Media Picks Men's Hoops Sixth

Nov. 1, 2000

LOS ANGELES -- Oregon's men's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10's annual preseason media poll, which was announced Wednesday at conference's media day.

Arizona was the unanimous choice to win the 2001 crown, while Stanford garnered second place. USC edged UCLA for third by one point, followed by California, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State.

'This is going to be one heck of a Pac-10 race,' Oregon coach Ernie Kent told media members gathered at the LAX Marriott. 'On any given night, there's going to be great games in this conference.'

The Ducks, who open their exhibition season Monday at 7 p.m. versus the Basketball Travelers, lost the most point production from last year of any team in the conference, but countered those losses by signing the No. 1 recruiting class on the West Coast. That recruiting class includes McDonald's and Parade All-American guard Luke Ridnour, who Dick Vitale named the Pac-10's 'Diaper Dandy' of the year. The rest of the class includes Oregon state player of the year Luke Jackson, a forward from Creswell, Ore., sharp-shooting guard James Davis (Vancouver, Wash.) and Minnesota native Jay Anderson at center.

A quick polling of several publications finds the Ducks slated for a middle-of-the pack finish in the Pac-10. The Sporting News and Basketball News agreed with the media with a sixth-place selection, while Lindy's, ESPN/Dick Vitale and Street & Smith's forecast a seventh-place finish for Oregon. Street & Smith's predicted a trip to the NIT for the Ducks, while The Sporting News ranked Oregon as the No. 66 program out of the 300-plus Division I teams in the nation.

The Ducks were 22-8 last season, winning more games that any Duck team in 50 years. Oregon lost a hard-fought overtime game to Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the school's third postseason trip in four years. Oregon graduated three players from last year's team -- A.D. Smith, Darius Wright and all-Pac-10 wing Alex Scales.

But the Ducks return two starters from last season in junior guard Freddie Jones and senior center Flo Hartenstein. In addition, Oregon returns senior forward Bryan Bracey and junior guard Anthony Norwood, two players who were instrumental reserves during the Ducks' NCAA Tournament run.

'When you look at our team on paper, we lost a lot,' Kent said. 'But we are already a better passing team and a better shooting team than last year. What we don't have is experience except Freddie Jones. We have to develop that over the preseason to prepare for this tough conference.'

The team will hold an intrasquad scrimmage that is open to the public Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at McArthur Court.

Pac-10 Men's Basketball media poll (first place votes):

1.	Arizona (29)       2902.	Stanford           2553.	USC                2064.	UCLA               2055.	California         1606.	Oregon             1387.	Oregon State       1338.	Arizona State      1099.	Washington          5810.	Washington State    41
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