Oregon forward Chris Boucher, who has played a crucial role for the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament champion Ducks, is eligible to return to the program for the 2016-17 season after having a waiver request granted by the NCAA.
Boucher joined the Ducks this season out of junior college, and was declared a senior due to the circumstances of his high school graduation, which was delayed when he took a year off to work and support his family. On Wednesday, the NCAA determined that the delay owed to circumstances beyond his control, and that Boucher should be granted another year of collegiate eligibility.
UO athletic director Rob Mullens said the department appreciated the NCAA’s timely decision of the waiver request. He gave credit to executive assistant athletic director for compliance Bill Clever for his work on the request.
“Chris is an outstanding young man, and we’re excited he’ll be able to continue progress toward his degree and compete for one more season,” Mullens said.
Boucher, a native of Montreal, has started 31 of 34 games for the Ducks, who open NCAA Tournament play Friday as the top seed in the West Region. He leads the Pac-12 with 106 blocked shots, and is the only player in conference history with at least 100 blocks and also at least 35 three-pointers.
An honorable mention all-conference and first-team Pac-12 all-defense selection, Boucher averages 12.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. His 3.12 blocks per game are second in the country, and he’s made 36-of-100 three-point attempts.
“Chris is a tremendous young man, and we’re very excited to have him back with us for another year,” said head coach Dana Altman. “He has done everything we’ve asked of him, has been great to work with and I’m glad he will have the opportunity to continue to develop as a player as well as finish his degree.”
Boucher had 19 points and 11 rebounds in Oregon’s Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal win over Washington last week, and another 15 points in the final against Utah. He was named to the all-tournament team along with teammates Elgin Cook, Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey.
In just his fifth game at Oregon, against Arkansas State on Nov. 25, Boucher set a school record with nine blocked shots in a game. He leads the team with eight double-doubles this season.
The NCAA ruling means that the 2015-16 season becomes Boucher's junior year.