Pac-10 Recruiting: Looking Bleak

If you think the Pac-10 is down in basketball this season, it very well could be the beginning of a sustained dip for the conference. Except for UCLA, the Pac-10 has recruited very poorly in the last two recruiting classes, with Arizona and Stanford recruiting particularly badly...

If you think the Pac-10 is down this year, get used to it.

The conference looks like it's going into a recession similar to that of the U.S. economy.

If you look at how the conference has recruited in the last two years, projecting down the line, the Pac-10 conference looks bleak in terms of talent. The conference has recruited shockingly poorly with the last two recruiting classes.


The coup de grace has been Arizona's recruiting demise. It not only lost Brandon Jennings to Europe, but then imploded after the retirement of Lute Olson. Yes, the conference retained a couple of Arizona's recruits (UCLA got Mike Moser and Washington got Abdul Gaddy), thankfully, but the conference, as of this date, lost Arizona commits Solomon Hill and Greg Smith, and also 2008 post Jeff Withey, who has chosen to transfer.

Arizona was clearly recruiting at a very good national level, and a solid #2 in recruiting in the conference for the last two years behind UCLA. Its demise really exacerbates the conference-wide recruiting cold streak of the Pac-10. Without Arizona, only UCLA has recruited particularly well in the last two years.

Now, Bruin fans might be celebrating that fact because it probably means more Pac-10 championships in the near-future for Ben Howland's Bruins. But a strong Pac-10, in the long run, is good for UCLA; without it, UCLA's RPI wilts, as does its chances at higher seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and overall a less competitive conference won't prepare the Bruins well for its out-of-conference opponents or the NCAA Tournament.

If you throw out UCLA, the last two seasons have been the worst for the Pac-10 overall in recruiting that I've seen while doing this job in the last ten years.

Taking UCLA out of the equation, there were only six recruits ranked in the top 20 at their position nationally that came into the conference in 2008. Among 2009 prospects, the conference signed only two. Two.

If you consider elite talent, UCLA is recruiting as well as the rest of the conference – combined. In 2008 UCLA brought in five recruits in the top 20 at their position, compared to the rest of the Pac-10's six. In 2009, UCLA signed three, compared to the rest of the Pac-10's two.

And it wasn't a matter of the programs being filled up with talent and without scholarships available. Plenty of schools, including Stanford, Cal, Arizona, and Oregon State, had available scholarships in both the 2008 class and currently in the 2009 class. And not just one here or there, but many. Arizona hasn't signed anyone for 2009 and Stanford has signed one recruit, while both have upward of 5 scholarships available.

It has been a bit down in talent on the west coast in the last couple of years, but the bigger factor in the Pac-10's poor recruiting is not retaining the talent that is in the west. In the 2009 class, here are the Top 100 players who committed to schools outside of the Pac-10: Elijah Johnson committed to Kansas; Michael Snaer committed to Florida State; Travis Wear and David Wear committed to North Carolina; Peyton Siva to Louisville; Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton to Texas; Hollis Thompson to Georgetown; Greg Smith to Fresno State; and Anthony Marshall to UNLV.

All of those players, or at least a majority of them, should be in the Pac-10.

It's happened because of the downward dives of the Arizona, Stanford, Cal, and Oregon State programs. Mostly, because of Arizona and Stanford. Much has been publicized about Arizona's situation, but Stanford, which not too long ago was a Pac-10 and national power, and recruited accordingly, has fallen on very hard recruiting times. Not only is the Cardinal not bringing in Top 100 national caliber players, but they're struggling to attract considerably less talented recruits. The early signing period ended last week, and Stanford currently has five scholarships open.

Arizona also has four scholarships open -- at least. If Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill skip out on their season seasons next year, Arizona will have six rides available.

Those are nine rides (and possibly 11) between Arizona and Stanford that are unfilled, and traditionally have been populated mostly by players rated in the top 20 at their position nationally. That's a considerable hit to take talent-wise for a conference.

Cal, too, is just righting itself after Ben Braun's departure and Mike Montgomery's hire. The Bears are usually good for at least a few Top 100 caliber prospects over the course of a couple of recruiting classes, but only have one among 2008 and 2009.

Even with USC getting Demar Derozan in 2008 and Noel Johnson in 2009, and Washington getting Abdul Gaddy in 2009, those two schools were bringing in more talent 2-6 years ago than in the past two recruiting classes. Washington was reeling in the likes of Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes, and Martell Webster. USC was getting Taj Gibson, Davon Jefferson, and O.J. Mayo. Oregon, too, despite Michael Dunigan, isn't getting the level of talent it did just a few years ago when it brought in Malik Hairson, Bryce Taylor and Maarty Leunen. All three of these schools have dipped a bit in the last two years, and that's taken a toll also on the overall conference talent pool.

Here's a rundown on the recruiting of the other schools in the Pac-10 for the last two recruiting classes:



School, Hometown
Video HT/ WT/ PPG Commit Date Signed LOI? Commit School
SG 11 Scott Suggs
(Washington HS)
Washington, MO
6-6/180/12.0 08/15/2007
PF 33 Tyreese Breshers
(Frederick K C Price HS)
Los Angeles, CA
6-6/230 07/17/2007
SG 23 Elston Turner
(Roseville HS)
Roseville, CA
6-4/185 09/27/2006
PG PG Isaiah Thomas
(South Kent School)
South Kent, CT
5-8.5/170 04/18/2006


PG 2 Abdul Gaddy
(Bellarmine Prep)
Tacoma, WA
6-3/170 10/28/2008
PF 27 Clarence Trent
(Findlay Prep)
Henderson, NV
6-7/230 09/18/2008
PF JC Charles Garcia
(CC of San Francisco)
San Francisco, CA
6-9.5/220 06/15/2008
SG NR C.J. Wilcox
(Pleasant Grove HS)
Pleasant Grove, UT
6-5/180 06/02/2008

Washington Analysis:   If this were any other elite conference, you'd put the Huskies in the middle of the pack, but the Pac-10's recruiting for two years has been so horrendous overall these two classes probably get the Huskies ranked #2 behind UCLA. But it's a long ways behind the Bruins.  Easily the best on these two lists is Gaddy, but it's a good bet he's only there for two years before jumping to the NBA.  Suggs is a good player,  Turner will be a starter down the line, but we think that Thomas is more of a detraction from any team than he is a positive.  Trent has some talent, but there are character issues and it will be interesting to see if those pan out. 



PG 28 Garrett Sim
(Sunset HS)
Portland, OR
6-1/175 04/22/2008
SG 35 Teondre Williams
(Meadowcreek HS)
Norcross, GA
6-4/180/18.0 11/05/2007
C 30 Josh Crittle
(Timothy Christian HS)
Elmhurst, IL
6-8/225 10/17/2007
C 5 Michael Dunigan
(Farragut Career Academy HS)
Chicago, IL
6-9/240/19.3 07/16/2007
SG 32 Matthew Humphrey
(Hales Franciscan HS I)
Chicago, IL
6-5/- 07/16/2007
SF 21 Drew Wiley
(McKenzie River HS)
Vida, OR


PF JC Jeremy Jacob
Marianna, FL
6-7/210 11/19/2008
SF 23 E.J. Singler
(South Medford HS)
Medford, OR
6-6/200 10/20/2008

Oregon Analysis:  The Ducks, probably on Dunigan alone, get ranked third.  Sims is also a solid player, already breaking into the starting lineup.   But the 2009 class is very lean. 



PF NR DeAngelo Casto
(Joel E Ferris HS)
Spokane, WA
6-8/240/17.0 04/17/2008
Washington State
SF NR Marcus Capers
(Montverde Academy)
Montverde, FL
6-4/180 10/05/2007
Washington State
SF 9 Klay Thompson
(Santa Margarita Catholic HS)
Santa Margarita, CA
6-6/190 09/30/2007
Washington State
PF 39 James Watson
(Stringtown HS)
Stringtown, OK
6-8.5/205 09/24/2007
Washington State
SG 26 Michael Harthun
(South Medford HS)
Medford, OR
6-3/175/15.0 05/27/2007
Washington State
SG NR Nick Witherill
(Gilbert HS)
Gilbert, AZ
6-3/165 08/08/2006
Washington State


PF NR Brock Motum
(Australian Institute of Sports)
Canberra, Australia
6-9/215 11/04/2008
Washington State
PF NR David Chadwick
(Charlotte Latin School)
Charlotte, NC
6-8/215 09/22/2008
Washington State
PG 19 Xavier Thames
(Pleasant Grove HS)
Elk Grove, CA
6-3/177 06/24/2008
Washington State
SG NR Anthony Brown
(Shadle Park HS)
Spokane, WA
6-5/192/17.0 06/24/2007
Washington State

Washington State Analysis:
  The headliner is Thompson, who has All-Pac-10 caliber talent. Casto has a chance to be a solid interior player. Thames will be a starter.  Wazzou looks better than many others merely because of Thompson and having eight bodies in the span of two years at least gives them better odds at developing some players. Plus, Tony Bennett gets more from his players than most of the conference.



SF NR Leonard Washington
(Marshall (Thurgood))
Compton, CA
6-6/220 06/17/2008
PG JC Donte Smith
(Mount San Antonio)
Walnut, CA
6-0/180 09/01/2007
PG NR Percy Miller
(Beverly Hills HS)
Beverly Hills, CA
6-0/160 04/13/2007
SF 1 Demar DeRozan
(Compton HS)
Compton, CA
6-6/180/30.6 02/06/2007


PF NR Derrick Williams
(La Mirada HS)
La Mirada, CA
6-6/190 11/04/2008
SG 11 Noel Johnson
(Fayette County HS)
Fayetteville, GA
6-6/180 09/22/2008

USC Analysis:   Without DeRozan among these two recruiting classes, this is a pretty mediocre effort by the Trojans. If they bring in Solomon Hill, the wing who de-committed from Arizona, that would bolster 2009.  But still, USC will have to do better than this over the course of two years to continue to be an NCAA tournament team.



SF 26 Johnny Coy
(Benton HS)
St Joseph, MO
6-7/190/27.5 03/14/2007
Arizona State
PF NR Taylor Rohde
(Pinnacle HS)
Phoenix, AZ
6-8/215/20.7 07/17/2006
Arizona State


SF 32 Demetrius Walker
(St. Mary's HS)
Phoenix, AZ
6-4/185 11/18/2008
Arizona State
C NR Ruslan Pateev
(Montverde Academy)
Montverde, FL
6-11/235 11/12/2008
Arizona State
SG 18 Trent Lockett
(Hopkins Sr.)
Minnetonka, MN
6-5/185 10/18/2007

Arizona State Analysis: Given how Herb Sendek has turned around the ASU program, it's really not paying off in terms of recruiting. 2008 was a real swing and a miss; Rohde isn't a Pac-10 level player.  For 2009, Walker isn't either. Trent Lockett is good, and Pateev is someone we haven't seen but heard is a project.


SG NR Garland Judkins
(Brewster Academy)
Wolfeboro, NH
6-4/180 07/31/2008
SG 40 Kyle Fogg
(Brea-Olinda HS)
Brea, CA
SG NR Brendan Lavender
(Mountain View HS)
Mesa, AZ
6-4/180 05/04/2007

Arizona Analysis:  Fogg might be a bit under-rated, but that's about all we can say to spin the Arizona recruiting situation.   Hopefully they will hire a coach who will be able to sign some quality players in spring. If not, Arizona looks like they're falling into a black hole that will take them at least a few years to climb out of.



SG NR Jorge Gutierrez
(Findlay Prep)
Henderson, NV
6-3/200 05/07/2008
SG 15 D.J. Seeley
(Modesto Christian)
Modesto, CA
6-4/180 05/21/2007


PF JC Markuri Sanders-Frison
(South Plains)
Levelland, TX
6-8/265 10/26/2008
PF NR Bak Bak
(Village Christian Schools)
Sun Valley, CA
6-8/200 10/22/2008
PG NR Brandon Smith
(De La Salle HS)
Concord, CA
5-11/170 10/08/2008

Cal Analysis:  Seely has some talent, and Bak Bak, despite looking 25 years old, will be a decent player for the Bears.  Smith is a stretch, and we don't know Sanders-Frison or Gutierrez; hopefully they're better than we can reasonably expect. 



NR Elliott Bullock
(Olympus HS)
Salt Lake City, UT
6-10/- 12/08/2007
SG NR Jeremy Green
(Bowie HS)
Austin, TX
6-4/190/21.0 06/28/2007
SF 30 Jarrett Mann
(Blair Academy)
Blairstown, NJ
6-5/190/21.0 05/26/2007


PF NR Andy Brown
(Mater Dei HS)
Santa Ana, CA
6-8/200 11/05/2008

Stanford Analysis:  Green is a solid get for the Cardinal. Bullock is a walk-on.  Brown is a guy who Arizona also pursued out of desperation who we think isn't a Pac-10 level player.  Stanford needs to sign some talent in the spring.  They are looking at that same black hole we were talking about for Arizona.



G NR Kavon Rose
(Finney HS)
Detroit, MI
6-3/175 10/02/2007
Oregon State


SG 16 Roberto Nelson
(Santa Barbara HS)
Santa Barbara, CA
6-3/180 09/09/2008
Oregon State
C 31 Joe Burton
(West Valley HS)
Hemet, CA
6-7/270 08/04/2008
Oregon State

Oregon State Analysis:   We don't know Rose.  Nelson has some talent but issues.  Burton is a guy, if he continues to work and improve his body, could over-achieve against more highly-rated guys in the conference.  But perhaps Head Coach Craig Robison needs to bring his brother-in-law into some in-home visits with him, because the Beavers will have to do quite a bit better than this to pull out of the conference cellar.  Robinson's predecessor, Jay John, recruited far better and he couldn't do it.

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