Friday was a good day for the Oregon Men's basketball team as Joseph Young, a Junior transfer from Houston with two years of eligibility remaining, was granted permission by the NCAA to play for Oregon in the 2013-14 season. A four-star prospect out of high school, Young is an outstanding scorer who will likely start for Oregon alongside Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis. Oregon was already a preseason no. 18 team in the country before Young was granted eligibility. Now with Young in the fold -- in addition to Dotson, Artis, Johnathan Loyd, and transfer Jason Calliste -- Oregon's back court is in the conversation for "best" and "deepest" in the country.
Oregon just became a legit contender for the Pac-12 title this year.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) October 25, 2013
PAC-12 talk centered around no true challenger to Arizona at the top. Today's news regarding Joseph Young changes that. Oregon looks loaded.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 25, 2013
Forward Mike Moser on Joe Young, who is eligible to play now: "Offensively he's a handful. Nobody wants to guard him; nobody can guard him."— Rob Moseley (@GoDucksMoseley) October 25, 2013
Joseph Young getting a waiver is huge. It could vault Oregon into consideration for a top 10-12 ranking nationally: http://t.co/4N9uXMi07b— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) October 25, 2013
Jon Rothstein later wrote for CBS Sports that Young could make this Oregon team the most talented yet under Dana Altman. I would go a step further and say that this Ducks team is as talented as the '02 and '07 elite 8 teams, at least on paper. The biggest question will be how well Dana Altman can integrate so many new players -- the Ducks will have as many as six transfer players vying for playing time -- but given Altman's track record to date, you have to be excited about the possibilities.
In addition to Young, Oregon also picked up a commitment from 2014 Canadian prep power forward, Ray Kasongo, who announced the news via his twitter account:
It is an honor and true blessing to officially announce that I have committed to the University of Oregon !!!!! #LetsGoDucks— Ray Kasongo (@RayKasongo32) October 25, 2013
This beautiful gym will be my home starting next fall !!! #CantWait #DuckNation pic.twitter.com/CVYKezZ2kY— Ray Kasongo (@RayKasongo32) October 26, 2013
Before his announcement, Oregon had an on-again off-again relationship with Kasongo, who wavered between the Ducks and the Connecticut Huskies. However, it now appears that his commitment is solid as he plans to sign with Oregon during the early signing period in November.
"What made me pick Oregon is what they had to offer me," Kasongo told SNY.tv. "The coach [Dana Altman] told me that with hard work and my potential I have the possibility to play right away.
"And also my relationship with Dana Altman is great. He is such a great guy and knows a lot about the game. I'm looking forward to playing for him next year."
Kasongo is a key commitment for next year's class as the Ducks will return only Ben Carter, Elgin Cook, and freshman Jordan Bell (who plans to redshirt this season) in the front court. At 6'9, 230 lbs, Kasongo is big and athletic enough to play power forward or center for the Ducks.
A three star prospect who is playing in the U.S. for the first time this season, Kasongo is somewhat under the radar but obviously an excellent talent to be pursued by one of the best programs in the country in UConn. And he may not be under the radar long as he recently dropped 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks vs America's #1 player in the 2014 class, Jahlil Okafor, and his teammate, #4 ranked Cliff Alexander.
Ray Kasongo is Oregon's third commitment in the 2014 recruiting class, joining prep point guard Casey Benson and JuCo forward Dwayne Benjamin.