While football’s offseason has been underway at Oregon and the women’s softball team is looking to win a College World Series, there is another sport caught in the offseason, as well, but making waves nonetheless. The Oregon Ducks basketball team looks to be loaded with talent for the 2015-2016 season and will not miss a single step.
The graduation of Joseph Young to the next level seems to be an almost impossible hole to fill, but this year’s recruiting class seems to be one we have only dreamt of in the past. Dylan Ennis, former point guard at Villanova University, has decided to become a graduate transfer to play his final year of college basketball for the Ducks. This addition is a huge one for fans wondering if Ahmaad Rorie would be able to step into Joseph Young’s former role.
At this point in the offseason, things could be looking somewhat challenging for the sophomore. Kendall Small, the number seventeen point guard recruit in the nation looks to challenge Rorie, as well as Ennis, for the starting position. Small is one of two recruits ranked in ESPN’s top 100 players. The second is Tyler Dorsey, a 6-foot, 4-inch shooting guard ranked number thirty-eight in the ESPN 100 and a participant in the Jordan Brand Classic Game. If there is any player capable of filling the scoring gap left by Joseph Young, then it will be Dorsey. In his final year of high school, he averaged a double-double with 34 points and 10 rebounds per game. One look at his highlight reel shows just how special this young man will be for Oregon.
News broke recently that Michael Chandler would be transferring away from Oregon. While he only averaged five minutes of playing time each game, his departure still leaves much to be desired at the center position. With the return of Jordan Bell, the Ducks will have the shot blocking on defense, but to help with offense, are two incoming players. The first, a 6-foot, 9-inch power forward out of Lansing, Michigan, is Trevor Manuel. He has been scouted as another excellent shot blocker and also a player who can knock down a mid-range jumper. He can handle the ball very well for someone his size. Last, but definitely not least, is junior college Player of the Year Chris Boucher out of Canada. The 6-foot, 10-inch big man averaged 22.5 points and 12 rebounds on the way to his JUCO Player of the Year accomplishment.
If Oregon coach Dana Altman can turn a group of underrated players into a playoff team, then imagine what he can accomplish with weapons like these. There is only one direction this team will go and that is up.
Top photo by Kevin Cline