Earlier this week, five-star center Bol Bol committed to Oregon, bringing his talents to Eugene next year. Bol is the highest ranked recruit in the program's history, ranked #2 in the country, pushed Oregon's recruiting class to the top of recruiting rankings and gives Coach Dana Altman a dominant player to anchor next year's team - which should be mighty good!
While Bol's commitment should make every Oregon Men's Basketball fan excited for what's in store for the team in 2018-19, the California native's announcement signifies something much greater.
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Since Altman brought in the recruiting class which included Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell, Oregon's efforts on the recruiting trail have continually improved. From snagging Tyler Dorsey, to landing a top JUCO recruit in Chris Boucher, to last year's coup bringing in five-star Troy Brown, Altman and his staff have created a shift in how top prep basketball players view the Ducks.
This year, not only is Bol joining Oregon, but so is fellow five-star recruit Louis King, two more four-star recruits and with one more scholarship spot open, there's still time for Altman to land another five-star or four-star recruit. In addition, the top-ranked player in the 2018 class, RJ Barrett, had Oregon among his final three before settling on Duke.
This shift in attracting the very best talent to Eugene is exciting. Not only does it raise the level of skill for the Ducks, giving Altman more athletic and immediate-impact players to work into the program, but even more so it's changing the culture of the program.
It's hard to attract the biggest recruits to Eugene. Going head-to-head against schools like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina, traditional powers that dominate on the court and on the recruiting trail, to be a consistent contender for five-star players has never been harder. Add in that Oregon has only been to the Final Four twice in school history and you see what Altman has stacked against him.
But with Bell and Brooks in the NBA, Dorsey getting drafted, Boucher having the opportunity to move up to play with the NBA defending champion Warriors later in the year, Dylan Ennis playing pro ball overseas - recruits can now see what Altman can do with top talent.
A shift is coming. It started this last year with signing Troy Brown and is coming into full fruition this year with Bol, King and others joining the Ducks. Things are about to get even more exciting at Matthew Knight Arena!
We're excited for Bol Bol to join the Ducks next season. In the meantime, if you haven't yet read Bol's first-person piece on why he decided to bring his talent to Eugene, please do so now!