Oregon lands Top 50 prospect for the 2014-15 season

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With Ray Kasongo not accepted by the school and JaQuan Lyle yet to be be cleared, the Oregon Ducks are approaching the start of classes in need of some additional depth. Senior guard Joseph Young will once again lead the way for Dana Altman offensively but he needs help if Oregon is to return to the NCAA tournament. And the Ducks have added a player who can help them from a depth standpoint immediately.

Dillon Brooks, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Ontario, has verbally committed to attend Oregon and he will reclassify to join the program this season. Brooks was originally a member of the Class of 2015, with Rivals rating him as a Top 50 prospect. Brooks announced the news himself via Twitter Sunday evening, with the decision coming on the heels of his unofficial visit to Oregon.

Brooks attended Findlay Prep last season, and his recruitment rebounded this summer due to his play during the month of July. Brooks led all scorers at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships with an average of 25.2 points per game, and at this month’s adidas Nations it was Brooks who led the camp in scoring with an average of 19.6 points per game (47.6% FG). Brooks scored the majority of his points inside of the arc at the camp, combining with fellow Canadian Jalen Poyser to lead a team that ranked third in the camp in scoring offense and second in field goal percentage.

Brooks played with the CIA Bounce program at last month’s EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam, where he scored 16.8 points per game in five contests. Last season at Findlay Prep, Brooks averaged 8.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game on a team that included the likes of Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre, UNLV freshman Rashad Vaughn and 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton.

Brooks joins an incoming class that includes guards Lyle, Casey Benson and Ahmaad Rorie, but as noted above Lyle has yet to be cleared although he is listed on the school’s official roster. Also joining the program are sophomore Jordan Bell, who wasn’t cleared academically last season, and junior college transfer Dwayne Benjamin.

Brooks’ arrival gives Oregon another player capable of playing the three, which should help their rotation at the small and power forward positions.

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.