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Pac-12 Basketball Newcomer Power Rankings

Who will be the new faces to keep track of around the conference this fall?

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we took a look at who each team was bringing back in the conference which means today it’s time to focus on who each team is adding. A reminder that I am considering a player as an addition if they did not use up a year of eligibility for their school last year and are eligible this year. That includes guys who transferred in two years ago and had to sit last season out and guys who redshirted due to injury. Listed recruiting rankings come from the 247 composite rankings.

12. Oregon State Beavers- 3 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Jack Wilson, 6’11, C- 3 star, #282 Overall

Warren Washington, 6’11, PF- 3 star, #354 Overall

Jordan Campbell, 6’2, SG- 3 star, #475 Overall

Antoine Vernon, 5’11, PG- NR

Incoming JUCO- 1

Kylor Kelley, 7’1, C- Lane Community College

Incoming Transfers- 1?

Payton Dastrup, 6’9, PF- BYU

Give Wayne Tinkle some credit for knowing what the deficiency was on this roster and going after it with a vengeance. Oregon State lost their primary big man in Drew Eubanks and so they are bringing a trio of 6’11+ players and are hoping that one of them will be able to be a reasonable facsimile. The most likely of those is Jack Wilson who will have good size even as a freshman and at the very least will be an able rebounder although he’s a little raw on offense. Warren Washington will need to put on some weight but has the length to eventually be a plus big man defender. Kelley is a junior JUCO transfer who is very tall but it’s unclear how good a player he is.

It’s possible that OSU has a diamond in the rough in either Jordan Campbell or Antoine Vernon but both were lightly recruited. The 247 database doesn’t even have a profile on Vernon who is undersized but was productive coming from Canada. The way that OSU rises up this list is if they can get Payton Dastrup eligible. He was a fringe top-100 recruit at BYU before taking his mission and played sparingly last season before deciding to transfer to Corvallis. His comments indicate he thinks he can get a waiver to play immediately and if so, will provide a major infusion of experienced depth for the Beavers. Until that happens though I’m not counting him and thus OSU stays last.

11. Washington State Cougars- 4 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 2

C.J Elleby, 6’6, SF- 3 star, #379 Overall

Aljaz Kunc, 6’8, SF- 2 star

Incoming JUCO- 4

Isaiah Wade, 6’8, PF- Iowa Western Community College

Marvin Cannon, 6’5, SF- Barton Community College

Ahmed Ali, 5’11, PG- Eastern Florida State College

Jervae Robinson, 6’2, PG- Otero Junior College

If you haven’t been paying attention, Ernie Kent has been having some issues over in Pullman. That has led to him effectively punting on trying to sign high schoolers and instead deciding to focus almost entirely in the JUCO ranks. That makes it a little difficult to really judge how good or bad the players Wazzu gets are. There are clearly going to be some steals out there but there’s no reason to think that the Cougars found one in this group until they get on campus.

C.J Elleby was a very good high school player at Cleveland High in Seattle and should be a rotation piece from Day 1 for Washington State. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him have the kind of development that Malachi Flynn did where he becomes a true impact player his sophomore year after some efficiency struggles as a freshman. Otherwise, the JUCO guys all put up good numbers but they were playing against other small JUCO teams so it’s hard to know how any of that is going to translate.

10. Colorado Buffaloes- 8 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 3

Daylen Kountz, 6’4, SG- 3 star, #387 Overall

Elijah Parquet, 6’4, SG- 3 star, #395 Overall

Jakub Bombek, 6’9, PF- 3 star

Incoming JUCO- 1

Shane Gatling, 6’2, CG- Indian Hills Community College

Redshirted Players- 1

Evan Battey, 6’6, PF- Class of 2017 3 star, #138 Overall

The Buffs bring back a significant amount of talent which put them third in my returners rankings. However, they aren’t adding very much in the way of new talent. Battey was one of the best pieces of Colorado’s recruiting class last year but was ruled ineligible and forced to take a redshirt. As a fellow 6’6 power forward he should be able to step in and take some of George King’s minutes and be respectable doing it.

The combination of Kountz, Parquet, and Gatling gives Colorado a trio of shoot first guards and the hope is that one of them will be able to plug the hole caused by the graduation of Dominique Collier. Bombek is from the Czech Republic so the scouting reports on him are not very complete. Getting Battey back helps but this recruiting class was seemingly a step backwards for Colorado after a phenomenal 2017 class for Tad Boyle.

9. Washington Huskies- 15 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Jamal Bey, 6’6, SF- 4 star, #106 Overall

Bryan Penn-Johnson, 7’0, C- 3 star, #172 Overall

Elijah Hardy, 6’2, PG- 3 star, #198 Overall

Nate Roberts, 6’11, C- 3 star, #241 Overall

Coach Hopkins’ first full recruiting class was solid but it doesn’t hold up to the majority of the conference. But with a supremely senior-laden team the Huskies didn’t need a load of 5-star freshmen to field a competitive team. The hope is that this class will be able to fill in some gaps if called upon this year and then be a foundational group the following 3-4 years beginning in 2019.

Jamal Bey was ranked around 250th nationally when he signed with Washington over Gonzaga but he exploded in his senior year and it looks like he’ll challenge the wing trio of Thybulle, Green, and Carter for some playing time right away despite how loaded the Dawgs are there. Bryan Penn-Johnson reached as high as 40th in some recruiting rankings last summer before plummeting after a disappointing senior year. He has absurd measurables and will be a force if he can figure out the rest of the game. Nate Roberts provides some backup in case he can’t as another long lean center prospect who grew 4+ inches in his junior/senior years and so is still adjusting to life in the post. Finally, Elijah Hardy looks like he has all of the tools to be a good 4-year guard along the lines of a Justin Dentmon if he can improve his 3-point shot. In the mean time he’ll at least be a capable backup for David Crisp with the outside possibility he pushes Crisp for playing time down the stretch if he can play defense from day one.

Nine of the twelve teams in the conference brought in at least 6 new players which means that it was close to impossible for the Huskies to finish much better than this on the list.

8. USC Trojans- 24 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 3

Kevin Porter Jr, 6’5, SG- 5 star, #28 Overall

Elijah Weaver, 6’4, CG- 4 star, #45 Overall

J’Raan Brooks, 6’8, PF- 4 star, #77 Overall

And here’s the only one of those teams with less than 6 new players to finish higher than Washington. This one obviously hurts for Husky fans given that it features a pair of Seattle stars in Porter and Brooks. The real loss is Porter who balled out in a scrimmage against the USA U18 team and was reportedly the best player on the court. That moved him up to 5 star status in just about all of the recruiting rankings and he’ll almost certainly start from day one in L.A and be in the NBA a year from now.

Elijah Weaver is more of a combo guard than a true point but with only Duke transfer Derryck Thornton on the roster at PG there’s a decent chance that Weaver and Porter make up an all-freshman starting backcourt for Andy Enfield. J’Raan Brooks flirted with the Huskies and committed 3 different times but ultimately ended up with the Trojans. He views himself as a small forward and will likely be the backup to Bennie Boatwright to start the season. However, Boatwright has struggled with injuries so it’s possible Brooks ends the year with a bigger role. This USC roster is loaded with talent and even though the 2019 class looks like it’ll far surpass the 2018 one, the 2018 class is pretty damn good for its size.

7. California Golden Bears- 24 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Matt Bradley, 6’4, SF- 4 star, #112 Overall

Jacobi Gordon, 6’6, SF- 3 star, #147 Overall

Andre Kelly, 6’7, PF- 3 star, #270 Overall

Connor Vanover, 7’2, C- 3 star, #350 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 2

Paris Austin, 6’0, PG- Boise State Broncos (12.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg)

Matz Stockman, 7’0, C- Minnesota Golden Gophers (1.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg)

The Bears lost pretty much all of their interior talent and picked up a pair of late additions to try to rectify the problem. Matz Stockman was a career backup at Louisville, transferred to Minnesota, then transferred to Cal without playing so it’s hard to think he’ll be more than a rotation piece. Vanover is a really big dude at 7’2 but he seems incredibly raw. Those are the only two players over 6’8 on Cal’s roster so they’ll still be susceptible to being overwhelmed by teams with elite size.

The good news is that Cal was able to add good talent on the wing. The additions of Matt Bradley and Jacobi Gordon will give the Bears some much needed firepower from the outside. But the biggest addition will probably be the transfer in of Paris Austin. He put up good numbers in the WAC for Boise as a sophomore and joins a roster that has a gaping hole at point guard. I don’t think Austin is quite going to have the impact that Justin Bibbins did at Utah last year but he will be a massive upgrade over Don Coleman and should help bring Cal to at least respectable.

6. Stanford Cardinal- 29 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Cormac Ryan, 6’5, CG- 4 star, #66 Overall

Bryce Wills, 6’5, SG- 3 star, #141 Overall

Lukas Kisunas, 6’8, C- 3 star, #206 Overall

Keenan Fitzmorris, 6’11, C- 3 star, #222 Overall

Redshirted Players- 1

Marcus Sheffield, 6’5, SF- Class of 2015 4 star, #107 Overall

Stanford will benefit from getting Marcus Sheffield back from injury after he averaged about 20 minutes per game in each of his first two seasons in Palo Alto. They’ll also add in another 4 players at 6’5 or taller and continue to be one of the longest teams in the country. Cormac Ryan is the star and will take over for Dorian Pickens to form a fearsome backcourt alongside Daejon Davis. With the transfer of Reid Travis and graduation of Michael Humphrey there is room for at least one of Lukas Kisunas and Keenan Fitzmorris to get some playing time down low. Bryce Wills will likely be a backup on the wing but has the ability to see more playing time in future seasons.

This group of incoming players for Stanford is devoid of 5-star talent but it also doesn’t contain any riff raff. All of these players will contribute if not this season then at a later point down the road. Expect the Cardinal to roll out lineups of: 6’4, 6’5, 6’8, 6’9, 7’0 next season and out-length everyone.

5. Utah Utes- 34 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 5

Both Gach, 6’7, SF- 4 star, #119 Overall

Timmy Allen, 6’6, SF- 4 star, #127 Overall

Riley Battin, 6’9, C- 3 star, #223 Overall

Lahat Thioune, 6’11, PF- 3 star, #266 Overall

Naseem Gaskin, 6’3, SG- 3 star, #464 Overall

Incoming JUCO- 1

Charles Jones, 6’2, PG- 3 star, College of Southern Idaho

Redshirted Players- 1

Vante Hendrix (changed name from Devante Doutrive), 6’5, SG- Class of 2017 3 star, #183 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 1

Novak Topalovic, 7’0, C- Idaho State (10.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg)

I had Utah last in my returners rankings and they mostly make up for it with a solid ranking here. The Utes are bringing in 8 new players which means it’s basically a whole new team next year. The best talent appears to be coming on the wing where both Both Gach and Timmy Allen are 4 star small forwards who could play together to give elite size at the 2 and the 3. Given that Novak Topalovic is a grad transfer I would expect him to get a good amount of playing time as at least the backup to Jayce Johnson down low while at least one of Lahat Thioune and Riley Battin redshirt.

Perhaps more interesting though is how the guard situation plays out. Charles Jones was one of the more sought after JUCO players in the country and could easily come in and replace most of what Justin Bibbins provided as a grad transfer last year. Vante Hendrix had to sit a year for eligibility reasons but has good size at the guard spot to make an impact. Naseem Gaskin played alongside UW’s Elijah Hardy and it wouldn’t surprise me if he vastly outperforms his recruiting ranking. This is a solid haul for the West Coast Coach K but it’s mostly the volume that pushes Utah this high up the list. But then again there aren’t many better than Larry Krystkowiak at getting the most out of his talent.

4. UCLA Bruins- 40 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 6

Moses Brown, 7’0, C- 5 star, #27 Overall

Shareef O’Neal, 6’9, PF- 4 star, #40 Overall

Jules Bernard, 6’6, SG- 4 star, #54 Overall

David Singleton, 6’5, SG- 4 star, #81 Overall

Tyger Campbell, 6’0, PG- 4 star, #89 Overall

Kenny Nwuba, 6’10, C- 3 star, #243 Overall

There are probably a lot of upset UCLA fans reading this (or more likely there aren’t any UCLA fans reading this because they’re pretty rare) at the fact that I have them 4th in the Pac-12 newcomer rankings despite a 6th ranked nationally recruiting class. Well there are more to newcomers than just incoming freshmen although that isn’t the case for UCLA.

Steve Alford was able to poach Shareef O’Neal away from Arizona during the 3 days it looked like Sean Miller was getting fired and is pairing him with another top big man in Moses Brown. That combination will overpower a lot of teams in the conference. There’s also great talent coming in on the wing with the duo of David Singleton and Jules Bernard who may have a hard time starting on a loaded roster but who will definitely play. There’s a pretty big hole at PG for the Bruins which means that Tyger Campbell will have an outside shot at starting there despite not being a 5 star which is what’s normally expected in Westwood. Finally Kenny Nwuba is far and away the least heralded UCLA recruit but adds some solid depth. It’s a very good class but is a notch behind the classes above them here in my mind.

3. Arizona Wildcats- 48 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 3

Brandon Williams, PG, 6’2- 4 star, #34 Overall

Devonaire Doutrive, 6’5, SG- 4 star, #71 Overall

Omar Thielemans, 6’7, SF- 4 star, #116 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 3

Chase Jeter, 6’10, C- Duke (2.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg)

Ryan Luther, 6’9, PF- Pittsburgh (12.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.8 apg)

Justin Coleman, 5’10, PG- Samford (13.5 ppg, 6.6 apg)

Sean Miller was able to pull the Arizona airplane out of a tailspin from when they had no commits back in February. Brandon Williams is the crown jewel of the recruiting class and will likely be given the keys to the car (metaphorically but probably also literally knowing Arizona) the day he sets foot on campus. Devonaire Doutrive has had a weird recruitment that saw him reclassify and pick up little interest but he’s rated as a top-100 recruit. (And thank God Vante Hendrix changed his name from Devante Doutrive so we don’t have two Dev. Doutrives who are 6’5 shooting guards in the conference. Imagine Roxy Bernstein trying to explain that to Bill Walton.) Thielemans is from Belgium but also looks to be a solid 4-year type player.

The real meat of the class though comes from the transfer market. Chase Jeter sat out all of last year coming back to the West Coast after 2 years at Duke. He’s a former 5-star recruit and if he puts it together could easily start for Arizona. They’re also bringing in a duo of grad transfers. Ryan Luther was probably the best player on a historically bad Pittsburgh team but it wouldn’t shock me to see him average something like 10 points and 8 rebounds for the Wildcats. Backing up Brandon Williams at PG will be the diminutive Justin Coleman who was very good for the equally diminutive Samford. This isn’t the top-5 recruiting class that Arizona is used to but the instant impact pieces due to the transfers are still there for a run to the NCAA tournament.

(Arizona this week added a grad transfer in Cornell C Stone Gettings. However, it appears he’ll join the team in December then sit out this year even though he could be eligible for conference play to preserve a full season of eligibility. So he’ll be on this list next summer.)

2. Arizona State Sun Devils- 47 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Luguentz Dort, 6’4, SG- 4 star, #30 Overall

Taeshon Cherry, 6’8, SF- 4 star, #38 Overall

Uros Plavsic, 7’1, C- 4 star, #108 Overall

Elias Valtonen, 6’6, SG- 4 star, #124 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 2

Rob Edwards, 6’4, SG- Cleveland State (16.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 apg)

Zylan Cheatham, 6’8, PF- San Diego State (9.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.4 apg)

The Sun Devils would probably like to swap out one of their shooting guards for a true point but otherwise this class fills the holes on the roster nicely. They brought back all of their centers and so they reloaded on the wing while still adding in a depth piece inside with Plavsic. The twin (high 4) stars of the recruiting class are Dort and Cherry who each have the potential to be one and done type talents. Expect them to fill the starting spots left open by Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice with Cherry serving as an upgrade for the latter. There’s no obvious path to playing time for Valtonen given the glut of shooting guards on the roster but he has talent for sure.

The thing that takes this group of newcomers up another level are the pair of transfers Edwards and Cheatham. The Sun Devils lost a ton of veteran leadership to graduation so it’ll be useful for them to have a few extra experienced voices helping to lead what is otherwise a very young squad. Rob Edwards was a volume scorer at Cleveland State much the way Elijah Brown was at New Mexico before transferring to Oregon. If he can cut down on his turnover problems then he’ll be a big boost. Cheatham gives Hurley another option to play at the 3 or 4 depending on whether he wants to go small or big.

1. Oregon Ducks- 48 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Bol Bol, 7’2, C- 5 star, #4 Overall

Louis King, 6’8, SF- 5 star, #20 Overall

Will Richardson, 6’4, SG- 4 star, #44 Overall

Miles Norris, 6’10, PF- 4 star, #73 Overall

Redshirted Players- 1

Will Johnson, 6’1, PG- 2 star (FWO)

Incoming Transfers- 1

Ehab Amin, 6’4, SG- Texas A&M Corpus Christi (16.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.4 SPG)

It’s painful to behold but there’s no question that the Ducks are bringing in the most talent in the conference this off-season. They already had the top recruiting class in the conference and a top-5 in the nation even before hitting the transfer market. The most recent addition is Ehab Amin who finished 2nd in the nation in steals his last year at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Matisse will likely still lead the conference since I don’t expect Amin to play 30 minutes per game but on a per minute basis it might be close.

The highest rated member of the recruiting class is Bol Bol, son of former NBA player Manute Bol. He’s a premier shot blocker and while he doesn’t have the NBA-ready body that DeAndre Ayton did, he is longer and possibly a better shooter. Between Bol and Kenny Wooten I don’t know how anyone will make a layup against Oregon. Louis King is another long skilled forward in the mold of Troy Brown who was a one and done for Oregon this year. Will Richardson is a good shooter and good athlete who was one of the best shooting guards in this year’s class. And Miles Norris started over UW recruit Nate Roberts at Brewster Academy and gives them another skilled big man.

If you took the five key players from this recruiting class as a starting five it would be one of the best teams in the conference. When you add in what Oregon was returning it provides a convincing argument that they’re the team to beat.

EDIT (7/23/18): Oregon announced yesterday that their top-50 recruit from the class of 2019 (6’9 PF Francis Okoro) is reclassifying and joining the team this season. They were already number one in that category but that would be by an even greater margin now.

Next week I’ll put the results of these two rankings together for my final summer power rankings before we get into the preseason.

You can follow me @UWDP_maxvroom for all your UW men’s basketball news and notes