Oregon was aiming high with some of its targets for the off-season, but heavy loss of talent has made it difficult to get top talent to commit. The Ducks were widely considered to be the top landing spot for five-star center Brandon McCoy until he committed to UNLV in late April. Oregon’s focus then shifted to a top freshman and transfer, and the Ducks seemed to have a good chance at both, or at least one. After a few quiet weeks, however, both fell through in the past few days.
Five-star forward Brian Bowen was the no. 18 freshman recruit in the nation on 247sports, and had one of the more unusual recruiting processes of the 2017 class. Bowen took longer than most to make his decision, committing after the May 17th National Letter of Intent signing deadline, and no school ever seemed to have a clear lead. Oregon was a late contender for Bowen, with him making an unofficial visit in May, but he ultimately committed to Louisville, who was another late contender.
After the Ducks picked up New Mexico grad transfer Elijah Brown, it seemed as if Oregon could be a popular target for other transfers, especially with all the roster spots that opened up after the season ended. Brown was one of the top transfers, and the Ducks hoped get another in Pittsburgh’s Cam Johnson.
Johnson visited Oregon, among other Pac-12 schools in early May, but committed to North Carolina on Tuesday, per Jon Rothstein. Oregon had high hopes for the rest of the off-season to replace the majority of its starting lineup, but it now has to go with a backup plan to fill out the final scholarships.
The first place the Ducks are looking is Illinois State grad transfer MiKyle McIntosh. The 6’7 forward averaged 12.5 points-per-game for the Redbirds in 2017 and will be eligible immediately. McIntosh has spent some of the off-season testing the waters for the NBA Draft, but decided to head back to college for another year of eligibility
No matter what happens over the rest of the off-season, Oregon will still be in good position with the no. 12 recruiting class in the nation, but it will have to rely on its young players more than ever. The only key rotation player returning will be sophomore point-guard Payton Pritchard, and it can be expected that the Ducks will be starting two freshmen in Troy Brown and Kenny Wooten. It will be one of the youngest starting lineups Oregon has had, but the team will still have a good mix of veterans with Elijah Brown and Paul White.
Oregon has also started to prepare itself for the 2018-19 season as well. Miles Norris, the no. 30 recruit in the 2018 class has made an early commitment to the Ducks. A four-star recruit in Kevin Porter Jr. has also listed Oregon in his top six schools. The Ducks have started to put themselves at the forefront of most recruiting talk. They still aren’t quite at the level of the powerhouse schools, but the Ducks have been able to use recent success as a selling point in order to keep it at the top of the Pac-12 and the country in general. How the Ducks bounce back for the 2017-18 season will be huge for the years to come, and Oregon has put itself in good position with a solid recruiting class.