SAN JOSE -- Dominic Artis' first game in the Bay Area as a college player will come when the freshman point guard leads Oregon against Oklahoma State in Thursday's NCAA Tournament opener at HP Pavilion. Tip off is at approximately 1:40 p.m.
The former Salesian High star hasn't graced a court in the Bay Area since his junior year of high school.
"It's real exciting for me to play in front of my family and everything and hopefully come out with the win," said Artis, who transferred to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., for his senior season of high school.
Artis missed nine games this season for the Ducks with a stress fracture in his foot. The injury prevented him from playing during Oregon's trip to the Bay Area to face Cal and Stanford. The Ducks lost both games.
"It was kind of rough because we lost both times," Artis said. "It was just hard sitting on the bench watching the team." Artis' injury coincided with a rough patch for Oregon, which was 17-2 and 6-0 in the Pac-12 Conference when he got hurt. The Ducks went 5-4 while he was out.
He returned Feb. 28 in a win against Oregon State and regained his starting job for the Pac-12 Tournament. He only played limited minutes and struggled at times, but the Ducks ran the table to claim the title.
"He put tremendous pressure on himself," Oregon coach Dana Altman said of Artis. "I keep telling him it's a lot different for a freshman to come back after five or six weeks off
"I'm all good. I'm just ready to get out there and play," he said.
Artis also has a side job during the trip to San Jose and that's recruiting Archbishop Mitty star Aaron Gordon, his former teammate with the Oakland Soldiers. The McDonald's All-American has Oregon among his finalists along with Arizona, Washington and Kentucky.
"I'm definitely trying to keep Oregon in his ear," Artis said. "It'd be great if we got him up there for next year."
Oregon is practicing at Mitty while in town and Artis expects to see Gordon at HP Pavilion when the Ducks play. Gordon, whose Mitty team plays Mater Dei-Santa Ana in Saturday's Open Division state title game, is undecided if he'll come by.
"I might just focus on winning one more state title. That's all that's on my mind right now," Gordon said this week.
Altman, who can't speak directly about high school prospects, talked about the importance of recruiting the Bay Area.
"It's a big area to us, because it's close and a really good basketball area," Altman said. "We just need to continue to recruit this area. It's a very important area for us and hopefully it will go our way. (Arits) is a big part of that and hopefully it will continue."
Staff writer Darren Sabedra contributed to this report. Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.