The Oregon Ducks have gotten a nice spark this season after a frustrating couple of years that saw them miss out on the NCAA Tournament, but the addition of a trio of highly-rated true freshmen has turned things around in a big way in Eugene.
The leader of that trio is point guard Jackson Shelstad, a player who has quickly taken over as one of the most exciting to watch on the team after hitting a buzzer-beater to beat Michigan in his first career game at home. From there, he has gone on to break a freshman scoring record at Oregon as well.
While both Kwame Evans and Mookie Cook deserve a lot of attention as well, it’s Shelstad who is drawing the most eyeballs currently. This past week, he was named the fifth-most impactful true freshmen in the nation so far, according to USA TODAY’s College Sports Wire:
Shelstad is following in the footsteps of his idol, Payton Pritchard, a graduate from West Linn High School who starred at Oregon for four years and is now a quality role player in the NBA with the Boston Celtics.
Shelstad is also from West Linn High School and in his freshman season has already taken the reigns as the starting point guard for Dana Altman and the Ducks, averaging nearly 15 points per game for the only undefeated team in Pac-12 play. If Shelstad keeps playing like this he might not be able to keep copying Pritchard, because he could end up in the NBA before his senior year.
Evans was ranked as an honorable mention for the list as well.
In Saturday’s win over California, Shelstad tied Tyler Dorsey, for the most consecutive games scoring 10 points or more as a freshman since 2000. As the roster continues to get healthier, we will see how big of an impact he can have going forward, and what type of hype he can draw on the national stage as we get into March.