Dana Altman is doing it again. The Ducks are expected to sign four players in the early signing period this week, and all four should be ready to play right away next season. The most important need in this recruiting class is front court players, and Altman is poised to sign his best front court class since arriving in Eugene.
Dwayne Benjamin G/F - Dwayne Benjamin is a four star junior college player. A 6'6 combo guard/forward, Benjamin is a very athletic player who plays well above the rim and excels in the open court. As a sophomore last year he led Mt Jacinto Community College in scoring, averaging 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He shot 46.7-percent from the floor, including 29.2-percent from three. He will have two years of eligibility at Oregon.
Michael Chandler PF/C - Chandler was a four star center and top 50 player nationally out of high school, but after failing to qualify academically, went the junior college route, playing for Northwest Florida State the past two seasons (the same JUCO school that current Duck Elgin Cook played for). At 6'10, 240 lbs, Chandler is a legit college center and will give Oregon a strong presence in the paint. He can guard the rim like Tony Woods but should also provide more of a scoring threat down low. Talent-wise he reminds me a lot of former Duck Michael Dunigan when he came out of high school. Chandler will have two years of eligibility at Oregon.
Ray Kasongo PF - A three star prospect who is playing in the U.S. for the first time this season, Kasongo is somewhat under the radar but still an excellent talent who had offers from some of the best programs in the country, including UConn, Arizona, and UCLA, among others. At 6'9, 235 lbs he provides another strong post presence in this class. Kasongo recently gained notoriety when he dropped 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks against America's #1 player in the 2014 class, Jahlil Okafor, and his teammate, #4 ranked Cliff Alexander.
Casey Benson PG - Benson is a three star point guard and top 150 player nationally from Tempe, Arizona. At 6'3, 180 lbs, Benson possesses great size for the point guard position and is known as a very smart, selfless, competitive player who makes his teammates better. A left-hander, Benson averaged 20.7 points, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game while leading his team to a Division I state title as a junior. Last year he was named the Player of the Year in Arizona by both Gatorade and the New Republic newspaper.
While it will be hard to beat last year's class, which included Mike Moser, Jason Calliste, Joseph Young, Elgin Cook, and Richard Amardi, among others, this year's class is still very impressive in its own right. The Ducks are set to lose Moser, Johnathan Loyd, Amardi, Calliste, and Waverly Austin to graduation next year but have four players who should fill the void and compliment Oregon's outstanding back court. All four signees should be able to step in and play right away, with Kasongo and Chandler fighting for starter's minutes alongside Ben Carter at the forward position.
And this recruiting class may not be finished. Oregon still has 1-2 scholarships available and could sign more players next spring or summer. Regardless, as currently composed this class ensures that the Ducks will continue to compete for Pac-12 championships in the years to come.
A VERY early look at how the depth chart could look next season:
PG: Dominic Artis, Casey Benson
G: Joseph Young, Jalil Abdul-Bassit, AJ Lapray
G: Damyean Dotson, Dwayne Benjamin
F: Ben Carter, Elgin Cook, Jordan Bell
F: Michael Chandler, Ray Kasongo