The Hotline’s early look at Pac-12 basketball in 2018-19 continues with a breakdown of the top players, now that the coming and goings — mostly goings — have settled somewhat.
The early-entry scale is currently tipped against the conference but it might not remain in that position.
Enough good players have only gone halfway (i.e., entered the draft without an agent) to create the potential for limited damage.
If just a few return … Stanford’s Reid Travis, Washington’s Noah Dickerson and UCLA’s Jaylen Hands, for instance … the middle of the conference will be salvaged.
(I’m not sure anything can be done about the top, about increasing the number of teams with Final Four potential.)
Of course, the potential for limited damage also explains the limited success of the season just completed. The Pac-12 had precious few Lottery Pick talents.
The following selections are based on players who have 1) confirmed they’ll be back next season or 2) have yet to announce they’re testing the waters.
The pool of candidates was then funneled through a decision-making process that values defense and leadership in addition to scoring (and in two instances: hype).
The end result:
Three teams of five players organized into groups that could function together on the court — the same criteria the AP uses in formulating its All American teams.
The Hotline projections will be updated in early June, following the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline.
For the early order-of-finish Pac-12 projections, go here.
For my ridiculously early top-25 rankings, go here.
Coach of the Year: Oregon’s Dana Altman. If the freshmen are as good as the hype and the returnees develop as expected, the Ducks could win the regular-season title by two or three games.
Player of the Year: USC F Bennie Boatwright. Admittedly, this pick requires a modest leap of faith that Boatwright remains healthy for all 18 (or close to 18).
Defensive Player of the Year: Washington’s Matisse Thybulle. Impacts the game defensively like few players this decade.
Freshman of the Year: Oregon C Bol Bol. He’s 7-foot-1, athletic, skilled and can score facing the basket. Remind you of any recent rookies?
Utah G Sedrick Barefield
Oregon G Payton Pritchard
Washington G Matisse Thybulle
USC F Bennie Boartwright
Oregon State F Tres Tinkle
Colorado G McKinley Wright
Stanford G Daejon Davis
Arizona G Emmanuel Akot
USC F Nick Rakocevic
Oregon C Bol Bol
Washington G Jaylen Nowell
Cal G Justice Sueing
Arizona State G Remy Martin
Oregon F Kenny Wooten
UCLA C Moses Brown
Oregon C Bol Bol
UCLA C …read more
Source:: East Bay – Sports