Oregon basketball signed 4-star power forward Kenny Wooten Jr. out of Las Vegas on Monday. The addition will certainly elevate the incredible incoming class of 2017, which was ranked No. 8 in America before Wooten’s verbal commitment.
This is what an elite brand of college basketball looks like. It has begun.
Well, head coach Dana Altman has done it again! Every Duck fan nearing the edge of a large cliff can take two steps back now. Wooten was one of my five favorite guys listed last week in my Oregon Basketball: Don’t Hit Panic Button, Yet article.
The 6-foot-9 forward out of Trinity International School (POST) in Nevada was on Oregon’s radar for quite some time. However, it was the 5-star commit Troy Brown Jr. from Las Vegas that sold Wooten on Eugene. Brown is already making plays for the Ducks.
Kenny Wooten is a shot-blocking machine. He is carved from the Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher mold. I can already hear Matthew Knight Arena erupting after a Wooten blocked shot.
Most Duck fans began to panic when the “Big 3” headed for greener pastures in the NBA. Then, Casey Benson and Kavell Bigby-Williams happened and I told you not to panic. Wooten is here because more minutes are now available. Thank you, Casey!
“With a lot of players leaving, they have a lot of minutes available," Wooten stated. “The coaching staff is great. Great environment to focus. Everything at Oregon is set up for you to be successful. You just have to be dedicated and really want to work.”
Wooten has the right mindset, alongside the game to match. He is ranked as an 80 composite by ESPN, so he was definitely more unheralded than most of his stature. Yet, he has been ranked as high as 93 compositely by other qualified media outlets.
Most “experts” had him tabbed for UCLA or Kansas, but not so fast. Once again, the Ducks have manhandled the Jayhawks down low. Jordan Bell says, “Request denied.”
This is a direct result of Oregon’s recent success, alongside a handful of key departures. Like I’ve said before, gone are the days of recruiting a 4-year project player. This is a new era of elite basketball at Oregon. Expect greatness. More are on their way.
The Vegas product had offers from UCLA, Arizona, Kansas, Utah, USC, Oklahoma State, Illinois, DePaul, UNLV and Cal to name a few. He chose wisely.
Dana Altman is looking like a prophet right now. He clearly explained his mentality to the media on Monday morning. Fast forward three hours and we have a real example.
“We’re on some guys that are pretty talented and not ranked,” Altman said. “Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell weren’t ranked. Elgin Cook wasn’t ranked that high and he turned into a heck of a player. We’re on some very talented men.”
The Ducks now have four commits for 2017; three 4-star players and one 5-star named Troy. Paul White is a welcomed addition via the transfer route from Georgetown. Overall, the No. 8 recruiting class for 2017 may be working their way up the ranks.