Oregon's next recruiting class received an early boost with the weekend commitment of point guard Casey Benson, who led his Corona Del Sol High School team to a repeat championship in Arizona's top division last season as he was named that state's player of the year for large schools.
"He wanted to be done with it," said Tim Benson, Casey's father, in an interview with the Arizona Republic newspaper. "Oregon, he really liked it right away. He's very excited."
The 6-foot-3 Benson had a wide range of schools interested in him but the final decision apparently came down to the Ducks, Stanford and Colorado.
As a junior last season at the Tempe high school, Benson averaged 20.7 points, 3.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds. Academically, his father reported that he carries a 3.93 grade point average.
Among recruits who will be seniors next season, Scout.com ranked Benson as the 29th-best point guard in the nation while also according him three-star status on a five-star rating system.
The scouting service also rated Benson as the sixth-best player in the state of Arizona among next season's seniors. At Rivals.com, Benson was ranked No. 145 among next season's seniors
Benson becomes the first player from Arizona to commit to the Ducks since Dana Altman became the head coach at Oregon, a breakthrough in another recruiting area for the Ducks.
"Known as a high IQ player and someone who can really run a team, Benson has shown he is more than capable of playing at the high-major level, and Oregon quickly made him a priority target," Scout.com wrote in an evaluation.
UO coaches are prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting on recruits until they have signed a letter of intent, with the next signing period beginning Nov. 13.
With the commitment coming so early, and before the July evaluation process even begins, it allows Oregon to hone in on prospects at other positions and not spend time with additional point guard options in this recruiting group.
The Oregon roster for the upcoming season will have two point guards on scholarship in senior Johnathan Loyd and sophomore Dominic Artis after the spring departure of Willie Moore, who also played the position for the Ducks during his freshman season.
A native of Cincinnati, Moore has transferred to Miami of Ohio, where the head coach is John Cooper, himself a former assistant coach at Oregon.
"Willie was the first player I tried to recruit from the area last year," Cooper said.
"This is a young man who played a couple of different positions at Oregon this past year, who brings knowledge of the game and gives us good size at the guard position.
"He has the ability to defend, knock down short shots and can really pass the ball. For our style of play ... he's a terrific fit. We're happy that we are close to (Moore's family) home and this is a place he considered the second time around."