After a difficult few years, Oregon basketball is on its way back. - Steve Dykes
The men's basketball team picked up three solid players during the early signing period last week.
This past week the men's basketball team picked up three commitments during the early signing period: power forward Jordan Bell, shooting guard AJ Lapray, and power forward/center Cristiano Felicio. I wrote about Bell and Lapray here and here but only learned about Cristiano Felicio in the past couple of days.
Felicio, who is 6'9 and 240 lbs, is an international player from Brazil and at this point is somewhat of an unknown quantity as he has played very little basketball in the U.S. The best breakdown of his skill set is probably at DraftExpress, while Matt Prehm also provided this very nice profile on 247Sports a couple of days ago.
Felicio sounds like a very hard working player who does a lot of the dirty work in the paint: rebounding, shot-blocking, boxing out, etc. He is very athletic and possesses that coveted and ephemeral characteristic "upside" that always gets fanbases excited. Physically, DraftExpress compares him to Nene due to his size and athleticism (and let's face it, because he's Brazilian). At the FIBA Under-19 World Championships 2011, Felicio averaged 9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds, while leading the entire tournament in field goal percentage at 76%.
At 20 years old and having already played internationally, Felicio is considered to be a mature kid. He is also a candidate for the 2016 Brazilian Men's Olympic Basketball Team.
All in all, Felicio sounds pretty raw but he has the talent and work ethic to become a solid player and perhaps even a defensive star for the Ducks. Given Altman's track record at teaching fundamentals, Felicio should be a good fit. With five years to play four at Oregon, Felicio will have plenty of time to develop.
Between Bell, Lapray, and Felicio the Ducks don't have any program-changing stars, but they do have players that should be solid four-year contributors which is exactly what Oregon needs as it seeks to recover from the player exodus that occurred during the transition from Ernie Kent to Coach Altman.
As Dave and Matt reported in their podcast a couple days ago, the men's basketball team is on its way back. If Altman is going to stick at Oregon it's going to be because of the continuity and consistency of players like Bell, Lapray and Felicio.
With at least one more scholarship available, don't be surprised if the Ducks look to the junior college ranks for another big man to help offset last year's guard-heavy class and the graduation of Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi in 2013.