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Insider

Oregon basketball building piece by piece

Football recruiting is in full swing, and the Ducks hit a home run on Sunday when they landed commitments from Tyrell Robinson and Tyree Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln). While it was huge news for the Oregon football program, it was a coup for basketball coach Dana Altman, who is quietly making a serious push for some elite talent on the hardwood.

The addition of the two-sport star twin brothers allows the Ducks to sign them to football scholarships while adding them to the basketball program as walk-ons.

The Robinsons rescheduled their official visit to ensure they were in town at the same time as a pair of their AAU teammates.

The No. 6 hoops player in the ESPN 100, five-star forward Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) was in attendance for the Ducks' big win over Arizona this weekend. Gordon has a top group of Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas, Oregon and Washington, but it looks as if it will come down to a battle between the rivals from the Pacific Northwest.

Making his recruitment more interesting is the fact that Oregon and Washington were also the leaders for dual-sport Robinson brothers before they chose the Ducks. Washington has long been rumored to be the leader for the 6-foot-7 Gordon, but the Ducks have been gaining ground in recent weeks. The addition of Gordon's AAU teammates can only help the Ducks going forward.

In high school, Oregon freshman Dominic Artis was the point guard for the powerhouse AAU program, coached by his father, Derrick. Artis is now on campus and helped Altman and his staff recruit the trio of basketball prospects.

Last week, the Ducks hosted their other top basketball target when guard Darin Johnson (Sacramento, Calif./Sheldon) was on campus for his official visit.

Johnson visited Marquette this weekend and plans to visit Washington on Oct. 6. Johnson has long had the Northwest rivals in his top group along with Marquette, Texas A&M and San Diego State.

Johnson was hosted by Oregon freshman Arik Armstead, who plans to join the basketball program after the football season. Armstead's father, Gus, is Johnson's personal basketball trainer.

For now, it seems as if the Ducks have the upper hand for Johnson's signature, as he came away raving about his visit to Oregon -- even going as far as naming the Ducks his leader.

"It was everything I imagined and more," said Johnson, the No. 10 player in California. "The way they do things is impressive, and I really feel like they are a program on the rise. They are sitting at the top for me right now."

The No. 27 shooting guard in the country had plenty of thoughts to share on the Ducks but once again, the family atmosphere and the facilities made a huge impression on an Oregon recruit.

"The bond I immediately had with everyone was great and the facilities were unbelievable" Johnson said. "The arena is the nicest I have ever seen."

The Ducks also added 6-foot-7 forward Arsalan Kazemi, who enrolled at Oregon over the weekend after transferring from Rice. Kazemi only has one year to play but is a double-double machine who will provide much needed help down low.

It is far from over, but if Altman and the Ducks are able to beat the Huskies for Gordon and Johnson, it would likely be the boost the basketball program needs to compete with the likes of Arizona, UCLA and Washington in the Pac-12.