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Oregon’s Elite Brand Soaring to New Heights

The Ducks are national title contenders, again

Oregon v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The transfer of New Mexico’s Elijah Brown is more than just one commitment, it’s the continued elevation of Oregon basketball. The Ducks are an elite brand with a limitless ceiling.

Aside from the scoring that Brown will provide, it is his leadership and experience that will better his youthful teammates.

A week ago, the Oregon faithful was starting to get nervous. With the loss of six players, possibly seven with Kavell Bigby-Williams, some were questioning what was going on with the Ducks. Head coach Dana Altman received the brunt of Twitter hostility, being questioned regularly. That all needs to stop and it will.

Before we move forward, we must reflect on the past. Altman has not only resurrected this program, but he has blown the doors off the Oregon record books. The Duck lead man built the foundation with the signings of Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, Tyler Dorsey, Elgin Cook, Dwayne Benjamin, Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis. The rest is history.

Oregon v Kansas
Jordan Bell may still be clutching that trophy to this day. The Long Beach product leaves the program that he helped build, in great hands. Bell will test his skills at the highest level in the NBA. He left a lasting legacy at Oregon.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A solid foundation is everything in life. Those seven aforementioned players helped build Oregon basketball into an elite brand. Without their contributions, none of this is possible. If those guys weren’t the passionate, never-say-die men that they are, the UO brand is still battling amidst the pretenders of college basketball.

However, Oregon fans witnessed something beyond comprehension the last two years. The program is recruiting talent they only dreamed about five years ago. Not to mention, Oregon is securing commits of the highest degree currently.

In August, Paul White transferred from Georgetown. The former 4-star recruit from Chicago was a composite 89 coming out of Whitney Young. He will provide massive interior length. He may have been the reason for KBW’s transfer request.

November, Troy Brown Jr. changed the face of college basketball for the 2017-18 season. The 5-star commit is the highest-rated signing in Oregon history. However, he has become Oregon’s TOP RECRUITER since joining the Duck revolution.

It was Brown that helped Oregon sign 4-star commits Victor Bailey Jr. and Abu Kigab. Once high school ended, Brown went to work. Not only was he playing in all-american games, he was recruiting more top-tier talent to the university.

2017 McDonald's All American games Powerade Jam Fest
Troy Brown Jr. is making waves in the college basketball recruiting world. After the 5-star committed to Oregon, he began his barrage on the top talent. Brown helped Kenny Wooten Jr. and Elijah Brown navigate their game to Eugene.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Brown was able to lure his 4-star Las Vegas connection Kenny Wooten Jr. to the Ducks last week. Days later, Brown is aiding the transfer of former New Mexico guard Elijah Brown. After his professional playing days are over, Brown may have a calling to follow.

The New Mexico combo guard was torn between five teams; Oregon, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Northwestern and St. Mary’s. His family places a great deal of value on a good education. His decision was made with great patience and research. Brown wanted to finish his college career in the perfect environment. I think he found it.

Honestly, I was nervous about the Zags. Brown would’ve been the perfect replacement for Nigel Williams-Goss, who declared for the NBA Draft. For a team that was just in the national championship, Brown was their biggest target. I am impressed by Brown’s thoughtfulness throughout the process.

However, Brown is very similar to Williams-Goss, in terms of their game. They are both lefties that can create their own shot or find a teammate for an easy bucket. They both play ferocious defense and have a high basketball IQ. This was not only a steal for Oregon, but a blow to Gonzaga. They have a serious void to fill on the open market.

Instantly, Oregon has become national title contenders. Some may be late to the party, but this is how the elite succeed in college basketball. The Ducks are no longer building a team that will take years to develop. Those days are long gone. This is the age of finding the best talent from year-to-year, then making a run at the crown.

The Ducks have more scholarships available for next season. Altman told me last week that they will not use all of them until next season. He always likes to have a bullet or two in the chamber before the start of a new season. I don’t blame him.

Realistically, Oregon could sign one or possibly two more players before the end of May. The deadline to commit for 2017 high school recruits is May 17. Therefore, the Ducks are continuing to recruit at an accelerated pace for the next two weeks. If Altman and his staff can steal one more stud, watch out. That could be the ticket.

Stick around for the release of my college basketball big board. It is the final Top 10 available recruits who have yet to make a decision on their 2017 destination. Elijah Brown was No. 2 on my rankings, I should cross him off the list.

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