The Oregon Ducks received some big news yesterday when it landed homegrown top-50 recruit Payton Pritchard, a crafty point guard from West Linn. He’s the program’s second recruit for the Class of 2016 after Keith Smith, a 6-7 small forward from Seattle, Washington.
The Lions have won three consecutive 6A state championships and the 6-foot-2, 175-pound floor general has won back-to-back 6A state player of the year awards, highlighted by averages of 22.1 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a junior.
After de-committing from Oklahoma earlier this summer, Pritchard is on course to continue writing that in-state narrative into his college years, as he confirmed his commitment to the University of Oregon on Friday afternoon over offers from Arizona State, Butler, Cal, Gonzaga, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Villanova, Washington, Wisconsin and others.
“Definitely, it’s nice. It’s great. I have a comfortable relationship with Coach (Dana) Altman,” he said. “I get to play for my state and stay close to home, so it’s nice. I get to play for my home city. I get to rep Oregon.”
In November, Pritchard committed to Oklahoma over Oregon and others, but said the program’s stock has improved dramatically over the past several months, not only with another NCAA tournament appearance but also distancing itself from off-the-court issues.
“They were in a rough spot at the time. They were in a rough spot,” he explained. “They’d tell you that too. Now with Coach Altman, they did great last year and are back on the map.”
Putting programs on the map is something Pritchard has done himself during his short prep career, leading the Lions to back-to-back-to-back state championships, setting the table for a possible four-peat as a senior.