Pac-10 Basketball 2008-09: Draft Declaration Post-Mortem

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Pac-10 Basketball 2008-09: Draft Declaration Post-Mortem

Now that the deadline for declaring for the NBA Draft has come and gone, its time to revisit the changing face of the Pac-10. I'll break down each team, looking at who declared, who's likely to return, the projected starting lineup (with key bench players), and finish with a revised rankings*. With that said, let's get started:

Arizona

Who Declared Early?: Jerryd Bayless, Chase Budinger

Who do I think is Coming Back?: Nobody 

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Nic Wise -
PG/SG Brandon Jennings Brandon Lavender
SF Jamelle Horn Fendi Onubon
PF Jordan Hill Emmanuel Negedu
C Jeff Withey -

 


What more can be said about Arizona than the above Projected Lineup? Although the Wildcats will have the benefit of returning proven players Nic Wise and Jordan Hill, they will need excellent play from Jennings along with a solid contribution from Withey to be contenders in the Pac-10, let alone the NCAA tournament. Again it looks like Lute Olson is going to face depth issues once again as neither Onubon, Negedu, or Lavender are proven commodities. Finally, I think Lute might be going a little crazy as some of his comments lately have been strange to say the least. It may be a long season for UA fans if Jennings doesn't live up to the hype.

ASU

Who Declared Early?: Nobody

Who do I think is Coming Back?: N/A

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Ty Abbott Derek Glasser
SG/SF Rihards Kuksiks Jamelle Mcmillan
SG/SF James Harden Jerren Shipp
PF Jeff Pendergraph ?
C
Eric Boateng -

 

Don't worry, the question marks are there for a reason as ASU has some young talent waiting in the wings. If either Kraidon Woods or the incoming Taylor Rohde can develop into go to role players then ASU will have depth to go along with the talent of their starters. Throw Herb Sendek into the mix and the Sun Devils field arguably the best team in the Pac-10 next year. They better make next season count though, Harden is a sure fire lottery pick and Pendergraph is out of eligibility after next season.

California

Who Declared Early?: Ryan Anderson

Who do I think is Coming Back?: Nobody

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Jerome Randle -
SG D.J. Seeley Knezevic, Nikola
SG/SF Patrick Christopher -
SF/PF Jamal Boykin Harper Kamp
C Jordan Wilkes Max Zhang

 

There's a chance that Ryan Anderson comes back, but its a slim one at this point. Anderson is most likely a first round pick and its hard to say no to guaranteed money. That being said, the cupboard is hardly bare over at Berkeley. Randle, Christopher, and Boykin should all be reliable starters and may all develop into high quality players before the season starts. Mike Montgomery will have his work cut out for him, however, as Anderson's departure coupled with Hardin's loss of eligibility severely depletes the front court. Right now Cal is at the bottom or middle of thepack, it Wilkes or Zhang develops then they may find themselves at the top.

Oregon

Who Declared Early?: Nobody

Who do I think is Coming Back?: N/A

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG/SG Tajuan Porter Kamyron Brown
SG LeKendric Longmire Matthew Humphrey
SF Joevon Catron -
SF Churchill Odia
Drew Viney
C Michael Dunigan -

 

I wonder if any gambling websites will put out a line on how many months into the season it will take until Ernie Kent has a for sale sign put out in front of his house? As I mentioned before, Kent faced losing his job at the end of last season, but a late season sweep of the Arizona schools at home managed to just barely get them into the tournament. Its strange to think that a coach just a season removed from an elite 8 appearance could be on the hot seat, but such is the nature of competitive college sports. Old Ernie is going to have to do a lot with a little (seriously, this team is very lacking in size) and he will need Tajuan Porter to step up his game big time for there to be any hope of success this season. Also, don't let the fact that nobody left for the draft fool you.  Oregon lost three very talented seniors, and the departure of Malik Hairston and Maarty Leunen will be especially painful.

OSU

Who Declared Early?: Nobody

Who do I think is Coming Back?: N/A

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Josh Tarver Ricky Claitt
SG Omari Johnson Lathen Wallace
SG/SF Seth Tarver Eshaunte Jones
PF Sean Carter -
C Roeland Schaftenaar Calvin Hampton

 

I suppose Oregon state has some semblance of depth as all of the above players (save for the incoming Eshaunte Jones) saw some playing time last year, but its not worth much when more or less all of your players are bad or even awful. Maybe in another with another year or so the Beavers will become a decent team, but it is just not happening next season. On the plus side, if Obama gets elected then maybe the president will make the trip to Corvallis to catch a couple of games. Although, I have heard that worshipping pagan gods and sacrificing animals can really boost a teams record... (just kidding)

Stanford

Who Declared Early?: Brook and Robin Lopez

Who do I think is Coming Back?: Nobody

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Mitch Johnson Drew Shiller
SG Anthony Goods Kenny Brown
SG/SF Landry Fields -
PF Lawrence Hill Josh Owens
PF Miles Plumlee Will Paul

 

Things were looking tough for Stanford next year. The team was looking at switching over to a guard oriented playing style as the Lopez twins both declared for the draft, and surprise surprise! Trent Johnson decided he was tired of being taken for granted and bolted for greener pastures at LSU. Luckily, things are not all doom and gloom on the farm as Stanford hired former Duke assistant Johnny Dawkins, who has just a teensy bit of experience in running a guard oriented attack. Lots of questions still remain though, and it looks like Stanford will not be challenging anyone for the Pac-10 title next season.

UCLA

Who Declared Early?: Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Luc-Richard Mbah A Moute, Josh Shipp

Who do I think is Coming Back?: Luc-Richard Mbah A Moute, Josh Shipp

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG/SG Darren Collison Malcolm Lee
PG/SG Jrue Holiday Michael Roll
SG/SF Josh Shipp Chace Stanback
PF LRMAM Drew Gordon
PF/C Alfred Aboya Keefe/Dragovic

 

Talent and depth has been the story of Ben Howland's career at UCLA, and next year won't be any different. In all fairness, next year's edition won't be quite as good as last year's team.  The difference may end up being quite marginal. Kevin Love's post presence will be missed, and there is no athletic finisher like Russell Westbrook in this group, but there is no doubt that this is an excellent group of players. Bruin fans should see little to no drop off in defensive efficiency.  It is really up to Howland to get his offense (which is still very efficient) over the hump so to speak. Next year could be a disappointing year in Westwood, obviously a slight lack of athleticism hurt UCLA in the end, but I sincerely doubt it. Short of Hell freezing over, UCLA will be in the race for the Pac-10 title all season long.

USC 

Who Declared Early?: O.J. Mayo, Davon Jefferson

Who do I think is Coming Back?: Nobody

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Angelo Johnson Donte Smith
SG Daniel Hackett Dwight Lewis
SF Demar Derozan Leonard Washington
PF Taj Gibson Kasey Cunningham
C Mamadou Diarra Keith Wilkinson

 

Mayo was a one and doner from the start, but why did Jefferson have to be such a tease? At first Davon says he's coming back, but then suddenly he's declared and likely already signed with an agent. Oh well, I guess that ship has sailed. Luckily USC still returns stellar core players and adds enough talent to once again be near the top of the Pac-10. Hackett and Lewis are quality wings, and Taj Gibson should be able to play at his natural position next season. Add in the #1 SG recruit in Derozan, a former 5 star in Washington, top cali Juco PG Donte Smith, and both Cunningham and Diarra coming back from injuries, USC has qualiy talent and depth. That's a first for Coach Tim Floyd's tenure. But the real question is, can the team put it together on offense?

Washington

Who Declared Early?: Nobody

Who do I think is Coming Back?: N/A

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Justin Dentmon Venoy Overton
SG Joel Smith Scott Suggs
PF Quincy Pondexter Tyreese Breshers
PF Jon Brockman Artem Wallace
C John Wolfinger Matthew Bryan-Amaning

 

Next season could really be the season that Washington finally puts it all together. Getting quality minutes from Venoy Overton was a pleasant surprise, and although the loss of sharpshooter Ryan Appleby is a big blow the team will bring a fair amount of experience and talent to the table.  The Huskies are headed by bruising forward Jon Brockman. Its clear that Washington is falling just short of being a good team. They did beat UCLA at home last season. If they can get some quality production from their highly rated class last year (along with some solid playing time from another quality class this year) then Lorenzo Romar may be able to put the past two seasons behind him. Washington may be facing a lot of uncertainty going into the offseason.  At the very least its not a certainty that they will be bad.

WSU

Who Declared Early?: Nobody

Who do I think is Coming Back?: N/A

Projected Lineup:

 

Position Player Bench
PG Taylor Rochestie -
SG Klay Thompson -
SF Daven Harmeling Nikola Koprivica
PF Caleb Forrest -
C Aron Baynes -

 

The more I look closely at Washington St., the more I like what I see. Although they lose Cowgill, Weaver, and Low, the core returnees of Rochestie, Harmeling, and Baynes are all good (and in some aspects great) players already. Forrest has seen time throughout the year and played well on the court.  Incoming recruit Klay Thompson should help to shore up some of the offensive output lost with the graduation of Low.  The key issue facing the Cougars is a potential lack of depth. Bennett will be hard pressed to get at least one or two recruits ready for game time out of the incoming class. This will be no small feat.  It took 3 years to put together the WSU team of the last two years. However, if they can establish an eight man rotation the Cougars should field another solid team.

Summary**

As of right now it seems like UCLA, ASU, and USC will be the class of the Pac-10, but I wouldn't be so certain. Arizona, Cal, Washington, and Washington St. are all poised to make a run at the top should the right pieces fall into place. In fact, just a couple of seasons ago two teams picked to finish near the bottom of the Pac-10 ended up finishing #2 and #3 so anything can happen. But in all fairness it would be a near miracle if Oregon, Oregon St., or Stanford finished in the top 4 as each of those programs face major obstacles.

 

 

Revised Pac-10 Preseason Rankings
1.) Arizona St. 6.) California
2.) UCLA 7.) Washington
3.) USC 8.) Oregon
4.) Washington St. 9.) Stanford
5.) Arizona 10.) Oregon St.

 

Notes

- As of right now the Pac-10 is probably only sending four teams to the NCAA tournament, and it will be a battle between Washington St. and Arizona for that last spot.

- Like I said before, no team will go winless and no team will go undefeated in conference. There is no one team that will survive ASU/UCLA/USC/WSU, and there is no one team that will lose to Oregon/Stanford/OSU.

- Perhaps purely by team strength the LA road trip is the toughest, but Washington St. and a resurgent UW will make the Washington road trip the true test for a teams ability to win on the road.

-I doubt anyone will argue that the Pac-10 is the best or second best conference in the nation next year. 

 

* Projected rosters were assembled based on a number of dimensions; quality of the player, need to fill certain positions, playing time last year, among others. Once again my thanks to kenpom.com and si.cnn.com.

** You can read my original thoughts here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/16879-UCLA-vs-USC-for-Best-in-the-West-Pac-10-2008-09-Basketball-Preview-080408

 

 

 

 

Load More Stories

Out of Bounds

Stanford Basketball

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.