Oregon is already looking like they are going to have a very deep team in the 2020-21 season, but that depth was made even more impressive by the addition of UNLV grad transfer Amauri Hardy.
In a backcourt that will contain Will Richardson and Chris Duarte in the starting lineup in the backcourt and Addison Patterson as someone who came along with an increased role as the season came to a close and then having unproven, but talented freshman Jalen Terry coming in, getting another guard who is immediately eligible was really the last need for Dana Altman and his staff to fill.
New Beginnings…🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/kiU9FDGUPI
— Amauri Hardy (@Amauri_Hardy) April 12, 2020
The addition of Aaron Estrada from Saint Peter’s is also going to be good for the program, but Hardy being eligible and coming off of a strong season is huge.
Hardy started a majority of UNLV’s games two seasons ago when he averaged 13.1 points per game and 3.5 assists. However, he took his game to another level this past season, earning All-Mountain West honors playing 34.6 minutes per game while scoring 14.5 points per game and handing out 3.3 assists. Hardy isn’t a great three-point shooter, but he also increased his threes made per game last season to exactly two.
Adding a 1,000-point scorer to this backcourt is huge. With the graduation of Payton Pritchard, next season’s team is going to need players to step up and lead the offense because they struggled to score at times this past season if Pritchard was going through a dry spell or was off the court.
And while Hardy is not a lockdown defender, he will be playing in a backcourt with two good defenders, especially Duarte, who averaged 1.7 steals per game last season before going out with a hand injury. He will also be playing in a program that has been led by its defense throughout most of the Altman Era.
Overall this is a huge pickup for Oregon. With so many players expected to return next season it’s not unreasonable to expect a big defensive jump and more defensive consistency, but adding another useful offensive weapon was much-needed.
Top Photo: John Locher/Associated Press