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Defections may leave Oregon with only four returners from last year

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger
NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oregon vs Saint Louis
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March 23, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Damyean Dotson (21) celebrates with guard Dominic Artis (1) after a play against the Saint Louis Billikens during the second half of the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at HP Pavilion. Oregon defeated Saint Louis 74-57. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

At the rate things are going, Oregon may not have enough players to field a team next season.

First came a report Monday morning that sophomore point guard Dominic Artis was transferring. Next came confirmation from Oregon spokesman Greg Walker that Providence transfer Brandon Austin and starting small forward Damyean Dotson are also "not currently participating in any team activities."

Throw in the earlier transfers of forward Ben Carter and guard A.J. Lapray and the graduation of five other players from last season, and Oregon only has four players left in good standing from last season: all-league guard Joseph Young, reserve forward Elgin Cook and seldom-used guards Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Theo Friedman.

Oregon would be hard-pressed to contend for a third straight NCAA tournament bid if it loses Dotson, Artis and Austin. Though coach Dana Altman has traditionally added one-year transfers well into the summer and even the fall, not even he would have an easy time patching up the holes in next season's roster sufficiently.

Artis, a consensus top 100 recruit in 2012, did not build on a strong freshman season last year, getting suspended for the first nine games of the season and failing to regain his starting point guard job from Jonathan Lloyd thereafter. He would almost certainly regain that position next season, however, were he to have come back. 

Austin, another once highly touted recruit, transferred from Providence after sitting out this past season following sexual assault allegations. Dotson, a two-year starter, emerged as Oregon's primary defensive stopper this past season though his scoring average and 3-point shooting percentage dipped a bit.

All is not completely lost for Oregon next season. A five-man recruiting class headlined by four-star freshman guard Jaquan Lyle and promising junior college forward Michael Chandler has some pieces that will be able to make an immediate impact.

Still, this level of instability is not a good sign for Oregon or Altman.

It's one thing for Altman to pluck a transfer or two every summer to fill a hole on his roster. It's another thing for him to have to annually rebuild on the fly. 

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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