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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Diminutive Duck ready for next test

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— His twin sister, Teneea, used to dunk on him.

This was back when they were kids in Detroit, where they would use a small basket set up in their home.

But that didn't discourage him, nor did the knowledge he wouldn't grow any taller even after he hung from a pole. He tried that when he was 12, 13 years old in an attempt to add inches.

Tajuan Porter, Oregon's 5-foot-6-inch guard, survived both those rejections unscathed. But he admits he was bothered by the nattering nabobs of negativism that constantly carped at him about his size.

"Sometimes I used to go home discouraged, depressed, but my mom sat me down and had a talk with me," he said. "She told me don't let anybody steal my joy, don't let anybody tell me I can't do something. Just use that as motivation. She has helped me out a lot, keeping me strong."

The diminutive Duck has proved all season he possesses a heart and a game, and that is one big reason Oregon will face Florida today in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional final.

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