The Oregon Ducks are going to the Final Four. They haven’t been this close to a national championship since winning it all in 1939. This is a monumental accomplishment for head coach Dana Altman, who has brought consistency and pride to Eugene.
The Ducks have won two consecutive Pac-12 championships and are in the NCAA tournament for the fifth season in a row, a program record. Much of this is due to Altman’s ability to bring in quality recruits such as Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey. The future of the program looks solid as well after signing 3-star 6-foot-7, 190-lb. small forward Abu Kigab in November. He played high school basketball at Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, Calif.
Having the opportunity to play for a Pac-12 program on the rise such as Oregon was a major factor in his decision. “I just felt like it was a great situation for a player, such as myself. I felt really comfortable with the coaches and the environment they set and the tone,” he told The Oregonian. “It’s a really competitive place and the coaches won’t try to change you. It’s a great place.”
Kigab is the 141st-best player in the country per 247Sports Composite, and chose Oregon after considering offers from California and Illinois. He was also targeted by Kansas, UCLA, Villanova, Ohio State and other top programs.
Born in Sudan, Kigab grew up in Canada and is close with Oregon’s “Canadian Connection” players Brooks, Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis. Oregon’s recruiting pitch to Kigab was for him to slide into a role like that of Brooks. They’ve sold him on the ability to play inside and out on offense, and then match up with guards and forwards on defense. “I like the way Oregon plays defense,” Kigab said. “I think it really disrupts the flow of the other team’s offense. And then on offense, they’re very tough and hard to beat because they move the ball so well.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that defense is the only thing on Kigab’s mind. He can shoot three-pointers, has the hops to dunk it with authority and hustles the floor on both offense and defense. This is exactly the kind of player that Altman needs to make a run at the Final Four again next season.
Top Photo Credit: Matt Scott
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