With the loss of four front court players to graduation last Spring, Oregon was hopeful that international prospect Cristiano Felicio, a 6'9 Center from Brazil, would help replenish their front court as part of an outstanding 2013 recruiting class. That reality is no more as Matt Prehm of Duck Territory is reporting that Felicio was ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
DuckTerritory.com is told that the NCAA ruled against Oregon's favor in clearing Felicio due to a concern that he had signed a professional contract as a youth while he was living and attending his first three years of high school in Brazil.
Felicio moved to the United States last summer to attend prep school in the United States to gain academic clearance and improve on his SAT scores to be admitted into Oregon. The move worked for his academic side DuckTerritory.com is told, but Oregon and Felicio couldn't prove to the NCAA he was still an amateur athlete.
The loss of Felicio means that Oregon Men's Basketball enters the 2013-14 season with 12 scholarship players, one short of the NCAA limit, unless they add another player before the beginning of the season. Last year the Ducks added Waverly Austin and Arsalan Kazemi in September, so there is still time for a player that fits Oregon's needs to become available.
In the short term the loss of Felicio is probably not a big deal as it was unclear whether he would be a regular part of their rotation next season. Long term the loss is significant as Oregon is now expected to return only two front court players in 2014 in Ben Carter and Jordan Bell. In his brief time at Oregon Dana Altman has been masterful at integrating transfer players to fill key positions and he will need to do the same in 2014.
For now though Ducks fans should remain excited about Oregon's potential heading into next season. The Ducks have rebuilt their front court, which is headlined by UNLV transfer Mike Moser, and added key pieces to the back court rotation in Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Elgin Cook. The biggest remaining question is whether Houston transfer Joseph Young, a prolific scorer and 3-point shooter, will be ruled eligible for 2013-14 or whether he will need to sit out a year after his father was let go by the Houston coaching staff.