Having lost six of its top seven players from this past season’s Final Four team, Oregon needed a talent infusion to have any hope of contending in the Pac-12 next year.
The Ducks landed a key piece when high-scoring New Mexico grad transfer Elijah Brown committed on Monday.
— elijah brown (@_eb4_) May 1, 2017
Elijah Brown, the son of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown, averaged 18.8 points per game as a junior for a New Mexico team that staggered to a 17-14 record last season. The 6-foot-4 senior-to-be will be eligible to play at Oregon next season and should step right into the starting shooting guard role vacated by Tyler Dorsey.
The instant offense Brown can provide will help ease the loss of last year’s leading scorers Dorsey and Pac-12 player of the year Dillon Brooks to the NBA draft. The Ducks’ leading returning scorer is point guard Payton Pritchard, who averaged 7.4 points and 3.6 assists as a freshman.
What will be key for Oregon is trying to transform Brown into a more efficient scorer next season. Often prone to ill-advised shots and poor decisions with the ball in his hands, Brown hit only 37.9 percent of the shots he attempted last season and tallied almost as many turnovers per game (3.0) as assists (3.1).
Brown will join a roster that’s far from depleted despite the mass exodus this spring. Pritchard will likely start at point guard, Brown and five-star incoming freshman Troy Brown will provide scoring at wing and Georgetown transfer Paul White will bolster a frontcourt that will also include former national junior college player of the year Kavell Bigby-Williams.
Is that the nucleus of another 33-win Final Four team? Probably not. But it’s a team capable of extending Oregon’s consecutive NCAA bid streak to six if it jells by the start of league play.
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