Recruiting Update: Canadian Connection Brings New Depth to Ducks’ Roster

There have been a few changes in the land of Oregon basketball recruiting in the last couple of weeks. Head coach Dana Altman has consistently outmaneuvered other traditional big-name basketball schools including Arizona and Kansas to get three players for the 2017 class.

Those three players include 5-star small forward Troy Brown, one of the biggest commits in the history of the program, and certainly since Altman has been in charge. The Las Vegas native is the first McDonald’s All-American to play for Altman. Brown was recently selected to play in the exclusive Jordan Brand Classic, an all-star invitational of the best high school players in the country.

Only six previous Oregon players have ever played in that game, including Malik Hairston (class of 2008) and Michael Dunigan (class of 2010). Tyler Dorsey is the only current Oregon player to have been selected.

Abu Kigab’s athleticism and love for the Ducks’ style of play should be exciting to watch next season.

Along with Brown, Oregon has two good commits who are not as well known, but should be exciting to watch as they develop on the court. Like many on the current roster, 4-star small forward Abu Kigab is Canadian. Though the 6’7″, 195-lb forward grew up in Napa, Calif., and plays at Prolific Prep Academy, he was born in St. Catharines, Ontario.

For some insight on Kigab and his basketball training, check out this video by GameDaySportsStars. It gives a look into Kigab’s work ethic and skill, as well as a good picture of Prolific Prep, a top-tier basketball program like Oak Hill.

Altman has a good history with Canadian-born players, dating back to his early seasons with Devoe Joseph and Olu Ashaolu. Now, some of his most valuable players such as Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis are carrying the torch.

Kigab played on Canada’s Under-18 team, where in the championship game (a loss against Team USA), he put up 17 points and 10 rebounds, according to The Oregonian. According to Duck Territory, Oregon’s recruitment of Kigab began in his sophomore year, with assistant coach Mike Mennenga leading the way.

Kigab chose Oregon largely because he feels comfortable here. (He and Dillon Brooks are former teammates.) As Kigab told The Oregonian:

“We have a really good relationship. Whenever I’m having trouble, on or off the court, he helps me out. He always takes care of me, and I really appreciate him for that.”

Kigab and Brooks became close in the summer of 2015, when they both played in the FIBA Under-19 World Championships on Canada’s Under-19 team.

However, Kigab might not get to play with Brooks again, as Brooks could very well leave for the NBA. Judging from his interviews, it sounds like Brooks helped develop Kigab into the player he is today. After turning down offers from Kansas, Cal and Illinois, Kigab is ready to keep the Canadian tradition going in Eugene. Here are some of his best highlights:

The other signee for the Ducks is 4-star Victor “VJ” Bailey, Jr. of Austin, Texas. The 6’3″ guard from McNeil High School was the first verbal commitment for the 2017 class. He committed to Oregon on October 11th, just four days after coming to Eugene.

Bailey had offers from Texas A&M, Missouri and Nebraska. According to Duck Territory, Bailey has the ability to play both point and shooting guard.

Having a solid guard to back up Payton Prichard and work with Casey Benson is huge for the Ducks. Bailey is the 19th-ranked point guard in the 2017 class, according to 247sports.

Victory Bailey, Jr. posterizes a defender.

Coach Ray Foresett is a veteran when it comes to Dallas high school basketball, and he told 247Sports, “Victor is athletic as heck. He can score and works really hard. He doesn’t mind defending.” He also said Bailey “plays exciting basketball.” Sounds like he should fit in just right with the Ducks’ style.

In the 2015-2016 season, Bailey averaged 20 points and five rebounds per game while leading his team to a 25-8 record and a District-13 6A title. Bailey deservedly received district MVP for his efforts. Since starting Bailey his freshman year, head coach Darrell Hagenann claims “He has been the hardest worker on the team since then. He’s been a professional and it’s important to him to make sure we’ve won.”

So far, Oregon has a promising class, with Kigab and Bailey, as well as Brown. If the Ducks can also land Brandon McCoy, it would catapult their class ranking upwards. Check out some of Bailey’s highlights right here.

Side note: does anyone know how the recruitment of 5-star sensation Zion Williamson is going? If you haven’t seen his highlights, please watch them. At 16 years old, and 6’7″, 230 lbs, Williamson is a phenomenon. The 2018 class is somewhat far away, but why not offer him anyway? (People literally show up to games just to watch him dunk.)

It seems every other week there is some new reel of Williamson’s dunks on social media. What makes him even more remarkable is that he never seems to get tired, and his dunks get more and more impressive. Williamson scored 53 points in the Chick-fil-A Classic. You can watch those highlights here.

Regardless of whether Oregon offers Williamson or not, the Ducks should have plenty of talented players who want to come to Eugene, now that Oregon is becoming a powerhouse in the PAC-12.

This season is far from complete, and I look forward to the huge success of our beloved Ducks on the court and on the recruiting trail.

August Howell
Eugene, Ore. (From Half Moon Bay, Calif.)

Special thanks to Duck Territory at 247sports.com for sharing this information with FishDuck.com; check out their trial subscriptions for the best up-to-date daily information on Oregon recruiting.

Top photo by The Daily Emerald

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