Oregon coach Dana Altman managed to turn a makeshift Ducks roster in his first season into a team of CBI champions, and now he's apparently feeling comfortable enough with this current group to play his preferred style of defense, according to The Register Guard.
The Ducks lost Malcolm Armstead, who led the Ducks and set a UO record with 89 steals, but a more aggressive overall approach in man-to-man defense, and an increase in full-court pressure, could more than offset the steals that went with Armstead’s transfer to Wichita State.
"We'd like to press the whole game," Altman said.
"Last year, we were in a soft press most of the time."
Altman's emphasis on the fullcourt press speaks to the athleticism and depth that he believes the team now has, so that's a good sign for Ducks fans looking for the team to make a move up in the Pac-12.
To get an idea of what this Altman defense might look like, go back to his statements the last time he planned to install the defense at a new school. At that awkward press conference at Arkansas where just hours later he would decide the job wasn't for him and return to Creighton, here's what Altman had to say about defense:
Altman said he was excited to follow in the footsteps of Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson. Sutton, also a former Creighton coach, took Arkansas to the Final Four in 1978. Richardson's teams reached the Final Four in 1990, 1994 and 1995 and won the national title in 1994 with a style of play dubbed "40 Minutes of Hell."
The soft-spoken Altman described himself as "boring" -- but he was only talking about his personality.
"We press 40 minutes a game," he said. "It's not quite the old Nolan press. We change it up a little bit. We'll back it up to three-quarter and we trap in different spots. But we do press all the time."
Oregon players and the rest of the Pac-12 had better be ready. The Ducks are going to press, so opponents will have to be careful not to get lost in the trees on the court at Matthew Knight Arena.
Altman's going to be introducing his aggressive defense once again.