It hasn’t exactly been the golden age for Pac 12 basketball the past few seasons. In fact the Pac 12 hasn’t had a representative of the conference reach the Final Four since Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Darren Collison were roaming around Westwood as members of UCLA’s roster.
Since then Arizona has made a few runs to the Elite 8, Oregon has picked up their play, and schools such as Utah have made some strides with their program, but in general it has been a bit disappointing for the conference.
With that said, things could be changing. In college basketball change all starts with recruiting, and no conference is recruiting like the Pac 12 in the 2017 class. In fact it isn’t even close.
Currently four different five-star prospects, including the nation’s top overall prospect, have committed to Pac 12 schools. For perspective on that, no other conference has more than two different five-star prospects committed.
In total 19 prospects in the Scout.com top 100 have committed to Pac 12 schools. The conferences tied for second on that list are the Big East and SEC, each of which have 10 players in the top 100 committed to their schools.
Even more impressive is that it isn’t like Kentucky in the SEC or Kansas in the Big XII, where those schools have buoyed the conference’s other schools with massively impressive classes, Arizona, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon each have one five-star, and other schools such as Colorado, Utah, Oregon State, and Arizona State are all contributing excellent classes as well.
In total 23 prospects who are rated as four-star or five-star prospects have committed to Pac 12 schools. Obviously that is nearly two top prospects for each school in the league. At this point no other conference is even close to that level of recruiting.
Making it even more impressive is that the Pac 12 doesn’t appear to be remotely close to done with this year’s strong recruiting haul. UCLA is the extreme favorite to land top 20 prospect Kris Wilkes, Oregon and Arizona are right there with No. 6 prospect Brandon McCoy, and then the Wildcats are also major players for prospects such as Brian Bowen and Lonnie Walker, each of which seem to have Arizona as co-favorites or in the top group of their recruitment.
This is the culmination of what has been a tremendous three year recruiting run for the conference. Over the last three years no conference has had more success recruiting four and five-star players overall than the Pac 12.
The Pac 12 had the second most commitments total of four and five-stars in 2015 and 2016, but consider that the SEC and ACC, which beat them out respectively in those years have more teams than does the Pac 12.
With such an influx of talent coming into the league, the Pac 12 is looking to end its near decade long Final Four drought, not to mention the near two decade drought of not having a national champion.
Coaches always say recruiting is the lifeblood of any program, and right in the Pac 12 things seem to be on the rise, because no conference is recruiting better.