In total, nine players departed early from the Pac-10 to pursue professional careers, including four of last year’s five first-team All-Pac-10 members, leaving Arizona State’s James Harden as the conference’s lone first-teamer to return for 2008-09.
Listed below is a roster breakdown for each Pac-10 team, listing who will and who will not be back for the 2008-09 season, as well as the impact newcomers to keep an eye on. A point worth noting is that some players (especially newcomers) have yet to achieve full academic eligibility, so the rosters are certainly subject to change.
(All statistics are from the 2007-08 season. All newcomer rankings are courtesy of Scout.com and newcomers are true freshmen unless otherwise indicated.)
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: G James Harden (17.8 ppg.), F Jeff Pendergraph (12.4 ppg.), G Ty Abbott (9.9 ppg.), G Derek Glasser (6.1 ppg.), G Jerren Shipp (5.9 ppg.), G/F Rihards Kuksiks (5.4 ppg.), C Eric Boateng (3.9 ppg.), G Jamelle McMillan (2.6 ppg.), F Kraidon Woods (0.8 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: G Christian Polk (3.5 ppg.; transfer to UTEP), G Antwi Atuahene (1.6 ppg.; graduation), G Steve Jones (0.0 ppg.; no longer with team)
Newcomers: F/G Johnny Coy (No. 26 SF), F Taylor Rohde (NR), F Trent Anderson (RS-Fr.; walk-on)
Analysis: There’s a reason why the Sun Devils are poised to be in the fall’s pre-season Top 25 rankings – they are probably the only Pac-10 squad that hasn’t lost any major contributors from last season. Harden and Pendergraph stand to be the best 1-2 punch in the league, and the cast of returning players is as good as anyone in the conference. Coy will add much needed outside shooting off the bench and if Rohde develops quickly he could see some minutes helping spell ASU’s big men.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: F Chase Budinger (17.1 ppg.), F Jordan Hill (13.2 ppg.), G Nic Wise (9.2 ppg.), F Jamelle Horne (3.0 ppg.), F Fendi Onobun (1.7 ppg.), F Zane Johnson (0.9 ppg.), G David Bagga (0.5 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: G Jerryd Bayless (19.7 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), G Jawann McClellan (8.4 ppg.; graduation), G Laval-Lucas Perry (4.0 ppg.; midseason transfer to Michigan), F Bret Brielmaier (2.7 ppg.; graduation), G Daniel Dillon (2.0 ppg.; graduation), C Kirk Walters (0.8 ppg.; graduation)
Newcomers: G Brandon Jennings (No. 1 PG), C Jeff Withey (No. 8 C), G Kyle Fogg (No. 40 SG), G Brendan Lavender (NR), C Alex Jacobson (RS-Fr.; No. 32 C in 2007)
Analysis: To say that the Wildcats dodged a major bullet with Budinger removing his name from the draft, would be a gross understatement. Wise opting not to leave the team helps too, and to a limited extent softens the departure of Bayless. But Arizona may not be in the clear yet, as Jennings has yet to qualify and recent reports are speculating that he may play overseas this coming season so he can put his name in the 2009 draft. Withey provides depth up front for the Cats.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: G Patrick Christopher (15.2 ppg.), G Jerome Randle (11.8 ppg.), F Jamal Boykin (7.8 ppg.), F Harper Kamp (4.4 ppg.), G Nikola Knezevic (2.6 ppg.), C Jordan Wilkes (1.7 ppg.), G Nican Robinson (1.3 ppg.), G David Liss (0.9 ppg.), G Eddie Miller (0.3 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: F Ryan Anderson (21.1 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), C DeVon Hardin (9.3 ppg.; graduation), F Eric Vierneisel (5.1 ppg.; graduation)
Newcomers: G D.J. Seeley (No. 15 SG), G Jorge Gutierrez (NR)
Analysis: Anderson’s departure is one of the most severe among the Pac-10 teams. Yet, the Bears could recover if Seeley continues to be the scoring machine that he was in high school. Christopher and Randle are some of the more accomplished returning players in the league, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Cal enjoy a significant improvement from last year.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: G Tajuan Porter (13.9 ppg.), F Joevan Catron (8.8 ppg.), G Kamyron Brown (4.2 ppg.), G LeKendric Longmire (3.8 ppg.), F Frantz Dorsainvil (3.3 ppg.), G Churchill Odia (1.8 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: G Malik Hairston (16.3 ppg.; graduation), F Maarty Leunen (15.2 ppg,; graduation), G Bryce Taylor (12.8 ppg.; graduation), C Mitch Platt (1.3 ppg.; graduation), C Ray Schafer (1.2 ppg.; graduation), F Drew Viney (1.5 ppg.; transfer)
Newcomers: C Michael Dunigan (No. 5 C), F Drew Wiley (No. 21 SF), G Garrett Sim (No. 28 PG), C Josh Crittle (No. 29 C), G Matthew Humphrey, (No. 32 SG), G Teondre Williams (No. 35 SG)
Analysis: Touting a 20th ranked recruiting class numbering six players; the Ducks may just offset the losses of three of their top four scorers from last year. Oregon has been sharply defined by their fine guard play, and it will be interesting to see if their style changes much with the insertion of blue chip center Dunigan and a solid newcomer in Crittle. Porter could feel less pressure offensively if the newcomer guards live up to their accolades.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: G/F Seth Tarver (9.6 ppg.), G Lathen Wallace (7.5 ppg.), F Omari Johnson (7.3 ppg.), G Josh Tarver (6.7 ppg.), G Calvin Haynes (5.5 ppg.), F/C Roeland Schaftenaar (4.6 ppg.), F/C Sean Carter (3.3 ppg.), F/C Calvin Hampton (3.3 ppg.), G Rickey Claitt (3.0 ppg.), G Joey McConnell (1.0 ppg.), G Kyle Bjornstad (0.7 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: F Marcel Jones (10.4 ppg.; graduation), F/C C.J. Giles (6.3 ppg; dismissed from team), G Michael Stovall (0.9 ppg.; no longer with team)
Newcomers: G Kavon Rose (NR)
Analysis: With only one newcomer, and a lightly recruited one as is, the only hope the Beavers have is that their plethora of returning players successfully shake off a winless Pac-10 season. Oregon State is likely to be selected last in the pre-season Pac-10 poll and they have a mountain to climb to prove that prediction wrong.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: G Anthony Goods (10.0 ppg.), F Lawrence Hill (8.6 ppg.), G Mitch Johnson (6.7 ppg.), G Kenny Brown (4.2 ppg), G Landry Fields (4.1 ppg.), F Josh Owens (1.7 ppg.), G Drew Shiller (3.3 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: F Brook Lopez (19.3 ppg; NBA Draft early entry), C Robin Lopez (10.2 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), F Taj Finger (5.9 ppg.; graduation), F Fred Washington (4.4 ppg.; graduation), C Peter Prowitt (1.3 ppg; graduation)
Newcomers: F Jarrett Mann (No. 30 SF), G Jeremy Green (NR)
Analysis: With the Lopez twins going pro, and no proven low post players returning, the Cardinal have suddenly become the proverbial “donut team.” All signs point to a rougher season at the farm, and a coaching change surely doesn’t guarantee continued success. Yet, don’t underestimate players as Goods, Hill and Johnson picking up the slack and helping Stanford to a respectable season.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: G Darren Collison (14.5 ppg.), G/F Josh Shipp (12.2 ppg.), F/C Alfred Aboya (2.9 ppg.), F James Keefe (2.8 ppg.), G/F Michael Roll (2.8 ppg.), F Nikola Dragovic (2.5 ppg.), G Mustafa Abdul-Hamid (1.2 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: C Kevin Love (17.5 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), G Russell Westrbook (12.7 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (8.8 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), C Lorenzo Mata-Real (3.1 ppg.; graduation), G/F Chace Stanback (1.8 ppg; transfer), G Matt Lee (0.5 ppg.; graduation)
Newcomers: G Jrue Holiday (No. 1 SG), G Jerime Anderson (No. 3 PG), C J’mison Morgan (No. 3 C), G Malcolm Lee (No. 7 SG), F Drew Gordon (No. 15 PF)
Analysis: They don’t rebuild, they reload. This sports cliché truly defines the Bruins, the top-seeded 2008 recruiting class in the nation. Up until a few weeks ago there was perhaps some concern with post-play presence and the ability to fill in the shoes of Love, but Morgan stands an excellent chance to carry out that daunting task. UCLA’s guard rotation with Holiday, Anderson and Lee, coupled with the returning Collision, is beyond impressive.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: F Taj Gibson (10.8 ppg.), G Dwight Lewis (10.8 ppg.), G Daniel Hackett (8.6 ppg.), G Angelo Johnson (4.5 ppg.), F Kasey Cunningham (2.7 ppg.), F Keith Wilkinson (2.5 ppg.), G Terence Green (1.0 ppg.), F RouSean Cromwell (0.7 ppg.), F Mamadou Diarra (0.7 ppg.), G Marcus Simmons (0.5 ppg.), G Ryan Wetherell (0.3 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: G O.J. Mayo (20.7 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry), F Davon Jefferson (12.1 ppg.; NBA Draft early entry)
Newcomers: F Demar DeRozan (No. 1 SF), G Percy Miller (NR), G Donte Smith (NR; sophomore JC transfer), G Malik Story (NR)
Analysis: The Trojans can sustain the loss of Mayo with DeRozan onboard. However, replacing Jefferson is a greater task than some may think. USC may take a slight step back from last year, but likely will still end up in the upper echelon of the conference.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: F Jon Brockman (17.8 ppg), F Quincy Poindexter (9.9 ppg.), G Justin Dentmon (9.8 ppg.), G Venoy Overton (4.9 ppg.), F Matthew Bryan-Amaning (4.2 ppg.), C Joe Wolfinger (4.2 ppg.), G Joel Smith (4.1 ppg.), C Artem Wallace (3.2 ppg.), F Justin Holiday (0.7 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: G Ryan Appleby (11.2 ppg.), G Tim Morris (7.2 ppg.)
Newcomers: F Darnell Gant (RS-Fr.), G Scott Suggs (No. 11 SG), G Elston Turner (No. 23 SG), F Tyreese Breshers (No. 33 PF), G Isaiah Thomas (NR)
Analysis: The losses of Appleby and Morris shouldn’t be underestimated, but the Huskies’ 21st ranked recruiting class, highlighted by Suggs and Turner is a virtual guarantee to make up for that. Furthermore Brockman heads a solid list of returning players who will benefit from some conference play experience under their belt. Undoubtedly, expectations in Seattle will be sky high this year and the results will probably follow.
Key Players Returning for 2008-09: C Aron Baynes (10.4 ppg.), G Taylor Rochestie (10.4 ppg.), F Daven Harmeling (5.6 ppg.), F Caleb Forrest (3.4 ppg.), G Nikola Koprivica (2.5 ppg.)
Gone From 2007-08: G Derrick Low (14.1 ppg.; graduation), G Kyle Weaver (12.2 ppg.; graduation), F Robbie Cowgill (7.3 ppg.; graduation), G Jeremy Cross (0.4 ppg.; graduation), C Chris Henry (0.3 ppg.; graduation), G Stephen Sauls (2.1 ppg.; no longer with team), G Thomas Abercrombie (1.2 ppg.; no longer with team)
Newcomers: F Fabian Boeke (RS-Fr.), F Charlie Enquist (RS-Fr.), G Abe Lodwick (RS-Fr.), F Klay Thompson (No. 9 SF), G Michael Harthun (No. 26 SG), F James Watson (No. 38 PF), F Marcus Capers (NR), F DeAngelo Castro (NR), G Nick Witherill (NR)
Analysis: Right now the Cougars may be the toughest team to figure out for the 2008-09 season. Low and Weaver were the foundation of the successful run enjoyed in Pullman the last couple of years. Their quality of newcomers doesn’t necessarily sweep you of your feet, but then again it’s par for the course with Washington State’s identity. It may be hard for Wazzu to duplicate their recent success but on the other hand a 180 degree reversal is improbable.
Joe Healey is a 2006 graduate of Arizona State University and a guest contributor to Devils Digest. He is also a feature writer each month in Maroon and Gold Illustrated and has contributed to ASU media guides, press releases and other official athletic publications. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.