Kenny Wooten Brings Size, Athleticism, and Heart To Oregon Basketball

FishDuck Note: Oregon received the verbal commitment of Kenny Wooten yesterday, and it is expected he will sign a National Letter of Intent today with Oregon. He is an impact player, and we are fortunate to have Bob Rickert report on him immediately for all us basketball fans of our beloved Ducks.  Charles Fischer

Kenny Wooten brings a level of athleticism that Oregon’s only seen in recent years and only with the likes of Jordan Bell, Dwayne Benjamin and a few others. The 6′ 9″, 215 lb. forward brings a tremendous wingspan, the ability to leap, good quick footwork with his back to the basket and a love for defending and finishing on the break that are built for coach Dana Altman’s style of play.

Wooten at His Best

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Kenny Wooten, Jr.

He can pull up and shoot it. He’s got good footwork around the basket on offense, but he plays above the rim like Bell, Benjamin and Andre Joseph did as well. Around the rim is a strong finish. Watch the slam at the 3:05 mark of this film. That’s in his junior year.

You’ll see fewer finger rolls and more slams. Fewer tips and more force. Wooten’s quickness off his feet and length give him the potential to hurt teams at both ends on the glass but particularly on the offensive end where he can be relentless at times.

He also shows a willingness to post up with his back to the basket and pivot or drop-step on the defender. He’ll need even more lower-body strength to establish position but that will come in the weight room. But he can get up. Here’s another film of him, two years ago. Watch as his head is just below the rim on this dunk.

Out on the break he’s not a guy who’ll make fancy layups. He is a guy who can go get the lob and put it down. On the block he goes up quick, doesn’t bring the ball down too low to gather himself, and has a nice soft touch from 6 feet in.

Wooten in the Gym

All accounts are that he’s not going to get outworked. Like most big men who’ve been the focus of an offense for a long time, he’ll need to learn to set some solid screens and learn to hit the 12-15 ft. jumper on the pick ‘n’ roll when it’s there.

In Oregon’s weave offense he’ll have to improve his ball handling skills or take over Jordan Bell’s role in the post. Either way if he improves his mid-range jumper he could be a devastating offensive college player.

A similar size, Mike Moser could flat out shoot it from deep but had less of an inside game. Wooten could develop either or both if he puts in the time. He’ll start closer to the rim with his low post skills.

Wooten on D

High energy guy. Length and leaping ability. He’ll remind you of Benjamin with a little more size and even more athleticism. Willing to fight over anything and to hold his ground. Again, he’ll need more strength to fight off college rebounders and forwards posting him up, but he’ll get there.

A terrific fit for Oregon’s match-up zone or to play in the man when he gets more strength. To play well in the match-up you need length and lateral quickness and unlike most big men, Wooten has both.

What Else?

Wooten was also  offered by Kansas, Arizona State, St. John’s, SMU, Cal, DePaul and USC. He’s likely to compete for time with MJ Cage up front. Wooten is more athletic than Cage but doesn’t have quite the same low-post game.

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Wooten left Manteca high to sign with Trinity International in Las Vegas before committing to Oregon.

Your Watercooler Notes

Wooten’s commitment has pushed Oregon’s 2017 class to 10th nationally, and Oregon still has at least three players to add. Altman now has eight legit players to roll the ball out with this fall. Keith Smith, Payton Pritchard, Paul White, Cage, Troy Brown Jr., Abu Kigab, VJ Bailey, That’s seven 4-star players and one 5-star on the roster.

Oregon still has offers out to:

Brandon McCoy (C): (Oregon, Michigan State, UNLV)

Elijah Brown (G): (Iowa State, Northwestern, Oregon, Saint Mary’s, and Gonzaga) Reports are that he has been accepted as a grad student at Oregon if he chooses to come to Eugene. Nigel Williams-Goss declaring and hiring an agent, Gonzaga has a spot for him as well. They seem to be Oregon’s biggest competition here. Though the Zags do return four guards similar to Brown.

Jordan Tucker (G/F): Tucker originally committed to Indiana but he hadn’t signed and re-opened his recruitment when Tom Crean was fired. (Georgia Tech, Oregon, Syracuse)

Damante Doutrive (G): (Oregon, Arizona State, LMU)

Cameron Johnson (G/F): Grad transfer from Pitt. Eligible immediately. Johnson said he is deciding in May. Is visiting Kentucky Wednesday April 26. (Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, TCU)

Chase Jeter (F/C): Transfer from Duke would have to sit one year. Visited Cal already. (Arizona, Cal, Gonzaga, Utah, San Diego State)

Simi Shittu (F): Would have to reclassify from the 2018 to 2017 class. He’s a legit 5-star power forward. By the time his body finishes filling out, think Olu Ashaolu with huge skills. He might be the player with the highest upside of anyone Oregon’s recruiting or even on their roster now. He could be that good. There is almost nothing he can’t do. And he’s huge and athletic.

Bob Rickert
Portland, Oregon

Top photo credit: Andy Alfaro of the Modesto Bee

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