Dana Altman pointed out why balance is more important for Bol Bol than most players.
“When a 7-footer gets off balance, there is a lot more to sway,” the Oregon coach said. “When he is on balance, he is a very good shooter.”
Oregon’s 7-foot-2 freshman was 9-for-14 from the field in Wednesday’s 65-55 win over San Diego, marking the sixth straight game he made at least half of his shots. Bol is shooting 56.1 percent from the field, including 13-for-25 on three-pointers.
“He has a real soft touch,” Altman said. “The ball lays on the rim whether it is a little jump hook or a 15-footer or a three-pointer. It is a matter of picking and choosing. His footwork has to get better on his shooting. When his feet are right, he’s a really good shooter from ‘3’ and anywhere else.”
Bol would rank among the top 20 three-point shooters in the NCAA if he made enough shots from behind the arc to qualify, but he’s nine shy of the 2.5 per game needed to join that list. After making three three-pointers in his first five games, he’s 10-for-16 in the last four.
“I’m just working with my team and coaches in practice, working on a lot of stuff,” Bol said. “In every game, we learn more and more so I am putting that into going out there and playing.”
In addition to a variety of dunks, Bol has also shown off a midrange jumper and hook shot while ranking third in the conference with 21.0 points per game. He is getting comfortable in the post although Altman points out his 235-pound frame makes balance important near the basket as well.
“When he gets wider and lower and makes that turn, the ball lays on the rim,” the coach said. “Sometimes when he gets knocked, those are the ones he misses.”
Bol ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 9.6 rebounds per game and 18th nationally with 2.7 blocks. With Kenny Wooten adding 11 blocked shots on the season, Oregon is fourth in the conference with 5.1 blocks per game.
“That is a big advantage with those two and their length and ability to block shots,” Altman said.
Oregon has limited its last three opponents to an average of 60.3 points per game.
“We’ve shown we can be a good defensive team, we just have to play hard the whole game and get locked in,” said senior Ehab Amin, who leads the Ducks with 14 steals.
As usual, Altman sees plenty of improvement necessary on defense.
“We are just scratching the surface of where we should be and where we can be,” the coach said. “We have so far to go in our habits and communication.”
Oregon (6-3) will host Boise State (4-5) Saturday night at 6 p.m. for the first of two matchups this month between the schools. The Ducks will visit Boise on Dec. 29.
“They always play us tough,” said Altman, whose Ducks have lost to the Broncos during two of the past three seasons. “They will be excited to come here and play us. It has been a great series for us. Even though they popped us a couple times, it makes us better. We have to get ready because even though they have struggled a little bit like us, we both need the win.”