Pac-12 Basketball: The 5 Most Irritating Players in the Conference
The Pac-10 knew irritating...
...and the Pac-12 is continuing that tradition.
During its history, the conference has produced multiple players who induced the bile of the opposition:
Oregon State's Gary Payton was constantly annoying, his sideways smirk alone begging for the wrath of road crowds.
Reggie Miller's penchant for gangly armed post-hoop celebrations made him an easy target for hate while at UCLA and later in the pros.
Former Bruins guard Baron Davis' in-your-face style was a lightning rod for fury.
And there are a slew of others that belong on that list.
Come inside to see the current crop of the Pac-12's most irritating players:
Last Year's Most Irritating Player: Jorge Gutierrez, G, Cal
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Cal shooting guard Jorge Gutierrez was reckless, a trait that sent Haas Pavilion into a frenzy while frustrating the opposition into insanity.
Besides claiming most-irritating-player honors by this writer, the 6'3" senior out of Chihuahua, Mexico was also the Pac-12 Player of the Year. And, admittedly, it's always easier to rage on the other team's star.
But this goes deeper than that.
To opposing fans, there are several things that boiled hatred about Gutierrez.
First, he was known for taking absurd flops for offensive fouls, a ploy that seemed to work far more often in Berkeley than on the road. He was also physical for a guard, hounding targets with pressure.
And he did go over the edge on occasion.
In a loss at home to Arizona earlier this season, Gutierrez flew into the Wildcats bench while trying to save a ball from going out.
He landed on Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack, who instinctively put his arms and legs out to keep himself from taking the brunt of the blow.
But Gutierrez got into the face of the Arizona bench and insisted that Pasternack, a former Cal assistant, kicked him. Subsequent video replays showed nothing intentional.
And Golden Bears fans weren't always enamored with the guard's inability to corral his energy, either.
While the intensity was laudable, he'd sometimes become out of control. That haunted him in his underclass years, often leading to turnovers.
Brock Motum, F, Washington State
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Awkward shooting delivery? Check.
Lack of a vertical? Check.
Washington State power forward Brock Motum is the opposite of flashy. He's a wide-framed power forward who was among the least athletically impressive starters in the conference.
It's deceiving, which makes his productivity maddening for the non-Cougar types.
The 6'10" Aussie averaged 18 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a junior, leading the conference in the former.
He was one of the impact post presences in the Pac-12, and he largely carried Wazzu after Faisal Aden went down last year. He was named to the Pac-12's first-team.
But Motum is also an agitator.
Like Gutierrez, he seems to have the penchant for drawing questionable fouls. And he also seems to get those calls far more often in Pullman than elsewhere (especially the lean-in-to-the-defender three-point play).
I know, I know. If the refs are calling it, that makes said player nothing but wise. That's fine, but it's agonizing basketball to watch at times.
Motum will get physical with anyone (including an apparent elbow to the chops in the picture above), which is always sure to raise the ire of fans away from Friel.
Joe Burton, C, Oregon State
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One of the conference's bruisers, Oregon State center Joe Burton is among the largest presences (6'7", 280 pounds) in the paint—though still well behind UCLA's 6'10", 305-pound Josh Smith—in the Pac-12.
But don't let his size fool in regards to his ability to move.
Burton finished in the conference's top 15 in rebounds, assists and steals, and he was fifth in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage.
All that from a player who also provides a mean streak for the Beavers.
Not only is he productive, but he's also an easy target for the opposition because of his physicality.
Being a wide body comes with its side effects, namely the wrath of those who aren't on the Beavers' side and the whistle of the referees.
Burton's been ejected in his days in Corvallis, showing a willingness to mix it up to a point that results in DQs.
And he's shown himself to be outwardly emotional at moments, making him a focal point for opposing crowds.
E.J. Singler, F, Oregon
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He's a Singler.
That is enough to make this list.
Combine that with the long-locks-with-the-headband look, and you have an instant irritant.
The younger brother of former Duke standout Kyle Singler—who is currently playing for Real Madrid in Spain (Slam)—E.J. Singler is another type who doesn't overwhelm anyone upon the initial impression.
He's a solid shooter, not dynamic. He's average in the quickness department. And his slashing ability is about the same.
But he's sound in everything, and normally makes the right decisions. He averaged 13.6 points and 5.6 boards last year, totaling more assists than turnovers, and he hit nearly 91 percent of his free throws.
And because his is not an NBA-level game yet, Singler will be around for a couple more years, meaning he'll have plenty of time to make opposing fans go berserk.
Like his brother, Singler is even-keeled, which gives fans away from Eugene issues when trying to shake him up.
He's proven unflappable so far, showing steady improvement each season.
All in all, he doesn't sound all that hate-worthy...but then you hear his last name again and you see that lame headband, and the fury builds again.
Kevin Parrom, F, Arizona
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Bronx swagger is a rare encounter for West Coasters.
Because the majority of the players Kevin Parrom is facing in the Pac-12 are from the traditionally less-physical hoops zones in California, the Pacific Northwest and the desert Southwest, Parrom is a unique presence to have around.
As 1490-AM Tucson radio host Jody Oehler alluded to several months ago on his show Happy Hour, Sean Miller seems to be trying to find that combination of East Coast-style grit defensively to go along with the fast-paced transition game that is the West's traditional style of ball.
Parrom definitely provides the former.
And he's plenty calloused now to take on anything difficult, surviving a gunshot wound, going through the death of his mother and grandmother and then suffering a season-ending foot injury in the last year.
It didn't take long for Parrom to emerge as an enforcer. After missing a large chunk of his freshman season because of injury, he made his presence felt with an aggressive full-court dash for a block that ended with a hard foul against Arizona State's Ty Abbott, in Tempe.
That, and a subsequent Twitter message (h/t Arizona Daily Star), spurred the motto "No Easy Buckets" into a brief trend and instantly put him on the map for Arizona followers.
Parrom is going to talk, he's going to make sure you feel his presence and he's going to do it with a grin.
That's plenty for road fans to hate.
Jordan Bachynski, C, Arizona State
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Once again, if you're going to play Pac-12 hoops and you're going to go with the obscure N'Sync-member look, you're going to end up on a list of this sort.
Just ask E.J. Singler.
Arizona State's 7'2" center started to see solid minutes at the end of last year, and finally began to produce at a decent level. He averaged six points and four rebounds in over 17 minutes of action.
But he's not a real impact guy yet (though if he continues emerging, he'll be a starter), meaning this is probably one of the few top-fives you'll see him on this year.
He still had the tendency to end up on the wrong side of huge dunks when he got into the rotation, including this one from Colorado's Andre Roberson, which is a reason his own fans may feel the irritation.
And this awkward YouTube clip isn't doing him any favors.
All that, and it's just easier to hate on big guys.
They're supposed to be able to take the beating.