First-year Oregon head coach Dana Altman will help the Ducks open a sparkling new basketball arena this season.
The former Creighton coach took a big step toward putting a quality product on the floor at Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday when star guard Jabari Brown of Oakland (Calif.) made a verbal commitment to the program live on ESPNU.
Long considered a Washington lean with Arizona State making a strong push in recent months, Brown's pledge to Oregon came as a bit of a surprise. He joins guards Brett Kingma (6-1, 170) and Bruce Barron (6-3, 185) along with post player Austin Kuemper (6-9, 240) in the Ducks' 2011 recruiting class.
Ranked No. 14 in MaxPreps.com's 2011 Top 100, Brown averaged 23.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as a junior during an abbreviated run with the Wildcats. He left national academy powerhouse Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) mid-season to return home and after some wrangling over eligibility, was able to play in 10 games at Oakland High School, where his junior brother Jamil is also on the basketball team.
Over the summer, Brown shined for the Oakland-based Drew Gooden Soldiers. The club team captured the inaugural Fab 48 in Las Vegas with Brown earning tournament MVP honors.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound combo guard played at Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) as a sophomore, leading the Pride to a 31-4 record and California's Division IV state championship. Brown left the program for Findlay Prep following that season.
Brown selected Oregon over Arizona State, Connecticut, Georgia Tech and Washington.