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Chris Boucher is the Ducks’ MVP

Going into the season, many thought of Dillon Brooks as Oregon’s best player. Since the start of the year, Boucher has been the one to shine.

NCAA Basketball: Montana at Oregon Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, Chris Boucher continued his impressive 2016-17 campaign for the Ducks. He scored 23 points, grabbed a career high 19 rebounds, and blocked five shots to lead Oregon over Montana to secure the team’s seventh straight victory. This was easily Boucher’s best stat line of the season, but it shows just how important he’s been for the Ducks.

Boucher isn’t known as well for his offensive skill, but has surprised teams as one of the biggest offensive threats for the Ducks. He is second on the team in points per game despite only leading the team in scoring three games out of eleven. Boucher has also been incredibly efficient from the field. The only player on the team who has a higher player efficiency rating, offensive rating, and shoots a higher percentage from the field is Roman Sorkin, who has played 226 less minutes than Boucher. Chris Boucher has been a solid threat for an Oregon offense that has been a little underwhelming for the first month of the season.

While Boucher has shown his ability to lead the Ducks on offense when needed, he has continued his defensive dominance. He is behind only Jordan Bell in rebounds per game and defensive rating for the team. Boucher also leads the team in blocked shots, which is impressive given that Oregon is one of the best shot blocking teams in the nation. Defensive advanced statistics are also on Boucher’s side. He is leading the Ducks in defensive win shares (also win shares in general) and in block percentage, and is behind only Bell in defensive box plus/minus. While Bell is great, it’s obvious that Boucher is the defensive anchor for this Oregon squad.

Boucher will always give opponents match up problems because of his ability to stretch the floor. Through the first 11 games, he is shooting 35.4 percent from beyond the arc, a decent improvement on his 33.9 percent from a year ago. He made 39 three-pointers all last season, and is keeping pace with eleven made so far this season. In fact, his first points of the regular season was a made three-pointer plus the foul. Boucher is a player who seldom uses the three, but can pose a threat when given the opportunity. Any team that has a big man who can make plays such as that one will be a huge problem for any opponent.

Chris Boucher may not be the player who makes all the highlight reels, but he has cemented himself as Oregon’s most dangerous player. Brooks or Dorsey usually leads in scoring while Bell’s size makes his defense seem more physically imposing, but Boucher has the best all-around game on the team. He leads the team’s defense by rarely making mistakes and leading in blocked shots, and has shown to be the most efficient offensive player on the team while being the second or third scoring option. This is a deep Oregon team, but much of what it will accomplish in March will lie on Chris Boucher’s shoulders. Boucher is hoping to hear his name called in the 2017 NBA Draft, so expect him to give the rest of this season all he has.