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Dante, Couisnard, Shelstad all earn All-Conference honors

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Three Ducks earn all-conference honors after the Ducks won 20 regular season games and finished fourth in the league.

Oregon senior center N’Faly Dante has been named to the Pac-12 All-League First Team for the second straight year, while also being named to the All-Defense team.  At the same time, Oregon senior Jermaine Couisnard and freshman Jackson Shelstad also earned All-League honors. The Pac-12 announced the awards this week before the league’s Las Vegas tournament.

In his fifth and final season, Dante is averaging career-highs in points (15.4), rebounds (8.9), assists (1.5), blocks (1.9), steals (1.5), minutes played (30.3), and is on pace to break his record for the highest field goal percentage in a season (67.7%). This season, Dante has posted seven double-doubles and has recorded three straight going into Las Vegas. Dante is also on pace to finish his career with the best field goal percentage in a career (64.6%).

Dante will finish his career at Oregon as one of the most dominant big men in program history, proving he could return from a career full of adversity.

“You judge people by how they overcome adversity,” said head coach Dana Altman. “This guy came in his freshman year with tremendous tendinitis in his knee and just got through his freshman year. His sophomore year, he tore his ACL, and again, for a 250-pound man that’s 6-foot-11, I didn’t tell him at the time, but that’s one of the hardest injuries to come back from.

“In his third year, he wore a knee brace all year, and he struggled. He just didn’t have the confidence in his knee. It takes a year to get that knee healthy, and he hurt it in December. He tried to come back the following year before December, so he was out of shape. And then last year, he was in pretty good shape, and everybody else got hurt.

“Dante never complained, never bitched. He just tried to come every game and give us everything. And then this year, he had to have knee surgery after the first game.”

That season-opener performance against Georgia was a precursor of what was to come for the Duck big man. He recorded 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in just 27 minutes in a blowout win. However, he was forced to take knee surgery after hurting his knee during the game. He missed the next 14 games and returned to play in mid-January.

Pac-12 coaches voted Oregon’s iron man Jermaine Couisnard to all-league 2nd Team after his impressive fifth year of college basketball. Couisnard was leaned on as Oregon’s go-to scorer on the perimeter while being tasked with being the team’s top defender on the wing.

Like Dante, Couisnard had a career year for the Ducks this season. He set new career highs in scoring (15.5 points), field goal percentage (40.2), 3-point shooting (33.7%), rebounding (4.4 rebounds), steals (1.6 steals), and minutes played (32.2 minutes).

In a loss at Arizona, Couisnard tied Luke Jackson for the ninth-most points scored by a Duck in a single game with 39. Couisnard scored 33 of his 39 points in the second half as he tried to keep the Ducks in the game against the league-champion Wildcats. It was the most points by a Duck since Payton Pritchard scored 38 against Arizona in overtime in 2020.

Jackson Shelstaed was voted to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and became the 16th Duck to be named to the conference freshman team. Shelstad is the fifth freshman point guard to earn the honor from Oregon, joining past Ducks Kenya Wilkins (1994), Terik Brown (1996), Luke Ridnour (2001), and most recently Aaron Brooks (2004).

Shelstad missed the team’s first four games of the season due to a preseason injury and finished the year starting 25 of the 27 games he played in the regular season. The 6-foot guard out of West Linn, OR, averaged 12.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 35% on 3-pointers. He scored double figures in 11 straight games, tying a program record set by Tyler Dorsey for the most consecutive games with 10 or more points by a freshman.

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247sports.com

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