January 10, 2010

Rising stars: Armstead, Singler and Dunigan

Oregon's quick 2-0 start in conference play on the road has been marked led by the return of one star and the emergence of two more. Tajuan Porter is now the all-time leading 3-point shooter at Oregon, Armstead has found the game that made him the nation's best JC point guard last year, and Dunigan looks like the big man they all thought he would be.

Assistant Coach Kenny Payne talked about all three of them with us recently. "If you go back last year, you saw a group of guys who were young and immature, and everyone knew they were going be really good. We had some bad losses but we had times that we played even with them and we had freshmen and they had seniors on the court. Now that that's reversing and our guys are growing up, and the game is changing for them."

Point guard Malcolm Armstead is making a lot happen right now. He's solid with the ball, fearless on defense and gets the ball to Dunigan and Porter in spots on the floor where they can do something with it right away.

"I know with Malcolm, a lot of our fans weren't aware of what he could do. He played on a team with eight other Division One guys so he just distributed the ball. But he averaged about 30 a game in high school so he can score when he needs to. That's what tough kids coming from a good JC background can bring. He's from the South and has a toughness and intangibles that aren't always obvious to fans. A lot of teams recruited him and on the West Coast and we were very lucky to get him. Last year he'd go out there, they'd get a big lead and he'd go sit down. He doesn't care who scores or who gets the credit and he's gonna battle you. His game changes the complexion of our team. So do EJ and JJ for that matter.(E.J. Singler, and Jeremy Jacob.) We've added four pieces that contribute already."

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