When the most positive thing about your program in the offseason has to do with the gigantic, face-melting, Jerry Jones-would-be-proud scoreboard you're installing in your new basketball arena, you're probably not having a very good offseason. I'm talking, of course, about the Oregon Ducks.
This weekend brought even more bad news. According to a report from the Yediot Ahronot newspaper in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oregon just lost its fifth player since former coach Ernie Kent was fired in March. That player is Oregon center Michael Dunigan, who averaged 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and a team-leading 1.3 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game as a sophomore in 2009-10. According to Yediot Ahronot, Dunigan is expected to sign a three-year professional contract with an Israeli team, which would end his college hoops career.
Since Kent's firing, the bad news has just kept on coming. Oregon took forever with its ambitious coaching search. The school set its sights on some of college coaching's premier names, only to be rebuffed time and again; Brad Stevens and Tom Izzo were the search's two loftiest names, and neither one showed any public interest in the job. Then, after a month of fruitlessness, the Ducks settled on Creighton coach Dana Altman, a solid hire with a very good résumé who no doubt fell short of the program's original search-related expectations.
In the meantime, four players transferred out of Oregon. Drew Wiley went to Boise State. Josh Crittle transferred to Central Florida. Matt Humphrey ended up at Boston College and Jamil Wilson landed at Marquette. Point guard Malcolm Armstead also thought of transferring but eventually decided to stay in Eugene.
In all, the transfers mean Altman will begin his tenure with a decidedly decimated roster. Even if none of the departed players (including Dunigan, who was a highly rated but ultimately disappointing prospect) were going to revitalize Oregon immediately, having a bare cupboard after a 16-16 season -- including a 7-11 mark in a soft conference slate -- is, like, not good. In other words, that new scoreboard better be as distracting as it sounds.