Today's 4:30 p.m. game against Northern Arizona in basketball will begin the season for the Ducks in 2012-13 but also the first of four games in the Global Sports Challenge that will eventually take Oregon to Las Vegas, NV for two games against UNLV and the winner between Cincinnati or Iowa State.
Senior Carlos Emory will be a key player this season for the Ducks.
This season the Ducks have more newcomers than returning players and will look to quickly assimilate them into the rotation. Seniors E.J. Singler, Carlos Emory, and Tony woods along with junior Johnathan Loyd will act as the leaders early this season as Dana Altman looks for rotations and the right starting lineup.
Dominic Artis was last year's headliner for the recruiting class and has led the Ducks in scoring for both exhibition games but now the competition takes another step up. Waverly Austin a junior college All-American and freshmen Damyean Dotson and Ben Carter also have looked better than expected. Freshmen Willie Moore and Fred Richardson have also looked like players who will contribute this season.
Northern Arizona is entering their first year for head coach Jack Murphy as the coach of the Lumberjacks. Murphy came from Memphis where he was key in developing a long-standing program in Conference USA. Northern Arizona won both of their two exhibition games this season and senior Gabe Rodgers averaged 27.5 points per game in the two contests.
Oregon averaged 13 steals and nine blocks in their two exhibition games and should have a serious length and size advantage against the Lumberjacks. Artis led the Ducks with five steals in his two games while Austin and Woods had eight and six blocks collectively.
The Ducks are 69-38 in season openers in their 107 previous seasons but lost last season's opener at Vanderbilt which snapped 19 straight wins.
When it comes to Big Sky opponents the Ducks have been darn right dominant winning 56 games out of 68 total and are 5-1 against Northern Arizona. It has been over 10 years however since the Ducks and Lumberjacks have met. Oregon met in 2001-02 and Oregon won 86-51 and have won the last four meetings between the two.
Northern Arizona will have two former Oregon preps playing Saturday in starter Max Jacobsen out of Lake Oswego and Ben Olayinka from Corvallis.
F - Gaellan Bewernick SO 6-foot-6
F - Ephraim Ekanem SR 6-foot-7
G - Miachel Dunn SR 6-foot-0
G - Gabe Rodgers SR 6-foot-2
G - Stallon Saldivar SR 6-foot-0