University of Arizona vs Oregon

Oregon head coach Dana Altman and his bench celebrate a bucket to keep their lead in the final minutes of their 59-54 win over Arizona at McKale Center, Thursday, January 17, 2019, Tucson, Ariz.

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Evidence from recent NCAA Tournaments will tell you experience matters in college basketball, yet Oregon now just might be the Pac-12 favorite ... thanks to a guy who was supposed to be a high school senior next season.

Five-star center N'Faly Dante of Mali announced Tuesday he has committed to the Ducks, via a heartfelt message in The Players Tribune, and will reclassify to 2019.

Combined with the springtime grad transfer additions of Shakur Juiston (UNLV) and Anthony Mathis (New Mexico), plus five-star forward C.J. Walker and two other freshmen -- the Ducks now appear to have enough to comfortably replace early departees Bol Bol, Louis King and Kenny Wooten.

And while that's a lot of transition to work through, it's worth noting that the Ducks will be led by one of the conference's best veterans, point guard Payton Pritchard.

What's more: Oregon coach Dana Altman may not be done yet. The Ducks are still pursuing four-star forward Addison Patterson, who also could reclassify to 2019.

Altman has long made a habit of recruiting into September, taking advantage of Oregon's late start to the school year because of its quarter-based academic calendar. But this might be his most notable late push yet.

ESPN is already wondering if Dante's addition makes the Ducks a Top 10 team, while CBS' Gary Parrish has them at No. 15 in his updated rankings. 

I'm still working through research on Pac-12 teams for next season but as of now, I'd probably go with a top four of Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Arizona, in that order...


Oregon State added 7-foot juco transfer Roman Silva.

This article originally ran on tucson.com.

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