Posted On: 09/3/19 10:31 AM

Barring any last minute decisions, the college destinations of the Class of 2019 in Oregon have been determined and this month, many of those getting ready to start their college basketball careers will have enrolled in school.  Here’s a list of those who are heading to the Division I level.

Prospect Height Position High School College
Justin Bieker 6’5 SG Jesuit San Francisco (Walk-on)
Aaron Deloney 6’0 PG Grant Vermont
Jaden Nielsen-Skinner 5’10 PG South Salem Portland State
Marcus Tsohonis 6’4 PG Jefferson Washington

Breakdown: It was a down year with the Class of 2019 with only a total of four players going to the Division I level directly out of high school.  While three seniors making early decisions to sign in the fall was a pretty good amount for the state, no others really were able to make enough of an impression to earn a chance in the spring other than Justin Bieker who joins San Francisco as a recruited walk-on.  Jaden Nielsen-Skinner (“Skinny”) was the very first to decide as he jumped on the scholarship offer he received from Portland State during his junior season.  Marcus Tsohonis followed right after the summer, choosing Washington over a number of other Division I offers.  Aaron Deloney was the third to decide early as he chose to head east to Vermont, making the decision to commit right after making his official visit to campus.

The class may not be finished as a number of players have decided to go the prep school or junior college route.  Here are some players who are Oregon high school graduates prior to 2019 who will be making their D-I debuts in 2019-20:

Prospect Height Position High School College
Ja’Vary Christmas 6’5 SG De La Salle North ’16 Idaho
Wilfried Likayi 6’10 PF Parkrose ’17 New Mexico State
Kelton Samore 6’8 PF Grant ’18 American
Khalid Thomas 6’9 SF West Linn ’17 Arizona State

Breakdown: Oregon often has players who head the prep school or JC route before making it to Division I and this year is no exception.  However, the numbers are a little smaller than usual but it will be interesting to see if any walk-ons emerge this year as they often do in the Pac-12 and West Coast Conferences in particular.

The player with perhaps the most traveled road to Division I from this year’s newcomers is undoubtedly Ja’Vary Christmas who graduated from De La Salle North back in 2016.  From high school he sat out as a redshirt walk-on at Oregon during the year the Ducks made the Final Four, and then played two years of junior college basketball, first at Cloud County College in Kansas and then this past season at Sheridan College in Wyoming.  Division I opportunities came after a solid sophomore campaign at Sheridan and Idaho – which has had Oregonians on their roster for several consecutive years now – won out for his services.

Two other JC transfers moving on are Khalid Thomas and Wilfried Likayi, both of whom were not academically qualified out of high school but ended up becoming two of the top junior college players in the country.  Thomas earned offers from schools in practically every high-major conference in the country after a brilliant freshman year at College of Southern Idaho, and made an early decision to sign with Texas Tech.  Both sides decided to go their separate ways during the year and after considering returning home to Oregon, Thomas changed his choice to Arizona State.  Likayi had a number of Division I offers as well but decided to go with New Mexico State, where some are already touting him as potentially the next Pascal Siakam due to his length and skills.

The final Division I newcomer this season from a former Oregon high school graduate is Kelton Samore.  After helping lead Grant to the 6A state title in 2018, Samore had Division I opportunities but chose to use a prep year to further hone his game and recruitment at Bridgton Academy in Maine.  More D-I offers came about – in particular high-academic ones – and Samore decided that American University would be the best fit.

Note: Also moving on to the D-I ranks from junior college is Isaac Bonton (2017 Parkrose) from Casper College, who will be at Washington State this season.  He’s a “bounceback” having gone to Montana State directly out of high school.  Additionally former Lakeridge standout Immanuel Allen, who played up through his junior year in Oregon before moving to Arizona, signed to play at Abilene Christian after spending a year in junior college at Butler County in Kansas.