The No. 1-ranked center amongst his peers, class of 2018’s Bol Bol has finally decided where he’ll attend college.
As expected, Bol has picked the Oregon Ducks. He was down to Kentucky and Oregon, although the Ducks have been receiving the most of the buzz lately in his recruitment.
Bol, the son of former NBA player Manute Bol, was the only big man that John Calipari and company recruited for a while, but have since emerged as suitors for five-star Moses Brown and a possible destination for the second-ranked player in the 2019 class James Wiseman if he were to reclassify (and rumors suggest that could be in play).
Landing Bol would have been enormous for Kentucky, who is looking to add him to what’s shaping up to be another great recruiting class that could pair with returning players in the hope of forming another super team. Instead, Bol is going with Oregon, who is trying to establish themselves as a destination for elite high school players from the west-coast and beyond.
For his size, he flashes great perimeter skills and should be one of the best rim protectors in college basketball next season. In the highly competitive Nike EYBL circuit, Bol was named the Regular Season MVP and led everyone in scoring with 24.1 PPG and shooting 49% from three in the process (to go with 10.0 RPG and 4.5 BPG).
From the beginning, Bol Bol’s west coast ties have been considered a major factor in his recruitment. After his previous favorite, Arizona, was wrapped into the FBI scandal that broke a few months ago, Oregon entered the picture as a major contender.
Earlier this summer, the USA Basketball Selection Committee cut Bol Bol from the USA U19 World Cup roster. Coached by Calipari, there was a belief that Cal had cut Bol Bol himself despite the decision being made by a committee of people. Cal did not have the final say, and I have a hard time believing that if it were up to only him that Bol would still have been cut.
Regardless, Kentucky has been fighting an uphill battle in his recruitment ever since. The USA U19 team went on to lose to Canada (thanks to R.J. Barrett’s 38 points) and won the bronze medal.
Bol’s family is close with Kenny Payne, which was enough to keep the Cats in it. Payne is among the best college assistants on the recruiting trail and if anyone could have saved the recruitment, it’s him.
This time, however, it just wasn’t meant to be.