Ducks basketball coach follows up after rant.
Atta boy Dana. Someone has to be bold enough to tell the truth once in a while. Sports is supposed to be about emotion after all.
ON THE COURT
We haven't had a true leader since Pritchard left and it shows with our execution down the stretch. Unfortunately, the portal is not the place to find "leaders" so hoping some of the new class coming in this year can help build a culture that can be sustained.
OFF THE COURT
The NIT did us no favors giving us 3 home games in 6 days, but this stems from a dwindling season ticket base that has been shrinking since we moved to the new arena. Granted, the NIT is not included in season tickets, but we still could've marketed to them and would've had a better turnout. We've gone from "one of the toughest places to play in all of CBB at Mac Court" to a new, shiny, sterile arena that fails to generate any energy at all. I spent my entire career in sports marketing and was lucky enough to hear David Stern speak to a group of us when launching the NBDL. Someone asked what he thought was the most important objective when it comes to attendance. His response: "Everyone wants to be where everyone is...and no one wants to be where no one is". The moment that the Ducks added 2,500 additional seats, suites, club seats, they also created a marketing problem that has not been addressed internally by the athletic department. The potential revenue may have looked good on paper, but the elimination of sellouts and abundance of tickets has been devastating. Ask Jon Spoelstra how important it is to sellout games. If i was in charge of sales, I'd be embarrassed to see 3,300 at a game vs Western Oregon let alone Wisconsin. It's time for the athletic department to step up and start focusing on how to grow a season ticket base. And if your only answer is "the product on the floor must be better", check yourself at the door...you're part of the problem.
How is someone supposed to get to a game that tips off at 5pm from Portland? How is someone supposed to access the lower bowl - when a majority of the tickets are committed to sponsors. Of the lower bowl that are available - they are priced on par with the Moda Center for a Blazer game? $175 for a 100 level seat? Middle America isn't going to pay that? Don't blame the fans - blame the University for limiting access. Hypothetical question - you think if the UofO expanded student access and made any seat in the arena for that game $25 - you think you'd get more people in there? Heck yeah. Don't blame the fans, Dana - blame your employer and get back in touch with your roots... Blue collar fans. White collar fans ain't showing up for a weeknight NIT game.
John wouldn’t brag, but I will: not too many journalists get unprompted calls from power conference head coaches looking to set the record straight.
It’s a byproduct of lots of things, but based on having worked with reporters (as a PR guy) for 30+ years, I think boils down to this: people trust John. And that is earned over thousands of hours of give-and-take that we’d never know about and most of which never is reflected (directly) in what we read.
Altman obviously needed to clear things up. Sources and reporters aren’t (and shouldn’t be) close friends, and they don’t always get along. My point simply is, what we consume here is unique and uniquely valuable because John is unique among his peers. And we’re the beneficiaries.
I love seeing Coach blow up a little. I sure hope he isn't leaving.
The 'dogs' he refers to are nowhere to be seen with this group. Pritchard has found a home in the rotation for one of the best teams in the Association. Dillon Brooks doing same (tho needs to curb his inner Rasheed Wallace).
Dana will figure it out.
Both Altman and Graves have had a few disappointing seasons by the high standards we’ve become accustomed to. Both are great coaches and will figure it out. Losing the Canadian pipeline has hurt Altman and navigating NIL and the transfer portal are hurdles both coaches will overcome. Blowing off a little steam immediately after the end of this season is understandable for someone who sets a high bar and is so competitive.
A lot of what coaches are dealing with are trickle down problems from AAU ball. Players thinking the world revolves around them. Not caring about defense. Burn out. Not boxing out. Poor shooting form. Coasting. Playing lots of games but not practicing much. Playing for AAU coaches who are not invested in fundamentals.
AAU players arrive to college with so many poor habits that they are like knotted up shoe laces, and college coaches have to decide which bad habits are worth the effort to undo and which knots aren’t worth the time and effort.
I notice this year's viewership of NCAA tourney is way up so far for both men and women. Frankly, I'm surprised. CBB has lost a lot of buzz for me--the star players leave early and thus teams overhaul rosters so often it's fruitless to watch player development. Maybe the March Madness craze is because the NBA is worse?!? People just love to gamble?!? Slow time for TV sports?!? Three thousand for a weeknight NIT game sounds pretty good to me.
He's the same coach who took them to Final Four and his analysis is dead on. They've had no vocal, hard-working team leader who demands performance in the gym and at games. Last night the Ducks handed the game to a slow, hamfisted opponent that past Oregon teams would have run out of the gym by halftime. It was as painful as it was inevitable.
As for the small crowds.... operative word from JC is fan frustration. It's same thing that happened in football in Cristobal's last year. The games became exercises in frustration for fans. Every week, the Ducks played down to their opponents. Games became ordeals. In basketball this season, early losses to Irvine and Utah Valley--both in Eugene--left fans feeling like this was just a continuation of last year. Fans stopped going because games weren't fun. They were ordeals.
MKA will fill up soon as Oregon puts an Altman-worthy team on the floor again.
"Because of them, we don’t want for anything,” Altman said.
That is exactly why there is no excuse for failure at Oregon. Every coach wants for nothing so when there are sub-par seasons it is on the coach. And this one, just like last year, is on DA.
I've thought more about this. Attendance woes aside, everyone is being too critical. Let's rewind to 2010. Ernie Kent was fired after 13 seasons, nobody thought he should have been retained. What if you were told that the next coach in Eugene, over the next 13 seasons, would not fail to win less that 20 games and would make a post season tournament in all of them? I would never have guessed that coach would be Altman. Just for comparison. In the same amount of time Ernie had 4 20+ win seasons and make 7 post tourneys.
Dana Altman has done an amazing job. He is a couple of breaks from making more final 4's. And is a click or two from doing it again. His team was hampered by injuries all year. I have nothing critical to say about Altmans ability to be the coach of this team. I would not trade Dana for anyone right now. In fact, the powers that be should be meeting with him to find out what support he needs. Give Dana Altman whatever he asks for.
An honest look at reality can't be bad.
Stay strong Coach…maybe those thoughts/words needed to be shared. Sorry more of us weren't there to cheer you on. You’ve away been there for the players, the school and the program. Stay strong and STAY!
Great “column” John. I tuned in, but my thought was “two mediocre teams.” Layups missed, castoffs from too far out, too many starters out. The Ducks needed near perfection from those on the floor. They came close, but didn’t quite have the juice. Maybe (hopefully) next year.
Not being able to keep your best players more than a year sucks.
Not finding Student leaders sucks.
Not filling your arena sucks.
Dana had a lousy Tuesday.
Duck fans loved to fill Mac Court. Not really sure what changed but some capacity mojo was lost.
Even a Blind man could see this team was not a "smart" basketball team. Dana's last two teams suffered from very poor guard play, and seemingly had several players that really didn't want to be there. I expect Dana to clean house and start over. he's got some on the roster that just are not D1 players. And he's got a few that think they are better players than they are. IMO the 'only' player with a shot at the next level is Dante, and I question whether he actually can make an NBA roster. Way too many low basketball IQ, high self important attitudes on the roster the last two years. Dana has his work cut out for him.
Dana's frustration is justified, but some of it is self inflicted. Recruit better, smarter, more disciplined players. cut loose the selfish ones. life is too short to deal with players that won't buy in and are all about themselves.