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Dana Altman Strikes Gold with Addition of Rivaldo Soares

JUCO guard Rivaldo Soares — the reigning Western Junior College Athletic Conference MVP — committed to Oregon Monday.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman has firmly established himself as one of the best junior college recruiters in college basketball. Altman has done it again with the addition of Rivaldo Soares, a 6’6'' shooting guard from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas.

Soares announced his commitment to Oregon in an Instagram post Monday. He chose Oregon over DePaul, Florida, Oklahoma State, St. John’s, and San Diego State.

While many elite college basketball programs focus on recruiting flashy 5-star prospects, Altman and his coaching staff have carved their own path to success by recruiting junior college standouts. In his more than 11 years of service at Oregon, he has brought in valuable players like Elgin Cook (Northwest Florida State), Dwayne Benjamin (Mt. San Jancito College), Chris Boucher (Northwest College), and Chris Duarte (Northwest Florida State) from the junior college ranks.

Soares could be another important asset for the Ducks. He is an athletic guard with good size and an ability to score from all over the floor. He can score in transition, knock down spot-up threes and shoot off the dribble.

As a sophomore, Soares led South Plains to the NJCAA quarterfinals and a share of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference title. He averaged 15.2 points per game, shooting 45.5% from the field and 34.5% from distance en route to being named the conference’s most valuable player.

Soares has a fairly clear path to immediate playing time at Oregon due to some of its departures this offseason. Chris Duarte, Eugene Omoruyi, and LJ Figueroa are all going pro; Amauri Hardy is moving on from the program; and Jalen Terry (DePaul) and Aaron Estrada (Hofstra) transferred.

In 2021-22, the Ducks will have three scoring guards in the backcourt. Will Richardson returns for his senior season, and Oklahoma transfer De’Vion Harmon comes to Eugene after averaging nearly 13 points per game for the Sooners last season.

In addition to Harmon and Soares, Altman recruited 4-star center Isaac Johnson and 5-star center Nathan Bittle, a McDonald's All-American.

Soares will likely start the season behind Richardson and Harmon as they have the most experience at the Division 1 level. Once he gets playing time, however, he can be the next great JUCO player to play for the Ducks.

Oregon was the best 3-point shooting team in the Pac-12 last season (37.7%). With the additions of Harmon (33.0% in 2020-21) and Soares (34.5% in 2020-21), the Ducks have more threats to shoot from the outside.

Soares has potential to replace Chris Duarte, who entered the NBA Draft after a phenomenal season that landed him the Jerry West Award. 

Read more: Oregon's Chris Duarte named nation's top shooting guard

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Soares is a similar prospect to Duarte: he has a comparable frame, can score from the outside and knock down mid-range shots, is a capable defender and passer, and is solid in off-ball movement.

With so many of last season’s contributors gone, Altman can insert Soares in his lineup instantly and get immediate production. Given Altman’s track record with JUCO players, Soares will have high expectations to be a star for the Ducks, and he has all the tools to do just that.

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