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Pac-12 Basketball Newcomer Power Rankings

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Are the Huskies at the top of the conference bringing in talent this year with their pair of top-10 recruits?

IMG Academy v La Lumiere Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

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 play at least 40 total minutes with their current team last season. That includes guys who transferred in two years ago and had to sit last season out, guys who redshirted due to injury, and guys who only got into the game in garbage time. Listed recruiting rankings come from the 247 composite rankings.

12. Stanford Cardinal- 5 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 3

Tyrell Terry, 6’1, PG- 4 star, #104 Overall

Spencer Jones, 6’7, SF- 3 star, #163 Overall

James Keefe, 6’9, PF- 3 star, #370 Overall

Redshirted Players- 1

Keenan Fitzmorris, 6’11, C- Class of 2018 3 star, #225 Overall

There’s not an overwhelming amount of talent coming in for the Cardinal this offseason. After a pair of top-20 national recruiting classes this 2019 group comes in at 47th overall for Jerod Haase. Tyrell Terry is the one player that should come in and have an instant impact but Daejon Davis is the established starter at the PG position which might limit how much time he sees. We’ll see if Davis and Terry are allowed to share ball handling duties in a starting lineup together or if Terry will come off the bench to begin with. Otherwise, Stanford added more size to their frontcourt with 6’7, 6’9, and 6’11 forwards although none have a clear path to a starting role this season. That lack of opportunity combined with a lack of raw talent sticks Stanford in last place.

11. Colorado Buffaloes- 8 Points

Incoming JUCO- 1

Maddox Daniels, 6’6, SF- Florida SouthWestern State College

Redshirted Players- 2

Dallas Walton, 7’0, C- Class of 2016, NR

Jakub Dombek, 6’8, PF- Class of 2018, 3 star

Colorado finished 1st in my returner power rankings so it isn’t a surprise to see them this early in the newcomer ranks. Their best “new” player is one that has already made an impact on the court for the Buffs which lifted Colorado out of the cellar despite just 3 new players. C Dallas Walton showed a lot of promise as a freshman before tearing his ACL in the preseason last year. It’s the 3rd of his career so there’s no guarantee he’ll be back at the same level he was in that freshman season but if he is then he gives Colorado a potential shot blocking stretch 5 threat. Dombek redshirted last season coming out of the Czech Republic and with almost the same roster it’s hard to imagine him seeing much additional playing time this year. SF Maddox Daniels is the only entirely new player but was an unranked JUCO player and so is likely nothing more than some wing depth in 2019.

10. California Golden Bears- 10 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 5

Joel Brown, 6’2, PG- 3 star, #189 Overall

D.J Thorpe, 6’8, C- 3 star, #197 Overall

Kuany Kuany, 6’10, PF- 3 star, #359 Overall

Lars Thiemann, 6’11, C- NR

Dimitrious Klanaras, 6’6, PG- NR

Incoming Transfers- 1

Kareem South, 6’2, PG- Texas A&M Corpus Christi (13.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.0 apg)

Cal was ravaged by transfers in the offseason and with new coach Mark Fox at the helm they’ve gone the international route to plug the holes. 4 of the 6 players that the Golden Bears bring into the fold were born outside of the U.S including three of the freshmen. Joel Brown and D.J Thorpe are the lone Americans and both are in the range of the recruiting rankings typically reserved for players who start only as upperclassmen on good teams. But with Cal’s lack of depth they could be pressed into service early. Kareem South provides a veteran presence as a grad transfer “PG” although he wasn’t much of a passer in prior stops. His scoring will be badly needed though. Thiemann and Klanaras are both players with international experience but aren’t ranked in the 247 database so it’s unclear how much of an impact they’ll be able to make. However, Thiemann put up really nice stats playing U19 international basketball and could be a serious sleeper.

9. Arizona State Sun Devils- 11 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 3

Jaelen House, 6’2, PG- 4 star, #115 Overall

Jalen Graham, 6’9, C- 3 star, #162 Overall

Caleb Christopher, 6’0, CG- 3 star, #479 Overall

Incoming JUCO- 3

Khalid Thomas, 6’9, PF- College of Southern Idaho

Alonzo Verge, 6’3, CG- Moberly Area Community College

Andre Allen, 6’9, PF- Arizona Western College

Last year’s recruiting class had 3 top-100 national recruits coming out of high schol while this year they have none. However, there’s still talent here. Khalid Thomas and Alonzo Verge were rated as two of the top 5 JUCO recruits in the country and have a chance to play right away. Thomas in particular is a prize as he reinforces a depleted Sun Devils frontcourt and chose ASU over Oregon despite growing up less than 100 miles from Eugene. Jaelen House, the son of former NBA player Eddie, should slot in immediately as Remy Martin’s backup at the point guard position while Jalen Graham, Andre Allen, and Caleb Christopher are more likely to play reserve roles on this particular team.

8. UCLA Bruins- 16 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 2

Jaime Jacquez, 6’7, SF- 4 star, #84 Overall

Jake Kyman, 6’6, SF- 3 star, #326 Overall

Redshirted Players- 2

Shareef O’Neal, 6’9, PF- Class of 2018 4 star, #40 Overall

Tyger Campbell, 6’0, PG- Class of 2018 4 star, #89 Overall

It’s not exactly surprising that the worst UCLA recruiting class since 2011 leads to the Bruins ending up in the bottom half of the newcomer rankings. Jacquez was a good get and provides immediate depth as a combo forward who can slash to the basket and rebound. Jake Kyman is a wing who is mostly known as a spot up shooter but doesn’t have a ton of offensive versatility. Instead, the Bruins will be counting on two members of last season’s top-10 recruiting class who missed all of their freshman years due to injury. Tyger Campbell is essentially UCLA’s only option at point guard as he tries to come back from a torn ACL. If he’s healthy then he’ll likely start. Shareef O’Neal, Shaq’s son, was out with a heart condition that required surgery but has since received clearance to resume basketball activities and will also have a chance to crack the starting lineup.

7. Oregon State Beavers- 24 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 5

Dearon Tucker, 6’10, PF, C- 3 star, #217 overall

Jarod Lucas, 6’2, CG- 3 star, #298 Overall

Gianni Hunt, 6’2, PG- 3 star, #318 Overall

Julien Franklin, 6’5, SF- 3 star, #384 Overall

Shengzhe Li, 6’10, C- 2 star, #501 Overall

Incoming JUCO- 1

Sean Miller-Moore, 6’5, SG- Moberly Area Community College

Incoming Transfers- 1

Payton Dastrup, 6’10, PF- BYU

Now this is what an Oregon State recruiting class looks like when the assistant coaches don’t have any more top-100 recruits as children. The Beavers are hoping that quantity will win out over qualtity after they had 3 lowly ranked freshmen from last year’s class transfer out after a single season. It wouldn’t be shocking to see it happen again with this group.

With the departure of Stephen Thompson Jr. the Beavers will be relying on one of Lucas, Hunt, and Miller-Moore to become a reliable backcourt mate alongside Ethan Thompson. The real prize is BYU transfer and former top-100 recruit Payton Dastrup who both redshirted and served an LDS mission and so comes in as a junior older than most seniors. He shot 36% on 3-point attempts in limited action for BYU at 6’10 and gives OSU the chance to play big with Tres Tinkle at the SF spot without sacrificing floor spacing.

6. Washington State Cougars- 30 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Noah Williams, 6’5, PG- 3 star, #304 Overall

Ryan Rapp, 6’5, CG- NR

Volodymyr Markovetskyy, 7’3, C- NR

D.J Rodman, 6’4, SF- NR

Incoming JUCO- 2

Daron Henson, 6’7, PF- Salt Lake Community College

Isaac Bonton, 6’3, PG- Casper College

Incoming Transfers- 1

Deion James, 6’7, PF- Colorado State (10.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists in 2017-18)

The Cougars are another team that is hoping that sheer numbers will result in them finding diamonds in the rough like C.J Elleby last season. Noah Williams seems the most likely candidate as another Seattle-area product who seemed to have the game to play at a higher level but was never prioritized by bigger programs. And if he isn’t the starting PG option there are a few more options with Australian Ryan Rapp who followed coach Kyle Smith from USF to Wazzu and JUCO transfer Isaac Bonton. Taking over at the PF spot for Robert Franks will likely be CSU transfer Deion James who should be a productive player although not nearly the scorer that Franks was. Daron Henson is another JUCO option at forward while Makovetskyy instantly has one of the best names as one of the tallest players in the conference. Finally, D.J Rodman is yet another son of an ex-NBA player joining the Pac-12 although he might be the least talented.

5. Oregon Ducks- 36 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 3

C.J Walker, 6’8, PF- 5 star, #27 Overall

Chandler Lawson, 6’8, SF- 4 star, #90 Overall

Lok Wur, 6’9, PF- NR

Incoming JUCO- 1

Chris Duarte, 6’5, SG- Northwest Florida State College

Incoming Transfers- 1

Anthony Mathis, 6’3, SG- New Mexico Lobos (14.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.1 APG)

Oregon was ravished by transfers/early entry departures and have resorted to bringing in players however they can get them. A pair of transfers will sit out this season and be eligible for this list a year from now and Oregon also has a commitment from 4-star Isaac Johnson who will take an LDS mission before heading to college. All of the incoming freshmen are power forwards led by 5-star C.J Walker who is a similar level prospect to Louis King and Troy Brown. Chris Duarte is rated as the top JUCO player in the country and should immediately be able to start alongside Payton Pritchard. So could Anthony Mathis who went to high school with Pritchard and was the leading scorer on a mediocre New Mexico team last season.

4. Utah Utes- 42 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 5

Rylan Jones, 6’1, PG- 4 star, #109 Overall

Mikael Jantunen, 6’8, PF- 3 star, #206 Overall

Matthew Van Komen, 7’4, C- 3 star, #222 Overall

Brendan Wenzel, 6’6, SG- 3 star, #490 Overall

Incoming JUCO- 1

Alfonso Plummer, 6’1, PG- Arizona Western College

Redshirted Players- 3

Brendan Carlson, 6’9, PF- Class of 2017 4 star, #102 Overall

Lahat Thioune, 6’11, PF- Class of 2018 3 star, #268 Overall

Jaxon Brenchley, 6’3, SG- Class of 2017 3 star, #376 Overall

For the second straight year Utah finishes in the top-5 in the newcomer rankings after replacing almost their entire team. The Utes get back a pair of players from their 2017 recruiting class who served LDS missions including 4 star PF Brendan Carlson. They also had Lahat Thioune redshirt a season ago and so has been in the system for a year. Utah has a massive hole at the guard positions which will need to be filled by JUCO Alfonso Plummer and 4 star Rylan Jones. The rest of the 3 members of the recruiting class are 3 star prospects who will provide depth but won’t be counted on to be starters as freshmen. This team surely has the look of another Larry Krystkowiak team which will be picked 9th or 10th in the conference and wind up 5th or better because of his coaching.

3. Arizona Wildcats- 50 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Nico Mannion, PG, 6’3- 5 star, #9 Overall

Josh Green, 6’6, SG- 5 star, #13 Overall

Zeke Nnaji, 6’11, PF- 4 star, #39 Overall

Christian Koloko, 7’0, C- 3 star, #181 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 2

Max Hazzard, 5’10, PG- UC Irvine (12.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)

Stone Gettings, 6’9, PF- Cornell (16.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.8 apg)

Almost two years removed from the initial FBI scandal and the Wildcats are right back to being one of the elite talent accumulators in the country. In addition to everyone listed above they’re also adding a pair of former top-50 transfers in Jordan Brown and Jemarl Baker who will have to sit out this year due to transfer rules. But they’ll still have two new transfers able to suit up. Max Hazzard is a mighty mouse guard who is an elite shooter and will provide depth at a suddenly loaded PG position. Stone Gettings redshirted last year after coming over as a double double strech 4 in the Ivy League at Cornell.

The premium talent comes with the freshman class however. Nico Mannion and Josh Green are each 5-star players and both are possible 1st team all-conference picks. Mannion doesn’t look the part but could become the best red-headed player since Bill Walton with his athleticism, agility, and shot creation abilities. Josh Green is more of a prototypical slashing wing and 13-15 points per game seems like a reasonable projection. Zeke Nnaji isn’t the typical 5-star center but he got rave reviews this spring/summer and should give the Wildcats another serviceable rim protector behind Chase Jeter or might start alongside him at the 4. Finally, Christian Koloko is more of a depth big at this point but he could play a bigger role in the years to come.

2. USC Trojans- 53 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 6

Isaiah Mobley, 6’9, PF- 5 star, #19 Overall

Onyeka Okongwu, 6’8, C- 5 star, #24 Overall

Max Agbonkpolo, 6’8, SF- 4 star, #56 Overall

Kyle Sturdivant, 6’3, PG- 3 star, #141 Overall

Drake London, 6’4, SG- 3 star, #184 Overall

Ethan Anderson, 6’1, PG- 3 star, #322 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 2

Daniel Utomi, 6’6, SF- Akron (14.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

Quinton Adlesh, 6’0, PG- Columbia (13.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.5 apg)

USC badly needed a facelift after a season where the team chemistry was toxic and the roster underachieved significantly. To counter that the Trojans are bringing in a 6-person recruiting class, a pair of grad transfers, and one transfer (Noah Baumann from SJSU) who will redshirt. The bulk of the talent will be solidifying the USC frontcourt alongside Nik Rakocevic with a pair of 5-star big men. Isaiah Mobley is the son of USC assistant coach Eric and should be able to step right in and give the team at least 85% of what Bennie Boatwright was able to provide at the PF position. Meanwhile, Onyeka Okongwu instantly becomes USC’s best rim protector and his value on defense will earn him plenty of playing time as well.

Both of the incoming grad transfers for USC made at least 70 3-pointers last season and while neither are elite athletes they should provide a steady hand and some badly needed floor spacing around the talented bigs. Max Agbonkpolo was a player I really wanted to come to UW as his extremely long arms will make him a long-term menace on the defensive end from the wing spot. Kyle Sturdivant, Drake London, and Ethan Anderson should all provide depth but no more than one of them will have a significant place in the rotation for this upcoming season.

1. Washington Huskies- 62 Points

Incoming Freshmen- 4

Isaiah Stewart, 6’9, C- 5 star, #3 Overall

Jaden McDaniels, 6’9, SF- 5 star, #8 Overall

RaeQuan Battle, 6’4, SG- 4 star, #77 Overall

Marcus Tsohonis, 6’3, PG- 3 star, #314 Overall

Incoming Transfers- 1

Quade Green, 6’0, PG- Kentucky (8.0 ppg, 2.3 apg, 42.3% 3pt)

Redshirted Players- 2

Bryan Penn-Johnson, 7’0, C- Class of 2018 3 star, #172 Overall

Nate Roberts, 6’10, C- Class of 2018 3 star, #241 Overall

Previously Out of Rotation Players- 1

Elijah Hardy, 6’2, PG- Class of 2018 3 star, #198 Overall

Last season the Huskies were #1 in the returner power rankings and this season they’re #1 in the newcomer power rankings. The flip isn’t exactly surprising since they had 4 seniors on the previous roster. What is surprising is the amount of premium talent that Coach Hop was able to add to the program. We have to start with 5-stars Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels. Stewart is an absolute man-child and the most apt comparison seems to be a 4 inches shorter DeAndre Ayton. That lowers his NBA ceiling but makes him a potential All-American level college player. He can dunk, rebound, block shots, hit a midrange jumper, and plays with an elite motor. He’s everything you want in a modern big man. Jaden McDaniels is slightly more of an enigma given his limitless potential and quiet demeanor but the elite size elsewhere on the roster should allow him to flourish as an oversized wing who can can take smaller defenders down low or drive past opposing big men. And RaeQuan Battle is no slouch as a 3-pt sniper with underrated athleticism.

Despite the elite freshman class, the real reason the Huskies come in 1st in these rankings is that they were able to avoid playing a significant part of last year’s class and so count them again as newcomers. Elijah Hardy and Bryan Penn-Johnson both played a few minutes but injuries to both allowed BPJ to redshirt and Hardy to fall below my 40 minutes cutoff. There likely isn’t enough playing time for both of BPJ and Nate Roberts to see major minutes but at least one of them will be required to come in as an additional rim protector.

Meanwhile, Elijah Hardy becomes an extremely important piece at the point guard spot along with incoming Kentucky transfer and former 5-star Quade Green. Washington is still waiting on news of whether Green will be granted a waiver to be eligible for the start of the season (I find it unlikely but there’s been no consistency from the NCAA so who knows). Whenever both are eligible Green will likely be the starter and Hardy the backup but it’d be a surprise if both don’t get significant minutes all season. Marcus Tsohonis is the last incoming piece at the PG position and it’s probably in the best interest of all to have him redshirt this year.

We’ll reconvene in a week or two to put the newcomer and returner rankings together into our final midsummer power rankings complete with projected depth charts.

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