The Oregon men's basketball program welcomed back one West Linn High School graduate on Wednesday while missing out on another ex-Lion.
Payton Pritchard announced he will return for his senior season with the Ducks just about an hour before junior-college transfer Khalid Thomas committed to play at Arizona State.
Pritchard, who averaged 12.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists as a junior for the Ducks, declared for the NBA Draft following the season and visited various teams for workouts before officially announcing his return on the final day to withdraw from the draft.
“Going through the NBA Draft process has been an amazing experience,” Pritchard posted on Instagram. “It has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and through this process I better understand what it will take to achieve that dream. That said, I believe that I still have things I want to accomplish in college. I love the state of Oregon and I love playing for the Oregon Ducks!”
Pritchard gives the Ducks three returning players to go with three recruits currently on next year’s roster.
Bol Bol, Louis King and Kenny Wooten all elected to remain in the NBA draft as Wednesday's deadline passed. Miles Norris transferred to UC Santa Barbara while Victor Bailey also announced his plan to transfer.
Sophomores Will Richardson and Francis Okoro join Pritchard as the only returning players. Oregon has signed junior-college guard Chris Duarte and freshmen forwards Chandler Lawson and C.J. Walker.
Oregon has also signed Eric Williams Jr., a guard who transferred from Duquesne after averaging 14.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last year as a sophomore. He is expected to have to sit out next season due to NCAA rules before having two years of eligibility with the Ducks.
Oregon also hoped to add Thomas, a 6-foot-9 forward ranked as the No. 2 junior-college prospect in the nation by 247Sports.com. Thomas played at West Linn before spending two years at College of Southern Idaho.
He originally committed to Texas Tech before getting released from his letter of intent. Thomas picked Arizona State over Oregon after visiting both schools this month.
Thomas averaged 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16 games while battling a foot injury last season for the Golden Eagles. As a freshman, Thomas averaged 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field, including 41.4 percent on 3-pointers in 37 games.