- The top five scorers on Oregon's Final Four team are all gone, so new faces will have to step up. Troy Brown Jr. will be one of them.
It should come as no surprise to college basketball fans that freshmen have come to possess a significant portion of the star power in the sport. Just look at this year’s NBA draft, where the first upperclassman was not selected until Duke sophomore Luke Kennard with 12th pick. So while some returning players will undoubtedly have a major impact in 2017–18 season, it’s important to get to know the new faces who may come to occupy the spotlight.
With that in mind, SI.com will be introducing you to the top 25 incoming freshmen in college basketball and breaking down the impact those players could have this season. We move to the No. 11 overall recruit, Oregon’s Troy Brown Jr.
WHAT HE MEANS FOR OREGON’S RECRUITING CLASS
Brown Jr. is the centerpiece of Oregon’s incoming class; in fact, he’d be the centerpiece of the Ducks’ last few recruiting classes. In recent years, they’ve had more success recruiting transfer players than high schoolers, so nabbing Brown Jr., the third-best small forward in his class, is a good get for coach Dana Altman. His 6’7”, 210 pound-frame means he’ll usually line up at small forward, but he has the handle and vision to serve as a guard if need be. Couple his arrival with forward Paul White’s (from Georgetown), and that’s two instant-impact starters headed to Eugene.
HOW HE FITS
As far as versatility is concerned, Brown Jr. is one of the most balanced players in his class. The Las Vegas native can truly do a little bit of everything: slash to the rim, shoot from deep, kick out on drives and even facilitate an offense. He’s still more comfortable tunneling toward the hoop than pulling up from behind the arc, but his jumper could eventually evolve into his weapon of choice.
The Ducks lost all five of their leading scorers from last year’s Final Four team (not to mention Casey Benson and Kavell Bigby-Williams transferring out of the program), so how well the team rebounds largely hinges on the immediate impact from this recruiting class. Sure, Payton Pritchard is back at the point, but beyond him, there aren’t a lot of familiar faces. That’s where Brown Jr. comes in—it’ll be up to him to carry the scoring burden while simultaneously getting his new teammates, namely White and redshirt freshman M.J. Cage, involved on both ends. It’s not an easy rebuilding task by any means, but few freshman are as well-equipped to balance a roster as Brown Jr. is.