NAPA, Calif. — Since Nathan Bittle can remember, he's always been drawn to the green and gold of the University of Oregon.
"I've always wanted to be a duck," Bittle said.
Now, dreams are coming true. On Tuesday, the number-eight basketball recruit in the nation, according to ESPN's rankings, decided he would be playing college basketball in Eugene.
Full transcript of the interview below:
Josh Shelton: Basketball fans in Southern Oregon have had their eyes on Nate Bittle for awhile at six foot 11. He's hard to miss, but the number eight recruit in the nation has captured the attention of colleges. And now Biddle has finally made his decision. Nathan Bittle joining us now. And why don't you tell the good people of Southern Oregon where you're taking your talents?
Nate Bittle: Okay. Uh, I'll be taking my talents to the University of Oregon.
Josh: All right. Well, how excited are you to put on the green and gold and just a year's time?
Nate: Um, I mean, I'm really excited. Um, grew up in Oregon. Uh, always been watching the Oregon ducks since I was really young. And there's no better feeling than knowing that, uh, I'll be playing for the ducks.
Josh: So you had a top for just a few months ago. How tough was the decision for you to narrow it down to this one?
Nate: Um, I mean, it was really tough. Uh, all the other great programs. Um, there were, my final lists are just great schools, great coaching staff. And I mean, um, there's not really one that steps out more than the other than I think the Oregon ducks, um, I'm from Oregon.I've always wanted to be a duck. And I mean, my, my family's there, friends, family, um, I mean my community he's behind me and I mean, I think it's just an awesome experience to be from Oregon and have the Oregon state behind you.
Josh: So, what are you looking forward to most, as you look forward to becoming a duck?
Nate: I mean, I just looked to, uh, like just such a great winning program. Um, I think Doug's have proved that the last couple of years, um, they have a great coaching staff, great strength program, and that's something that I think I really needed to, uh, take seriously over the next couple of years. And also at Oregon, um, is building my strength up to get to that next level.
Josh: Well, when we spoke, after you announced your top four, you said being close to home was a reason you were keeping it all on the West coast. So with Oregon being the closest school to home, how much did that kind of play into your decision?
Nate: Um, I mean, it played a lot. Um, my grandparents are close enough. My parents, my brothers and sister, um, my friends.
And I mean, I have all of Oregon behind me rooting for me. Um, and that's something that I just I'm very thankful for. Um, and I think that's just a great opportunity to take for sure.
Josh: So more specifically, what about the ducks program and coach Dana Altman draws you to the University of Oregon?
Nate: Um, I mean, it's just a great program. Like I said, it's always a winning program. Coach Altman, coach McKenna. And all the whole coaching staff is just built a great relationship with me. Um, they have a great sharing program, like I said, and I think, I think that's the place that will help me get to my ultimate goal. Um, the NBA.
Josh: All right, Nate. Well, congratulations. Thanks for taking the time to join us and good luck. Can't wait to see you in the ducks uniform.
Nate: Thank you. I appreciate it.