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New player poll from The Athletic paints Oregon’s Kelly Graves in a poor light

For the second year in a row, Oregon Ducks women’s basketball has been sent into a tailspin at the start of the offseason.

On Wednesday morning, three Ducks entered the transfer portal. Two of them were the team’s best players, leaving the roster full of unknowns.

The next step for Oregon will be trying to replace those players with transfer additions of its own, but that may be tough for head coach Kelly Graves. In a straw poll by the Athletic, players around the country were asked which coach they’d like to play for least, and Graves ranked second.

The champion of that list was, unsurprisingly, LSU’s Kim Mulkey, who is infamous for her harsh words and attitude toward players. Mulkey received 32 of the 48 votes, while Graves received seven votes. That seems small in comparison, but second place is second place, especially on a list like that.

Not long ago, Graves’ Ducks were at the top of the basketball world, due in part to his aptitude for talent acquisition. In 2020, Oregon was in the fast lane on the road to a national championship before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. On that team were several WNBA-caliber talents, none greater than Sabrina Ionescu, who was one of the best women’s college basketball players ever, and has gone on to greater heights as the point guard for the New York Liberty.

Three years later the narrative has flipped. Throughout the past season, there was a growing sentiment among fans that Graves’ chair should be heating up. That sentiment was fueled by the Ducks’ 14-game losing streak to end the season — the longest losing streak in program history.

The Ducks need a roster overhaul, but it will be hard to bring in elite players with the program led by one of the coaches players would like to play for the least. And if Graves can’t figure out how to bring in a talented team, he will be on the hot seat.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire