When Oregon brought in freshman Tyler Dorsey for the 2016 season, the team wasn’t sure what kind of impact he would have. The four-star prospect from Pasadena showed a lot of potential. He was ranked at 38 in the ESPN 100, and was coming off of two straight state titles in California. Oregon hoped that he could have even a fraction of the offensive impact that he was able to have in high school.
Luckily, the Ducks got just that from him. Dorsey started in all but one game in his collegiate career. He finished his freshman season with solid offensive stats, scoring in double-digits in 27 of his 36 appearances, while scoring at least 20 points six times. He was third on the team in scoring, behind only Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook, and helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 title and an Elite Eight appearance. Following the season, Dorsey declared for the 2016 NBA Draft to test his stock, before choosing to return for his sophomore season.
With Cook leaving, Dorsey took his place as the second option on offense in the 2017 season. He looked poised to take on this role easily, scoring 21 in the season opener. However, he followed that up with four straight games scoring in only single-digits. This began a stretch of inconsistency that lasted most of the regular season for Dorsey. He scored in single-digits 14 times in 31 regular season games, when he only had 9 such games in 36 the year before.
It seemed that almost every time he had a redeeming performance, he would follow it up with a disappointing one. He followed up one of his best games of the season — 28 points and 8 threes against Washington — with a zero point performance against Washington State. He finished the regular season scoring only 1 point against Oregon State, and it was apparent that if Oregon wanted to make a deep tournament run, Dorsey would have to play a bigger role.
When the postseason started, Dorsey began what would ultimately become his legacy for the Oregon Ducks. After only having ten career 20-point games by the end of the 2017 regular season, Dorsey scored 20 or more in each of Oregon’s eight postseason games to help lead the Ducks to their first Final Four appearance since 1939.
Dorsey earned the nickname “Mr. March” during this span, and was able to save Oregon’s season on more than one occasion. The most notable time was when Oregon trailed Rhode Island by 11 points early in the second half in the round of 32. Dorsey scored 17 of his 27 points in the second half, including the game-tying, and then the game-winning three. He also played what was probably the most impressive game of his career against Kansas when he scored 27 points on 6-10 from three. Oregon ultimately lost by one to the eventual champion, North Carolina, but Oregon fans will never forget what was probably the most impressive offensive stretch a Duck has ever had.
Dorsey is now trying to capitalize on the height of his publicity by declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft. He announced that he will hire an agent, which effectively ends any possibility of him returning to Oregon for another season. Dorsey has not appeared on many draft boards, and has only been projected to be a late second round pick on the ones he has. Dorsey will have to hope that he can impress the scouts enough leading up to the draft to either be picked, or to be signed as an undrafted free agent. Dorsey may also have to resort to playing in the NBA D-League or overseas. Right now, it’s unclear how Dorsey’s professional career will turn out, but what is known is that he brought a historically mediocre basketball program to within shouting distance of a national championship. That won’t be lost on the fans. Tyler Dorsey will be remembered in Eugene for years to come.