Posted On: 07/14/21 3:00 PM
Over the last couple of months, a number of seniors have made decisions on their playing careers. A number of former Oregon prep stars have also found some new homes at the college level. Here’s a quick look at some of the guys who are continuing on at four-year schools.
Luke Winkler Luke Winkler 5'10" | CG Grant | 2021 State OR (2021 Grant) to Pacific
After originally looking at some potential NWAC options, Winkler earned a roster spot offer from Pacific after assistant coach Brant Minor saw him play at Oregon Madness. It wasn’t long after the heady point guard – who averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, and a 6A state-leading 4.2 steals this year – decided the Boxers program were the right fit for him and his college basketball playing future.
“I was able to go tour and see how cool campus was,” Winkler said. “The coaches showed me around and I heard what they value, how they play and just thought I’d fit well with them.”
Jake Owens Jake Owens 6'0" | CG La Salle | 2021 State OR (2021 La Salle) to Pacific
Joining Winkler at Pacific is Owens. The 6-foot-1 power guard has been a big part of La Salle’s success the past few years and will bring a versatile skill set and be a real glue guy for the Boxers program. Like his future teammate Winkler, Owens decided not long after making a trip to campus.
“I went on an official visit to the school and decided it was a perfect fit,” Owens said. “The coaching staff is amazing and they’re open to talk about a lot of things and it made me feel like I fit in there. It’s a really good feel, I like the campus a lot, and I feel like I can make myself better there. I’m excited.”
Carson Denning Carson Denning 6'7" | SF Tualatin | 2021 State OR (2021 Tualatin) to Montana Western
It’s going to be a family affair at Montana Western as Denning signed with the NAIA Bulldogs in July. Denning’s older sister Natali is currently a redshirt sophomore with the women’s team at the school, and that helped him make the connection to the men’s basketball squad not to mention familiarize himself with the school and the overall athletic program. A long 6-foot-8 wing who can really knock down the catch-and-shoot three, Denning is thankful for the opportunity to play college ball.
“I did a couple of workouts with them and they offered me,” Denning said. “I feel like the school is smaller and makes the educational part a little easier for me and I feel like the basketball program caters to my play style.”
Brandin Ziegler Brandin Ziegler 6'10" | C Grants Pass | 2021 State OR (2021 Grants Pass) to Southern Virginia
Ziegler is a developing big man who started coming into his own last summer while playing with the Oregon Prospects. At 6-foot-9, 270+ pounds he had plenty of size down in the paint and with a soft touch out to 15 feet, he attracted some attention from college coaches. Interestingly enough the school showing the most interest was out East in Division III Southern Virginia, and that’s where the big man is headed this fall.
“When trying to make my decision I looked at the overall experience I could get as a student athlete,” Ziegler said. “I really like what the school has to offer for academics as well as the potential for me as a basketball player.”
Jaden Nielsen-Skinner (2019 South Salem/Portland State) to St. Martin’s
A 6A First Team All-State honoree in 2019 after he led South Salem to the final four at state, Nielsen-Skinner spent the last two years at Portland State. After sitting out his true freshman year in 2019-20, “Skinny” suited up this past year and averaged 2.1 points and 2.1 assists in a reserve role. With a coaching change at PSU and the opportunity to still have four years of playing eligibility elsewhere, Nielsen-Skinner decided to transfer and is now at Division II St. Martin’s, where he will join former PSU teammate and fellow Salem native Kyle Greeley.
“Coach (Aaron) Landon really emphasized that he works on development,” Nielsen-Skinner said. “I have played with and against a lot of the players on the team and I felt that I already have chemistry with these guys. So it was a really easy choice.”
Taylor Pomeroy (2019 Franklin/Lower Columbia) to Bellevue (NE)
Pomeroy earned First Team All-PIL honors two years ago and moved on to Lower Columbia, where he averaged 19.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in the pandemic-shortened season. An all-around 6-foot-2 guard that can score at all three levels, he made the decision to sign with NAIA program Bellevue in Nebraska. He received a full ride from the school which made a big difference in his decision, but overall everything felt right for him there for his next three years of eligibility.
“I was getting recruited by a couple different schools and they were the first ones to come in and offer me,” Pomeroy said. “The coaches were super cool and I could tell that I was really wanted, which was one of the main things that I was looking at, feeling really wanted. I wasn’t too optimistic when I made my visit to Nebraska but once I got there I saw that Omaha was a pretty decent sized city and here was stuff to do. All the guys there were super cool and it seemed like the right fit.”
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