Is this year finally the resurgence of the Pac-12 as a power conference? Decimating by early entrants to the NBA Draft, transfers and underperforming studs and duds, the Pac-12 should be back on track this season.
UCLA vied for the nation's top recruiting class, making them an immediate national contender, if, and only if, Shabazz Muhammed and Kyle Anderson garner eligibility. Frontcourt pieces Tony Parker and Jordan Adams have already be cleared, joining a potent cast of David and Travis Wear and Josh Smith. We have heard rumors of Muhammed missing an indefinite amount of time while under NCAA investigation and now he has suffered his second injury, yet another setback this offseason.
If not UCLA, then Arizona could rise up to the challenge. The Wildcats have pulled in their second straight talented recruiting class and have the favorite for Pac-12 Player of the Year in forward Solomon Hill. Scouts are warming up to Hill's versatility thanks in large part to a successful move to small forward after a few years at power forward. Xavier-transfer Mark Lyons played for Sean Miller during his time with the Musketeers and will be the crux of success for Arizona at the previously unsteady point guard position.
Washington has plenty of returning talent with point guard Abdul Gaddy, wings C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs and defensive center Aziz N'Diaye.
Stanford came on late last season, winning the NIT title and have one of the best guards in the conference leading the charge in Chasson Randle. He should have solid weapons at his disposal like wing Anthony Brown and center Dwight Powell who has some NBA potential.
Oregon will be right up there as well as the Ducks have darkhorse Player of the Year candidate E.J. Singler and a host of new players like Dominic Artis and Waverly Austin that could rise up and produce big minutes for the Ducks.
After a disastrous last place finish a year ago, USC should be considered a serious challenger in the conference. Point guard Jio Fontan and center Dewayne Dedmon are returning from injury and are considered 100 percent. Fontan's ability to run the show and get newcomers like Wake Forest-transfers JT Terrell and Ari Stewart, Tennessee transfer Renaldo Woolridge and former-Iowa Hawkeye Aaron Fuller, all involved.
Washington State will not contend, but boast a dominating post player in Brock Motum. Colorado has a lottery-caliber wing in Andre Roberson. Arizona State lost Trent Lockett to Marquette, but gains the services of freshman Jahii Carson, an electric scoring point guard.