By Steve Mims
BEAVERTON — Seven-feet-plus and oh-so-skinny, there would be no doubt who Bol Bol resembled even if his name didn’t serve twice as a reminder.
The blocked shots and dunks without barely leaving the ground are a giveaway too, but there is much more to the son’s game than Manute Bol ever developed.
At 7-foot-7, Manute Bol played 10 years in the NBA as a defensive specialist. He is 15th in league history with 2,086 blocked shots. That exceeded his total of 1,599 points and nearly matched the 2,647 rebounds in his career.
Bol Bol, easily the marquee player in Oregon’s recruiting class, averaged 20.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as a senior at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., after transferring from Southern California powerhouse Mater Dei, where he averaged 16.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks as a junior.
“We play kind of the same, but not really,” the 7-2, 220-pound Bol said Wednesday after practicing with Team USA in advance of the Nike Hoop Summit Friday night at Moda Center. “I can do a little bit more things.”
Manute Bol died of kidney failure at age 47 almost eight years ago, long before his son emerged as one of the nation’s top players in his age group.
“I see Internet videos of me and my dad,” Bol Bol said. “He used to take me to basketball games and All-Star games, all the NBA stuff when I was younger. He didn’t really teach me that much about basketball, but we played one-on-one when I was younger and he always beat me.”
Manute Bol was a mystery when he arrived at the University of Bridgeport from Sudan in 1984, but his son may be the most hyped freshman joining college basketball next season. Bol Bol is certainly the most anticipated arrival ever for Oregon basketball.
“When I took a visit, I loved everything about the campus and facilities,” Bol explained. “Most importantly, their style of play fit mine.”
Dana Altman sold Bol on Oregon by showing highlights of 6-10, 200-pound Chris Boucher blocking 189 shots and making 75 three-pointers with the Ducks from 2015-17 while averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in two seasons.
“It is similar in how I fit in, inside and outside,” said Bol, who is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by ESPN and 247Sports.com. “The video they showed of him in comparison to me, it was perfect.”
Bol will arrive for summer school in June and likely be gone for the NBA draft before the start of spring term.
“That’s my plan,” Bol said of entering the draft following his freshman season.
Bol is teammates this week with Darius Bazley, a 6-9 forward from Cincinnati, who committed to Syracuse before announcing last month he would turn pro to play in the G-League before entering the 2019 draft.
Bol said he is not considering that option.
“I think I need the year of college to develop physically,” he said. “I’m not completely there with how strong I can be. Oregon will help me in the weight room.”
Altman hopes Bol gets stronger during his time with the Ducks while continuing to develop his game, including shooting and passing skills. He also plans to get Bol classes in communication and finance to prepare him for a pro career.
“I just want to get better as an all-around player and as a team, hopefully win a championship,” Bol said.
Bol sat out the McDonald’s All-American game last month because of an Achilles injury before getting 22 points and nine rebounds in the Jordan Brand Classic game. He was 8-for-8 inside the three-point arc while making all six of his free throws.
“He can shoot from any spot on the floor,” said Louis King, an Oregon signee who was also invited to the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand games as well as the Nike Hoop Summit, but is unable to play because of a knee injury. “He’s the most versatile player I’ve seen.”
“It will be pretty exciting to see all those Duck fans out there,” he said.