With seven transfers new to the program and two players serving suspensions, Oregon is looking surprisingly cohesive.
Oregon swept the field this past weekend at the Global Sports Hardwood Classic tournament on their home floor, improving to 7-0 for the team's best start since opening 13-0 in 2006-07.
Guard Joseph Young, who came to the Ducks from Houston, is the team's leading scorer with an average of 20.3 points, while Mike Moser from UNLV is averaging 13.7 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds.
The starting duo already has developed chemistry.
"I think it has been good. We had a chance to develop it a little bit over the summer as well, so we are not entirely new, but it has been coming along good," Moser said. "Joe is really easy to play with. A kid that can score in any situation makes it pretty easy to play with."
Adding to the mix is guard Jason Calliste (11.0 points per game) from Detroit, forward Elgin Cook (10.4) from Northwest Florida State, forward Richard Amardi from Indian Hills Community College, guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit from North Idaho College, and forward Brian Crow from Sonoma State.
Amardi and Cook scored 14 points apiece off the bench, while Young, Johnathan Loyd and Damyean Dotson added 13 each in Sunday's 82-61 win over Cal Poly.
While Oregon is by no means perfect, the team is making steady improvement, coach Dana Altman said. The Ducks were hit before the season started with the suspensions of guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter for selling team apparel. Both players have been sidelined for the first nine games.
"These guys will learn to play together more, and that's part of growing as a team," Altman said. "We have good guys, they all want to play together, they all want to be coached and I'd be really disappointed if this team doesn't make big strides."
The Ducks opened the season with an 82-75 victory over Georgetown in South Korea as part of the Armed Forces Challenge. The rest of their victories have come at Matthew Knight Arena, and Young knows the road gets tougher. After their first true road test against Ole Miss, they'll take on Big Ten opponent Illinois on Dec. 14 at Portland's Moda Center.
"Offensively we just need to keep swinging it, make better decisions and make the right plays," Young said. "And defensively, we just need to communicate as one team and we'll be good."
Oregon ranks second in the Pac-12 in defensive 3-point field goal percentage at 26.6, and it will likely face a barrage of 3s from Henderson, who hoists an average of 9.7 shots from beyond the arc to rank fourth in the country.
Henderson, the animated guard who helped lead Ole Miss to the round of 32 in last season's NCAA tournament, is averaging 14.8 points but is shooting just 33.3 percent from the field. He went 2 of 13 from 3-point range and finished with 13 points in Thursday's 61-58 loss at Kansas State as the Rebels (6-1) suffered their first defeat.
Henderson's potential winning 3-pointer with two seconds remaining fell short, and coach Andy Kennedy said the senior needs to be more prepared for defenses focusing on stopping him.
"We have talked about it a lot and will continue to talk about it with him," Kennedy said. "He was 4 for 18 (from the field). The entire team guards him when he is out there."
Ole Miss is 62-2 at home against non-conference opponents under Kennedy, including its current 23-game winning streak.
Oregon has lost four of its last six road games against unranked teams.