No one would blame the Oregon basketball teams for taking some time off this spring. Both the men and the women had unforgettable postseason runs just a couple months ago. But the best in the business keep their foot on the gas pedal all year long, doing whatever it takes to get a leg up on the competition.
That approach is paying off for the Ducks so far, as they look to improve upon last season’s success.
The Women: Outlook for 2019 and 2020
The women’s team is favored by many to win the national title next year, and with the way recruiting is going, they’ll likely be contenders for a while. Coach Kelly Graves and his staff have added so many four and five-star players that it’s tough to keep track of them all. Here we go.
Oregon will have five legit post players on both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 roster. Next season, Australian Lucy Cochrane is joining Ruthy Hebard, Satou Sabally, Nyra Sabally and Lydia Giomi. Cochrane is 6’6”, with the size to defend and rebound. And unlike most freshmen post players, her footwork is terrific. She sees the floor and makes nice, quick passes from the high post to cutters, or from the low post to shooters. She’s quick, accurate and decisive, perfect for playing pick-and-roll with Oregon’s guards or hitting shooters in stride.
A terrific fit for this roster, Cochrane will come off the bench this year, and she’ll get to defend Hebard and the Sabally sisters all year in practice. She would immediately start on most teams.
In 2020, Hebard will go on to the WNBA and Angela Dugalic will take her roster spot. Dugalic is a 6-foot-4 four-star, rated 33rd in the 2020 class. She can play with her back to the basket in addition to possessing a nice mid-range jumper. As a defender, she uses her length well, always seeming to have her hands in the passing lanes.
Holly Winterburn is a pure shooter, and Jaz Shelley is an Australian teammate of Cochrane who distributes on offense and disrupts on defense. They’ll come off the bench this year and try to help Oregon win a national title.
The 2020 class may be even better. Sydnee Parrish looks like the brightest star in the loaded class. With Sabrina Ionescu gone in 2020, the Ducks will look for multiple players to fill that role, and Parrish will be one of them. This ESPN evaluation seems pretty spot on:
“(Parish is) a versatile guard with a consistent offensive arsenal. She drives and finishes plays in traffic, executes in the half-court game, brings a quick release on her jumper and has range to the arc.”
All of that is true from the film that’s available. At 6’2”, Parrish’s game might remind you of Erin Boley.
Maddie Scherr, 2020’s 25th-ranked player, has also committed. She’s the 2019 Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year, earning the award due to a stellar junior season in which she averaged over 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game. She shoots from deep, takes people off the drive and has a terrific sense for anticipating what’s ahead on the court.
Te-Hina Paopao — a five-star point guard and the 14th-ranked player in the 2020 class — can start on day one, or at minimum play 15 to 20 minutes a game. She’ll bring a lightning-quick first step, range, and the ability to rebound and run in transition. Paopao makes everyone else on the court better. Between her, Parrish, Shelley, Winterburn, Morgan Yeager and Taylor Chavez, the Ducks will have the nation’s best group of players at the point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions. That group includes four four-stars and two five-stars… There’s devastating versatility and talent among them.
Chip Kelly had The Blur Offense. Now someone needs to come up with a name for this group. Any ideas?
The Men: Outlook for 2019 and 2020
Unfortunately, the losses of Kenny Wooten, Bol Bol, Abu Kigab, VJ Bailey, Louis King and Miles Norris mean the men need to find players for 2019, not just 2020. What they mostly need right now is depth on the block. Only Francis Okoro and Chandler Lawson are 6-foot-8 or taller and able to play in the post. Oregon has to be actively looking for a graduate transfer or a freshman who can give them some minutes to rest those two.
There is other help on the way. Eric Williams Jr. is transferring from Duquene. A 6’6” shooting guard, he’s the biggest new commit since Chandler Lawson, CJ Walker and Chris Duarte committed from the 2019 class. Williams is appealing to play this year and there is at least a 50 percent chance he’ll get it. He averaged over 17 points and seven rebounds a game. He’s the kind of scorer Coach Dana Altman needs for another tournament run.
Addison Patterson is a 6’6”, four-star player who can play three spots on offense. His quickness and length mean he might even be able to defend four spots, depending on the matchups. Patterson has said he may re-classify to the class of 2019. Oregon is the only school recruiting him for both years. Originally from outside Toronto, he’s now playing at a prep school in Arizona. He’s one to watch and would fill a major hole for the Ducks on this and next year’s roster.
Again, Oregon needs a big man, preferably one who’s over 6’9”, and can rebound and play tough interior defense. A commit by someone like Virginia Tech’s Kerry Blackshear would change this team completely. Blackshear is a grad transfer and likely headed to either Kentucky or Florida, but could also head to the NBA Draft. He’s the kind of player Altman needs to find. Here’s hoping.
Oregon lost out on grad transfer TJ Holyfield, who picked Texas Tech over the Ducks. Holyfield is 6′ 8″ and just the kind of player we’re talking about.
Jahvon Quinerly apparently has Oregon on his list. The former five-star point guard is leaving Villanova and will have to sit this year, but would likely start in 2020 next to Will Richardson when Payton Pritchard is done. That would be a huge pickup for Oregon and bring depth to the 2020 team. But, he’s a long shot.
Jaeivin Cumberland from Oakland in Michigan has all kinds of suitors. I don’t expect the 6′ 1″ scorer to come to Oregon, but he would give them instant offense, and he did visit. Oregon also just hosted a three-year starter from a Big 10 school as well. More on that in the comments as it develops.
The women’s team seems set, although they still have a spot on this year’s roster if they want to fill it with a late transfer. The men, on the other hand, need another big and another shooter to fill out the 2019 roster. Oregon has no commits for 2020 but plenty of big names are interested. My favorite is Scottie Barnes.
Water Cooler Notes
Aaronette Vonleh, the nation’s 13th-ranked player for 2021, is from West Linn, Oregon and is clearly on Oregon’s radar. Vonleh is a terrific player and someone to watch for the next couple years. (Yes, that’s Noah Vonleh’s sister.)
Nathan Bittle from Crater High in Central Point, Oregon is one of the nation’s top ranked players for 2021 as well. Biddle is 6′ 10″ with a nice touch, good passing skills, and he’s definitely justified his top-25 national ranking on the the AAU circuit. Keep an eye on his game as it develops over the next couple years.
Lake Oswego, Oregon Top Photo From Video
Chris Brouilette, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.
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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