Pac-10 Preview: Contenders

Most of the movement in the Pac-12 is done with and teams are starting to settle in. takes a look at the teams that could be favored to win the conference.

It looks that many rosters are set for the 2011-2012 season after many players decided to either declare for the NBA or transfer. Out of the ten first team players from a year ago, eight decided to declare for the draft.

This means another exodus of talent from the Pac-12 and the top spot is up to grabs for at least three to four teams. explains who the contenders, pretenders, and teams with no chance are, as we first look at the contenders.


Arizona Losing: Jamelle Horne, Derrick Williams, Lamont Jones

Gaining: Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson, Sidiki Johnson, Angelo Chol

The loss of Jones adds a few more questions as to how good the Wildcats can be in 2011-2012. Talent will be the same as before Jones elected to transfer, as freshmen guards Turner and Johnson have enough talent to make up for it, but will they be ready early enough in the season to get Arizona going?

Arizona has to make up for 20 points per game given by Williams, but expect the scoring to be spread out considerably. As of now, the Pac-12 championship is still Arizona's to lose, but it will be a difficult task for it to repeat as champions.


Losing: Markhuri Sanders-Frison

Gaining: Christian Behrens, David Kravish

There are some pieces to love about the Bears, including a gritty yet confident attitude that this team should possess going into next year. California returns team leader Jorge Gutierrez and also Harper Kamp in the front court, who will be a handful for opposing players.

Scoring will come from one of the most talented freshmen from this past season in Allen Crabbe and the Bears should be able to make some noise in the conference next season.


Losing: Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday, Venoy Overton

Gaining: Andrew Andrews, Tony Wroten, Jernard Jarreau, Hikeem Stewart, Kevin Davis

The Huskies are an interesting team going forward. Many did not expect point guard and leading scorer Isaiah Thomas to put his name into the draft. Washington would have been the favorite going into next season, but now must find new leadership.

Losing Bryan-Amaning, Holiday and Overton are big, but Washington does bring in one of the most talented freshman in Wroten. He can score and pass the ball and definitely has that swagger that Washington is used to seeing in its players. If the freshman class can come in and make a big impact, look out.


Losing: Tyler Honeycutt, Malcolm Lee

Gaining: Norman Powell, De'End Parker, Travis Wear, David Wear

The Bruins will have to adjust after losing arguably the two best players on the team to the draft. Nevertheless, Ben Howland does have his anchors down low as Josh Smith and Reeves Nelson look to have the early favorite as the best front court in the conference.

UCLA also returns point guard Lazeric Jones, who will be backed up with Jerime Anderson and Tyler Lamb looks to have a great sophomore campaign in Westwood. This is yet another team that, if it can figure out how to put things together, can capture a conference crown.

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