In this second addition, I look at the third place contest between Oregon and Texas. Texas is coming off of a tightly fought contest against Notre Dame in which they almost won on a half court buzzer beater. Oregon matched up against North Carolina and showed some positive signs. Abrams is proving that he can be effective at running the show and Oregon is looking to their young interior players for offensive output.
Damion James- The only word that can epitomize his efforts today is "beast". James was all over the court, demonstrating a quick first step which could translate at the next level, while getting all over the glass. He outrebounded taller players, utilizing tremendous positioning. His aggressive nature will make him a viable lottery pick in this coming draft. James has the potential to become a star at the next level because of his scrappy nature around the basket. Defensively, he is very aggressive and maintains positioning. It is questionable, though, whether or not he can transition completely from post to perimeter defense. He is able to slash very effectively, but he has yet to demonstrate a clear perimeter shooting touch, which is the only facet of his game limiting him at this point.
AJ Abrams- Abrams is a consummate shooter, with the ability to handle the ball and control tempo. He is electric attacking and then pulling up off the dribble. His decision making has improved because of his position change. He is one of the best three point shooters in the country and his quick release will allow him to be in NBA conversations as a second round pick. Because of his combo guard nature, NBA teams will want him to conform to the usual point guard mold. And, this year's experience running his Texas squad will do wonders for his basketball future.
Justin Mason- Mason is extremely explosive off the dribble and plays the faux-point in transition. He has nice vision and may receive some NBA looks at some point. His shooting is pretty impressive, but he is somewhat streaky in that regard. Defensively, he has nice hands and is aggressive going after the ball. His free throw shooting could use some improvement, seeing as he gets to the line a lot. It will be interesting to see how his game progresses in his starting role this year.
Tajuan Porter- At a diminutive 5'6, Porter's chances of making the NBA are doubtful. However, his role on this squad is undeniable. He is this team's leader, and he displayed a nice shooting touch this game. (although he has been pretty ineffective in that regard throughout the year) Porter made some nice passes and attempted to attack the hoop whenever he could. His post entry feeds gave Oregon big men a great shot at finishing around the basket. Defensively, he has quick hands, but is a liability because he faces a height mismatch against virtually all opponents.
Lekendric Longmire- Longmire continued his steady improvement and finished off of some nice post moves and fakes. He was able to shift his pivot on several occasions, and he finished on several of these post plays. His defense could use some improvement, but Longmire is still a work in progress. He could stand to add some girth in order to establish more position in the post, so that he is not consistently fading.
Michael Dunigan- This young big man is one of the most promising aspects of Oregon's future. He is a workhorse inside that rarely gives up on a play. He constantly has his hands on rebounds and is able to establish position. His post game could stand to add some go-to moves, but he relies on considerable bulk in order to attack the basket. Defensively, Dunigan is intimidating. He is a shot blocking presence even though he has a tendency to commit silly fouls. If he can extend his range in the next coming years, he will be a viable threat for Oregon and a serious NBA draft candidate.