Dana Altman may not have been the first choice for Oregon but he was the right choice.
You were on your chair in front of your big screen, or heck maybe you were in San Jose, watching the game play out while catching your first look at Oregon, and you got caught up in the madness of NCAA basketball. You yelled at the T.V. in joy as Oregon hit big shot after big shot. You texted your buddies during the game to dissect the latest defensive stop. You even eventually called your friends to talk shop and rejoice over Oregon’s 74-57 victory over Saint Louis.
You caught Oregon basketball fever.
Then you and almost everyone else talking Oregon basketball asked themselves, “wait who are these guys again?”
WHO ARE THESE GUYS!?!?!?!
Oregon’s fanbase has been so focused on football, and why wouldn’t they be with that four straight BCS bowl game thing, that they’ve missed the first stop of Oregon’s bandwagon tour earlier in the year. Fear not however, there is still time to jump onto this movement and buy in to a program that is changing before your eyes. A second stop is approaching and the wagon is willing and able to take all available passengers.
“I'm excited but, man, it's just great to get to see those guys in the locker room all fired up,” a very excited and emotional Dana Altman said following Oregon’s victory. “For our fans that have waited for this. And for our state, it's good.”
That quote is almost straight textbook from Dana Altman. He always takes the blame when Oregon falters and pushes the praise from him to his players when Oregon is victorious. A true player’s coach.
Daymean Dotson and the Ducks have given Oregon's fans plenty to be excited about this week.
It is why it is time for Oregon’s fans to fully buy into what Dana Altman is doing at Oregon and dive head first into Oregon basketball.
You may have asked yourself back on April 24th of 2010 who Dana Altman was and why did Oregon just hire him to replace Ernie Kent. You may have wondered if Oregon could recruit enough talented players after his first season to take Oregon from a CBI Title team to an NCAA Tournament team. You may have worried that Altman and the Ducks were still a long ways off from making the ‘Big Dance’ when media picked them to finish seventh in the Pac-12 this year. You likely started counting down the days till spring football when Oregon lost three of their last five games in the regular season.
Then Oregon won a game in the Pac-12 Tournament. Then another, and then the Pac-12 title game. You got excited again to only assume their season was likely one-and-done when they were given a 12 seed.
Now you are wondering if there is a team out there who can beat this Oregon team set on a mission to extend their season for as long as possible.
Oregon basketball is back.
The proof is in the pudding as some would say.
Altman certainly wasn’t the flashy hire in 2010 and he won’t be seen or heard hyping up his team before a big game or press conference. Instead Altman is in his basketball office breaking down film, going over notes, and preparing his team to win basketball games.
Winning is all Altman has done in his 24 years as a head coach. In those 24 years only twice has Altman failed to post some kind of winning record. Twice, as in two times in 24 years.
Every year Altman has been at Oregon the Ducks have progressed as a program. First it was winning 21 games with a roster of walk-on players, spare parts, and a few scholarship players. Last year it was building a roster of transfers, junior college additions, and seniors that won 24 games and made the NIT quarterfinals.
Wins continue to mount, postseason accomplishments file in, and national respect climbs, and Dana Altman is the reason behind it.
The man can coach and we are seeing it happen before our eyes locally and now nationally.
Oklahoma State was a trendy pick to make a Sweet 16 run. Oregon dominated and it started with Altman schooling Cowboys head coach Travis Ford in the art of Xs and Os. St. Louis was a trendy pick to potentially upset the tournament's overall number one team Louisville. Oregon quickly thwarted that idea with a dominating performance Saturday and now you have to think the Ducks have that same shot many thought Saint Louis had.
It is time for Oregon’s fans to leave the third-string offensive tackle position battle discussion at home and bring the basketball topic back to the water cooler. This team deserves your attention for however long they play this year and then into next winter.
Altman and his team head to a place where no current Duck has gone before, the Sweet 16, and have a date at the ball with number one Louisville Friday night.
Will you be there with them?
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