Oregon Ducks

Bol Bol, worth the gamble?

Bol Bol, worth the gamble?

The highest-rated basketball player to ever sign with Oregon seems to have come and gone in a blink of an eye.

Freshman center Bol Bol made his move to the NBA official on Saturday via his Instagram and has hired an agent at CAA, according to ESPN.

“What an incredible ride it has been,” Bol wrote. "Although I was only able to play in 9 games this year, being a part of this journey with my teammates and coaching staff all the way to the Sweet 16 has been by far one of the greatest moments of my life. We created a true brotherhood and the memories we made will last a lifetime”.

Bol’s talent was undeniable during his short stint in green and yellow. But did he display enough of his immense potential before the season ending injury to wipe away the red flag durability concerns? Will the 7-foot-2 center be a lottery selection or has his draft stock slipped?

Before diving into his NBA future, it’s important to note that Bol does have a loss-of-value insurance policy that could come into play if he winds up falling in the draft due to the fractured foot, which required surgery. Bol was unsure of the amount, according to James Crepea.

Turmoil also surrounds Bol; celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti accused the former five-star recruit of receiving funds from Nike in a recruitment scheme but has not provided specifics or evidence to support his claims. 

It’s easy to see why Bol is one of the most intriguing players in the 2019 NBA draft; 7-foot 2 centers with 7-foot-8 wingspans with terrific outside shooting (52 percent from three) don’t come along often. In his nine games with the Ducks, he led the team in points (21.0 per game), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (2.7).

Once a sure lottery pick, some mock drafts have him on the edge of the first round after his surgery.

He is the No. 23 prospect in the latest CBS Sports Top 75 Big Board, projected to be drafted at No. 19 to the San Antonio Spurs by Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated has Bol falling to No. 27, while both Yahoo and NBC Sports have the Boston Celtics selecting Bol with the 14th pick.

Durability is the biggest issue that surrounds Bol as he joined a large group of seven-footers with foot problems. He has dealt with various injuries throughout his basketball career and questions will linger until he’s back on the court. He is no longer wearing a walking boot or using a scooter. Bol’s prognosis, via his lawyer, says he will return to basketball activities in the summer, meaning he could be ready for the beginning of the NBA season in mid-October.

Oregon’s roster lists Bol at 235 pounds. The son of former NBA player Manute Bol who played 10 NBA seasons, will need to add some weight on to his thin frame in order to compete against the NBA bigs. However, impressively, Bol averaged nearly 30 minutes a game at Oregon. Similar to his father who blocked an average of 3.3 shots per game, Bol Bol's natural shot-blocking ability is a major strength.

Bol’s ceiling is high as a floor-spacing, rim-protecting big man. No doubt the Oregon one-and-done is in the lottery discussion. His potential for stardom outweighs the possibility of a bust, in my opinion, I believe a team will roll the dice on his unique skillset and Bol will be top-20 selection.

The Oregon Ducks will roll with their secondary over anyone else

The Oregon Ducks will roll with their secondary over anyone else

Oregon's projected to have one of the nation's best defenses next season with the crown jewel being a stacked secondary that finished second in the country with 20 interceptions last season.

The Ducks return all players from that unit and will add five-star cornerback Dontae Manning in 2020.

In fact, former Oregon Ducks safety Anthony Newman claims that the upcoming secondary can be the best secondary the program has ever seen.

[RELATED]: Why the 2020 Oregon Ducks secondary could be the best yet

Newman isn't alone in his praise.

ESPN NFL draft analyst and Executive Director of the Reese's Senior Bowl Jim Nagy tweeted Sunday morning that Oregon defensive backs Deommodre Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. are among the best pairs in the nation.

Side note: With them both being seniors next season, they should expect invites to the Senior Bowl. 

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

Additionally, NFL Network draft analyst Ben Fennell agreed, calling the Oregon secondary the nation's best.

Nagy's praise caused Graham Jr. to make a simple proclamation: The nation will take notice sooner than later.

He went on to say he would take his secondary over any other one.

A sentiment echoed by fellow Duck, 2021 four-star cornerback commit Jaylin Davies. 

However, nose tackle Jordon Scott had a minor correction to Graham's point.

He has a point, given the returning talent on defense along with two incoming five-star linebackers, the Ducks are projected to have the nation's second-best defense next season according to ESPN's SP+ metric. 

[RELATED]: Oregon football projected to have nation's 2nd-best defense in 2020

Lenoir later gave the Oregon secondary their name a la "The Legion of Boom," in N.I.A. for "NOTHING IN THE AIR." 

It has a nice ring to it and makes sense to boot. 

Of the top ten returning Pac-12 football players ahead of the 2020 college football season, Pro Football Focus has three of them as members of Oregon's secondary: Jevon Holland at No. 2 (the nation's best slot corner per PFF), Mykael Wright at No. 4, and Thomas Graham Jr. at No. 8. 

This doesn't even include returning senior Deommodre Lenoir, who forwent the NFL Draft to return to school, Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze, Nick Pickett, and Verone McKinley. 

Soon all of college football will know their name. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Oregon fans, players shut down hot take that Walker Little is better than Penei Sewell 

Oregon fans, players shut down hot take that Walker Little is better than Penei Sewell 

There’s no offensive lineman in college football better than Penei Sewell right now. Period. 

Sewell took home top honors for the nation’s top offensive lineman as 2019 Outland Trophy award winner and was just the third Duck to be named a unanimous All-American in 2019. Even his Pro Football Focus every-down numbers prove he stands above the rest. 

The scary part? That was only his sophomore season and Sewell is just scratching the surface on his potential. 

In a recent game of Fact or Fiction, Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney shared their takes on whether Stanford’s Walker Little could push Oregon’s Penei Sewell as the best offensive tackle in the Pac-12 in 2020. 

Let’s just say Oregon players and fans didn’t appreciate Walker in the same conversation as the 6-6, 335-pound monster left tackle. 

Ducks safety Bennett Williams shut down the claim immediately. “Stop the slander,” Williams said in a post on Twitter. 

Oregon tight end Spencer Webb had one simple response to the comparison: “Delete the tweet.”

The trolling continued…

  

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

For those who didn’t read the article, both Farrell and Gorney called the take “fiction,” noting Sewell’s special and rare athletic abilities. 

“I like Walker Little a lot and I think he comes back from injury with a vengeance this season,” Farrell said. “But better than Penei Sewell? Sewell is the best OL prospect for the NFL Draft I’ve seen in a few years and should be a top five pick next year. The Pac-12 has some great lineman this upcoming season and these two could be 1-2 in the country. But Sewell is far and away more special.” 

Gorney added, “There’s almost no doubt that if Sewell was eligible to be drafted that NFL last April, he would have gone in the top five. Now he has another year to dominate in college football and other than some quarterbacks high on the list, no one is higher than Sewell.”

OK, so neither Rivals.com reporter was actually suggesting Little is better than Sewell, but that tweet did feel like a reach. 

Rest assured Ducks Nation, Sewell is still college football’s best. He's a likely Heisman Trophy candidate in 2020 and will have a bright future for years to come after being tabbed a top-3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Calvin Throckmorton delivers this powerful statement on Fourth of July

Calvin Throckmorton delivers this powerful statement on Fourth of July

While protests against police brutality and racial oppression took place in the United States over the holiday weekend, Calvin Throckmorton took to social media on Fourth of July to deliver a powerful message.

The former Oregon offensive tackle drew attention to Independence Day and used the holiday to remind his followers that true sovereignty has yet to be achieved for all.  

This 4th of July it is important that we all recognize that not all those who call this country their home have the same freedom. Our brothers and sisters of color continue to suffer from systemic oppression that has existed since and before our country became “free.” 

I stand with all those who are oppressed and will fight with them until we may all benefit from the same freedoms together. – Calvin Throckmorton 

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

The powerful statement was retweeted by many current and former Oregon student-athletes including Troy Dye and Satou Sabally.  

Oregon football head coach Mario Cristobal shared the post with the comments, “purpose driven & powerful statement.”

Throckmorton is usually a pretty quiet guy on social media, but this was a matter the New Orleans Saints offensive tackle refused to stay quiet about. 

And he’s not the only one. 

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard recently told NBCSNW that he believes it’s crucial for conversations around current social injustice movements to continue. 

The All-Star point guard, who has attended a Black Lives Matter march in Portland, says the NBA has a real opportunity to use its platform to advance discussions around social and racial injustices as play resumes in Orlando this month. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Four-star 2021 wide receiver Isaiah Brevard commits to the Oregon Ducks

Four-star 2021 wide receiver Isaiah Brevard commits to the Oregon Ducks

More talent is headed to Eugene. 

2021 composite four-star wide receiver Isaiah Brevard committed to the University of Oregon on his Twitter Saturday afternoon.

Oregon beat out Baylor, Missouri, Texas A&M, Florida State, Penn State, Georgia, and others for Brevard's commitment. 

Rankings are all over the place for the 6'4", 200-pound prospect as he's the nation's No. 140 overall player and No. 25 WR per composite ranking. ESPN has him as the nation's No. 7 wide receiver, nation's No. 61 overall player, and a four-star prospect. Rivals also ranks him as a four-star as the nation's No. 16 WR and No. 116 overall player. 247Sports, however, ranks him as a three-star prospect and the nation's No. 80 wide receiver. 

Despite that, the verbal commitment of Brevard moves Oregon ahead of USC and LSU to the nation's No. 5 recruiting class nationally and the best one in the Pac-12. 

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

Heading into May, head coach Mario Cristobal said that he thought the 2021 recruiting class could be the best one yet and that they were "big-game fishing." It certainly appears that way, especially on the offensive side of the ball with Oregon getting arguably the best collection of offensive talent in the nation.

[RELATED]: Oregon four-star QB commit Ty Thompson wants the nation's best offense

247Sports recruiting analyst Brian Dohn predicts that Brevard will be a "power-5 starter" with the potential to be a late-round NFL draft pick. 

Big frame with wide shoulders. Carries 200 pounds like 185. Has ability to play at 215. Uses length and size well against smaller defensive backs. Tracks ball well and has strong hands. High-points ball and is true red zone threat. Catches and secures football quickly. Has good feel for game. Instinctual player. Solid route runner. Willing blocker who works down field. Does little things and is unselfish. Decent speed. Must be more consistent with releases at line of scrimmage. Needs to explode out of breaks more consistently. Adding upper body strength important. Multi-year starter at Top 20 program. Day 3 NFL draft potential.

So far this recruiting cycle, Mario Cristobal's hire of former South Carolina assistant coach and 2014 247Sports Recruiter of the Year Bryan McClendon to coach wide receivers in Eugene seems to be paying off as the Ducks are on pace to have the best wide receiver class in program history.  

Four-star Kyron Ware-Hudson (nation's No. 22 WR) committed back in December and five-star Troy Franklin (nation's No. 2 wide receiver) committed to Oregon last week.

Additionally, they're the favorites to land four-star Dont'e Thornton (nation's No. 6 wide receiver) who won't commit until the Adidas All-American Bowl in January. 

Previously, the program appeared to be a lock for four-star Xavier Worthy but he pushed back his commitment, now set for July 10th, and is considered to be a Michigan lean. 

[RELATED]: Meet the 2021 Oregon Ducks recruiting class so far

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

You can watch Brevard's highlights here.

Galen Rupp excited for what's in store at Tokyo Olympics

Galen Rupp excited for what's in store at Tokyo Olympics

“It’s everybody’s dream to be an Olympian. Everybody’s hungry. Everybody’s trained a little bit harder and is going to be on their A-game.”

Those are the words of Galen Rupp, a Portland, OR native and University of Oregon alumnus who is one of the more recognized northwest Olympian names. 

The Oregonian attended Central Catholic High School where he won back to back cross country titles in 2002 and 2003 and three individual championships in track and field. Rupp attended the University of Oregon where he earned 14 All-American honors and five individual championships. And in February, Rupp won the US Olympic Men's Marathon Trials! 

Rupp qualified for his fourth consecutive Olympic Games after running 2:09:20 in the Atlanta qualifier. The two-time Olympic medalist won by 42 seconds. 

But his journey to Tokyo was abruptly halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed the Summer Games until 2021. 

Rupp is among those featured in NBC Sports Northwest’s  campaign to honor local Olympians and Paralympians from the Oregon and Washington areas, which began yesterday on Father’s Day and runs through Saturday, July 4.

The multiplatform campaign will highlight local athletes through profiles and vignettes, which are presented by your local Northwest Toyota dealers. 

[RELATED: Timeline of Historic Hayward Field through the years]

Athletes who will be highlighted throughout the campaign include:

  • - Long-distance runner and five-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp
  • - USWNT player and three-time Olympic gold medalist Shannon Box
  • - Decathlete and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Dave Johnson 
  • - Fencer and four-time Olympic medalist Mariel Zagunis
  • - Sled hockey player and 2014 Paralympic gold medalist Rico Roman
  • - Goalball player and two-time Paralympic medalist Jen Armbruster

[RELATED: New Hayward Field is complete and it looks absolutely stunning]

And while Rupp’s 2020 dreams were delayed a year, he’s still excited about the opportunity to go to Tokyo. 

I haven’t spent a ton of time in Tokyo. I’ve been on the outskirts, so I’m really excited to see the city. But, I know it’s going to be an unbelievable event. 

“Every Olympics is different, but they’re all special. I’m excited to see what Japan and Tokyo has to offer.”

You can see more Olympic profiles and vignettes here

Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu rocks Liberty merch for first time

Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu rocks Liberty merch for first time

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here. 

We are finally getting a look at Sabrina Ionescu in her New York Liberty threads and we need a Liberty seafoam green jersey...STAT!

[RELATED: Justin Herbert sports new Chargers gear in return to Oregon]

The No. 1 draft pick and former Oregon Duck took her swag level to the extreme in the Liberty’s latest post which features Ionescu in mint and then again in black on a Times Square-esque billboard. 

It’s no surprise her brand new jersey sold out from the WNBA merchandise site in less than an hour. Take a look:  

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

The Ionescu threads became so popular that some shops began selling jersey t-shirts as a lower-cost alternative to rep the G.O.A.T. 

This isn’t the first or last time Ionescu has made wearing a women’s basketball jersey a pretty big deal. Nike began making her Ducks jersey in November 2019 and sold out within the first two hours.

Nike made it official with the triple-double queen after she moved across the country to join the Liberty, signing Ionescu to an endorsement deal. Now, WNBA fans all across the country can rep Ionescu with pride even when there’s no game. 

In her four-year college career, the Oregon sensation became the first player in NCAA history, male or female, to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career. Ionescu took home two Wooden Awards given to the nation’s top college player and quickly vaulted as the nation’s premier college basketball player. 

She returned to Eugene for her senior year in hopes of pursuing a national championship. The Ducks were a projected No. 1 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to COVID-19.

Ionescu never completed her “unfinished business” at Oregon, but soon she’ll be fulfilling another dream come true as she steps on the court at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, as a member of the Liberty. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Justin Herbert sports new Chargers gear in return to Oregon 

Justin Herbert sports new Chargers gear in return to Oregon 

Chargers clothes have always looked good on Justin Herbert. Ever since he was nine years old, he’s donned his favorite team’s gear proudly

But now that Herbert’s officially a quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers, the feeling is becoming more surreal for the sixth-overall pick and all the fans who have watched him thrive during his football career. 

With NFL training camps not starting until late July, Herbert returned to his old stomping grounds of Sheldon High School to get in a workout. In a photo he shared on Instagram, he is rocking a new Chargers helmet…and it looks sick.

View this post on Instagram

The boys are back in town

A post shared by Justin Herbert (@justinherbert) on

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

The helmet is part of the sleek uniforms the L.A. Chargers unveiled ahead of the upcoming 2020 season at the new SoFi Stadium.

Herbert hasn’t had much time to build relationships with his new teammates since becoming a member of the Chargers two months ago. OTAs and rookie minicamps went virtual this year due to COVID-19 and the NFLPA has encouraged players to halt private in-person workouts for the time being. The first time he will officially join his Chargers teams on the field is in late July, when training camp ensues. 

[RELATED: Justin Herbert among Ducks, Beavers on new season of Hard Knocks]

Herbert certainly has his work cut out for him if he wants to beat Tyrod Taylor for the starting gig, but at least we know the rook will rock the bolt while doing it. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

 

Former five-star recruit CJ Walker to transfer out of Oregon

Former five-star recruit CJ Walker to transfer out of Oregon

The Oregon Ducks men's basketball team always has plenty of turnover between teams and this offseason is no different.

However, usually, it's the Ducks taking in highly sought after transfers but this time it's the other way around.

Oregon Ducks forward CJ Walker has announced he has entered the transfer portal with the intention to be closer to his hometown of Sanford, FL amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, per his Twitter.

"As the coronavirus has tragically continued to spread across this country forcing our Nation into lock down it has given me a lot of time to think about my future and what's in the best interest of my family and our health -  both physically and mentally," wrote Walker. 

"These past few months have been tough on everyone, and I understand this will be a long battle ahead. During this pandemic I'm also heavily dealing with ailing family members who are high risk with underlying conditions living back in my hometown of Sanford, FL.

"There is so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the upcoming season, and even if one will be played next year. I have decided the best decision I can make for both my mental and physical health is to return home to be close to my family and my support system." 

The 6'8", former five-star recruit averaged 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 28 appearances, including seven starts, for the Pac-12 Champion Oregon Ducks last season. 

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

With the departure of center Francis Okoro, Walker was expected to earn a lot of playing time as a small-ball center next season as a sophomore. Unfortunately for the Ducks, he's decided to pursue other opportunities with the ultimate goal of becoming an NBA player.

"[I'll] continue to train and work at becoming the best basketball player I can be, to get back to a positive and healthy mindset, and to keep working towards my ultimate goal of becoming an NBA player one day," Walker stated. "During this process I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal to be able to properly weigh all options while this pandemic continues on."

Coming out of high school, Walker was the No. 28 overall player in the country and the sixth-ranked power forward. Before choosing Oregon, he named a final-three of Oregon, LSU, and Miami.  His hometown of Sanford, FL is 251 miles north of the University of Miami. 

Florida has been experiencing another outbreak of the coronavirus in wake of re-opening, including a new one-day record for cases of 9,585 positive test results, for a total of 132,545 total cases. Hospitalizations have hit 14,136, according to the Florida Department of Health with nearly 3,400 dead. 

We at NBC Sports NW wish Walker nothing but the best. Once a Duck always a Duck. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Oregon four-star QB commit Ty Thompson wants the nation's best offense

Oregon four-star QB commit Ty Thompson wants the nation's best offense

The recruiting game has been changing.

No longer do only coaching staffs recruit prospects to their schools, but nowadays fellow recruits do as well, including Oregon four-star quarterback commit Ty Thompson

The 6'4", 200-pound prospect committed to Oregon back in March just one month after getting an offer from the University following the hire of new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. 

Now, Thompson has been rising up recruiting rankings to No. 80 overall via composite ranking to be one of the premier offensive recruits in the country. He also accepted an invite to the finals of the Elite 11 competition and spoke with 247Sports Blair Angulo about receiving the invitation, which gives him more pedigree with other prospects. 

“Being selected to the Elite 11 Finals has given me some confidence talking to other recruits and telling them we’re about to have the best offense in the nation,” Thompson told 247Sports. “They can really see it and understand that we’ve got a really good offensive class going and a top quarterback. It’s a big deal in recruiting for me to go in there and do well at the Elite 11."

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

Who is he recruiting in particular? Bue-chip wide receiver prospects Xavier Worthy, the nation's No. 11 by 247Sports wide receiver who has been compared to to DeSean Jackson, and Dont'e Thornton, the nation's No. 6 wide receiver by composite ranking. 

[RELATED]: 2021 four-star WR Xavier Worthy AKA ‘The Real Flash’ places Oregon in top-6

“Right now, the guys I’m recruiting the hardest are Xavier Worthy and Dont’e Thornton. They are both very good players."

Worthy was widely expected to choose Oregon on June 27th but pushed his commitment back six days before the scheduled announcement. Meanwhile, Thornton's also considered to be leaning towards Oregon but he won't commit until the Under Armour All-American Game on January 9th, 2021.

Those wideouts aren't the only prospects Thompson's been recruiting, however. He also wants to sure up his offensive line which had already secured commitments from four-stars Jonah Miller, Jackson Light, and Bram Walden.  

"At linemen, we are also going after Kingsley Suamataia and Bryce Foster. These are the guys I’ve been pushing to get into this class.”

The 6'4.5", 315-pound Bryce Foster appears to be leaning towards Oklahoma or Texas A&M, but never say it's over until it's over as the Ducks are inside his top-five, along with the two leading schools, Texas and LSU. 

Meanwhile, the 6'5", 280-pound Suamataia is also the cousin of Oregon five-star 2019 signee Noah Sewell, but the nation's No. 10 offensive tackle and nation's No. 59 overall prospect reaffirmed that he won't choose Oregon just because of Noah. 

“Noah and I are close and I know he will be great anywhere, but (my recruitment) will be about where I can get the best opportunities to grow and be the best me,” Suamataia told The Oregonian ahead of an Oregon visit last year.

Perhaps Thompson can help seal the deal for the Ducks and it wouldn't be the first time he's helped secure a commitment. 

He helped secure a verbal commitment from the nation's No. 11 tight end Terrance Ferguson: "We just got another tight end in Terrance Ferguson and I had been on him," said Thompson.

Ferguson tweeted support of his quarterback Monday evening after Thompson killed it at the first day of the Elite 11 finals.

How well did Thompson do? Good enough for one recruiting analyst to name him the best quarterback after the first of three days of the competition.

[RELATED]: Four-star Oregon commit Ty Thompson ranked No. 1 QB at Elite 11 Camp

Already, the Ducks have one of the best offensive recruiting classes in the nation with Thompson, five-star wide receiver Troy Franklin, four-star tight ends Ferguson and Maliki Matavao, and four-star receiver Kyron Ware-Hudson.

“I’m super excited,” Thompson said. “We have the best offensive weapons in the nation and we’re just getting started.”

Thompson's not alone with his assessment. 247Sports recruiting expert Steve Wiltfong said following Ferguson's commitment that Oregon's "tracking to arguably be the best offensive haul in the country."

The quarterback prospect from Arizona won't stop until that's a reality. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].