Rivaldo Soares of South Plains Junior College in Texas, a first team NJCAA All-American, has announced that he will attend the University of Oregon. The 6-7, 200-pound sophomore selected the Ducks over a final group of schools that included Oklahoma State, San Diego State, DePaul, St. John’s and Florida. He will have three years of eligibility remaining. Oregon is hoping that Soares follows the progression of former top junior college recruit Chris Duarte who led the Ducks to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament this season while being named to seven All-American teams. Duarte, a likely first round pick in the upcoming NBA draft, was also named as the most outstanding international player by NetScouts Basketball.
Soares averaged 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for a team that made the Elite Eight of the NJCAA National Tournament. He shot 45.5 percent from the field and connected on 34.5 percent of his three-point attempts. Soares had a career high 28 points in a win over Western Texas. He was named as the Most Valuable Player of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. As a freshman Soares averaged 15.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from distance.
Soares grew up in the Boston area where he played for coach Ty Boswell with the Expressions Elite team in the Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. Boswell indicated that Soares “always had the tools but had to fall in love with the game”. He received some mid-major looks at that time but was a non-qualifier and had to go the junior college route. Since then, he has grown several inches and developed a nice all-around game. Soares is very athletic, can finish above the rim in transition and has developed his perimeter skills. Soares appears to be a good fit for a Duck team that returns only Eric Williams Jr. to a wing spot.
Oregon still has several spots to fill for a roster that lost four seniors and another three players to transfer. They appear set inside with 6-11 returnees N’Faly Dante and Franck Kepnang to go along with freshmen 6-11 Nathan Bittle and 6-10 Isaac Johnson. Another guard and forward appear most likely to be added to the roster in the near future.