Oregon Ducks

Nation's top quarterback prospect picks Clemson over Oregon

Nation's top quarterback prospect picks Clemson over Oregon

The nation's top quarterback prospect has made his decision. Five-star DJ Uiagalelei committed to the Clemson Tigers, which was widely expected.

Oregon and Clemson were in a recruiting battle for the 6-foot-4, 240-pound St. John Bosco (California) athlete who is praised for his out-of-this-world arm strength.

Uiagalelei visited Oregon several times, including a recent trip for the spring game where he met former Oregon quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jeremiah Masoli, who are two of his favorite college football players.

At Clemson, Uiagalelei will be behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence for probably one season while he is groomed to take over the defending national champions upon Lawrence’s likely declaration for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

With seven commitments, the Ducks are still piecing their 2020 recruiting class, which includes five four-star prospects. The 2020 class currently ranks first in the Pac-12 Conference and 14th nationally on 247Sports.  Oregon coach Mario Cristobal looks to build on his 2019 class that ranked first in the Pac-12 conference, seventh nationally and featured 5-star prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux and 11 4-star athletes.

Oregon will continue to look for a quarterback in the 2020 class to compete against Tyler Shough and Cale Millen for the starting role when Justin Herbert takes his talents to the NFL.

ICYMI - Kenjon Barner gifts dad with a special gift for Fathers Day

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ICYMI - Kenjon Barner gifts dad with a special gift for Fathers Day

ICYMI - It is the Fathers Day gift that keeps on giving.

Former Oregon football running back Kenjon Barner gifted his dad for Fathers Day his Super Bowl 52 ring. 

“My Number 1 inspiration! We made a pact way back in 2004 “You do your part, I do mine, What’s mine is yours and what’s yours mine” we’ve done exactly that! Love you Daddy I could never repay you for everything you have given to me and taught by setting an example on what a father is supposed to look like, be like and do! I never had to look for you because You were at every game, every practice, every sport from NJB, AAU, baseball, and football high school and college all the way up until I made to the league! I love you and thank you if I am half the father you are to me to my kids, they have the second greatest father of all time because I have the GREATEST! Love you Daddy.”

And in a second post later:

“This means more to me than anything, being able to see the happiness that this stuff brings my Dad means the world to me! This why I do what I do, the joy that my family gets from this game I play, is my why!” said Barnes in his Instagram post. 

Barner played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2014-17, and won the Super Bowl his final year with the team. The second ring comes from his short stint with the New England Patriots last season.

Now, the six-year player finds himself on his fifth team with the Atlanta Falcons on a one-year contract. Fun Fact: Barner and Tony Brooks-James both found roster spots on Atlanta this upcoming season.

NBA Draft: What's next for Louis King and Kenny Wooten?

NBA Draft: What's next for Louis King and Kenny Wooten?

Call it a cautionary tale, a shock or not, but the futures of Louis King and Kenny Wooten are unclear.

Both Ducks decided to leave the Oregon men’s basketball program following UO’s shocking run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and enter into the 2019 NBA Draft.

Neither was among the 60 players selected on Thursday night's event and will now enter the free agency market to try to sign with a team. As of Friday afternoon, both were still looking for an NBA Summer League spot, which would be a solid opportunity for either Duck in hopes to garner some attention and strike a free agent deal.

Not to mention, a chance to validate their decision to leave school early to pursue their professional career.

[Denver acquires Bol Bol at No. 44: Gains a potential mismatch for the ages]

Freshman King was a former five-star recruit and became Oregon’s third ever one-and-done when he left for the draft. King’s draft stock certainly climbed through Oregon’s run in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments after scoring in double-figures in each game and being named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team. In seven postseason games, he averaged 16.4 points per game on 50 percent shooting, including an impressive 61.1 percent from beyond the arc. 

The Ducks’ leading scorer has NBA potential and was told by his agent to prepare to be drafted in the 15-40 range. The 6-9, 200-pound forward is a prospect with the potential to be a force on both ends of the floor. King is able to play positionless ball and develop into a two-way player. His power forward size, tenacious defense and perimeter skill set make him an attractive pick up for a team.

It remains to be seen which team or if there will be a team that sees the upside on King. He would be a project; the wing needs to develop his post moves so that he can take advantage of mismatches on smaller or weaker defenders at the next level. His three-point shooting and dribbling must continue to improve and develop to space the floor. NBA teams will want to see him get stronger and put on more weight.

Then there is Wooten, who wasn’t included in any mock drafts entering Thursday. Wooten’s decision to leave Oregon after his sophomore season was more shocking. Wooten was not invited to the NBA Combine, yet still was flown all over the country to conduct 12 pre-draft workouts.

The 6-foot-9 rim protector’s athleticism is undeniable but concerns surrounded his NBA readiness. Wooten’s offensive game is raw. If he’s not catching and dunking, he doesn’t do much offensively and only totaled 33 assists in 70 college games. He must develop his shot and be able to space the floors.

The upside? Wooten has a standing total jump of 12’6”, recorded at the G-League Elite Camp. His vertical explosion paired with his excellent timing makes for a dangerous shot blocking recipe. He excels at swatting the ball to teammates to keep the play alive. In his two seasons at UO, Wooten ranks third all-time in Oregon history for blocked shots with 166, earning back-to-back All-Pac-12 Defensive team honors.

Will there be a team that rolls the dice on the master of contesting shots? He’s a menace in the paint but he needs to show that he can develop his offensive game.

The draft was unsuccessful for both of these Ducks, leaving their futures murky. However, “unclear” doesn’t always mean “bad”. If King and Wooten get a chance at summer league, they best take full advantage of showing scouts they are capable of playing in an NBA uniform.

Justin Herbert's NFL Draft hype is one for the decade

Justin Herbert's NFL Draft hype is one for the decade

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is receiving literally off the charts hype. 

[WATCH: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels, has already been pegged as a top 10 prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, as the 2019 season inches closer, scouts have ranked Herbert as the top NFL prospect from the senior class, with one of the best senior rankings of the decade.

I caught up with Bleacher Report's Matt Miller to get his take on the NFL career that awaits Oregon's ultra-talented quarterback in a Q&A.

What is your favorite thing about Herbert you think will translate well to the NFL?

Miller: He’s a beautiful passer. And I don’t even mean the hair. Mechanically he’s flawless. He has excellent size and arm strength. He can move well out of the pocket. There’s a lot to love. 

You can read the rest of Miller's scouting report here.

Yes, the possibility of Herbert as a top selection in 2020 NFL draft is exciting. Even more exciting for Oregon fans is that his teammates have seen an exponential growth in Herbert. 

"Justin has never been the athlete he is now," said senior Shane Lemieux, who has started 38 straight games at left guard, "Especially off the field, he’s such a better leader… He’s always the one that brings us back in."

It'll be all eyes on Herbert and the Ducks from the start. Oregon opens up the 2019 season in prime time versus Auburn in AT&T Stadium in  Arlington, Texas.

Denver acquires Bol Bol at No. 44: Gains a potential mismatch for the ages

Denver acquires Bol Bol at No. 44: Gains a potential mismatch for the ages

The highest-rated basketball player to ever sign with Oregon seemed to have come and gone in a blink of an eye. The Miami Heat selected Bol Bol with the 44th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft and then traded the former Duck to the Denver Nuggets. Last year's player selected at No. 44 played overseas, according to RealGM.com

Here is what the Nuggets are getting with the one of the most talked about prospects and how Bol fits the team’s needs.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bol became the second one-and-done player in Oregon men’s basketball program history (Troy Brown, 2018). Bol would make six Ducks on NBA rosters - the most Oregon would have ever had in the NBA at one time. He is the first top four national recruit not taken in the first round since 2013. 

THE NBA REACTED when Bol fell to the second round after being considered a consensus lottery pick a few months ago.

AT OREGON

Bol’s talent was undeniable during his short stint in green and yellow. A five-star recruit in Oregon's star-studded 2018 recruiting class, Bol elected to exhaust his eligibility after playing in just nine games at Oregon. However, he made the most of his time; the center reached double figures in all nine games and recorded a double-double in four of those games. Bol averaging 21 points, nine rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

TEAM NEEDS 

Denver decided Bol’s potential reward is worth the risk and rolled the dice on his unique skillset. 7-foot 2 centers with 7-foot-8 wingspans with terrific outside shooting (52 percent from three) don’t come along often. Bol’s ceiling is high as a floor-spacing, rim-protecting big man. The Nuggets are getting a major mismatch potential.

PRAISED FOR 

He is one of the longest players in NBA, measuring at 7’2 with a 7’7 wingspan and 9’7 standing reach at the combine. Even with his length, he is surprisingly quick. He is a serious weapon from beyond the arc; hitting 52 percent of his three-pointers at Oregon. Bol is an effective shot blocker; blocking 12.4 percent of opposing shots while he was on the floor at Oregon.

NEEDS TO WORK ON 

Bol’s measurements are a red flag. At the NBA combine, Bol weighed in 208 pounds, the same weight as Duke’s 6'8" Cam Reddish. He also was listed at 7.1 percent body fat, one of the highest percentages measured. On the 2018-19 Oregon basketball roster, Bol was listed as 235 pounds before his season ending foot injury. It’s highly possible Oregon rounded up on his weight, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the 18-year-old has dropped almost 30 pounds. However, NBA teams will want to see him get stronger and put on more weight. 

It’s imperative Bol lives in the weight room and works on his endurance to reach his NBA potential.

HOMETOWN Olathe, Kan.

OREGON COACH DANA ALTMAN SAID

“Bol is a very talented young man who will continue to grow as a player as he gets stronger,” said Altman. “He has some unique skills that will allow him to have a long and prosperous career.”

Talkin' with the Ducks: Oregon's offensive line dinners are legendary

Talkin' with the Ducks: Oregon's offensive line dinners are legendary

Welcome into a new running NBC Sports Northwest feature; Talkin’ with the Ducks. Joining us on the second edition is the top-ranked guard in the Pac-12 Conference, senior Shane Lemieux. The video above is part one, where we dive into Lemieux's perspective on quarterback Justin Herbert. 

[WATCH: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

Oregon's 2019 offensive line has been pegged to be one of the best, if not THE best, in the nation. Lemieux,  who has started 38 straight games at left guard, says Ducks fans should expect a "nastier, tougher more versatile”  line this season.

Something you may not know about the position group is that they have a dinner together every week. These "O-Line Dinners" have become legendary in Eugene and buffets won't allow them in. 

[WATCH Talkin' with the Ducks: Justin Herbert more than a "quiet guy who can sling the rock"]

Louis King an attractive selection for Trail Blazers

Louis King an attractive selection for Trail Blazers

Oregon basketball star Louis King traveled back to the state for a Trail Blazers pre-NBA draft workout on Sunday. It marked the 6-foot-9 forward’s ninth workout ahead of the draft, which will be held on Thursday, June 20.

The Ducks’ leading scorer chose to strike when the iron was hot and leave UO after one season. King’s draft stock certainly climbed through Oregon’s run in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament after scoring in double-figures in each game and being named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team. But how far? Is it possible the Trail Blazers, who hold the No. 25 pick, draft King?

The former five-star recruit has been listed as the No. 36 prospect in the draft by ESPN. Most mock drafts are first round only and do not have King listed, the consensus is that he will be selected in the second round.

[READ:Red flags and stress: NBA analyst says pass on Bol Bol]

The Trail Blazers own one pick- the No. 25 overall selection of the first round. While it is unlikely King would be selected that high (although his agent has his draft range from 15-40), the former Duck playing for Portland is not impossible.

When asked if staying in Oregon and becoming a Trail Blazer was an attractive scenario, King responded, “Absolutely.”

“It’s been going great. I’m just excited to come here and compete in front of the front office for every workout,” King said.

If the Blazers trade away the 25th pick for a package deal, Portland could end up with a later second round pick. In which case, it’d make sense for Portland to target an athletic wing player.

“The depth at wing could be a concern for the Blazers with both Al-Farouq Aminu and Rodney Hood hitting free agency this summer,” NBC Sports Blazers Insider Jamie Hudson said. “Not to mention, the Blazers drafted two guards last year, so they would likely bring in a young forward to grow alongside Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr.”

If King is still on the board and the Trail Blazers end up with a second round pick, his power forward size, tenacious defense and perimeter skill set would make him an attractive pick for Portland.

King has one remaining workout with the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to Thursday's draft, which begins at 4 p.m. (PT).

Talkin' with the Ducks: Justin Herbert more than a "quiet guy who can sling the rock" says Shane Lemieux

Talkin' with the Ducks: Justin Herbert more than a "quiet guy who can sling the rock" says Shane Lemieux

Welcome into a new running NBC Sports Northwest feature; Talkin’ with the Ducks. Joining us on the second edition is the top-ranked guard in the Pac-12 Conference, senior Shane Lemieux. The video above is part one, where we dive into Lemieux's perspective on quarterback Justin Herbert. 

[WATCH: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

Lemieux, who has started 38 straight games at left guard, has witnessed Herbert evolve over their careers at Oregon but he's noticed exponential growth as of late. 

"Justin has never been the athlete he is now," Lemieux said. "Especially off the field, he’s such a better leader… He’s always the one that brings us back in."

Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels, has already been pegged as a top 10 prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

In the video, Lemieux divulges that Herbert's personality is different than the common perception. Also, he answers the question, if Herbert had social media, what would his Instagram look like?

Chris Boucher, 2x NBA Champ has a nice ring(s) to it

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Chris Boucher, 2x NBA Champ has a nice ring(s) to it

The 6’10” 200 pound former Oregon Ducks forward now proudly wears two NBA Championship rings on his fingers. And what a journey it has been for the “Swatterboy” Chris Boucher to get to this stage not once, but twice. 

Let’s take a look at Boucher’s timeline:

2017 - Tears ACL ahead of postseason play of his senior (and eventual final season) with the Ducks.

2017 - Goes undrafted and heads to the G-League

2018 - Signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors

2018 - Wins NBA Championship with the Warriors

2018 - Waived from Warriors two weeks after the Championship

2018 - Signs two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors

2019 - G-League MVP

2019 - G-League DPOY

2019 - Wins NBA Championship with the Raptors

The adversity Boucher faced wasn’t just a gruesome knee injury in college. No, it started at a young age. Boucher was homeless, a high school drop out, and JuCo prospect before finding himself in green and yellow in Eugene, Oregon. The Canadian-native 

During his run in the G-League, Boucher averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks per game.  He didn’t get his nickname “The Swatterboy” for nothing. He finished his career ranked second in UO blocked shots (189), behind Jordan Bell, who now plays for the Golden State Warriors.

According to spotrac.com, Chris Boucher signed a 2 year / $2,045,649 contract with the Toronto Raptors, including $457,418 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $1,022,825. In 2019-20, Boucher will earn a base salary of $1,588,231, while carrying a cap hit of $1,588,231.

A 6’10” shot-blocking defensive guy who can step back and drill a three-pointer is highly desirable in this modern NBA, and Boucher is prepared to have a long career at this level.

New Oregon baseball coach Mark Wasikowski ready to “fulfill the dream” of the program

New Oregon baseball coach Mark Wasikowski ready to “fulfill the dream” of the program

Ready for a new era of Oregon baseball? New head coach Mark Wasikowski is. The 48-year-old met with the media for the first time after being officially introduced by Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens on Friday. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways.

Former players went to bat for Wasikowski (pun intended)

While interviewing six candidates for the job, Mullens had conversations with former Duck players Wasikowski coached during his time at Oregon as an assistant to former coach George Horton from 2012-16.

His players insisted that Wasikowski cared deeply about his student-athletes, developed them on and off the field and instilled a highly competitive spirit.

Big goals

One of the main reasons Wasikowski returned to Oregon was to take the program to the next level.

"I want a program that wants to push the envelope,” Wasikowski said. “I want a program where guys show up every day to not only beat people, but make a statement that Oregon baseball is for real."

His goals are simple- make it to Omaha for the College World Series and compete for national titles. He noted that when the program was rebooted, that was the vision. "It's time to fulfill the dream," Wasikowski said. The Ducks haven’t reached the tournament since 2015, the season he left to become head coach at Purdue.

Fast Hard Finish?

Although Wasikowski has a defensive philosophy, he also “wants to see the baseball hit into the gaps, hit over the fence." He plans on leaning on pitching and defense as Oregon’s sustainable product while also creating an entertaining product for fans at PK Park.

Speed was a major point of emphasis. Wasikowski stressed the value of stealing bases, and pushing tempo to put pressure on opposing teams.

Fresh slate

The Oregon baseball program is going to get a much-needed fresh start. Wasikowski said players will have a chance to forge their reputations in his eye in coming months. It’s important to note a number of current players were at the press conference.

Wasikowski also expects to complete his coaching staff in coming days.