What Will Richardson's Return Means for Oregon Men's Basketball – Sports IllustratedJune 4, 2022
Will Richardson has withdrawn from the 2022 NBA Draft and will return to Eugene for one more season with the Ducks. Oregon fans got the news on Wednesday as the point guard will rejoin the program for a fifth season.
Richardson has returned along with his teammate Quincy Guerrier, as both tested the NBA draft waters and opted for a reunion with Oregon and head coach Dana Altman. With the two returning, Oregon has part of the core from last season, along with new additions from both the transfer portal and the incoming 2022 recruiting class.
With these two back, it seems that Altman has all the pieces to get the program back to the NCAA tournament. Here is a quick overview of some of the key players in Oregon’s roster for the 2022-23 season.
Will Richardson – Point Guard
The point guard had a subpar season as the go-to guy for Oregon with averages of 14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 3.6 apg.
Richardson will have to figure out his role on this team with Altman to help this team succeed. He was expected to take the reins after Payton Pritchard went to the NBA, but he hasn't mirrored the consistency that made Pritchard so effective.
As a fifth-year player, Richardson will not only need to be a leader, he needs to find a way to help his teammates mesh together with the incoming transfers and recruits.
Quincy Guerrier – Forward
The forward was a key part of Altman’s schemes due to combination of shooting and defense with his 10.1 ppg and 5.3 rpg.
The former Syracuse transfer will be a reliable player as new players acclimate to Altman’s system. With more dynamic guard play and De’Vion Harmon transferring to Texas Tech, Guerrier should be slotted into more of a three-and-D role as he should be the primary defender on the perimeter and play more off ball.
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N’Faly Dante – Center
Dante has returned for his senior year and should be in a similar role as a rim protector, rebounder and pick-and-roll option. Last season, he contributed 8.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg and at times looked out of place on the defensive end.
The big man needs to show improvement with a mid-range jumper or post game as his minutes could be soaked up by a new recruit.
Kel’el Ware – Center
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The five-star freshman is the recruit that could steal minutes from Dante. The center offers a more polished offensive skill set than Dante. Ware can create for himself and others off the dribble.
He could also unlock a new dimension to Oregon’s offense as his shooting ability could help Altman run five-out sets.
If the potential 2023 lottery pick shows that he's a solid defender and rebounder along with his offense, fans shouldn’t be surprised if Ware cuts into Dante’s minutes.
Tyrone Williams – Guard
The leading scorer at the junior college level Williams joined Altman’s program in the 2022 class. He will add a dynamic scoring punch on the perimeter with his 43.5% three-point shooting last season.
Williams seems like the missing piece that Oregon needed last season, as multiple games slipped out of their grip due to a stagnant offensive output that couldn't slam the door.
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Dior Johnson – Point Guard
Johnson is another five-star prospect that is joining the Ducks. The scoring guard was ranked the no. 36 overall player on the 247Sports composite.
The talented guard is highly skilled in the open floor with his playmaking, which blends perfectly with the opportunities that Oregon will create on the defensive end. Johnson will be an intriguing piece that the Oregon coaching staff can develop into a top guard in the Pac-12 over the next few seasons.
Keeshawn Barthelemy – Point Guard
The junior transfer from Colorado will be another weapon for Altman to choose from along the perimeter. With his 11.1 ppg and 2.4 apg, the Ducks can run lineups with multiple ball handlers and slide Barthelemy in, confident he'll find a way to contribute.
Oregon fans should be excited about what Barthelemy brings as he can either start or come off the bench. Most importantly, Barthelemy will be insurance if either Johnson or Williams struggle to begin the season.
Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeZochert
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