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Oregon Basketball Fighting for Elite Guard

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Eric Ayala could reclassify to the 2017 recruiting class

FloSports: FloHoops City of Palms Basketball Classic- Tournament Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

One day before June starts, Oregon basketball is still plugging away at the top talent for the 2017 season. Eric Ayala has become the newest obsession with the Duck coaching staff.

The elite 6-foot-3 combo guard prospect was originally slated for the class of 2018. Due to the prep rules, the guard is eligible to leave his school a year early.

Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut allows students a fifth year of eligibility. Therefore, Ayala can stay for a fifth season. Yet, he can also decide to graduate after four years, making him eligible for this current class.

Just when you thought the loaded 2017 recruiting class couldn't get any better. Ayala is one of five players I had circled as a top target for elite college basketball programs, such as Oregon. Ayala was the only player aside from Simi Shittu that I ranked favorably in both classes.

FloSports: FloHoops City of Palms Basketball Classic- Tournament
Eric Ayala soars to the rim and throws it down with some intensity. The 6-foot-3 combo guard was set to graduate from his prep school in 2018. However, he can technically reclassify due to the eligibility rules at Putnam. Ayala is an elite prospect in either the 2017 or ‘18 class.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Delaware’s finest is the No. 1 ranked player from the state. He is a 4-star combo guard with elite athleticism and court vision. He is a composite 94 prospect, alongside being ranked as an 86 overall by ESPN scouting.

Wait until you see this kid, he will make your jaw drop. His quickness is second to none and he has a jump shot to match. He can play the point guard and run the team or he can fill it up from the shooting guard position.

The lone problem with Ayala is that everyone wants him at their program. He is an incredibly highly-touted prospect, but many thought his stock would rise even further next season, his fifth year at Putnam.

Currently, he has 23 official offers but dozens more are sending him feelers. Interest is growing with the Ducks and Arizona, as well.

Nevertheless, Syracuse, Duke, Miami, Indiana, UConn and Maryland to name a few, are also going “all in” for Ayala. A reclassification of this magnitude could change the dynamic for one program, should he indeed leave.

Ayala said he would have his decision by the end of July.

NOTABLE OREGON RECRUITING NEWS

Bol Bol

The 5-star prospect for the 2018 recruiting class is extremely interested in Oregon. Every team in the nation is recruiting him, but his interest is ONLY with a few programs, namely the Ducks.

Gerald Liddell

The No. 27 overall player by ESPN for the 2018 class is seriously considering the Ducks. North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Duke are all after the kid. However, Liddell really likes the Duck way and head coach Dana Altman. Liddell realizes his best opportunity for playing time could befall him in Eugene.

Cam Johnson

Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson visited North Carolina on Tuesday. The Tar Heels have been Johnson’s No. 1 landing spot since he was a child. However, Pitt has instated a rule that Johnson would have to sit out next year if he chooses an ACC school. That could throw a wrench into things.

NCAA Basketball: Marshall at Pittsburgh
Cam Johnson could change the landscape of the program he chooses this summer. The former Pitt assassin graduated in three years and still has two years of eligibility remaining. Johnson would have to sit out next season, ONLY if he chooses an ACC destination.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks, UCLA, Arizona and Kentucky are also currently in the mix for the supremely gifted 6-foot-7 sharpshooter.

Brian Bowen

The Bowen saga continues. Every week, the 5-star All-American adds a new school to his wish list. He knows school starts in August right?

Texas was the latest team predicted to receive the services of the hybrid guard and forward. Meanwhile, it is rumored that UNC and Louisville have reentered the Bowen sweepstakes this week after focusing on other talent the last few months.

Oregon, DePaul, Creighton, Arizona and Michigan State have been consistent with their interest of the 6-foot-7 elite scorer. Tugs said he would make his choice by April. One day from June, we are no longer holding our breath for a pending decision.

No matter how you slice it, the Ducks are going after the best players in the nation. This is something Oregon has never been able to do realistically. Not only is the top talent interested in Eugene, but UO are legitimate contenders to land them.

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