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13 OREGON
Kelli Anderson
November 25, 2002
With their Lukes in the limelight, the Ducks are hoping that an upgraded front line will help them live up to their billboard reputation
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November 25, 2002

13 Oregon

With their Lukes in the limelight, the Ducks are hoping that an upgraded front line will help them live up to their billboard reputation

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STARTING LINEUP

POS.

PLAYER

HT.

CL.

KEY STAT

SF

Luke Jackson#

6'7"

Jr.

16.7 ppg

PF

Robert Johnson#

6'8

Sr.

7.5 rpg

C

Brian Helquist

6'9'

Sr.

2.6 rpg

SG

James Davis

5'10"

Jr.

6.0 ppg

PG

Luke Ridnour#

6'2"

Jr.

5.0 apg

#Returning starter

Last season the Oregon Ducks earned their first outright conference title since 1939, completed their first undefeated home season (16-0) since 1938, won their first NCAA tournament game since 1960, got to the Elite Eight and set nine school offensive records. How do you follow a banner campaign like that?

With a billboard campaign, naturally. This season various Ducks will be gracing billboards in Los Angeles, New York City and the Bay Area. For instance, the likeness of junior point guard Luke Ridnour will be looming from the side of Manhattan's W Hotel on 47th and Broadway. Says Ridnour, "It'd be a lot easier if it were the whole team up there, but I guess I'll have to deal with the pressure that comes with this."

That's coach Ernie Kent's plan. The billboards, says Kent, "give our best players a sense of urgency, a sense that, Oh, I have to live up to this hype now." Accordingly, Ridnour and fellow junior, All-America candidate and reluctant poster boy Luke Jackson (appearing in L.A. and the Bay Area) have emerged from a summer spent in the weight room and on the camp-counseling circuit with far more muscle on their frames and much greater confidence in their shooting and defense. The Lukes will be supported by a faster and, most likely, more productive front line than the one anchored by graduated 7'2" post Chris Christofferson. Brian Helquist, a 6'9" center who lost 20 pounds over the summer, 6'11" Aussie redshirt freshman Ian Crosswhite and 6'8" senior forward Robert Johnson (billboard, Bay Area) will help give the Ducks what Kent calls "the best core group of big men we've had here at Oregon in a long, long time."

The Ducks will need every superlative. Aside from the usual brutal Pac-10 slate, Oregon will face Cincinnati, Minnesota, Pepperdine and Kansas—the team that beat them 104-86 in last season's Midwest Regional. "We were so close last year," says Jackson. "I felt like we played good enough ball that we could have gone all the way. But we didn't, and that just made me hungry for this year." That's the kind of quote Kent might billboard.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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