EUGENE — It is a three-pronged approach to Johnathan Loyd overcoming his shooting woes.
Stay confident. Be selective. But keep shooting.
Oh, and keep that right elbow in close to his body, which the University of Oregon junior said he noticed was a factor in his video reviews of missed shots in recent Duck basketball games.
That, said Loyd, was partly the result of his right wrist and thumb being taped after he suffered an injury.
“I couldn’t really flex my wrist,” he said.
The thumb, Loyd said Monday, “is getting better. It’s still hurting, I’ve still got pain (so) until it gets better I’ll wear the tape.”
And until the health status of Dominic Artis changes, Loyd will remain the starting point guard for the 23rd-ranked Ducks, a role he has had for the past five games since Artis went out with a left foot injury.
Artis was still wearing a protective boot while he watched practice on Monday, which would certainly seem to make it unlikely that he will be ready by tonight, when the Ducks (19-5 overall, 8-3 Pac-12) play at Washington (13-11, 5-6).
“When he’s ready and the doctors clear him,” was again the Monday prognosis from Oregon coach Dana Altman on the return of Artis.
Even then, it might not mean an immediate return to the lineup for Artis.
“You’ve got to be careful bringing anybody (back) off an injury and see how they adjust,” Altman said. “Everybody is different there.
“I don’t anticipate (it will be), ‘Well he’s cleared and he’ll be back that day.’ It’ll be a slow process.”
The change from Artis to Loyd shows up most dramatically in Oregon’s 3-point shooting. Until he was injured, Artis led the Ducks in total 3-pointers with 26, shooting .351, and he had made half of his 20 attempts in Pac-12 games.
Loyd’s 3-point shooting stands at .279, and in the five games he has started in place of Artis, he is three of 16 on 3-point attempts.
Opposing teams have responded by having the defender assigned to Loyd play away from him, defending passing lanes or helping on other Ducks.
“I have to knock down shots in order to help the team,” Loyd said. “If they’re just going to sag off me, then my teammates aren’t going to be able to do what they have to do.”
Loyd said he has spoken with his father, who advised staying confident. Altman advised the same, while urging Loyd to use good judgment on when to take a shot.
“He doesn’t need to rush anything, he doesn’t need to feel like he needs to make anything happen offensively,” Altman said. “When he’s got one he likes, take it ... just make sure you like it.
“I don’t want him to take shots because he feels he’s got to generate offense for us. He doesn’t. Defensively, he’s made us a better team. Johnny’s done fine, he’s just putting more pressure on himself than he needs to offensively.”
Oregon defeated the Huskies when the two teams met in Eugene on Jan. 26. E.J. Singler led the Ducks in that game with 18 points.