Oregon Football: Why March Madness Run Was Good for Freshman Arik Armstead

Bryan KalbroskyCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2013

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 1:  Arik Armstead #9 of the Oregon Ducks runs to the ball against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on September 1, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won the game 57-34.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

Arik Armstead has had quite the year. The multisport athlete will have much to remember about his freshman year with the Oregon Ducks.

 In his first year at the University of Oregon,  Armstead experienced something special. Aside from earning a BCS Fiesta Bowl victory, the first-year student was part of the men’s basketball team that just ended a Sweet 16 run at the NCAA title. While many were worried that he would be forced to miss spring practice because of his time with the basketball team, the experience was good for the young star.

Let’s not forget: The 6’8”, 297-pound freshman started school as an early enrollee and was one of the most intriguing players to do so in the entire country. Oregon fans, of course, were thrilled to see the Sacramento-born player and top high school recruit from California choose to play ball in Eugene.

The former high school phenom moved upon graduating early and has found success both on and off the court. While Armstead leaped into the open arms of Eugene, the notable maturity that he learned in these huge moments of exposure showcased insights into the world of sports that will last a lifetime.

Armstead will also provide a world of advice for the rising freshmen Robinson twins, who will also play for both the University of Oregon football and basketball teams. His insight will come with leadership experience on the ins and outs of the thriving Oregon Ducks Athletic Department.    

In basketball, Armstead was forced to redshirt the season after not joining the team until January, and sat behind Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi most of this season. The experience of working out, practicing and traveling with the team, however, will be unparalleled for the young star.

Coming into his sophomore year at the University of Oregon, he will have already experienced not only postseason play, but also victory in two different sports at the Division-I level in the Pac-12 conference. Very few people in the entire country will ever have the opportunity to say that at any level.

Of course, complacency is not something Armstead will ever readily accept.

“Strive for perfection,” Armstead tweeted. “But accept the fact that there will never be nothing perfect about me.”

Unfortunately, due to what he called “just a little shoulder injury” he suffered during workouts, Armstead was unable to practice with the basketball team for its final week of the March Madness run.   

“I’m fine,” Armstead said, who hopes to be ready for Oregon football spring practice next week. “Just a little injury and I’m trying to get healthy.”

With Woods and Kazemi graduating next season, expect Armstead to see an increased role for the basketball team next year as well. Meanwhile, his priorities will shift back to football.  

“Spring ball starts Tuesday. Time to go friend and get better with my teammates” Armstead tweeted. “Spring game on April 27. My work is never ending. No days off.”


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