Ranking the Contenders: Nathan Bittle
One of the most skilled big men in the class of 2021, Nathan Bittle has his choice of top programs from all around the country.
However, it is pretty clear that West Coast powers have made the Central Point (Ore.) Crater five-star a priority and it is looking more and more likely that he’ll play his college ball somewhere in the region.
In fact, four programs look to have risen above the rest and are battling in a tight race for Bittle’s commitment. Today, we rank the contenders to land him.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
Dana Altman and the Ducks are the home-state program, and Altman has made multiple trips to see Bittle in person. They have been right there from the very start, have made it quite clear that they’ll have minutes for him and have built a relationship. Also, Bittle likes to get chances facing the rim and Altman has proven recently with guys like Bol Bol and Chris Boucher that he’s fine with rangy post players shooting the three-ball.
If there is even any separation between Arizona and Oregon it is minimal at best. Bittle has been to Tucson, and Sean Miller has invested a lot of time into his recruitment. It should also be noted that players from Bittle’s summer program, West Coast Elite, have enjoyed success with the Wildcats and there is a good chance that two of his former teammates, Josh Green and Nico Mannion, could be selected in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft. That wouldn’t hurt.
Mick Cronin has really put work into building a strong relationship with Bittle and making sue that he feels like he’s a priority. There isn’t a big man on the Bruins roster who has the same skill and ability to protect the rim on defense while playing facing the basket on the offensive end, so there is a potential fit.
Make no mistake about it, Mark Few has a pretty impressive record with big men and the Zags have developed into a legitimate Final Four contender in any year. They play through their post players quite a bit and there’s no way Bittle could watch them and think he wouldn’t get touches. They are also deeply involved with Chet Holmgren, perhaps the leader, and it might be tough to convince both Holmgren and Bittle to come aboard in the same year.