Senior forward Eugene Omoruyi declared for the 2021 NBA Draft in an Instagram post Monday.
The Rexdale, Ontario native played one year for coach Dana Altman after sitting out the 2019-20 season due to injury and NCAA transfer rules.
Omoruyi had a breakout year for the Ducks, tying with Chris Duarte as the team's leading scorer with 17.1 points per game en route to an All-Pac-12 First Team selection. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and shot 47.3% from the field.
“I cannot express how grateful I am to have ended up at the University of Oregon, the best school in the country,” Omoruyi wrote in his Instagram post. “Although I’ve had a long journey to get to this point, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to finish my college basketball career.”
Omoruyi is the first Duck to officially declare for the draft, which takes place July 29. However, senior guard Chris Duarte hired an agent on Monday, a sign that he will officially declare soon.
The 24-year-old played his first three college seasons (2016-19) for coach Steve Pikiell at Rutgers. Omoruyi averaged 7.7 points per game as a Scarlet Knight, including 13.8 points per game his junior year when he earned an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.
Omoruyi transferred to Oregon before the 2019-20 season but redshirted the entire season. He made his Ducks debut on December 2, 2020 against Missouri, and quickly made an impact, finishing with a career-high in points (31) and snagging 11 rebounds.
Perhaps the most reliable scorer for the Ducks, he scored at least 10 points in all but two games in 2020-21. He became the first player in Oregon history to record at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game in the Ducks’ Sweet 16 loss to USC.
Next season, the Ducks lose their top scorer and a bruising force in the paint on both ends of the floor. Omoruyi put his body on the line every night, drawing charges and fighting for loose balls.
At 6’6”, 235 pounds, he will be one of the shorter players at his position in the draft, but he makes up for it with toughness, physicality and the ability to guard multiple positions. Altman called Omoruyi “One of the toughest dudes I’ve ever been around.”
According to Altman, Omoruyi has some room for improvement once he gets to the next level.
“He needs to improve his ball handling, and he’s got to play more on the perimeter,” Altman said.
Omoruyi played much more on the perimeter in his lone season at Oregon than he ever did at Rutgers, knocking down 37.6% of his three's (41/109). While in New Jersey he shot just 23% from beyond the arc.
At his age and height, Omoruyi may be overlooked by NBA teams. But his ability to stretch the floor and make plays for teammates, not to mention his toughness and heart, can help an organization immediately.
“He’s gonna get an opportunity,” Altman said. “I just don’t know when and where. But he’s gonna get an opportunity.”
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If drafted or signed by an NBA team, Omoruyi will become another Orangeville Prep (Ontario, Canada) standout to make it to the league, after Jamal Murray (Nuggets) and Thon Maker (free agent) were both taken in the first round of the 2016 draft.
Replacing Omoruyi’s toughness won't be easy, but Kepnang and Dante have shown flashes of being game-changers in the paint on both ends of the floor. Bittle and Johnson are also capable outside shooters, to go along with their presence inside as strong rebounders.
Omoruyi thanked his family, teammates, coaches and Duck Nation in his post on Instagram.
“To Duck Nation, thank you for accepting a young man from Rexdale, Canada into your community and making Eugene, Oregon my second home,” he wrote. “I’ll always cherish the opportunity I had to represent this wonderful university and fan base this season and the opportunity to leave my mark on this historic program.”
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