Plenty of good information in the Pac-12 2014-15 men’s basketball prospectus.
A few tidbits:
— Sophomore guard Nigel Williams-Goss is the featured player for Washington while junior guard Andrew Andrews is described as a “key leader.” Outside of Williams-Goss and Andrews, few of the juniors and sophomores saw much action in last year’s rotation, and with the departure of C.J. Wilcox and Perris Blackwell the duo will have a heavy burden as the team’s leaders.
— Colorado and Utah, which return a conference-high four starters, have the most returning production in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, which explains why the Buffaloes and Utes are considered contenders to win the Pac-12 title and advance to the NCAA tournament.
— Stanford’s Chasson Randle, Utah’s Delon Wright and Colorado’s Josh Scott are the only returnees from last season’s all-Pac-12 first team. Arizona’s T.J. McConnell and Oregon’s Joseph Young were second-team picks.
— Arizona struggled from the free throw line last season with a .659 average, 11th in the league, and will miss Nick Johnson’s team-leading .781 free throw percentage as only Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski had percentages above .700.
— Arizona State coach Herb Sendek needs five wins to reach No. 400. ASU lost its top three scorers in Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jordan Bachynski, who led the league in blocked shots. The Sun Devils also lost six other players to graduation or transfers and the turnover could require a lot of necessary rebuilding before they hit their stride.
— After spending last year in mostly a reserve role, California sophomore guard Jabari Bird (8.3 ppg, 20.0 mpg) is prepped for a breakout season. Meanwhile, first-year coach Cuonzo Martin brings to Cal a 124-82 record in six years as a head coach.
— Despite a stellar performance at home, Colorado has struggled over the past few years with away games, going 5-6 on the road last year, 5-7 in 2012-13 and 4-7 in 2011-12. The Buffaloes have a small roster in terms of physical size, with no player standing over the 6-10 mark, which could prove difficult for the Buffs when playing against larger, more physical offenses.
— Offseason turmoil left Oregon with a roster depleted of players with experience. Just four returning players saw game experience last season.
— New Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle will need instant offense as the Beavers lose their top five scorers, including the Pac-12’s leading scorer Roberto Nelson (20.7 ppg).
— Stanford has one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the league, if not the nation, as the Cardinal will take on 11 teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last season, including defending national champion Connecticut.
— UCLA lost five of its eight rotation players from last season, including four starters (Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, David Wear and Travis Wear) and super sub Zach LaVine. With so much turnover, the Bruins will rely heavily on an incoming freshman class ranked seventh nationally that features two McDonald’s All-Americans in Kevon Looney and Thomas Welsh, five-star recruit Jonah Bolden and Hungary U18 National Team captain and center Gyorgy “G.G.” Golo. The Bruins also add sophomore Isaac Hamilton, a former McDonald’s All-American guard who did not play last season due to transfer rules.
— USC is exceptionally young, with no seniors, just three juniors and six newcomers. Sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic is the only returning starter on a team has has been playing together for a year under second-year coach Andy Enfield, who revamped the roster since his arrival.
— Utah had an 11-1 record before Pac-12 play last season. However, the Utes beefed up the non-conference schedule this season with games at Kansas, San Diego State, BYU, UNLV and against Wichita State.
— Not sure who put this schedule together, but Washington State plays its first two games in Texas. The Ernie Kent era at WSU will begin Nov. 14 at UTEP followed by a Nov. 17 game at TCU.
THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:
— DraftExpress.com is ranking the top 2015 NBA draft prospects in the Pac-12 and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are Nos. 1 and 2.
— Wednesday was a banner day for Oregon State, which had one of its biggest recruiting hauls in the history of the school. The Beavers received verbal commitments from 2015 prospects Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. – both four-star recruits – and three-star recruit Derrick Bruce. Tinkle is the son of OSU coach Wayne Tinkle while Thompson’s dad Stephen is a Beavers assistant. The trio join Drew Eubanks, a 6-9 forward/center who committed last week.
— Oregon State’s 2015 recruiting class is ranked ninth nationally by Scout.
— The 2015-16 season figures to be a big season for Oregon State. Meanwhile, the Beavers are expected to struggle big time this season. The prospects of a successful season diminished when 6-8 forward Cameron Oliver was unable to enroll this year.
— Talk about a fall from grace. Former Oregon guard Dominic Artis has landed at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif. The 6-1 junior, who was expelled from Oregon following a sexual assault incident, doesn’t plan to play this season and hopes to return to a Division I school in 2015 when he’ll have two years of eligibility.
— Here’s video of a behind-the-scenes look at Colorado’s photo shoot.
— The NCAA developed a handbook to assist schools in dealing with sexual assault and interpersonal violence.