Oregon had only three players taller than 6-foot-6 on its 2012-13 roster as recently as a month ago.
Now frontcourt depth could go from one of the Ducks' glaring weaknesses to one of their greatest strengths.
Two weeks after promising 6-foot-11 junior college transfer Waverly Austin transferred to Oregon after he couldn't get academically eligible at South Florida, the Ducks have also reportedly landed Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi. The 6-foot-7 senior has been one of Conference USA's top interior players the past two years, averaging 15.2 points and 11 rebounds as a sophomore and 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds last season.
Kazemi reportedly will petition for a waiver to play right away next season rather than sitting out the customary one year penalty. It seems like a long shot the NCAA would grant that waiver request unless there's compelling evidence not publicly available yet, but the possibility of having Kazemi next season certainly is intriguing for the Ducks.
Add Kazemi to next season's roster, and the Ducks could have a formidable frontcourt foursome featuring him and returning star E.J. Singler at power forward and Austin and former Wake Forest transfer Tony Woods at center. Singler would also be able to slide down to small forward at times, which is probably his more natural position.
Even if Kazemi can't get eligible this season, he and Austin would make a strong starting duo in 2013-14. Austin was rated as the fifth-best prospect among junior college players last season by JucoRecruiting.com after averaging 14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots for Palm Beach State College.
The addition of Austin and Kazemi shows why Oregon coach Dana Altman typically keeps a scholarship or two open in order to bolster his roster late in the summer if a transfer of note becomes available.
Two years ago, Oregon landed Jay-R Strowbridge at the end of the summer, and he emerged as a key contributor in his lone season with the Ducks. Last year, it was Woods who came aboard late and ended up starting all 28 games. Oregon tried to get involved with highly touted Xavier transfer Dez Wells last month, but the Ducks will gladly settle for Austin and Kazemi as consolation prizes.
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