Another year of college basketball has ended and another champion has been crowned and with that, college hoops will not return until next November. For us at Go Joe Bruin, that is not good enough. We are eager to see what lies ahead for the 2014-15 Pac-12 basketball season as much as the next college basketball fan. So for your quick fix, let us tell you where and why the following Pac-12 Conference teams are where they are.
1. Arizona Wildcats - Arizona would be lower in the standings, considering they are losing Pac-12 Player of the Year Nick Johnson and freshman stud Aaron Gordon to the NBA, but relative to the rest of the Pac-12, they should be able to maintain the top spot for another year. Head coach Sean Miller has been active in getting Arizona back to national prominence and he is not slowing down. Recruiting is a big part as they have top prospects Stanley Johnson and Parker Jackson-Cartwright coming in the fall.
2. UCLA Bruins – UCLA is losing four players and possibly two additional who are currently “testing the waters”. David Wear and Travis Wear graduate, Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine have declared for the NBA and Jordan Adams and Norman Powell have submitted paperwork to analyze their draft status. Losing six players is big, but the bleeding will be patched up with four bigs coming in for the Bruins in the fall. Most notable are 5-star forward Kevon Looney and 7’0″ center Thomas Welsh.
3. Stanford Cardinal – It seemed almost certain that head coach Donny Dawkins‘ job was in question after another subpar season, but then he had to go and make an impressive run in the NCAA tournament. You do not get rid of a coach like that, especially with three 4-star recruits coming in. The Cardinal lose a big contributor in Josh Huestis but look to keep the core of their team that made that unexpected run in the NCAA tourney.
4. Colorado Buffaloes – It is unknown what will happen with injured superstar Spencer Dinwiddie, as he is also one who is checking his draft status, but if he comes back, expect Colorado to finish higher in the standings. They do not seem to be losing too many guys, which is great for next year’s chemistry and progress. But having that many guys return limits scholarships and is part of the reason they only have two recruits coming in next year.
5. Utah Utes – The most improved team last season will only get better as they have the core of their team retuning. They also have three solid in-coming recruits who will help their cause, one in particular, 4-star power forward Brekkott Chapman, will look to contribute early. Do not be surprised if Utah finishes better than 5th in the Pac-12 basketball standings.
6. Oregon Ducks – Oregon won 13 games in a row, followed by a 5 game losing streak, followed by a 2-3 stretch, and then ended the regular season winning eight in a row. Whether good or bad, it is inconsistent, which seems to be the only consistent thing going for the Ducks. They lose Jason Calliste, Jonathan Loyd and Mike Moser, to graduation, three of their top five scorers. The Ducks have six recruits coming in, especially 4-stars Jordan Bell and Jaquan Lyle, but will it be enough to keep them from sinking into the bottom half of the Pac-12 standings?
7. California Golden Bears – The toughest blow here is that Cal head coach Mike Montgomery is retiring from a long, accolade-filled coaching career. They also lose long-time go-to guy, Justin Cobbs and leading rebounder Richard Soloman. They will get some immediate help from in-coming freshman point guard Ahmaad Rorie, but not much else. It is rebuilding time in Berkeley.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils – Unfortuantely for ASU, they will have the biggest drop-off of any Pac-12 basketball program. They lose two integral pieces to their recent success as Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski are gone. They get in-coming 4-star recruit Tra Holder, but he will not be enough to stop ASU’s free fall into basketball obscurity.
9. Washington Huskies – Head Coach Lorenzo Romar still has a job in Seattle… so far, so good. They lose Perris Blackwell and C.J. Wilcox to graduation and have two 3-star small forward recruits coming in next season. Overall, it does not look like Romar will be righting the ship any time soon.
10. Oregon State Beavers – The Beavers are losing four guys: Angus Brandt, Devon Collier, Eric Moreland and Roberto Nelson, aka their top four scorers. They have four recruits coming in, but they will not have an immediate impact for OSU going forward, at least not one that will get head coach Craig Robinson off the hot seat.
11. Washington State Cougars – They fired their coach Ken Bone for former Oregon coach Ernie Kent, so it is unknown what to think of WSU right now, seeing as Kent was also fired for lack of Pac-12 success. They also have no commits for next year, so Kent has a lot to do in a small amount of time. The only reason they are not last is because of Kent’s experience in the Pac-12. As opposed to…
12. USC Trojans – They may have an impressive recruiting class coming in, but overall, this will lie on coach Andy Enfield‘s ability to be successful in the Pac-12. Based on his production last year, that does not seem to be too promising. It was said that Enfield needs “his type of players” to emulate the “Dunk City” style of play he made famous at Florida Gulf Coast University, but it is more than that. He needs to reconfigure his team to compete against the top tier of Pac-12 basketball, who are light years ahead of USC right now.