Rough week for the Pac-12

What's going on in the Pac-12? Five seniors from within the conference footprint have committed within the past five days, and none of the four will make his home in the West's most prestigious league.

And lest you believe these were marginal prospects, three of the four — Kameron Chatman, Namon Wright and Trey Kell — rank in our national top 75. And the other two, Josh Martin and Ronnie Harrell, likely would fall somewhere in the 101-135 range. In other words, while no definite McDonald's All-Americans may have decided, these were legitimate Pac-12 players.

Chatman's announcement proved the most damaging to league prospects. Most believed that Arizona led, but he pulled a rabbit out of his hat on Tuesday by choosing Michigan. No one need pity Sean Miller's recruiting powerhouse, obviously, but Chatman had appeared to be a likely Wildcat.

Wright had considered Arizona State, Oregon and others, but his commitment to Missouri arrived as less of a surprise. Some of the conference elite had expressed lukewarm feelings toward his game, and during the summer he didn't play quite as well as we'd hoped he would. Nevertheless, a conference that has been lambasted by the media in recent seasons obviously needs to keep embedded, nationally ranked recruits at home.

Kell also conducted more of a tangential affair with league programs, as his favorites ultimately boiled down to San Diego State and Vanderbilt prior to his decision in favor of the Aztecs. But Kell performed very well during the summer and also cemented a spot for himself within the top 100.

On the surface, Ronnie Harrell's pledge to Creighton may not appear to be a big deal. He never became a Pac-12 priority and doesn't reside on the same navigational plane as the most celebrated prospects in the region. Down the road, however, it's the opinion here that Harrell — unquestionably a late bloomer — could surpass expectations and in hindsight look like a missed opportunity for the league.

Washington likely could have landed Martin, but the Huskies chose to go in a different direction. An undersized power forward, U-W's decision certainly makes sense, but just as certainly he could have helped some of the lower Pac-12 schools.

Despite what has transpired in recent days, the news hardly has been fatal. League programs are pushing hard for elites such as Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow, among others.

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