Having a sharpshooting and savvy point guard is a luxury for many basketball coaches.
Second-year Oregon coach Chris Siebert will rely on junior Erik Victorson and other guards to lead the way this season.
Oregon went 14-9 and tied with Stoughton for second in the Badger South Conference with a 10-4 mark last year. Victorson is the only returning starter back from last season, when he averaged 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He shot 35.7 percent from 3-point range last year.
Victorson played shooting guard last year, but will take over point guard duties this year.
“We are so excited about his opportunity to handle the ball and handle pressure,” Siebert said. “We feel like he’s at his best on the defensive end. That’s his calling card.”
Two other key returners are senior Adam Yates (6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last year) and sophomore Ryne Panzer (6.8 points per game).
“He’s so gifted offensively,” Siebert said of Yates. “He has been fantastic. He is really stepping up.”
As a freshman last year, Panzer led the team in field goal percentage (52.5%) and was second on the team in free-throw percentage (73.9%).
“For a freshman, he (Panzer) blew away our expectations,” Siebert said. “He put in as much time as anyone and was a great addition to our program.”
Another returner expected to play a bigger role is senior Matt Kissling. Siebert said that Kissling’s competitiveness in football and track & field will serve him well on the court.
“He has really turned the corner,” Siebert said of Kissling. “He is going to surprise a lot of people.”
Siebert plans to have the Panthers continue running a motion offense that will push the pace, but will have more structured calls of how to attack, he said. The Panthers averaged 58.4 points per game last year, an increase of nine points from 2017-18.
Siebert wants to see his team continue to use 3-point shooting as a weapon. The Panthers shot 33.9% as a team from behind the arc last year (161 of 475) and averaged seven 3s per game.
Defense is an area Siebert wants to see his team continue to excel in. Oregon limited opponents to an average of 0.88 points per possession last season.
“We need to live up to the defensive standard we set last year,” Siebert said. “We just have to just find a way to get consistent stops.”
Monona Grove is seeking a third straight conference title. The Silver Eagles posted a 11-3 league mark last year.
Siebert pegged Monroe and Stoughton as the favorites to win the Badger South title this season. The Cheesemakers are led by 6-foot-7 junior forward Cade Meyer, who has scholarship offers from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee and is drawing interest from UW-Madison. The Vikings are led by senior guard Adam Hobson, a Michigan Tech commit.
“All conversations have to start with Stoughton and Monroe,” Siebert said. “Monroe has the size and skill. Stoughton probably has the best player in the conference in Adam Hobson.”