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Offseason Pac-10 Predictions: Awards

July 23, 2009

Unlike recent years, the Pac-10 will be highlighted by older experienced players such as Cal’s All American guard Jerome Randle. Except Abdul Gaddy and maybe Arizona’s freshman tandem, freshman shouldn’t have as much of an immediate impact as they did in year’s past. The Pac-10 should be especially weak down low with Jeff Pendergraph, Alfred Aboya, Jordan Hill, and Jon Brockman all gone from the paint and with the old gone expect new names to emerge such as Oregon’s high touted big man Michael Dunigan. Also with the Bruin’s losing its starting backcourt from last year to the NBA, watch for super talent Malcolm Lee to get big minutes and rise as Westwood’s newest star. Though things will undoubtedly change before the year starts, here’s my early picks for who will be this year’s best of the Pac-10:

Player of the Year: Jerome Randle, Cal

Freshman of the Year: Abdul Gaddy, Washington

Most Improved Player of the Year: Malcolm Lee, UCLA

Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Dunigan, Oregon

Coach of the Year: Mike Montgomery, Cal

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1st Team All Conference:

Pos.
Name Yr. Ht./Wt. PPG/RPG School

Center

Michael Dunigan

So.

6-10/255

8.4/4.8

Oregon

Forward Klay Thompson So. 6-6/187 12.5/4 Washington St.

Guard

Patrick Christopher

Sr.

6-5/215

14.5/3.8 California
Guard Nic Wise

Sr.

5-10/177 15.7/2.5 Arizona
Guard Jerome Randle Sr. 5-10/160 18.3/3.1 California

2nd Team All Conference:

Pos.
Name Yr. Ht./Wt. PPG/RPG School

Center

Roeland Schaftenaar

Sr.

6-11/240

10.5/3.4

Oregon St.

Forward Quincy Pondexter Sr. 6-6/215 12.1/5.7 Washington

Guard

Malcolm Lee

So.

6-5/180

3.2/1.5

UCLA
Guard Tajuan Porter

Sr.

5-6/150 15.4/2.5 Oregon
Guard Isaiah Thomas So. 5-8/180 15.5/2.9 Washington

3rd Team All Conference:

Pos.
Name Yr. Ht./Wt. PPG/RPG School

Forward

Jamal Boykin

Sr.

6-8/230

9.6/6.5

California

Forward Rihards Kuksis Jr. 6-6/205 10.3/4 Arizona St.

Forward

Landry Fields

Sr.

6-7/210

12.1/6.3

Stanford
Guard Dwight Lewis

Sr.

6-5/215 14.4/3.2 USC
Guard Calvin Haynes Jr. 6-2/185 13/3.1 Oregon St.

Honorable Mention:
C: DeAngelo Casto, WSU

F: Jamelle Horne, ARIZ; Theo Robertson, CAL; Leonard Washington, USC; Nikola Dragovic, UCLA

G: Derek Glasser, ASU; Seth Tarver, OSU; Jeremy Green, STAN; Jerime Anderson, UCLA; Venoy Overton, UW

1st Team All Freshman:

Pos. Name Ht./Wt. School

Center

Kyryl Natyazhko 6-10/250

Arizona

Forward

Tyler Honeycutt 6-7/185

UCLA

Forward Solomon Hill 6-6/195 Arizona
Guard Roberto Nelson 6-4/190 Oregon St.
Guard Abdul Gaddy 6-3/170 Washington

2nd Team All Freshman:

Pos. Name Ht./Wt. School

Forward

Brendan Lane 6-9/200

UCLA

Forward

Victor Rudd 6-8/200

Arizona St.

Forward Jamil Wilson 6-7/211 Oregon
Guard Jared Cunningham 6-3/170 Oregon St.
Guard Xavier Thames 6-3/177 Washington St.
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Offseason Pac-10 Predictions: 5-1

July 18, 2009

Teams ranked 1-5 should all be competitive both nationally and in the Pac-10 and should make the NCAA’s. Arizona and UCLA will be young and on the rise, Washington will have a group of experienced veterans leading a core of talented  youth, and Cal and Oregon St. will be play for the now as they are made up of seniors and juniors. Though the Pac-10 will be considerably down from years in the past; fresh faces, rivalries new and old, and the drama that always comes with the Pac-10 will make this year as riveting and entertaining as ever.

random_key_48171_file_oregon.st5. Arizona

Bottom Line: Arizona is coming off of their third coach in as many years and now look to newly hired Coach Sean Miller for stability.  Though Arizona loses stars Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, with Nic Wise returning and a surprisingly strong recruiting class coming in, the Wildcats look to be well on their way to returning  back atop of the Pac-10 as they were in the Olson years.

Projected starting lineup:
C- Kyryl Natyazhko Fr. 6-10/250 (25 ppg)*
F- Jamelle Horne Jr. 6-6/209 (6.8 ppg)
F- Solomon Hill Fr. 6-6/195 (16.2 ppg)*
G- Kyle Fogg So. 6-2/175 (6.1 ppg)
G- Nic Wise Sr. 5-10/177 (15.7 ppg)

Key losses: Chase Budinger (18 ppg), Jordan Hill (18.3 ppg)

Recruits: Solomon Hill (Rivals: 27/ Scout: #13 SF), Kyryl Natyazhko (Rivals: 81/ Scout #8 C), Lamont Jones (Rivals: 68/ Scout: #33 SG), Kevin Parrom (Rivals : 122/ Scout: #19 SF), Derrick Williams (Rivals: NR/ Scout: #32 PF)

Keys to success: If Arizona wants to continue the nation’s longest NCAA tournament streak,  Coach Miller will need to have Nic Wise to carry a heavy load and his highly touted freshman to step in and contribute right away.

Postseason: 1st Round

random_key_48171_file_oregon.st

4. Oregon St.

Bottom Line: As the surprise of the Pac-10 last year, the Beavers look to make an even bigger splash this year and actually contend to win the Pac-10. With only the loss of Rickey Claitt, Oregon St. returns with a roster filled with experienced players who proved last year that they know how to win in Coach Robinson’s system.

Projected starting lineup:
C- Roeland Schaftenaar Sr. 6-11/240 (10.5 ppg)
F- Omari Johnson Jr. 6-9/215 (6.6 ppg)
G- Seth Tarver Sr. 6-5/210 (8 ppg)
G- Josh Tarver Sr. 6-3/190 (3.9 ppg)
G- Calvin Haynes Jr. 6-2/185 (13 ppg)

Key losses: Rickey Claitt (7.4 ppg)

Recruits: Jared Cunningham (Rivals: 76/ Scout: #27 PG), Roberto Nelson (Rivals: 78/ Scout: #18 SG), Angus Brandt (Rivals: NR/ Scout: #15 C), Joe Burton (Rivals: 130/ Scout: #21 C), Rhys Murphy (Rivals: NR/ Scout: #32 SF)

Keys to success: Like last season, for Oregon St. to win they will have to work as a team. With particular no star, the Beavers will depend on everyone on the team to find their role and contribute as necessary to win.

Postseason: 1st Round

random_key_48171_file_oregon.st3. UCLA

Bottom Line: Though UCLA is losing four of the teams  starting five from a year full of  disappointment and underachievement, the Bruins have group of young super talent ready to fill in right away. The young Bruin talent, finally unleashed after waiting behind the veteran Bruin’s of old, will look to bring UCLA back to the head of Pac-10 and ultimately back atop the NCAA.

Projected Starting line up:
F- Drew Gordon So. 6-8/235 (3.6 ppg)
F- James Keefe Sr. 6-8/231 (3 ppg)
F- Nikola Dragovic Sr. 6-9/216 (9.4 ppg)
G- Malcolm Lee So. 6-5/180 (3.2 ppg)
G- Jerime Anderson So. 6-1/165 (2.3 ppg)

Key losses: Josh Shipp (14.5 ppg), Darren Collison (14.4 ppg), Alfred Aboya (9.9 ppg), Jrue Holiday (8.5 ppg)

Recruits: Tyler Honeycutt (Rivals: 28/ Scout: #3 SF), Brendan Lane (Rivals: 49/ Scout: #22 PF), Mike Moser (Rivals: 92/ Scout #7 SF), Reeves Lane (Rivals: 86/ Scout: #36 PF), Anthony Stover (Rivals: 144/ Scout: #12 C)

Keys to success: With the Pac-10 as bad it is, the Bruins must take advantage of the weak competition and help their young players grow and become better basketball players to win now and to win in the future.

Postseason: 1st Round/ 2nd Round

random_key_48171_file_oregon.st2. Washington

Bottom Line: Despite losing two of the teams top scorers in Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon, the Huskies bring back experience, talent, youth, and depth- or in other words- the recipe for winning the Pac-10. Barring major injury or letdown, the Huskies should consistently stay atop the nation’s top 25 and compete against any team in the nation

Projected starting lineup:
F- Matt Bryan-Amaning Jr. 6-9/235 (6 ppg)
F- Darnell Gant So. 6-8/215 (3.1 ppg)
F- Quincy Pondexter Sr. 6-6/215 (12.1 ppg)
G- Abdul Gaddy Fr. 6-3/170 (25.3 ppg)*
G- Isaiah Thomas So. 5-8/180 (15.5 ppg)

Key losses: Jon Brockman (14.9 ppg), Justin Dentmon (14.4 ppg)

Recruits: Abdul Gaddy (Rivals:13/ Scout #2 PG), Clarence Trent (Rivals: 147/ Scout: #35 PF), C.J. Wilcox (Rivals: 108/ Scout: #34 SG)

Keys to success: The Huskies have one of the most lethal back courts in the nation with super freshman Abdul Gaddy, Isaiah Thomas, and Venoy Overton coming off the bench. Expect Coach Romar to run his offense through them and for any team trying to match up to fail miserably.

Postseason: 2nd Round/ Sweet 16

random_key_48171_file_oregon.st1. California

Bottom Line: The Golden Bears return almost everyone from last years NCAA team to have one the most experienced, most balanced, and best coached teams in the entire nation. As he did with Stanford, Coach Mike Montgomery brings Cal to the national stage where he looks to win a national championship and solidify himself up as one of the greatest coaches in Pac-1o history.

Projected starting lineup:
F- Harper Kamp Jr. 6-8/255 (3.8 ppg)
F- Jamal Boykin Sr. 6-8/230 (9.6 ppg)
F- Theo Robertson Sr. 6-6/225 (13.1 ppg)
G- Patrick Christopher Sr. 6-5/215 (14.5 ppg)
G- Jerome Randle Sr. 5-10/160 (18.3 ppg)

Key losses: Jordan Wilkes (4.7 ppg)

Recruits: Brandon Smith (Rivals: NR/ Scout: #24 PG), Bak Bak (Rivals: NR/ Scout: NR)

Keys to success: Led by  the tandem of Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, the Golden Bears, fresh to playing as the favorite, must manage how to cope with the expectations and success that entails winning.

Postseason: Sweet 16/ Elite 8

*High school stats