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Top Prospects from 2018 Class Intrigued by Oregon Basketball

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The Ducks are making some noise within the Top 10

Photo courtesy of RJ Barrett via Twitter @RjBarrett6

Four of the top prospects from the 2018 class are interested in playing for Oregon basketball. Future NBA stars R.J. Barrett, Bol Bol, Simi Shittu and Eric Ayala all have Oregon inside their Top 10 ranks. We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when.

Following an Elite Eight appearance in 2015-16, the Ducks secured the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation for the 2017 campaign. After a Final Four showcasing in 2016-17, Oregon nearly landed the No. 1 class in the country.

Head coach Dana Altman narrowly missed on three top players for the 2017 season. Brandon McCoy, Brian Bowen and Cam Johnson chose different directions after teasing the Ducks until the bitter end.

Any one of those players would’ve registered Oregon as the No. 1 recruiting class and an instant title contender. However, Altman has his sights set on registering a higher-ranking class in 2018. With the interested talent, he might just do so.

R.J. BARRETT

The No. 1 prospect in the 2018 class. He was originally part of the 2019 class (No. 1 player in 2019 class) but shockingly reclassified in late July following his U19 masterpiece performance at the FIBA World Cup.

Canada’s finest was a teammate of current Duck freshman Abu Kigab for their historic Gold Medal journey in Cairo this summer. Kigab was great, but Barrett was better than anyone on the floor during the tournament. He walked away with the Most Outstanding Player of the U19 World Cup.

Not only does Oregon have Kigab in his ear, but every other Canadian Duck from previous teams. The #CanadianConnection is alive and well in Eugene. Leave it to Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher, and Dylan Ennis to seal that deal.

Barrett released his Top 5 list on Wednesday afternoon via Twitter. Alongside the Ducks, he listed Kentucky, Michigan, Duke and Arizona. Let the games begin.

BOL BOL

The son of former NBA legend Manute Bol is the No. 3 overall prospect from this heralded class. Sorry to let you down, he’s not a point guard with handles. He is 7-foot-1, 225 pounds and starring for the historic Mater Dei at 17 years old.

Bol Bol is the No. 1 center in the 2018 class alongside being the No. 1 player from the state of California. Clearly, he has a basketball pedigree in his background.

According to Bol Bol, he is only scheduling visits with three schools currently. He will visit campuses in Eugene, Tucson, and Lexington. Altman and Oregon have been pursuing Bol Bol since the outset, birth.

2017 CIF Southern Section Boys Open Division Championship
Bol Bol is the No. 3 rated prospect from the 2018 class. The No. 1 center in the country plays for Mater Dei High School in California. He only plans on visiting three schools and Oregon is one of them.
Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

SIMI SHITTU

The No. 9 overall prospect from the class is a 5-star gem. Any one of these first three could be the No. 1 overall player in the class. The talent is interchangeable from three very different future stars.

Shittu is a 6-foot-8 power forward with some juice. He’s the No. 2 overall power forward in the 2018 class, alongside being the No. 1 overall player from the state of Vermont.

Kentucky has been recruting Shittu the longest, but the Ducks, UConn and Syracuse are heavily involved. The only problem UK runs into is that they sign too many prospects per season, thus forcing some to sit on the bench.

He released his updated Top 10 list on Sunday via his Twitter account.

ERIC AYALA

As of now, Ayala is in the 2018 recruiting class. However, he’s still in the process of a possible reclassification to the 2017 class. A decision has yet to be revealed. Regardless, the Ducks are in his Top 9.

Ayala is a silky-smooth two-way guard who can dictate the tempo of a game. Not to mention, he is a natural born winner. Most have him staying on the east coast with Syracuse, Georgetown or even Maryland.

One thing has been consistent with Ayala and that is his interest in Oregon. And that has been the recurring theme since the Ducks’ Final Four appearance. Every prospect on the map seems to pay some interest toward Oregon. It’s only a matter of time before they start arriving at Matthew Knight Arena.

As the stellar play on the floor continues, so too will the surge of talent entering Eugene. The Ducks are legitimately in the mix for the best prospects of the next generation.

Oregon is no longer just throwing their proverbial hat into the ring with the elite prospects. The Ducks are legitimately looking for a few knockouts of their own. Any of the aforementioned four would be Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out worthy.

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