Oregon had a heck of a recruiting year
Synonymous with the Nike brand, the University of Oregon currently has 33 NCAA team championships, including 1 in basketball from 1939. Known for its Cross Country and Track and Field program, as well as some half-decent football seasons, Oregon has now placed itself in the starting blocks for perhaps its greatest basketball season since 1939.
As you probably know, the number 4 overall player in the recruiting class of 2018 through Bol Bol has committed to the University of Oregon. Oregon has also managed to pick up Louis King (17th overall), Will Richardson (41st overall), and Miles Norris (60th overall) to help add to their current already impressive line-up. In fact, Oregon is placed 2nd overall in recruiting classes behind Duke “Golden State” University. But as history tells us, the best teams on paper don’t always win championships. So why should we be excited for Oregon’s apparent “return”?
For starters, I have to go with the recruiting class. Bol Bol is one the most talented 7-footers I have seen in recent time. His basketball IQ is great, and his actual physical ability is magnificent. Although he doesn’t have the weight I like to see from a man of his size, he somehow makes up for it with his offensive and defensive presence.
Louis King is the other 5-star recruit Oregon has picked up, and a lot of people are really excited to see how he goes running alongside Bol Bol. His play is almost reminiscent of Ben Simmons due to his ability to run the floor extremely well, handle traffic, and throw pinpoint passes the length of the court. One encouraging fact about King that Ben Simmons never had is his 3-point shooting ability. King commonly pulls up for 3 in traffic and (most of the time) hits the shot. His basketball IQ isn’t close to that of Ben Simmons or even Bol Bol’s, but it’s good enough that he can play without ruining his team’s opportunity to win in the most clutch moments of the hardest games.
Another factor I like to mention with Oregon is a simple one. Oregon has Nike. With one of the largest, most valuable, and longest-running partnerships in NCAA history, it is sure to come with some advantages. Facilities such as the 29’000-foot Mariota Sports performance center (named after Heisman Winning Alumnus, Marcos Mariota) would make most professional teams jealous. And it’s not just one (or even two!) buildings. Nike has changed the culture of Oregon. The University no longer feels like a typical public University; it feels like an external Nike Head Quarters. Sports Science is at the heart of Nike, and there for the heart of Oregon. Student-Athletes are subjected to the most rigorous and state-of-the-art testing that make IMG Academy look like a preschool.
I am personally really excited to see what Oregon can do next year and how far they go into March. Go Ducks!