The art of recruiting a young athlete is no easy task for college scouts and coaches. In order to gain a player’s interest, trust and finally commitment to a school, recruiters must convince prospects that their program is the best option for the present and future of that specific player.
With that being said, it should come as no surprise that Casey Benson, the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year, has reportedly verbally committed to the University of Oregon. The Corona Del Sol High School point guard averaged 20.7 points a game last season on his way to leading his team to their second consecutive Division I Arizona state championship.
“Obviously it’s a great program,” Benson said. “They went to the Sweet Sixteen this year — It just felt right.”
One of the positions that Oregon and head coach Dana Altman wanted to target in the 2014 recruiting class was a point guard that could run an offense and compliment the scoring ability of current Ducks’ point guard Dominic Artis — Benson certainly fits the mold.
After a 28-9 record, a Pac-12 Conference Championship and a Sweet 16 appearance, Oregon offered Benson success on the court unparalleled by any of the other schools recruiting him.
Coupled with the Ducks’ success on the court, Benson, and all recruits interested in possibly attending the University of Oregon, are welcomed with a myriad different appealing factors. Whether it’s the flashy uniforms, the up to date training facilities or the raucous legion of Duck fans that flock to Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon has become a destination that peaks the interest of even the finest recruits.
Another factor that played in to Benson decision to commit to the Ducks was the possibility of a lot of early playing time for one of the best programs on the west coast. According to Josh Gershon, Scout.com’s west coast basketball recruiting analyst, Benson is a player that could step in and play immediately for Oregon due to his incredibly high basketball knowledge. “Casey Benson has a high basketball IQ and is one of the better point guards out west at managing his team,” Gershon said. “ He almost always makes the right pass.”
Soon-to-be senior point guard Jonathan Loyd currently holds the keys to running the offense while complimenting Artis, but with this being his last season in Eugene, coach Altman was forced to find his replacement. And while Benson lacks the experience that Loyd has, he also has something that Loyd has never brought to the position — size.
“He has very good size for the position at 6-foot-3. He’s crafty at getting to the basket,” Gershon said.
The plan initially was for Loyd to pass the reigns down to Willie Moore, a freshman point guard who played for Oregon last year, but after the season, Moore announced he would transfer to Miami University of Ohio. Moore’s transfer opens the door for Benson to step in and play upon arriving at the University.
While Benson is the first prospect in the 2014 recruiting class to commit to Oregon, don’t expect him to be the last big name to accept a scholarship to play for the Ducks. A top recruiting class is just one of many objectives Oregon needs to accomplish in order to remain atop the Pac-12.