Matthew Knight Arena is a big draw for recruits (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
While football justifiably gets a lot more attention on the recruiting front (players commit earlier, there are a lot more of them, etc.), Dana Altman and the Ducks' basketball staff have been busy pursuing several high profile targets for the 2013 basketball class. Earlier this week Matt Prehm of 247Sports reported that 5-star shooting guard Jabari Bird from Richmond, California would be visiting Oregon this fall. Bird has narrowed his list of schools to California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Said Bird, "I want to play close to home and be near my family. I like all four schools and they each are close to home and are up and coming programs." California and Washington appear in the lead but Oregon is right there in his recruitment.
Bird is close with another Oregon target, power forward Aaron Gordon, a five star player from San Jose, California. Gordon also has Oregon in his final four and is planning to visit the Ducks this fall. Gordon, who averaged 22.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per game last year, was named Mr. Basketball, the state Player of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports in 2012. He is the first junior to receive the honor since Tyson Chandler from Dominguez-Compton did it in 2000. Bird and Gordon are both former teammates of Dominic Artis, Oregon's freshman point guard. Artis is known to lobby hard on Oregon's behalf and will certainly help the Ducks stay in the game as both players make their official visits this fall. Gordon is also considering Washington, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, and California, among others.
Finally, Evan Flood of 247Sports tweeted yesterday that Oregon had made the final four for 5-star small forward Semi Ojeleye from Ottawa, Kansas, along with Duke, Indiana, and Stanford. Ojeleye visited Oregon last year and reportedly came away very impressed. He's known as a very athletic, tough player who can shoot the three when called upon and defend both forward positions.
It's hard to remember the last time Oregon was a finalist for three five star players in the same class, and it's a credit to Dana Altman and his staff that they are getting such serious interest from premium talent.