College Basketball Nation: Tajuan Porter

Oregon wins one on the recruiting trail

May, 3, 2010
Oregon might not have won the news conference with its hiring of Dana Altman, but the new coach is reportedly victorious in a recruiting battle that resulted in an important commitment from point guard Johnathan Loyd, who is the state of Nevada's player of the year.

Signing the 5-foot-9 Loyd would give the Ducks another diminutive point guard after losing senior Tajuan Porter. But really, they're in need of players at this point after Ernie Kent didn't bring in anyone in the early signing period and three of his players received scholarship releases.

Loyd is a late bloomer in terms of garnering recruiting interest, and it'll be interesting to see if Oregon also has an interest in his older brother, Michael Loyd Jr., who last week decided to transfer from BYU.

Altman was hired too late for him to get a legitimate shot to recruit in-state stars Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross, but to get Loyd, he beat out UNLV head coach Lon Kruger, who needed a point guard of his own after recently parting ways with Matt Shaw.

Kruger also happened to be Altman's former boss at Kansas State, so score one for Altman on this day.
LOS ANGELES – It’s hard to dissect a hug, but from all accounts, the hugs Ernie Kent gave to his players following Cal’s 90-74 win over his Oregon Ducks were more “thanks for the memories” than “see you soon.”

[+] EnlargeErnie Kent
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesErnie Kent is 24-39 in his past two seasons at Oregon.
Kent reportedly told his players before the Pac-10 tournament that he would not return next season after 13 seasons as coach at Oregon following the Ducks’ 16-16 season.

After the game, however, Kent, who is 24-39 in his last two seasons at Oregon, refused to comment on his future.

“I will talk about the game and I’ll talk about these two outstanding young men up here, but this is not the place for me to talk about anything else right now,” Kent said. “I’m hoping we’re playing somewhere quite frankly.”

Kent was joined at the postgame press conference by LeKendric Longmire and Tajuan Porter and while Kent was unwilling to talk about the rumors, or “noise” surrounding his future, Longmire had no trouble addressing it.

“As player we try to not to focus on it but personally it sticks with me everywhere I go,” he said. “Coach is a great guy and coming here he’s changed my life tremendously not only as a basketball player but as a young man. I can’t help but respect him for everything he’s done for me and for giving me the opportunity to be here and play on this level. We love coach and we want him and we need him here. We feel like he’s the one who can take us to where we need to be. He’s proven that he can do it so that’s where we are."

Ernie Kent on the hot seat?

January, 28, 2010
Oregon is tied for last in the Pac-10 and has been playing uninspired basketball as it heads into tonight's game against UCLA. Here are some signs coach Ernie Kent better shape up the Ducks or get ready to ship out:
  • One fan throws his season tickets into the fireplace and says, "It's going to give me a stroke sitting in the stands watching this." Fan makes YouTube video documenting this.
  • Your athletic director says the team's improvement has not been "significant" and that your job status will be evaluated at the end of the season.
  • Oh, and your star player already said at the end of last year that you're on the hot seat.

Matthew Knight Arena opens next year, and as the homepage says, "deposits are being accepted." Seats in the new place will need to be filled, and Mac Court has a history of knowing how to bid farewell to outgoing coaches as well.

Just ask former UCLA coach Steve Lavin.

"If I'm not mistaken, that was my last regular-season road game and the students were chanting, 'Good Bye, Lavin,' so with a minute to go, I gave 'em a salute and they had fun with it," Lavin told the Los Angeles Daily News Wednesday, between rushing around to cover games for ESPN. "It was inevitable that I was getting fired, and they were relentless."

New Year's Eve party fouls

January, 1, 2010
Oregon beat Washington State 91-89 in double overtime, with the Ducks being aided by a technical foul called on the Cougars with .3 seconds left in the first overtime for celebrating what might have been a game-winning shot.

DeAngelo Casto had scored to give Washington State a two-point lead, but members of the bench came on the court to celebrate, and a technical foul was called with .3 seconds left. Tajuan Porter hit the two free throws for Oregon to tie it, and the Ducks would go on to win.

"We (called) a technical foul for bench personnel running onto the court during a live ball, without being beckoned onto the court,” lead official Mike Littlewood explained to Vince Grippi of The Spokesman-Review.

Later in the evening in the Pacific Northwest, Oklahoma forward Tiny Gallon committed his own party foul during Gonzaga's 83-69 win.

Going up for an unsuccessful attempt at an alley-oop, the 296-pound Gallon grabbed the rim instead and shattered the backboard at Spokane Arena.

The game was delayed for nearly an hour as a new backboard was brought in and the glass from the old one was cleared away by brooms and some vacuuming.

Because it wouldn't be a New Year's Eve bash without a mess being made.