Dana Altman Talks Potential Return Of Big Men, Dealing With Agents As Ducks Embark On Pac-12 Play

750 The Game Staff

The Oregon Ducks are 2-0 to start their final season of Pac-12 conference play with wins over USC and UCLA last week. Now, Dana Altman’s Ducks visit the Washington Huskies on Thursday and Washington State Cougars on Saturday as they look to continue a strong conference start.

Altman joined John Canzano on 750 The Game this week and said while young stars like Jackson Shelstad are performing well, the team is looking forward to getting a pair of injured big men back as soon as possible.

N’Faly Dante (knee) and Nate Bittle (wrist) have been out since early November, and Altman says getting one or both of them back will be a major boost.

“I’m hoping January,” Altman told Canzano regarding a possible timeline for a return. “I want to be optimistic. They’re both working at it. I love the effort they’re putting in trying to rehab and get back to their team. Nate and Dante have been out, they had their surgeries six weeks ago, so it’s not going to be a quick turnaround for them, either.

“We hope to get them back, because we sure need them. You can tell if you’ve watched us play, we’re not throwing it inside. A lot of spreading the floor. But you can only play that way so long. Eventually you got to throw that thing inside. And eventually you got to have some rim protection. And those two guys definitely give us that.”

Altman also talked about the challenges in player acquisition, retention and development in the era of transfer portal and NIL, saying he’s still adjusting to the times.

“It’s not an exact science and it’s definitely been a change over the last three or four years, something that an old man like myself is having a little hard time adjusting to. But you either got to adjust or fall behind.”

Altman said the frequency of agents representing college players is jarring compared to how the space used to operate.

“With the transfer portal, a lot of those guys have agents, it’s a lot of times the first contact,” said Altman. “They call us and say hey, we got this kid, and his name is in the portal, are you interested? So, the agents are out there shopping them around. Again, that’s really been a big change for me. the money that’s involved, it’s just a big change.

“You know for forty years that I was doing this, the worst thing that’s been said about you is that you bought players. Now, that’s part of the equation. How much money they’re getting, and all that, is part of the equation. It’s changed so drastically, so quickly, you got to adjust. You got to play the game, and the game has really changed.”

Listen to the full interview with Dana Altman at the podcast below.

John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.