through a non-conference schedule that includes Michigan, Illinois and Ole Miss.

The roster stands at just 10 players, and only Young and Elgin Cook played significant minutes last season.

"Our guys are going to have to stay healthy," Altman said. "We have six newcomers that will all have to play a role for us. It will be an interesting year. We're going to go through some ups and downs. Our guys are going to have to continue to fight, continue to get better. If they do that, I think we can have a good ball club. I like our talent. We just don't have much experience."

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