The 35th-ranked player in the Class of 2023, 6-foot-3 combo guard Bronny James will be taking his talents to…. Eugene, OR, as he commits to the Oregon Ducks.
A gifted shooter and passer with the defensive chops to at least play a projectable role at the NBA level, the 18-year-old has had eyes trained on him across the world since his youth. In fact, the only player that may have undergone as much scrutiny at a young age is LeBron James himself.
Many expect the younger James to commit to the USC Trojans or Ohio State Buckeyes, states that Bronny is intimately familiar with after spending parts of his youth there.
However, there now appears to be a much better option for Bronny.
Here are three reasons why Bronny will commit to Oregon over Ohio State and USC.
3 reasons Bronny James will commit to Oregon over Ohio State, USC
1. He's taking the time to get familiar with other commits
Currently at the Nike Hoop Summit to play for Team USA in yet another event that will highlight his skillset and allow him to see where he stands among the top competition, Bronny has spent plenty of time speaking with Team USA teammate and Ducks commit Jackson Shelstad.
On a personal level and as a basketball player.
As the two continue to learn each other's personalities, Bronny has clearly taken a liking to his fellow four-star recruit. That Shelstad is from Oregon adds another layer to their conversations, as his intimate knowledge of a state where Bronny could live for at least a year is sure to interest his potential teammate.
Five-star recruit Kwame Evans — also has gone on record saying that Bronny told him that he's interested in playing for the Ducks, while mentioning that James also has a good relationship with forward Mookie Cooks, a five-star recruit that's also part of Oregon's 2023 draft class.
2. The on-court fit
When it comes to the basketball side of things, Bronny's potential teammates have clearly made it a point to bank a large part of success on their unselfish mentality.
However, his fit with Shelstad could be most important. A player that may even help Bronny develop his own skillset, particularly as a point guard, Shelstad's combination of passing and shooting prowess may be perfect for James.
Not only is Shelstad going to make like easier for Bronny by penetrating the paint and finding him beyond-the-arc, but because his outside jumper is a threat to defenses as well, Bronny should be able to consistently use his own passing ability and basketball IQ to make plays for Shelstad.
The defensive ability of athletic forwards Cook and Evans are also notable.
Likely capable of guarding a fair amount of the top players at their position, they make Bronny's job easier by allowing him to keep it simple on that end. In fact, the Ducks may lean on a defensive identity, as they did last season.
Not only to play to the strengths of their prized commits but because strong defense can often lead to easy buckets in transition, a situation that Bronny may thrive in thanks to his basketball IQ and shooting ability.
3. Stepping out of his father's shadow
If Bronny stays local and goes to USC, he'll be within arm's reach of his father.
While the two have a close and loving bond, most people that take the college route will admit that one of the draws is not being under your parents' thumb. Especially as a person's time in college is often one of the most transformative experiences in their life.
Yet, if Bronny goes to Ohio State, he'll be looked at as little more than LeBron James' son due to his father's mythical status in Ohio.
After all, Columbus isn't too far away from Akron — where LeBron was raised — or Brentwood, where Bronny lived when James played his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It isn't even too far from Cleveland, where Bronny was born.
With LeBron having long alluded to wanting to play for Ohio State himself, the media may decide to prop Bronny up as his stand-in, creating unnecessary pressure.
Oregon, though infamous for its connections to Nike and founder Phil Knight, don't present the same obstacles for Bronny in terms of him being his own person.
Though true that LeBron is has a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike, he has no real ties to the state of Oregon or the school.
That said, because Oregon borders California, the family element isn't lost altogether.
Which is a good thing.
For the James family — LeBron, Savannah, Bryce and Zhuri — having Bronny at least that close could be just enough to calm their anxiety. Bronny himself may appreciate that his family is only so far away from him for the same reason.