One week into his college career, Bol Bol ranks among the top 25 players in the nation in blocked shots and rebounds.
The 7-foot-2 freshman had 12 rebounds in each of Oregon’s first two games and blocked a total of seven shots. He has teamed with Kenny Wooten to once again give the Ducks a pair of formidable shot-blockers like they had with Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher during recent deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.
“It was pretty natural for me to adjust,” Wooten said of playing with Bol. “I’m not going to be able to get all the rebounds. Having him there makes it a lot easier. Having him to block shots makes it a lot easier for me. I can do my job and he will help me when I don’t.”
Wooten didn’t have much help at the rim last year when he blocked 92 shots to rank third in single-season school history. Wooten had more than 60 percent of Oregon’s blocks with Paul White second on the team at 15.
Wooten and Bol could help Oregon challenge the school record of 248 blocked shots set in 2016-17 when Boucher and Bell combined for 167.
“Kenny has got amazing jumping ability and his timing is improving,” UO coach Dana Altman said. “Bol is long and if he gets a little more aggressive, he is going to put up some amazing shot-blocking numbers.”
Bol's 3.5 blocks per game is tied with eight others for 20th in the NCAA. His 12 rebounds per game is tied with 12 others for 25th nationally. Bol also leads the Ducks in scoring with 17.5 points per game while shooting 13-for-28 from the field.
“I knew he was going to do well, but it was just how well he was going to do early and I think he’s started to pick it up fast,” said Wooten, who has 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots in two games. “I’m happy for him.”
Bol was in early foul trouble during his debut in Tuesday’s 84-57 win over Portland State and picked up four fouls in 22 minutes. Three days later, he did not commit a foul in 29 minutes during an 81-47 win over Eastern Washington.
“He’s going to get some (fouls) posting up with his length,” Altman said. “He’s an unusual guy to officiate so we know he is going to get a couple here and there. The awkward fouls for him are the ones he needs to avoid. … He’s going to have to learn to play different and not pick up fouls in the backcourt like he did. He’s an unusual player so it will take a while for everybody to adjust.”
Junior point guard Payton Pritchard, the one Duck who played with Bell and Boucher, knows what it will be like to have Bol and Wooten on the floor.
“With Bol, obviously not getting some of those fouls … keeping his hands up because he is so long he will get blocks,” Pritchard said. “Kenny just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.”
Bol, who has not been made available for interviews with local media, will be in the national spotlight when the Ducks head to New York for the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden this week. Oregon opens against Iowa on Thursday followed by a game against Connecticut or Syracuse on Friday with ESPN2 slated to broadcast both games.
DUCKS UP IN POLL
Oregon moved up one spot to No. 13 in the AP poll after a 2-0 start.
The Ducks moved ahead of West Virginia, which lost its opener to Buffalo. Oregon remains the top-ranked Pac-12 team followed by UCLA at No. 20.
Syracuse, Oregon’s potential opponent on Friday, moved up to No. 15 in the poll.
MILESTONE FOR ALTMAN
Altman tied Howard Hobson for second place in school history with his 212th win on Friday. In nine seasons at Oregon, Altman is 212-83.
“You hang around some place long enough and win a few games,” Altman said. “We have really had good players here. I’ve been fortunate to have good guys to work with and a great staff. Hopefully we will be able to continue that because we have a good group this year. There is a long ways to go and a lot of adjustments to make, but I think it is a good group. If they decided to play together and work together, I think we can get a lot better.”
Altman and Hobson - who went 212-124 at UO from 1935-47 - are the only two coaches to lead the Ducks to a Final Four. Ernie Kent holds the school record after going 235-173 from 1997-2010.