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The Pac-12 Basketball Dearly Departed

What Pac-12 squads lose the most talent going into 2017-18?

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting for 2018 is an ongoing process but otherwise we are in a serious lull in the college basketball season. Now that the NBA draft is over, we’re going to look this week at what each team in the Pac-12 is losing going into the season before looking at what each one is returning and adding in the following weeks. Teams will be presented in order of who lost the most talent either to graduation, transfer, or early entry to the draft to who lost the least. We start with the only Pac-12 school to make the Final 4.

12. Oregon Ducks

Players Lost to Graduation: C Chris Boucher, PG Dylan Ennis

Players Lost to Transfer: PG Casey Benson, C Kavell Bigby-Wiliams

Players Lost to Early Entry in NBA Draft: SF Dillon Brooks, PF Jordan Bell, SG Tyler Dorsey

% of Points lost: 86.38%

% of Assists lost: 72.31%

% of Steals lost: 79.05%

% of Blocks lost: 93.5%

% of Rebounds lost: 84.5%

The Ducks lose 7 of their 8 major contributors from last season’s squad. The one player they retained is a point guard which is evident from the fact that they lost the smallest percentage of their assists. Brooks and Bell were no doubters to leave to the draft but Dorsey was likely a disappointment for Ducks fans and probably would have stayed if not for a stellar performance in the NCAA tournament. All three ended up 2nd round picks in a stacked draft so it’s tough to say whether or not they all made the right decision. The transfer of Benson was a surprise but Bigby-Williams may have a bigger impact. His departure means that Oregon only has one returner over 6’7” on the roster and a gaping hole in the interior.

11. California Golden Bears

Players Lost to Graduation: SF Roger Moute a Bidias, SF Jabari Bird, PG Grant Mullins, SF Stephen Domingo, SG Sam Singer

Players Lost to Transfer: PG Charlie Moore, C Kameron Rooks

Players Lost to Early Entry in NBA Draft: PF Ivan Rabb

% of Points lost: 87.16%

% of Assists lost: 88.28%

% of Steals lost: 90%

% of Blocks lost: 50.66%

% of Rebounds lost: 79.04%

What occurred at Cal with the departure of Cuonzo Martin was what Husky fans worried might happen post-Lorenzo Romar but didn’t. Everyone disappeared. It isn’t surprising that an opportunist like Cuonzo left just before losing 6 players to the draft or graduation. However, the 2 transfers probably don’t happen if he stays. The loss of Charlie Moore in particular is crushing for the Bears. Moore was one of the surprises of the conference last season averaging 12 points and 3.5 assists as a true freshman but will restart his career playing for Bill Self at Kansas. The Golden Bears and new coach Wyking Jones only retain one rotation player from last season’s team in the form of shot blocker specialist Kingsley Okoroh which makes the blocks percentage lost above look much better than everything else.

10. Washington State Cougars

Players Lost to Graduation: PF Josh Hawkinson, PG Ike Iroegbu, C Conor Clifford, SG Charles Callison

Players Lost to Transfer: SF Darrien King

% of Points lost: 69.19%

% of Assists lost: 64.68%

% of Steals lost: 63.57%

% of Blocks lost: 72.62%

% of Rebounds lost: 68.99%

The Cougars’ advanced metrics last season were terrible but they managed to scratch together 6 conference wins on the back of a senior laden team. The downside to having a bunch of seniors is that it kills your depth once they all graduate. Washington State loses 5 of their 7 best players including Josh Hawkinson who didn’t get the attention he deserved averaging a double double his last 2 seasons. The cupboard is pretty bare now and Ernesto will have a tough time getting back to 6 wins again next year.

9. UCLA Bruins

Players Lost to Graduation: SG Isaac Hamilton, SG Bryce Alford

Players Lost to Early entry in NBA Draft: PG Lonzo Ball, PF T.J Leaf, C Ike Anigbogu

% of Points lost: 70.99%

% of Assists lost: 72.11%

% of Steals lost: 64.62%

% of Blocks lost: 59.16%

% of Rebounds lost: 63.75%

Whenever a player actually stays for all 4 years at UCLA it somehow seems like they’ve been there for 14. That’s the case for coach’s son Bryce Alford who has seemingly been there forever but is now officially gone. The bigger losses were 1st round picks Lonzo Ball and T.J Leaf. UCLA will still have plenty of talent and the opportunity to reload instantly but that strategy hasn’t consistently worked for Steve Alford so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins take a step back. Lonzo Ball was an incredible talent and it will be hard to recreate the magic of last season’s team without him.

8. Colorado Buffaloes

Players Lost to Graduation: PG Derrick White, PF Xavier Johnson, PF Wesley Gordon, SG Josh Fortune

Players Lost to Transfer: SG Bryce Peters, SG Thomas Akyazili

% of Points lost: 64.69%

% of Assists lost: 75.43%

% of Steals lost: 61.45%

% of Blocks lost: 83.69%

% of Rebounds lost: 59.63%

Colorado had 4 senior starters last year and now they are all gone. That is a killer for Tad Boyle and he may have to shift into rebuilding mode for a season before going after another NCAA tournament birth. However, last year’s team suffered from chemistry problems despite the veteran leadership so maybe this will help clear the air in Boulder. The transfer of Bryce Peters shouldn’t hurt much as he averaged less than 5 points a game last season.

7. Utah Utes

Players Lost to Graduation: SF Gabe Bealer, PG Lorenzo Bonam

Players Lost to Transfer: SG Devon Daniels, SG Jojo Zamora

Players Lost to Early Entry in NBA Draft: PF Kyle Kuzma

% of Points lost: 58.94%

% of Assists lost: 61.66%

% of Steals lost: 58.42%

% of Blocks lost: 39.42%

% of Rebounds lost: 54.31%

Kyle Kuzma was able to parlay a very good junior year into being drafted as a 1st year pick and he’ll be sorely missed by Utah. Bonam was a very solid senior point guard who fit in perfectly with Utah’s interior oriented attack. The transfers of guards JoJo Zamora and Devon Daniels greatly hurts Utah’s perimeter depth as the pair combined for 17 points and 4 assists.

6. Arizona Wildcats

Players Lost to Graduation: PG Kadeem Allen

Players Lost to Transfer: PF Chase Comanche

Players Lost to Early Entry in NBA Draft: PF Lauri Markannen, SG Kobi Simmons

% of Points lost: 51.64%

% of Assists lost: 43.71%

% of Steals lost: 48.26%

% of Blocks lost: 47.9%

% of Rebounds lost: 47.6%

The Wildcats knew that Markannen was gone since December but the early entry of Kobi Simmons was a shock. Especially after he didn’t get drafted. Losing the veteran leadership at point guard in Kadeem Allen will hurt. Chase Comanche averaged 6 points per game off the bench but should be fairly replaceable in Tucson. Most teams would be devastated losing this amount of talent but Sean Miller will likely still be able to keep things humming.

5. Arizona State Sun Devils

Players Lost to Graduation: SF Torian Graham, PF Obinna Oleka

Players Lost to Transfer: C Andre Adams, SG Sam Cunliffe, PG Romaine Jackson, SG Maurice O’Field, SG Chris Odionu, C Jethro Tshisumpa

% of Points lost: 44.71%

% of Assists lost: 23.1%

% of Steals lost: 38.5%

% of Blocks lost: 67.35%

% of Rebounds lost: 58.84%

Arizona State may lead the country in the number of players transferring out of the program. Between that and graduation they lose 8 of their 13 roster spots. However, only 2 of those players actually contributed on the court which is why they are still 5th on this list. ASU ran a 6-man rotation last year so the losses of Olekka and Graham are the only ones that hurt too much. Tshisumpa was highly recruited and expected to contribute this year so that one stung. Cunliffe was also a big recruiting get but he announced his transfer back in December so he also has little impact in terms of playing time lost.

4. Washington Huskies

Players Lost to Graduation: C Malik Dime

Players Lost to Transfer: PF Matthew Atewe

Players Lost to Early Entry in NBA Draft: PG Markelle Fultz

% of Points lost: 32.41%

% of Assists lost: 41.22%

% of Steals lost: 28.11%

% of Blocks lost: 51.81%

% of Rebounds lost: 28.07%

The Dawgs may have lost the #1 pick in the NBA draft but they didn’t lose much else. Malik Dime missed half they year with a hand injury anyways and Matthew Atewe spent the last half of conference play in Romar’s dawghouse so the percentage losses aren’t all that high. Blocks is the one category where UW really suffers since Dime and Fultz were the leading 2 shot blockers on the team. The one thing that doesn’t get taken into account here is the fact that Fultz was the primary ball handler for probably two-thirds of the team’s minutes.

3. Stanford Cardinal

Players Lost to Graduation: PG Christian Sanders, SG Marcus Allen, PF Grant Verhoeven

Players Lost to Transfer: SG Malcolm Allen

% of Points lost: 21.17%

% of Assists lost: 40.5%

% of Steals lost: 32.83%

% of Blocks lost: 14.29%

% of Rebounds lost: 21.98%

The only starter that Stanford loses is Marcus Allen. He was 2nd on the team in minutes and 1st in steals. Sanders was the backup point guard but had a Turnover Rate of almost 40% so that is probably addition by subtraction for him to graduate. It’s not a surprise that Malcolm Allen transferred since he hardly played last season and now his brother has graduated. Stanford was young but extremely talented last season and should only get better this year.

2. Oregon State Beavers

Players Lost to Graduation: C Cheikh N’Diaye

Players Lost to Transfer: SF Matt Dahlen

% of Points lost: 3.86%

% of Assists lost: 5.37%

% of Steals lost: 4.85%

% of Blocks lost: 9.48%

% of Rebounds lost: 8.31%

Now we arrive at the two teams who stand to be the biggest climbers in the standings in 2017-18. Cheikh N’Diaye saw some time as the 3rd team center but the Beavers essentially bring back their entire team. They were the worst team in the conference last year so that may or may not be a good thing but continuity and experience are huge in college basketball and last season’s squad wasn’t devoid of talent the way that Wazzu is.

1. USC Trojans

Players Lost to Graduation: PF Charles Buggs

% of Points lost: 2.05%

% of Assists lost: 0.75%

% of Steals lost: 3.23%

% of Blocks lost: 5.35%

% of Rebounds lost: 3.64%

The Trojans will likely be my pick for 2nd best team in the conference and this is one big part of it. USC brings back their top-9 players in minutes from a season ago and there was plenty of talent to start with. The core of their team are now juniors and seniors which puts them in prime position to catch up to if not surpass their neighbors at UCLA on the basketball court for a couple of years at least.