If Bayless winds up as he Wildcats' starting PG he could have the inside track for Pac-10 Rookie of the year. The Cats had shaky PG play this past season and if he can stabilize the spot and return the Wildcats to a Tournament contender, it would be tough not to give him the award. At the very least he will be the first guard off the bench and likely one of the Cats' top two or three scorers.
James Harden, 6-5, SG, Arizona State
Harden is a huge get for Herb Sendek. The Sun Devils lacked scorers and athleticism and Harden bring both. He can shoot, he can slash, he can score. It would be a major shock if he does not lead ASU in scoring, and probably all of the Pac-10 freshmen.
Kevin Love, 6-9, C, UCLA
It is not a question of whether Love has an impact, but what kind. He will be UCLA's starting post player next year and depending on what Arron Afflalo decides about the draft, could become a major go-to guy. In a conference quickly loading up with quality big men, he has a chance to move to the upper echelon.
O.J. Mayo, 6-4, PG, USC
Mayo will be a factor. The only question is at what position. At the very least he should fill the shoes of departing Loderick Stewart and if either Gabe Pruitt or Nick Young turn pro, the Trojans would quickly become Mayo's team. There are a ton of expectations on the well-traveled, much-hyped guard. Can he live up to them?
Get Used To These Guys:
Jamelle Horne 6-6, SF, Arizona
Horne could probably start for a lot of teams in the league but with Arizona's talent on the perimeter he looks to be a scorer off the bench for the Wildcats. A lot of his early playing time will be determined by how quick he adjusts to the defensive pressure of college basketball and how well he rebounds.
Jamelle McMillan, 6-2, PG, Arizona State
McMillan should assume the starting point guard role in Tempe. In fact he and Harden may form an all-freshman backcourt to go along with sophomore Christian Polk. At the very least he will see a ton of minutes as the back-up.
Kamyron Brown, 6-2, PG, Oregon
Aaron Brooks is gone, so there is backcourt minutes available. Tajuan Porter will fully assume the point guard spot, but Brown should back him up and if the Ducks want Porter to be a scorer, Brown could find extra minutes running he show.
Chase Stanback, 6-7, SF, UCLA
A lot of Stanback's opportunity will depend on guys going pro. If Afflalo and/or Nick Collison leave for the NBA, Stanback will surely be needed. As it is he has a chance to push Mike Roll for minutes.
Venoy Overton, 5-11, PG, Washington
Thanks to spotty guard play last season, you have to think Overton will get a look. It is probably too much to ask for him to unseat an older player, but he has a chance to play right now.
Don't Sleep On:
Laval Lucas-Perry, 6-2, CG, Arizona
Lute Olson is stressing toughness and defense and Lucas-Perry has a chance to bring that. If he does indeed show that Flint, Michigan toughness he could take minutes away from guys like Daniel Dillon and Nic Wise.
Harper Kamp, 6-7, PF, California
The Cal frontline appears to be in good shape, but Kamp is an underrated, tough big man who could see the floor early on.
Drew Viney, 6-6, SF, Oregon
Viney is a shooter who fits Oregon's offense very well. If any of the wings decide to bolt early for the NBA, Viney could see time.
Darnell Gant, 6-8, PF, Washington
Matthew-Bryan Ammaning is the higher rated player, but with his athleticism and speed, Gant could surprise. He fits the up-tempo Huskies very well and could back-up Hawes and Brockman.
Ilija Milutinovic, 6-10, C, Oregon State
Again, the Beavers need help and some feel the big man has flown under the radar.