Will The Pac-12 Rise Again?

        The past few years have not been the 60s or the 70s where UCLA had made their historic runs to numerous NCAA Championships, the late-80s, 90s and early-2000s with Arizona or even 2005-2008 where the Bruins made three straight Final Fours. But with some of the nation's top players heading out West again, could the Pac-12 rise into the power conference that it once was?

        Between 2007-2009, the Pac-10 lost 16 first-round picks and 26 draft picks in total. In the last two drafts, the league has only had four first-round picks and seven overall, while that's the same number that Kentucky has had and one less than the total number of draftees Texas has had. This year, the Pac-12 has two projected first-round picks in Josh Smith from UCLA and Terrence Ross from Washington, although both are only sophomores and could stay in school, helping the conference return to glory.

        Along with the current college standouts, the Pac-12 is re-loading with top recruits Tony Wroten Jr., Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson, Jabari Brown, Jahii Carson and Hikeem Stewart for this season and several more of the nation's best have committed for 2012 as well.

        Sean Miller is on the verge of creating something special in Arizona; he has won everywhere he has been and has the pieces in place, despite losing Derrick Williams to the Draft, to get Arizona back to the Lute Olsen days.

        Adding in Colorado and Utah, two programs on the rise, to the core of Pac-10 teams should have the conference cycling back among the nation's best in a year or two.

ByPresident Corey Ruff - 7-15-11