It wasn’t the fairytale ending Oregon was hoping for.
After winning 10 games in a row, including the Pac-12 tournament championship, the Ducks found themselves in the Sweet-16 against No. 1 Virginia. Leading with five minutes to go, Oregon went cold before suffering the 53-49 defeat and ending the season.
But now with the offseason here, a few Ducks have a big decision to make regarding their future.
“I just want them to do what they feel and their families feel is the best for them," Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “Then they’ll let us know and then we’ll go to work and we’ll figure out putting a team together for next year.”
Bol Bol, the five-star freshman who played in only nine games before a season-ending foot injury, announced today that he would forego the rest of his college career and enter the NBA draft, hiring an agent. He has agreed to sign with CAA for his representation.
Bol is the only true NBA prospect the Ducks have right now, checking in at No. 12 on ESPN’s player rankings. The 7-foot-2 center brings an offensive element to his game after averaging 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Most impressive was his ability to knock down three-pointers, connecting on 52-percent of them during the season.
With Bol gone, that leaves junior point guard Payton Pritchard, sophomore forward Kenny Wooten and freshman wing Louis King as other players who have yet to decide on their futures.
King is the next top prospect for the Ducks, checking in at No. 50 on ESPN’s list. After missing the first month of the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered in January 2018, King rebounded to play in 32 of the 38 games. He finished the season by averaging 13 points (38.6-percent from three) and 5.3 rebounds, but saw his draft stock rise to second-round status after really coming into form during the winning streak.
He averaged 15.8 points on 47.6-percent shooting from the floor, knocking down 43.1-percent (25-of-58) from beyond the arc. He shows elite athleticism for still recovering from a knee injury and possesses the type of 3-and-D potential coveted by NBA teams.
“I’m undecided right now,” King told The Oregonian following Thursday’s loss regarding his future. “I’m still playing… I’m starting college."
Pritchard is expected to return to the Ducks, but don’t be surprised if he tests the NBA waters to get an evaluation of his game. After struggling for most of the season, he really came into his own and was largely responsible for the Oregon’s turnaround.
He averaged a team-high 35.5 minutes per game, adding 12.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds. Those numbers jumped to 15.8 points during the winning streak, which included him being named the Pac-12 tournament MOP.
“That will definitely be an option,” Pritchard told The Oregonian. “That’s college basketball, we’ll see. I don’t know who’s staying or leaving but we’ll be ready for next year.”
Wooten is the wildcard for Oregon, a premier athlete in today’s game who burst onto the national scene with his defensive prowess and ability to block shots. The 6-foot-9 forward only averaged 6.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, but his 2.2 blocks are what sets him apart.
His 11 point, 8 rebound and 7 block night over UC Irvine in the second round really caught the eye of the national media and helped give rise to the notion of him playing at the next level.
“(I’m) probably going to go home and talk to my family and see what’s next really,” Wooten told The Oregonian. “I really don’t know. I’m trying to soak all this in right now.
The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is April 21. Players will wait to be invited to the NBA Combine and or receive feedback from NBA teams after individual workouts. They are able to maintain their college eligibility if they chose not to hire an agent. Players will have until June 10, 10 days before the draft, to withdraw their name and return to school.