By Roy & Harv Schmidt
Illinois Prep Bulls-eye has learned through multiple sources that Josh Crittle, the 6'8 forward from Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago, has verbally committed to the University of Oregon. Crittle chose the Ducks over Minnesota.
There is no question that Oregon head coach Ernie Kent has established a strong recruiting pipeline with the Mean Streets AAU program, of which Crittle is a member. With Crittle's commitment, he becomes the third Mean Streets player from the class of 2008 to announce for the Ducks, joining forces with 6'9 Michael Dunigan from Farragut Career Academy in Chicago and 6'5 Matt Humphrey, also from Hales.
Crittle kind of played in the shadows of Dunigan, Humphrey and 6'0 point guard Kevin Dillard (Southern Illinois) this spring and summer playing with Mean Streets and we still regard him as being quite raw offensively. While Crittle does need to play with more intensity at times, he rebounds well as the result of his strong body and is capable of being a physical presence in the post. He also has the ability to score around the basket and intimidate at the defensive end.
There is no question that there were two primary factors that helped Crittle decide on Oregon: 1) his desire to play college basketball at the highest possible level and 2) the fact that Oregon already had AAU teammates Dunigan and Humphrey in the fold. Minnesota made a last-ditch effort to try to lock up Crittle and were undoubtedly strong at the end, but the fact that Oregon had gotten in earlier proved to be the difference.
In addition to Oregon and Minnesota, Crittle had also taken official visits to Kansas State and Southern Illinois. However, Crittle ended up having some reservations with respect to both schools. He did not come away overly impressed with his visit to Kansas State and while he recognized that Southern Illinois is the elite program in the Missouri Valley Conference, he ended up having some reservations about the conference as a whole.