In June, nine players out of the Pac-10 were selected in the NBA Draft- led by Arizona State's James Harden taken third overall, followed by Arizona's Jordan Hill at #8 and DeMar DeRozan of USC at #9. Three more Pac-10 Conference players were selected in the 1st Round and an additional three were taken in the 2nd Round, totaling nine Pac-10 players in the 2009 NBA Draft. In 2008, there were twelve players taken from the Conference.
But through the first third of the 2009-10 college basketball season, the Pac-10 Conference has been struggling. The conference is not just lacking superstar players and potential NBA players, but its teams have been struggling to win games. College basketball powerhouses, UCLA and Arizona held a combined record of 7-12, with some losses coming to Cal State-Fullerton and Long Beach State. Oregon lost to Portland and Montana and got blown out by Missouri by 37 points. Stanford has losses to San Diego and Oral Roberts. Oregon State. Oregon State has lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Illinois-Chicago, but the worst may be their two-point loss to Sacramento State- a team that was 2-27 last year. The Conference that had posted 16 national titles in his history came into this week with its teams combining for a 58-40 record.
In the pre-season polls, both California and Washington were ranked in the top-14, while UCLA was just on the outside of the top 25. At 9-2 and zero wins against any Top 25 team, Washington is the conference's sole ranked team, coming in at #17. But is the conference on the upswing? Last week, the conference posted a 14-2 record, USC's upset over then-#20 UNLV. In addition to their upset over the UNLV Rebels, the Trojans of USC beat a 10-win St. Mary's squad. Arizona State won three games, including a quality victory over San Diego State. Arizona beat NC State, while Oregon State was able to beat a solid Fresno State team. With Pac-10 conference play beginning this week, look for the quality of basketball to improve out West.