It’s common for a program that has enjoyed unprecedented success to suffer some losses in the months following. Oregon basketball is no exception. In just a few short weeks, the Ducks have gone from a Final Four squad, to barely having enough returning players to form a starting lineup.
The latest player to add his name to the list of departures is backup center Kavell Bigby-Williams. The junior only spent one year at Oregon after transferring from Gillette College, where he was named the Junior College National Player of the Year in the 2015-16 season. The depth of Oregon’s roster, however, kept Bigby-Williams in a limited role, only averaging 9.8 minutes per game.
Bigby-Williams isn’t completely out the door yet, as he has only been granted release to seek a transfer, and has not made a decision on whether he will leave the Ducks or not. Should he choose to return, Bigby-Williams would likely play a much larger role on an Oregon team that lost its entire starting frontcourt over the offseason.
Some Oregon fans had hoped that there was a silver-lining to Bigby-Williams request to transfer, and that this was a sign that five-star center Brandon McCoy had given Oregon his silent commitment. This turned out not to be the case, as McCoy announced his commitment to UNLV via his Twitter account Tuesday night. Oregon was one of his final choices, and was the favorite according to 247sports, but McCoy’s surprise choice spoiled what was probably Oregon’s plan A for filling its many open roster spots.
The Ducks still have a long ways to go until their recruiting is finished, but the solid foundation it already has for next season got a little stronger, as four-star forward Kenny Wooten announced his commitment to Oregon on Monday. Wooten has gone mostly under-the-radar in the recruiting process, usually falling slightly below the top 100 in recruiting ranks, but could end up being a solid pick-up for Oregon. He already has fan favorite potential, because as Addicted to Quack’s Sean Larson pointed out, Wooten already shares a similar namesake to an Oregon legend.
I can’t wait to hear Jerry Allen yell “KENNY WOOTEN’S GONNA SCORE” on a fast break dunk next season.— Sean Larson (@seanlarsonATQ) April 25, 2017
After getting Wooten, Oregon still has three or four roster spots open, depending on what Bigby-Williams does. All of the undeclared five-stars are either considered out of the running or long shots, as McCoy was the most likely candidate for Oregon to pick up another five-star recruit. New Mexico graduate transfer Elijah Brown has already visited Oregon, and will likely make his decision shortly after he has made his rounds visited schools. The Ducks are also reportedly still in the top three for four-star prospect Jordan Tucker. There’s still a lot Dana Altman can do to put together a competitive roster in 2018.
Even without any of the other recruits that Oregon gets over the offseason, the Ducks still have the number ten recruiting class on 247sports. These players will carry most of the load next season, but Altman’s ability to keep Oregon a competitor no matter the roster is not a mystery to anyone. The team may struggle at first, but expect big things from Oregon in 2018.