Whether you’re a fan of the Oregon Ducks or the Portland Trail Blazers, it only makes sense to want to keep your favorite players around town.
If you’re a fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, chances are you’re at least somewhat interested in the college talent developing over at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Establishing a healthy pipeline of promising local talent is one of the most important things a team can do as it encourages continuity and a level of familiarity among the fan base. This is also a smart business move that can lead to more jersey and merchandise sales.
Deandre Ayton played at the University of Arizona and was eventually drafted by the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix needed someone to anchor the center position, but picking up a local product ended up being a great business move and the fans immediately fell in love with the big man from the Bahamas. Even though in retrospect he probably wasn’t the best player on the board, you’d never hear a Suns fan complain about the pick.
Portland could take a page out of Phoenix’s book (and this is the only time you’ll ever hear me say that emulating the Suns is a good idea) by drafting a player from the University of Oregon. That player could go on to immediately become a fan favorite and fit perfectly in the Portland Trail Blazers locker room.
If the results from our ‘fan favorite tournament’ are anything to go by, we need a new player to assume that role ASAP. Let’s take a look at three players you can watch tear up the NCAA this season and then root for again on draft night.