After some worry that starting guard Tyler Dorsey might enter the 2016 NBA draft, the Ducks are happy to have him back on board for 2017. The freshman may have not averaged numbers that jumped off the page, but with a year of experience under his belt and plenty of talent, Dorsey is ready for another impactful season.
Dorsey averaged 13.4 points per game, 2.0 assists per game, and 4.3 rebounds per game during his freshman year. He did this while shooting 40.6% from behind the 3-point line. These numbers, while solid, do not properly reflect the impact that Dorsey had on the team last season. He was only the second freshman since 1994 to average 13ppg while shooting at least 40% behind the three point line for Oregon. Dorsey was third on the team in ppg; and was also fourth in apg and fifth in rpg. At times, he played like he was the Ducks’ best offensive player. He eclipsed the 20 point mark six times and scored at least 15 points fourteen times. If there is anything Dorsey’s freshman year showed us, it’s that he is a solid scorer just waiting to be unleashed.
Dorsey will have the perfect opportunity to show what he can do on offense during the first part of the 2016-17 season. Dillon Brooks is expected to be out with a foot injury for at least the first month of the season. During this time, Dorsey will likely be handed the keys to Oregon’s offense. He has shown no signs of being fazed by this pressure. During Oregon’s 4-0 tour of Spain over the summer, Dorsey averaged 20ppg, while also dishing out 10 assists in the second game. The assists were huge, given that Dorsey never had more than 5 assists in a game in 2016. If Dorsey’s distribution has improved, it's just another way Dorsey can take over a game. During the Spanish tour, he showed that he is ready to take a bigger role in leading an Oregon team with higher expectations than ever.
Once Brooks comes back, Dorsey will probably fall back into his secondary offensive role; but hopefully his time at the go-to guy at the start of the season will give him the confidence that he needs in order to give Oregon an even bigger boost on offense than he gave last year. Oregon has never been a school where freshmen are seen as team leaders immediately, but Dorsey has earned a leadership role. Since 2010, no freshman has played more minutes at Oregon than he did last season. Tyler Dorsey took this opportunity to become one of the most successful freshman in Oregon basketball history.
While many people believed that Oregon’s number one ranking during the 2016 NCAA tournament was a fluke, the team will be ready to prove them wrong as 2017 title contenders. With Dorsey’s game improving -- to go along with an even deeper squad -- Oregon basketball is ready to truly contend for a national title. A basketball season has never been so anticipated by Oregon fans, and there’s a good chance Dorsey will be one of the leaders on this season’s team.