Only a short while ago Anthony Bennett had Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, UNLV and Washington fans hoping he would commit to their team.
Bennett eliminated Washington, and in a surprising move, removed both Kentucky and Florida from his list. While UNLV seems to be the obvious favorite of the remaining two, Oregon could use a player like Bennett far more next season.
There have been concerns raised over whether Bennett will even be academically eligible, but, assuming that he is, Bennett would be a big win for the Ducks. While likely to be a one-and-done player, Bennett would add serious talent to a squad that is losing a lot after last season.
That loss includes five seniors, three of which were among Oregon's top four scorers.
The Ducks do have E.J. Singler returning, who in his third year averaged 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Oregon is also bringing in three Rivals 3-star recruits and 4-star Dominic Artis.
Artis was a teammate of Bennett at Findlay Prep.
But will that be enough?
The Pac-12 looks to make a huge turn around next season with both UCLA and Arizona bringing in some of the best recruiting classes in the NCAA. UCLA landed 4-star recruits Tony Parker and Jordan Adams, along with 5-star recruits Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad.
Arizona is bringing in 4-star recruit Gabe York along with 5-star recruits Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski. Added to this group, the Wildcats seemed to have solved their point guard issues by getting Xavier transfer Mark Lyons.
Last season’s Pac-12 regular season champion, Washington, will return a lot of familiar faces including C.J. Wilcox, Abdul Gaddy, Aziz N’Diaye and Scott Suggs among others. ESPN ranks the 2012 Pac-12 Conference tournament champion, Colorado, with a top-25 recruiting class, including 4-star recruits Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson.
The 2012 NIT Champion, Stanford, will be returning most of its key players and bringing in some talent, including 4-star recruit Rosco Allen.
The Ducks finished the 2011-12 regular season tied for second along with Cal in the Pac-12. A player like Bennett could help Oregon stay in the front of the Pac-12, which looks to be toughing up quite a bit this coming season.
In return, Bennett is likely to get a lot of playing time at Oregon. And for a player likely wanting a quick exit to the NBA, the new Pac-12 network should help in getting mass exposure. Not to mention what it could do for his draft stock if Bennett could help Oregon be competitive against teams like UCLA and Arizona.
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