Men's Basketball Opens Season Against Alabama State
Nov. 13, 2001
WHAT'S ON TAP . . . Oregon hosts the America's Youth Classic Thursday through Saturday at Mac Court (9,087).
ABOUT THE AMERICA'S YOUTH CLASSIC . . . The Eddie Robinson Foundation, sponsor of the America's Youth Classic, is a non-profit organization founded by the Robinson Family in 1997 to serve as a catalyst for the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of the youth of America. Through merit and need-based scholarships, grants, and charitable contributions, the Foundation creates better citizens for America by providing promising youth an opportunity to excel in the most competitive society in the world. Specifically, the Foundation assists high school seniors in realizing the goal of a college education, fosters the potential of eighth grade students to achieve a college education, and grants opportunities for participation in academic and athletic encampments. Continuing Eddie Robinson's legacy of service, the Foundation cultivates excellence through education.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:Thursday, November 156:00 p.m. Long Beach State vs. Western Michigan8:15 p.m. Alabama State vs. Oregon (Action Sports Cable Network)Friday, November 166:00 p.m. Alabama State vs. Long Beach State8:15 p.m. Western Michigan vs. OregonSaturday, November 186:00 p.m. Western Michigan vs. Alabama State8:15 p.m. Long Beach State vs. Oregon (Action Sports Cable Network)NOTE: Second team listed is the home team.
TENTATIVE OREGON STARTERS (2000-01 Stats)F 3 Robert Johnson 6-8 235 Jr. Averaged double-double in JCF 33 Luke Jackson 6-7 215 So. 7.8 ppg, 4.1 rpgC 25 Chris Christoffersen 7-2 300 Sr. 3.3 ppg, 2.5 rpgG 13 Luke Ridnour 6-2 165 So. 7.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.8 apgG 20 Frederick Jones 6-4 209 Sr. 14.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.4 apg
QUICK HITS...A brief look at what to watch for this weekend:
NCAA experimental rules will be in use for the America's Youth Classic (see page 2).
Oregon goes for it's 10th straight season-opening win.
Senior guard Frederick Jones needs six points to become the 22nd member of Oregon's 1,000-point club.
Jones moves into 21st in UO career scoring with 16 points, 20th with 18 points and 19th with 29 points.
Jones moves into the UO career top five with one more blocked shot and into fourth with seven more.
Jones moves into sixth in UO career steals with four more, fifth with six more and fourth with 12 more.
Jones moves into sixth in UO career 3 FG with eight more.
Senior center Chris Christoffersen is expected to make his first career start.
Christoffersen enters the UO career top 10 with two more blocked shots and moves into ninth with six more.
The former Anthony Norwood takes the floor for the first time as Anthony Lever.
Lever enters the UO career top 10 with 19 more 3 FG.
Junior center Brian Helquist will become the first Florida native to play for Oregon.
Fred Litzenberger begins his regular season tenure as a men's assistant coach.
FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER . . . The tradition of using NCAA experimental rules in exempted tournaments continues with the 2001 America's Youth Classic. This year's three concoctions are:
1. A widened free throw lane. The free throw lane will be widened by two feet on either side to the current NBA size. In effect, this will also increase the area where three-second violations can occur..
2. A jump ball, will result in, well, a jump ball. Instead of using alternating possessions, the two players involved with a held ball will jump, in other situations (i.e. referees unsure who last touched a ball before it went out of bounds) or in cases of injury or disqualification, any two opponents may be allowed to jump..
3. Basically, this one states that instead of an offensive foul resulting in free throws if the offended team is in the bonus, the offended team will be awarded possession of the ball at a designated spot on the court..
Copies of the NCAA experimental rules will be available in the Media Room for further dissection.
OREGON IN OPENERS . . . The Ducks have won nine straight season openers, which is second in the Pac-10 to Stanford's 13. The UO streak dates back to a 1991-92 loss against Montana (78-39). Since then, Oregon has defeated Alaska-Anchorage (96-73), Humboldt State (90-67), Wisconsin-Green Bay (96-71), Hawaii-Hilo (115-81), San Diego State (91-66), Brigham Young (74-67), Coppin State (77-62), Illinois-Chicago (65-58) and Mississippi Valley State (85-70). In home openers, the Ducks have a modest three-game streak going following a 1997-98 loss to Portland State (56-54). Oregon defeated Coppin State 77-62 in the 1998-99 home opener, Portland 74-62 in 1999-00 and Mississippi State last season. Oregon is 59-37 in 96 prior season openers.
HEAD COACH ERNIE KENT . . . Ernie Kent (Oregon '77) is in his fifth year at Oregon. He has a 68-49 ledger with the Ducks and an 11-year career record of 158-129. He was an assistant coach for the 2001 USA Basketball 21-and-Under team that won the gold medal at the summer games in Japan. He also holds posts on the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee and is a member of the NABC's Board of Directors..
Kent won his 150th game as a collegiate head coach Dec. 12, 2000, versus Illinois-Chicago (110-87). He has won more games in his first four seasons as Oregon's head coach (68) than any other Oregon mentor since Howard Hobson (93) from 1935-36 through 1938-39. The former six-year Saint Mary's (Calif.) coach led the Ducks to the NCAA Tournament in 1999-00 and accomplished some pretty impressive feats along the way: 22 wins was the school's most in 55 years, 13 Pac-10 wins was the most in school history, the first road triumph over a Top 25 opponent since 1977 (67-66 neutral-court win over Wake Forest), a win over the highest-ranked foe since 1995 with the 86-81 upset of No. 3 Arizona. In 1998-99, Kent took the Ducks to a 19-13 mark and a trip to New York City for the NIT Final Four. Prior to St. Mary's, he served two-year tenures as an assistant at Stanford (1990-91) and Colorado State (1988-89).
LUCKY SEVEN . . . Under Ernie Kent, Oregon is 18-11 in its last 29 games decided by seven points or less.
COACHING STAFF . . . Assistant Greg Graham is in his fifth season, while Scott Duncan is in his second season. Fred Litzenberger is in his first season after spending the last six years with the Oregon women. Mark Hudson is in his fifth year with the program, but is in his first as director of basketball operations.
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES...Anthony Lever, formerly Anthony Norwood, changed his last name to that of his natural father, former Arizona State and NBA star Lafayette 'Fat' Lever, during the summer. Walk-on senior guard Kristian Christensen will be wearing No. 21 -- the same number he wore as a freshman -- after donning No. 12 the last two years.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING . . . Here's a look at Oregon's returning leaders in each statistical category:
Points Frederick Jones 14.8Rebounds Frederick Jones 5.6Assists Luke Ridnour 3.8Blocked Shots Chris Christoffersen 0.7Steals Frederick Jones 1.1FG Pct. Frederick Jones .4723FG Pct. Ben Lindquist .381FT Pct. Ben Lindquist .850Minutes Frederick Jones 31.9
RAG TAG . . . Here's a look at where several preseason magazines and other services rank the Ducks in the Pac-10, and in the nation:
Source Pac-10 NationalThe Sporting News 8 66Basketball News 8 --Lindy's 7 --ESPN.com 7 --Street & Smith's 7 --Athlon 7 NIT
BASKETBALL JONES . . . Senior guard Frederick Jones is the only player in school history ranked among Oregon's career top eight in three-point field goals, assists, blocks and steals. A preseason all-Pac-10 pick by ESPN.com (along with Casey Jacobsen of Stanford, Jason Kapono of UCLA, Sam Clancy of USC and Jason Gardner of Arizona), Jones enters the 2001-02 season needing just six points to become the 22nd member of Oregon's 1,000-point club. Jones was an all-Pac-10 honorable mention selection a year ago after averaging 14.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
AFTER RID-NIGHT . . . Luke Ridnour became the first player in Oregon history to be named Pac-10 freshman of the year. He averaged 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. 'Rid' was the first true freshman to start at the point for Oregon since Kenya Wilkins in 1993-94 and posted an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio of 106-to-67.
ABOUT ALABAMA STATE . . . Located in Montgomery, Ala., Alabama State is coming off the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Hornets won the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament to earn the SWAC's automatic bid. Alabama State lost to Michigan State 69-35 in the NCAA first round. The Hornets were 22-9 in 2000-01 and return four starters from that SWAC champion team. Senior forward Tyrone Levett, the 2001 SWAC tournament MVP, averaged 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last year, while junior center Alvin Pettway was at 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Senior guard Joey Ball averaged 10.8 points per game. All three players were named to the preseason SWAC first team, and the Hornets were picked for a second place finish behind Alcorn State. Alabama State lost its only exhibition game, 80-62 to a team from Birmingham, England, that also defeated Mississippi State. Pettway scored 17 points in the loss.
TENTATIVE ALABAMA STATE STARTERS (2000-01 Stats)F 15 Keith Gamble 6-4 185 Jr. 10.1 ppg, 3.7 rpgF 45 Tyrone Levett 6-5 220 Sr. 15.6 ppg, 8.2 rpgC 25 Alvin Pettway 6-9 240 Jr. 14.3 ppg, 6.1 rpgG 11 Kevin Harris 5-10 165 Jr. 1.6 ppg, 0.8 rpgG 35 Joey Ball 6-2 185 Sr. 10.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.3 apg
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN . . . Western Michigan is coming of a difficult 7-21 season, but does return four starters. Forward Steve Reynolds was a bright spot at 14.8 points and 4.4 boards per game. The lone senior on the squad scored 15.5 points per game in WMU's two exhibition wins. Junior guard Robby Collum averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists per game last year. Forward Brandon Johnson is also a wide receiver for the WMU football team and will not play in the America's Youth Classic as the Broncos take on Central Michigan this Saturday on the gridiron. A few famous WMU alums: comedian Tim Allen, ESPN/ABC college football studio host John Saunders, Florida Marlins' GM Dave Dombrowski and NHL veteran Glenn Healy. The Broncos, who last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1998, are trying to snap a 9-game non-conference losing streak.
TENTATIVE WESTERN MICHIGAN STARTERS (2000-01 Stats)F 1 Terrance Slater 6-5 205 Jr. 5.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg, .767 FT Pct.F 15 Steve Reynolds 6-7 220 Sr. 14.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, .725 FT Pct.C 2 Taylor Bro 6-7 220 Jr. 5.7 ppg, 5.2 rpgG 14 Robby Collum 6-1 205 Jr. 9.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apgG 33 Ben Reed 6-3 220 Fr. Named to Michigan Dream Team
ABOUT LONG BEACH STATE . . . Long Beach State won six of its last eight games in 2000-01 and finished 18-13, barely missing a second-straight NIT appearance. The 49ers return two starters, including senior center Travis Reed, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. A third starter, forward Lemi Williams, will redshirt the 2001-02 season due to a stress fracture. Reed led LBSU with 10 double-doubles last year. The 49ers get senior center James Williams back from a medical redshirt, he was at 12.2 points and 7.3 boards a game in 1999-00. Last year, the 49ers attempted a school-record 534 three-pointers and made 178 of them (33 percent). LBSU led the Big West in scoring, averaging 75.9 points per game, and steals, averaging 8.3 per game. Coach Wayne Morgan enters the season tied for fourth in 49er career victories with Tex Winter at 78. LBSU last played in the NCAA Tournament in 1995.
TENTATIVE LONG BEACH STATE STARTERS (2000-01 Stats)F 13 Travis Reed 6-8 250 Sr. 14.5 ppg, 8.7 rpgF 20 Tony Darden 6-4 200 Jr. 15.7 ppg at Dade CCC 50 James Williams 6-9 240 Sr. 12.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg*G 00 Ron Johnson 6-0 190 Sr. 8.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.2 apgG 23 Michael Darrett 6-2 190 Sr. 5.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.4 rpg*1999-00 stats
CLIMBING THE CHARTS . . . A trio of Ducks come into the 2001-02 season looking to climb on the Oregon career charts. Frederick Jones and Chris Christoffersen will both end their careers among the UO career top 10 in blocked shots, while Jones will leave a larger legacy in many statistical categories. Jones is now ranked in the career top eight in four categories: three-point field goals, assists, blocks and steals. His 56 career blocks (sixth) is one behind Jerry Adams (57/1981-86) and seven back of No. 4 Brett Coffey (59/1987-89). Jones' 85 steals rank seventh, four behind Gary Greatwood (89/1979-84) and six back of Felton Sealey (91/1977-81). His 96 career three-point field goals are eight behind No. 6 Alex Scales (104/1998-00). And his 256 career assists rank eighth, 23 short of No. 7 Mike Barwig (279/1972-76). Jones is also poised to make a major climb into the UO career scoring list. He is currently 22nd with 994 career points and needs 17 to pass No. 21 Antoine Stoudamire (1,010/1991-93), 19 to pass No. 20 Bill Drozdiak (1,012/1968-71) and 30 to pass No. 19 Glenn Moore (1,033/1959-63). Chris Christoffersen needs two blocks to crack the career top 10, and five more to claim the ninth spot for himself. In the process, he would pass former teammates Flo Hartenstein (39/1997-01) and Julius Hicks (43/1999-01), among others. Anthony Lever enters the 2001-02 season needing 19 three-point field goals to reach the top 10.