Talent Flocks To Oregon: Big Time Commit, Big Time Visits

Miles Norris may be the most polished big man to ever step on Oregon’s campus when he arrives in the summer of 2018. Brian Bowen is a 5-star McDonald’s All-American who would be the highest rated player Oregon’s ever signed. Cameron Johnson is a transfer from Pitt who is the second rated graduate transfer this year behind Oregon’s other transfer signee Elijah Brown.

If this whirlwind recruiting is too much to keep up with, don’t feel bad; even those tracking it all have to keep writing it down. Where does Oregon stand? Here we go.

Miles Norris

San Diego Union Tribune

Miles Norris drives the ball.

Norris’ commitment gives Oregon a legit big man to play on the block, rebound, set good screens and finish on the break. He runs the floor well and appears to have the same defensive attitude that Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher brought to Coach Dana Altman’s defense. He is 6′ 9″ with a 7′ 3″ wingspan. That’s Bell-esque physicality.

The 6′ 10″ Norris comes from Mater Dei High in Southern California. He committed to Oregon over Arizona, UCLA, and Washington. At this point it is verbal and he can sign his letter of intent as early as this fall.

Brian Bowen

Brian Bowen is a wing player who can do it all. The 6′ 7″ forward holds offers from Arizona, Duke, Michigan State and Oregon and visited the Ducks this past week.

Bowen was long thought to be a Duke or Michigan State lean, but after his visit to Eugene there are reports that he’s leaning toward Oregon. That would be a massive get for Altman and the Ducks. He liked this tweet the other day. 

Bowen is an explosive scorer with the ability to shoot from deep, penetrate and dish, finish at the rim with either hand and lead or finish on the break. A willing defender, rebounder and passer.

In short, An All-American. At 6′ 7″ he or Troy Brown Jr. could immediately fill wing spots from the departed Dylan Ennis and Dillon Brooks.

Bowen’s athleticism and length would make Oregon deeper defensively and might even improve a little on the shooting front if Bowen comes along as well. Bowen’s not perfect though. It looks like his shot starts a little lower than it needs to, so he’ll have to correct that.

Lansing State Journal

Brian Bowen’s talent and work ethic are a perfect fit for Oregon’s program.

Honestly,  any flaws he has are pretty minor and Altman is a master at coaching fundamentals so his game would grow exponentially at Oregon. Bowen knows this, of course, which is why he’s interested in the Ducks, along with Arizona and Michigan State. He fits into a team game, get his points when there’s opportunity and does not take away from others. If that sounds a lot like Troy Brown Jr., it is.

Bowen’s been re-tweeting Troy Brown Jr.’s tweets and re-tweeted the commitment of Norris as well. The third rated player overall in the Class of 2017, Bowen and Brown would give take what is already the best class in Oregon history and make it a likely top five class nationally.

Cameron Johnson

Johnson, the 6′ 8″ forward who grew up in Pennsylvania, will have two years of eligibility wherever he goes. Here’s a video of him demonstrating the range of his jumper. Years of playing in the ACC would make him an instant veteran on this squad and give Altman a chance to use his experience, along with Elijah Brown’s, to bring the freshmen along more quickly.

Johnson already knows Arizona coach Sean Miller well, as his father played college basketball with him at Pittsburgh. At Oregon, they’re selling Johnson on the chance to play Dillon Brooks’ role in the offense and lead the team with his experience.

The 3-star recruit out of high school visited Oregon last week. All reports show UCLA, Kentucky, Arizona and Oregon are Johnson’s final four schools.

So What’s The Lineup?

IF Brian Bowen comes to Oregon, your starting lineup next year looks like: Bowen, Troy Brown Jr., Elijah Brown, Payton Pritchard and one of these four: Paul White, Kavell Bigby-Williams, Keith Smith, M.J. Cage.

YouTube

Cameron Johnson would bring scoring and his ACC experience to the Duck lineup.

If Bowen doesn’t insert Cameron Johnson if he arrives.

If both Bowen and Johnson arrive, expect Johnson to start with those first four. White, Williams, Smith and Cage would all play significant minutes, most likely with Abu Kigab.

Regardless Oregon’s lineup is likely to be Pritchard at 6′ 2″, an off-guard who is 6′ 4″,  and everyone else between 6′ 6″ and 6′ 9″.  That’s exactly the kind of lineup Altman has employed most of his career. Long, athletic, able to play multiple positions and score from all over on the court.

That group would lack a back to the basket player and a rebounder at the level of Bell or Boucher, with the exception of Cage or more development by Williams, if he stays. But it would be a nightmare to defend and if they get rebounding from the wings, very difficult to deal with athletically.

Bowen and/or Johnson would give the Ducks three legitimate scorers from the outside along with Pritchard and Elijah Brown. Look for Brown’s shooting percent to rise back to his junior year’s numbers when he isn’t double-teamed this year as he was every game at New Mexico.

Your Watercooler Notes

Signing deadline is May 17 for this 2017 class. Look for Oregon to add either Bowen or Johnson. Either would round out this group tremendously. Oregon has room for both.

Altman is in Chicago for the NBA Pre-Draft camp doing interviews with teams to support Oregon’s four attendees his year. Bell, Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Boucher. A sheer show of support for them, nothing else really. Altman arrived a couple days ago after a whirlwind trip involving recruiting on the road and then hosting recruits on campus.

Bell ran the fastest recorded shuttle time in the history of the NBA Draft Camp. As expected, of all the Duck attendees, Bell’s helped himself the most at this year’s camp.

Bob Rickert,
Portland, Oregon

                                                                                                                                                    Top photo credit: San Diego Tribune

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