Last year, the Oregon Ducks trounced the Utah Utes in the Pac 12 title game and achieved the first one seed in school history. This offseason, the Ducks are looking at the possibility of three of their key players forgoing their remaining eligibility for the NBA draft.
The team is losing forwards Dwayne Benjamin and Elgin Cook to graduation. Altman does have several recruits coming in, including junior college transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams to shore up the interior of his team. The recruiting class also includes an ESPN top-100 recruit, Payton Pritchard, who is a point guard. The rest of the class includes small forward Keith Smith and center Michael Cage Jr. Cage and Bigby-Williams are each listed at six foot ten and will provide considerable size for the Ducks. However, it is important to take into consideration the possibility that Oregon may be facing the loss of three key players to early entry into the NBA Draft:
- Dillon Brooks
Brooks is a small forward from Canada who participated in competition with the Canadian national team. Brooks has a smaller wingspan and is not overly athletic but is a more than capable shooter. This year he averaged 16.7 pts on 47% shooting from the field. He also provided a handful of assists (3.1) and rebounds (5.4) per game. Brooks’ exchange with Coach Krzyzewski after the Sweet Sixteen game against Duke became a huge topic of discussion. The sophomore showed that he can shoot from deep. Brooks does not appear in the first round of most mock drafts and is looked at as a mid-second round selection at this point.
- Tyler Dorsey
Tyler Dorsey came in as a 4 star recruit from Los Angeles with notable size and athleticism for his position. In his freshman year, Dorsey averaged 13.4 points per contest and 4.3 rebounds as well. Dorsey had a few notable games this year, including dropping 23 points with nine rebounds against the Utes in the Conference Tournament Championship. He is seen as an early second round draft pick prior to the NBA Combine.
- Chris Boucher
Boucher was a transfer from Junior College and has not played organized basketball for long. He is quite tall but does not have size to fill out an NBA body. Regardless, he is being strongly considered as a prospect after 1 year in Eugene. In his first run at division 1 basketball, the Forward averaged 12.1 points per game with 7.4 rebounds. Boucher even showed the ability to shoot from deep range. He also had nearly three blocks per game on the defensive end. He had several double-doubles this year including a 26 point, ten rebound performance against Arizona State. There are mixed feelings about him considering his small sample size at this point.
If Altman is able to retain all of these players, the Ducks should be in excellent shape to contend for another Pac 12 regular season or Tournament title. The loss of more than one would cause a huge roster overhaul in terms of valuable playing experience. These are players that achieved a one seed and were one step away from a Final Four, not to mention that they were responsible for more than 40 points combined per game last season. It is yet to be seen what sort of team will take the floor next year in the Yellow and Green.