With the recent departures of Tim Floyd and a lot of his players, along with Jrue Holiday making it official the landscape of Pac 10 ball has seen a lot of changes. Especially at the top, with power UCLA and defending champs USC and UW preparing to start the summer with much different rosters. Coaching changes, recruiting and draft departures are all but set for the next season so I thought I would break down the rosters of the Pac 10 and see where everybody stands. The conference race looks to be a bit up in the air with a handful of teams with big question marks. So with out further ado, here is my rundown, ordered based on last years final standings, top to bottom.
Washington (Defending Regular Season Champs)
Top Returners: isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter
Key Loesses: Jon Brockman (Finally), Justin Dentmon
New Faces: Abdul Gaddy PG 5*, Three 3*
The Dawgs are loosing a big contributor and a small one in Brockman and Dentmon and both should be missed. But they are bringing their top player back, Thomas, and have some young bigs waiting in the wings. With the addition of Gaddy I would expect them to play small and fast with a pesky defense sparking the transition game. It kills me to write all of this, but they look good going forward. I would say the team to beat in the Pac 10.
Top Returners: James Keefe and Michael Roll??
Key Losses: Darren Collison, Josh Ship, Alfred Aboya, Jrue Holiday
New Faces: Tyler Honeycutt SF 4*, Brenden Lane PF 4*, Mike Moser SF 4* Reeves Nelson PF 4*
UCLA says good bye to a great Senior class that enjoyed so much tournament and Final Four success. The three graduates have been major contributors for years and will surely be missed, underlined by Holiday's recent commitment to the draft. But it is UCLA, so does anybody doubt their young players will step in and play at a high level. Ben Howland is still there to bring defense and hard work to his stockpile of talent. And the size of that recruiting class. They are young and next season might come down to whether they take their lumps at key times or if they can mask their inexperience.
Top Returners: Derek Glasser, Ty Abbott
Key Losses: James Harden, Jeff Pendergraph
New Faces: Trent Lockett SG 4*, Four 3*s
For Arizona St it comes down to how much they were carried last year by Harden and Pendergraph; their two best players that provided much of the production and opened up their offense. To compete in the league next season the roll players from last year need to step up and be main contributors. There are a few young PF that will have their hands full trying to replace to production and heart of Pendergraph. I look for ASU to drop off next year and struggle with out the top end talent it had last year.
Top Returners: Jerome Randle, Lebron James Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson
Key Losses: Maybe a manager or some seniors from the student section?
New Faces: Three 3*s
Cal did not have a senior on the roster last year and so one would expect to see the same team next year with improvement across the board. In his first year as coach Mike Montgomery must have put his players through sniper training, because they shot the long ball at an elite level. Going into 09/10 the three ball should be main question for a steady and experience Bears team. If they can convert from behind the arc at a high level again they should be contenders in the Pac 10 and beyond.
USC (Defending Pac 10 Tournament Champs)
Top Returners: Dwight Lewis
Key Losses: DeMar DeRozan, Daniel Hackett, Tah Gibson, HC Tim Floyd, Lamon Jones PG 4*, Derrick Williams PF 3*
New Faces: New Head Coach TBD
There is mass exodus from the Trojan program shadowed by controversy and NCAA infractions. With Tim Floyd's handouts coming into the light, his players are heading to the NBA draft and his recruits are all being released from their LOI. With a coach yet to be hired and a roster with more holes and questions than maybe anyone in the nation USC is a complete unknown. It is hard to make any kind of prediction, but my guess is bad. The situation reminds me of Indiana a few years ago, and that is not good.
Top Returners: Nic Wise, Jamelle Horne
Key Losses: Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill
New Faces: HC Sean Miller from Xavier, Solomon Hill SF 4*, Kyryl Natyazhko C 4*
Zona is going to be without two first round talents that also happen to represent most of their size. They will be young and a bit undersized but they are bringing in a top coach to revitalize the historic power house. Miller always got the most our of his Xavier teams, working with A10 talent and smaller rosters. This might be the perfect hire and the perfect timing for the Wildcats. I bet they will take some time to really gel together as a roster and coach, but come Pac 10 play they should be a solid team. Oh, and Kyryl Natyazhko, that is actually his name, yeah.
Top Returners: Klay Thompson, Nikola Koprivica, DeAngelo Castro
Key Losses: Taylor Rochestie, Aron Baynes, Daven Harmeling, Caleb Forrest, HC Tony Bennett
New Faces: HC Ken Bone from Portland State, Three 3*s, One no star
Wazzu is in serious danger of slipping back into irrelevance if they struggle this year, and based on everything they lost it is a strong possibility. Ken Bone did a job job at PSU, taking them dancing and winning their conference, but he takes over a roster that was gutted from last year. Bone will have to do a lot with a little and I don't expect much from the Cougars next year.
Top Returners: The Tarvers, Schaftenburger, Calvin Haynes
Key Losses: Rickey Claitt
New Faces: Jared Cunningham PG 4*, Roberto Nelson SG 4*
In his first year Craig Robinson lead the Beavers to a full turn around from their epically bad no win season. His team showed promise and potential and should be able to continue to build on last year. With minimal losses and some nice incoming players, OS will be looking to improve next year and will have another solid season. Boo.
Top Returners: Landry Fields
Key Losses: Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, Lawrence Hill
New Faces: Andy Brown PF 3*
Coming off a year in which the biggest news was who was leaving from the year before, Stanford enters a year in which the biggest news is who is leaving from last year. Not a good trend to be stuck in. Second year coach Johnny Dawkins is loosing his three best players and bringing in nobody, sorry Andy Brown. The Cardinal have Pac 10 cellar door mat written all over them.
Top Returners: Tajuan Porter, Michael Dunigan, blah blah you know
Key Losses: Kamyron Brown, Frantz Dorsainvil, Churchill Odia, a few birds at Alton Baker
New Faces: Jamil Wilson SF 4*, Malcolm Armstead PG JC, Jeremy Jacob SF 3*, EJ Singler SF 3*
For some great analysis about the Ducks see Takimoto's post from about a month ago. My quick thoughts: What can Kent do with his back against the wall? Can Armstead come in and contribute? Will the youth of the Ducks make a leap forward and play Pac 10 ball? These are the questions that define the upcoming season and their answers will say a lot about next year and the future. It will also be interesting to see if this being the last year in Mac Court has any effect, positive or negative, on the team.
So there you have it. You have to like how Washington, Cal and UCLA are set up, with Stanford, USC WSU and Oregon being the major question marks.
My super early prediction
- Oregon State
- Arizona State
- Washington State
Hard conference to call, especially the bottom half. Comment away because it might be nice to talk about something other than the same football news. P.S. Auto Link doesn't work for basketball and I'm to lazy to go back and add stats, sorry.
Roster information via espn.com
Recruiting information via rivals