MILWAUKEE -- As Oregon prepared for its NCAA Tournament opener against BYU, the Ducks had an eye on an announcement 400 miles to the south.
That's where JaQuan Lyle, a native of Evansville, Ind., declared his college choice. The five-star guard picked the Ducks over Memphis and Oklahoma State, giving Oregon's 2014 class a significant boost.
The announcement didn't happen without some last-minute drama, which was fitting given the twists and turns in Lyle's recruitment. The 6-foot-5 combo guard decommitted from Louisville in September, telling ESPN he was concerned about early playing time. He then entertained interest from Arizona, Indiana and Connecticut before settling on a group of finalists that included Kansas, Memphis, Oklahoma State and Oregon.
Reports of Lyle's commitment to Oregon began to surface before his formal announcement, prompting him to post on Twitter: "I have not committed yet, so all of these sources are wrong!"
A few minutes later, Lyle stepped behind a podium and unzipped his jacket to reveal an Oregon T-shirt.
"Next year I'm going to attend the University of Oregon and be a Duck," he said.
Rivals.com ranks Lyle as the No. 22 player in the 2014 class, making him the highest-rated player to commit to Oregon since Jabari Brown in 2010. He spent last season at Huntington Prep in West Virginia.
"He's a scoring guard who can make plays a lot of different ways," said Rob Fulford, Lyle's prep coach, by phone. "Extremely high IQ. He's unselfish and an extremely willing passer. Probably the best of his game is his passing ability.
"You can use him at the 1, use him at the 2. He gives you a lot of different ways you can use him."
Pursuing a medical redshirt
A.J. Lapray hopes to make sure this is not a lost season.
The Sprague High School graduate played in only two games during his freshman season with the Ducks because of a painful hip injury.
He missed the first two games after straining his hip flexor in practice and then played a total of five minutes in two games before he further injured the hip and missed the rest of the season.
"This is the longest I've ever been out with an injury," said Lapray, whose last game was against San Francisco on Nov. 24. "It's frustrating to sit out, but the guys are going well now. I'm trying to do what I can to cheer them on."
Lapray, a 6-foot-5 point guard, said he plans to apply for a medical redshirt for this season that would give him four years of eligibility remaining.
"He's been hurt all year, so that shouldn't be a problem," UO coach Dana Altman said.
Lapray has not been able to practice with the Ducks, but was working out with his teammates during a shootaround Wednesday at the Bradley Center as they prepared to play BYU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 12:10 p.m. today.
"I'm doing good, starting to get back after it," Lapray said. "I'm slowly trying to get healthy and get back to playing. I'm just starting to move around, shoot around a little bit."
Lapray said twisting his body around is still painful and makes him "a little scared, a little timid" trying to move on the court. While injured, Lapray has spent the season as a student of the game.
"I definitely learned a lot," he said. "I would sit out and listen to coach in practice, take everything in from that point of view. I have been able to observe a lot. I am pretty sure I got all the plays down from watching."
Lapray played against Utah Valley and San Francisco at Matthew Knight Arena and has been on the bench for the rest of Oregon's home games.
"It was cool to get out on the court with all those people watching," said Lapray, who missed his only shot attempt this season. "I have never been in that big of an arena with that many people. It's something I could get used to."
Ankle hindered Abdul-Bassit
Junior guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit is another Duck whose season was shortened by injury. The 6-foot-4 transfer from North Idaho College missed much of preseason practice and the first three games of the year after he tore tissue in his ankle.
"It is frustrating any time you have to sit out in basketball," Abdul-Bassit said.
Abdul-Bassit was expected to provide the Ducks with another shooter, but Altman said he had a hard time fitting Abdul-Bassit into the rotation after he missed time early in the year while newcomers Jason Calliste and Joseph Young emerged as key figures in the offense at guard along with sophomore Damyean Dotson. Abdul-Bassit has played 102 minutes in 16 games this season and scored 30 points on 11-for-33 shooting, including 7-for-18 on three-pointers.
Abdul-Bassit played in only six Pac-12 games, but Altman credited his defense for helping the Ducks down the stretch in a 78-63 win at USC on March 1.
"I mostly concentrate on defense whenever my number is called," Abdul-Bassit said. "Defense and shooting."
He played 10 minutes against USC after playing nine minutes the week before against Washington State when Dotson was suspended for a game. Abdul-Bassit played just two minutes in both games during the Pac-12 Conference tournament.
Bishop Gorman connection
Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd and BYU junior guard Anson Winder were teammates at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, helping the school win back-to-back state championships.
"Right after we saw the draw, we both immediately texted each other like five minutes after we saw it," Loyd said. "Still my guy. We still talk a lot. And once all this is over, we'll probably get back together over the years."
BYU coach Dave Rose played college basketball from 1980-83 at Houston where he was teammates with Michael Young, the father of Oregon guard Joseph Young.