Oregon’s 2018 recruiting class looks like it might be the best in Duck history. With a little luck it might be the best in the nation as well. The Ducks have three players who’ll be leaving the program after this year: Roman Sorkin, MiKyle McIntosh and Elijah Brown.
High 4-star Miles Norris and 5-star Louis King are already committed. The list of players who have Oregon on their short list reads like North Carolina or Kentucky’s short list. The nation’s number one player Canadian RJ Barrett has Oregon, Duke and Kentucky as his final three.
Bol Bol is rated as a top-5 player in the nation and a 5-star player in his own right. Five-star Emmitt Williams at 6’8″ would bring size and muscle to the big wing spot for Coach Dana Altman. The fourth 5-star seriously looking at Oregon is Luguentz Dort. And finally, there’s 4-star shooting guard, 6’4″ Will Richardson. Most are predicting Williams and Richardson to Oregon. I think Oregon has a shot at three of them. If they land only one or two of them or if someone transfers after next year, Altman is likely to balance out the Duck roster by looking for a graduate transfer or a young JC player with three years left to play.
First, Mr. Norris. Oregon’s first 2018 commit is a high 4-star player, ranked 22nd overall by Scout.com. That puts him just outside the 5-star rating. Like a few players Oregon’s had in recent years, Norris will remind you of former Duck Mike Moser. He can step out and shoot it, pass it, play with a post player, and defend the perimeter wing with his length and intensity. If Norris gains some weight and strength by next year, his Duck future could be filling the role of Oregon’s new 5th-year senior, McIntosh.
King is the 20th ranked player overall by Scout.com and at 6′ 7″ has a 7′ 0″ wingspan. You can probably pencil him in at the top of Oregon’s zone press right now. He’s a big time talent but is probably not a one-and-done. He’s too raw at this point, and he doesn’t have freakish athletic talents that would make a team willing to pay to hide him and let him sit on the bench for a few years.
Recruits with “High Interest”
Barrett is the nation’s number one player. He is not only a one-and-done – he might be the most NBA-ready player right now. He’s probably a lottery pick in 2019 for all kinds of reasons. He’s a Canadian as well and brings everything you want in a leader to your team. Like current Duck Troy Brown, he can do everything. He’s recently cut his list to Duke, Kentucky and Oregon, and while he’s close with Duck Abu Kigab, most of the world thinks he’s going to Duke. The rest of the world thinks he’s going to Duke after he says he’s thinking about it some more. Nobody is a lock to go to a school until they sign. But if he doesn’t go to Duke it would be surprising.
Bol Bol is a ridiculously athletic, big man. Chris Boucher Part II. Add in more ball handling skills and more mature basketball instincts, and this is your guy. He has the talent to be a one-and-done player. How high he would he go? It comes down to what he does his freshman year. I think Oregon has a shot with Bol Bol for a couple reasons. Oregon needs a back line player like him. Their success with Boucher and Jordan Bell last year is a blueprint for how they would use him, stretching the floor on offense and acting as a shot eraser and changer at the defensive end. It’s Oregon and Kentucky for Bol. My instincts say he goes to Kentucky, but this is a player Oregon could land.
Luguentz Dort, a strong 6′ 4″, 200lb. shooting guard, was a teammate on the FIBA U19 gold medalist Canadian national squad with Duck Kigab. He plays bigger and stronger around the rim than his 6′ 4″ frame indicates. With good footwork, Dort is quick off his feet. He has a very strong frame and upper body, and film after film shows him dunking with two hands whenever he gets a chance. He’s a strong slasher who’ll lower his shoulder to get into the lane and has the muscle to get the ball to the rim when he’s fouled.
You’ll also see a good, quick release on his jumper. Oregon and ASU are his two final choices. There aren’t any other known finalists at this time.
Emmitt Williams is an Olu Ashaolu type. Elgin Cook with a little more size and more skill coming in as a freshman. Tremendous talent, ranked 23 overall by Scout.com. He’s a five-star player who is relentless. Williams visited Oregon in late September and has two more visits to take: October 12th to LSU and Florida October 20th. He also holds offers from Duke and Kansas.
Will Richardson is a player nobody is talking about, but you will if he commits to Oregon, and there’s a good chance he will. The 6′ 4″ shooting guard is originally from Georgia and has just Oregon and the Bulldogs on his list. He can flat-out score the basketball.
Your Watercooler Notes
Of course the odds of landing each of these guys is very different. Barrett and Bol I’d put at somewhere around 30%. Maybe a little higher with Bol. Williams and Richardson I’d put at closer to 65-70%. Dort is literally a 50/50 proposition – he’s a reported Oregon lean, but who knows? In a perfect world the Ducks would land Barrett, Bol and Williams. They have plenty of young guards, and those are easier to find and recruit, as there are simply more of them.
Best guess? Williams, Richardson, and either Bol or Dort are all Ducks. Lastly, if Dort commits first I’d expect that Williams might head elsewhere.
Just my two cents.
Top photo credit: from YouTube
A native Oregonian, Bob’s spent 16 years covering Duck football and basketball for AOL Fanhouse, OregonLive and Rivals.com. He’s also hosted a sports talk show on ESPN Radio and led marketing for the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
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