It wasn’t long ago that Oregon basketball signed the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation. Troy Brown Jr., Abu Kigab and Victor Bailey Jr. make the greatest prospective class in program history. We would be remiss to not reflect on that faithful moment in the month of November.
T-minus 24 hours until the 2017 Final Four. An elite showdown featuring the No. 3 Oregon Ducks and the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels. UO is fresh off their school-record 33 wins and on a collision course with destiny. The last two years have seen the Ducks lose 12 total games amid their two greatest seasons in program history.
As exciting as it is to be apart of this magical journey in 2016-17, Duck fans can’t help but look forward to the future.
Brown (pictured in headline) was the most coveted high school point guard in the country. At 6-foot-7, with incredible range, athleticism and vision, he is the diamond of all prospects. The No. 1 ranked player from the state of Nevada confirmed Oregon’s historic class in November, 2016.
Meet ESPN's No. 8 recruiting class in the nation: Troy Brown Jr. pic.twitter.com/9iNf2Ih9Ml— Oregon Basketball (@OregonMBB) November 11, 2016
The Las Vegas native was just featured in the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game at the United Center in Chicago. He scored eight points on 3-for-6 shooting, including five boards and a stolen pass in eight minutes of action. His West team defeated the East squad, 109-107.
We can talk about the 5-star commit endlessly. Yet, this piece focuses more on the group, as a whole. At the end of the day, it is a team sport.
With the addition of Brown, everyone else was a welcomed bonus. Victor Bailey Jr. is certainly looking to make an impact of his own. Nevertheless, he understands following in the footsteps of greatness better than most. Just take a look at his family.
Bailey’s mother is Tonja Buford. If you need more explanation, she was a bronze medal winner in track at the 1996 Summer Olympics. The 3-time Olympian is currently the associate track coach at the University of Texas.
Victor’s father was a NFL wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles (1993-94) and Kansas City Chiefs (1995-96). Amid his best season, Bailey had 41 receptions for 545 yards and one touchdown for the Eagles in 1993.
If bloodline means anything to you, Victor Jr. is going to be off the charts. From all the prospects I watched on film this season, Bailey is the most explosive. If you are looking for a Josh Jackson-type leaper with range from downtown, look no further than VBJ. The 4-star commit is an incredible athlete with a relentless conditioning program. I have never seen him tired on film.
Last but certainly not least is Abu Kigab from the elite Prolific Prep. I had a chance to watch the 4-star commit while in Sacramento for the Ducks’ first and second round action two weeks ago. Let me be the first or last to tell you, he reminds me Dillon Brooks.
Capital Christian School was packed to witness the star-studded game between No. 7 Prolific Prep (USA) and the No. 1 team from Canada, Orangeville Prep. Kigab concluded his high school career that Saturday with teammates like Duke’s Gary Trent and Xavier’s Paul Scruggs.
In his final high school game, Kigab concluded with 20 points. He has a very strong lower body with the ability to penetrate the lane at-will. His jump shot, from a fundamental standpoint, looks good. It will improve with consistency. However, it is NOT consistent right now. The Duck coaching staff will take care of him.
Prolific Prep was created for Josh Jackson. The Kansas freshman was so good entering high school, scouts believed he would be better off at an academy. Instead of sending him to a ready-made powerhouse, Prolific Prep was built for him in Napa Valley.
Jackson recruited a great deal of talent to California, alongside his good friend Kigab. Since joining their team, Jackson has become a mentor to the future Duck.
Oregon had five recruits playing in the game, including Ignas Brazdeikis. The pure scorer from Canada dazzled with a game-high 50 points for OP in the 123-99 loss. The junior has another year of school, as part of the 2018 recruiting class.
Unfortunately, the Ducks have filled all 13 scholarship spots for next season. However, if Brooks, Tyler Dorsey or Jordan Bell declare for the NBA Draft, an opening will occur.
The No. 6 overall high school prospect, Brandon McCoy is waiting on Oregon’s “Big 3” to make their decisions before he commits. If all three stay in Eugene, then McCoy will take his talent to East Lansing, Michigan. Gross. If one declares, hello Jordan Bell 2.0! It would instantly place Oregon’s recruiting class inside the Top 3, if not No. 1 overall.
We should find out the future of Oregon’s current roster after the season ends. For now, we just want to continue down this elite path.
No. 3 Oregon (33-5) will square off against No. 1 North Carolina (31-7) in the 2017 Final Four. Tip is set for 5:49 p.m. PT from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday. UO is seeking their first title appearance in 78 years. The game will be televised by CBS.