Four-star point guard Payton Pritchard commits to Oregon
Rivals.com ranks Pritchard the No. 46 overall player in the 2016 class. A native of West Linn, Ore., Pritchard opted to remain close to home by pledging for the Ducks and head coach Dana Altman. Pritchard told Scout.com's Evan Daniels that the school's proximity, roughly a 90-minute drive, was a major factor in his decision.
Pritchard, a strong ball-handler considered one of the top shooters at the high school level, projects as a quality college guard who should be able to help the Ducks early in his career. Though not the biggest or strongest player (he stands 6'1", 175), he's displayed an understanding of angles and the ability to create off the dribble that should help his adjustment to the next level. Pritchard is a quality facilitator and could be a key part of Oregon's attack from day one.
A former Oklahoma commit (his father Terry played tight end for the Sooners in the 1980s), Pritchard opted to reopen his recruitment in July. Other suitors included Michigan, Arizona State, California and Wisconsin. Pritchard's developed quite the reputation around Oregon, leading West Linn high school to the past three 6A state championships and winning back-to-back state player of the year awards, averaging 22.1 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a junior.
Oregon continues its on-court progression under Altman, with another strong group of recruits shaping up. The team earned berths in the past three NCAA tournaments, the first time in school history the feat has been accomplished. The Ducks' 2015 class centered around five-star guard Tyler Dorsey and also included four-star forward Trevor Manuel, three-star guard Kendall Small and four-star junior college forward Chris Boucher. The program has dealt with off-court issues in the past year, including a rape lawsuit against three former players.
The value of securing the top-rated in-state recruit can't be undersold – keeping Pritchard around has to be considered a big win for Altman and his staff. He joins four-star forward Keith Smith, a Seattle product and former San Diego State commit rated Rivals.com's No. 73 overall player, as the second member of Oregon's 2016 recruiting class.