Francis Okoro, currently the 33rd ranked prospect in the ESPN 60, announced his commitment to Oregon late Monday night and may even be eligible to join the Ducks this fall.
Why he committed: Okoro had trimmed his list to three schools, with Illinois and Purdue being the other finalists. While both Big Ten schools offered better proximity to his hometown in Illinois, Oregon assistant coach Mike Mennenga and head coach Dana Altman had made the big man a priority for the better part of the past two years. Oregon was able to make a major impression when it hosted him for an official visit early last month. While Okoro is maintaining that he is still in the Class of 2019, all signs indicate that he’ll explore a move to the Class of 2018. He’ll turn 19 in August, and only needs to complete some coursework.
What he brings: Okoro is bordering on 6-foot-9, with a powerful and chiseled frame. He’s very long with a 7-1 wingspan and a good athlete with the high motor necessary to maximize those physical tools. He’s often a man among boys around the rim at the high school level and very efficient statistically because he plays to his strengths and dominates the paint. He has some developing touch over his left shoulder in the post but scores the majority of his points either off dump-offs or by going to the offensive glass. He’s also a high volume rebounder and solid rim protector who changes ends well and plays with energy and physicality on both ends. He needs to continue to develop, by both extending his game away from the rim as well as being able to turn both shoulders in the post.
How the class is shaping up: Assuming that Okoro ends up in 2018, he will be adding to a recruiting class that is already ranked fourth overall in the country. The Ducks have four ESPN 100 prospects, including a trio of top 50 players and a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans. Bol Bol, who finished fourth overall in the ESPN 100 of 2018, is a skilled 7-foot-2 big man who prefers to play facing the basket offensively but has an inconsistent motor and willingness to play through contact, which makes him a high-risk high-reward type prospect. Louis King is a highly skilled combo-forward who has come on strong over the course of the past twelve months while Miles Norris is an athletic and wiry four-man with budding skill of his own. Will Richardson is a big lead guard with the size and tools to be effective both on and off the ball.
How he fits: The trio of Bol, King, and Norris gave Oregon one of the best incoming frontcourts in college basketball but a group that was defined by their skill and finesse much more than their physicality and toughness. Okoro is the perfect piece to balance that dynamic. He’s an ideal complement to Bol, in particular, because he’ll be able anchor the middle and provide an enforcer while allowing Bol to drift to the perimeter offensively. Assuming Bol is one-and-done, Okoro will be able to work with Norris in a very similar fashion in future years. With Kenny Wooten, the Pac-12’s leading shot-blocker, set to return for his sophomore season, Okoro will add to what could be one of the best shot-blocking teams in the country next season.
Who he reminds us of: Okoro can be reminiscent of former NBA player Antonio Davis, who starred with both the Pacers and Raptors. Like Davis, Okoro has an intimidating physical profile with length, power, and vertical athleticism complete with the rugged mentality and high motor to maximize it. Davis was never a primary offensive weapon, but gradually became more of a secondary scoring threat, while being a consistent high volume rebounder, interior defender, and solid rim-protector.