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Oregon Basketball

Overview: Pac-12 Hoops

June 15, 2017

Via Allan Johnstone

With three teams, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, dominating the PAC-12 last season I take a look at what we can expect from teams for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. With the NBA draft coming up in little over a week all players that are going to the NBA Draft have announced, and I can now evaluate the teams with their finalized rosters.
- Oregon, with Bell, Benson, Brooks, Boucher, Dorsey, and Ennis all leaving means that the only returning player who saw significant playing time last season would be Pritchard and maybe Williams depending on whether or not he chooses to transfer. Oregon does get top transfer prospect, Elijah Brown, who along with Paul White, a transfer from last season, provides experience to an otherwise young and unproven team. With incoming five-star recruit, Troy Brown expected to make an immediate impact; there are still high hopes for this team coming off of a historic season.
- UCLA, who finished the season as co PAC-12 champions, along with Oregon.  With Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf declaring early for the draft this will put the Bruins returning core at a strain to maintain the production they had during the 2016-2017 season. However, with a fantastic incoming recruit class that contains names like Chris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, the Bruins shouldn't stumble too much this upcoming season.
- Arizona, although they will lose Kadeem Allen and Lauri Markkanen both Alonzo Trier and Rawle Arkins have decided to stay at Arizona which is a huge plus for Wildcat fans. With Arizona gaining the top rated big man from the 2017 class and star players like Trier staying around the Wildcats are considered by many to be a heavy hitting favorite this upcoming PAC-12 season.
- USC, not losing any key players after the 2016-2017 season and gaining players like Chuck O'Bannon, a top recruit, and Derryck Thorton, a Duke transfer the Trojans are primed to make a significant impact on the PAC-12. Although Arizona retaining Trier and Arkins put a damper on how much the Trojans can do in conference, this will still be an exciting season for Trojan fans to look forward too.

- Utah, had a strong season last season finishing in fourth place in what many consider to be a rebuilding year. The Utes do take a couple of hits with Lorenzo Bonam and Kyle Kuzma both not returning next year. With these two gone I don't see Utah rising in the ranks next year in the conference finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack similar to last season.

- Washington, lost a lot of talent this offseason with Fultz expected to be a top pick in this year's draft and losing the number two recruit, Michael Porter Jr., to Missouri. Combine that with a rookie coach in Mike Hopkins the Huskies are going to have a tough season. Other teams in the conference do look to be in a worse place than Washington, so I see them avoiding a double-digit finish, my guess is an eighth place finish.

- Washington St., this upcoming season might not be a great season for Washington St. fans either as they lose their four top scorers. Not much else to say about the Cougars other than its shaping up to be another tough season ahead for the Cougars.

- Stanford, finished the 2016-2017 season with a record of 14-17. With their lead scorer and rebounder, Reid Travis, returning for his senior year along with Michael Humphrey and Dorian Pickens. Reid Travis' ability to dominate the board on both offense and defense makes him a potential POY this upcoming season. Stanford looks to capitalize off these returning players along with two four-star recruits to help fill out the roster which could put them in a position to drastically improve their record from last season.

- Arizona St., loses Sam Cunliffe, who left for Kansas, and other key players including Obinna Oleka, and Torian Graham. But Sun Devil fans should not be too concerned because Bobby Hurley still has a lot of weapons in his arsenal but will be looking for someone to replace Oleka in the paint. Look for a middle of the pack performance from the Sun Devils as they get a sense for their new team this upcoming season.

- Cal, another team in the conference that lost more than they gained this offseason. One positive is that Charlie Moore will be returning to the program. Another positive is Marcus Lee transferring from Kentucky. Wyking Jones and the Bears hope he can be a presence on the wing an area that they are currently lacking.  

- Colorado, yet another team that was gutted by eligibility expirations they lost Josh Fortune, Xavier Johnson, Wesley Gordon, and Derrick White. All hope is not lost for Colorado though they have returning players including Dominque Collier, and George King as well as Missouri transfer, Namon Wright. They also have three incoming recruits that were all highly coveted.

- Oregon St., the success of the program is tied heavily to whether or not Tres Tinkle can stay healthy throughout the season. Another plus for Beaver fans is that both veteran guards Drew Eubank and Stephen Thompson withdrew from the draft and decided to return to the program. It will be a tough season for Beaver fans but it could have been a lot worse.

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