Ranking the best players in the Pac 12 this upcoming college basketball season!
1.Allonzo Trier Arizona 6’5” Junior
Arizona is my preseason number one team and the biggest reason why is the return of Allonzo Trier. Trier last year missed 19 games due to having an illegal substance in his system, but when he returned he made an instant impact leading Arizona to a share of the regular season Pac-12 title and the Pac-12 Tournament championship. Trier averaged 17.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and seemed like he was heading to the NBA, however he decided to return for another season. This year Trier will be the favorite for Pac-12 player of the year, and Arizona will be the favorites for the Pac-12 title.
2.Bennie Boatwright USC 6’10” Junior
Last year Boatwright missed 17 games due to a knee injury but when he did play, he was USC’s best scorer averaging 15.1 points per game, while playing only an average of 27 minutes per game. A healthy offseason should help Boatwright improve even more and his stats will likely go up this year. USC this year is a Preseason Top-10 team and the consensus second best team in the conference so Boatwright should get more attention this year by most people.
3.Deandre Ayton Arizona 7’0” Freshman
How rare is it that a major Conference Champion returns 3 of their top-4 scorers from last year and adds a Top-3 prospect, this is the reality for Arizona this year. Ayton is extremely talented physically measuring 7 feet tall with a 7’5” wingspan, he has all the tools to be a great player, it just depends on how hard he plays. If lives up to the hype he can easily be a First team All Pac-12 player and Arizona should be able to finally get to the Final Four under Sean Miller.
4.Reid Travis Stanford 6’8” Senior
While Stanford last year struggled as a team finishing 6-12 in the conference and 14-17 overall, that was not Reid Travis’ fault as he averaged 17.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Travis was a nightmare inside for some teams, most notably scoring 29 at Kansas. This year expect Travis to average around 20 points and 10 rebounds per game and expect Stanford to contend for a tournament birth. If both those things come true Travis should easily be First team all Pac-12 and could potentially be Pac-12 Player of the year.
5.Jaylen Hands UCLA 6’2” Freshman
UCLA loses four of their five starters from last years team, but yet according to most people they are Top-20 team, the main reason is because of the addition of Five star point guard Jaylen Hands. While some might expect Hands to fill the shoes of Lonzo Ball, that would be ridiculous as Hands is a different type of player. Hands is a score first player, with good athleticism, and a good ball-handler. Look for Hands to average around 14 points and 4 assists per game while potentially making First-team All Pac-12.
6.Rawle Alkins Arizona 6’5” Sophomore
Last year as a Freshman Alkins was the third leading scorer for the Wildcats, averaging 10.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Alkins is a solid defender and can score when needed as well which is important to any team when making a Tournament run. Look for Alkins to be a very solid player this year with a slight jump in points per game he will average as he will be more relied upon offensively after the loss of Lauri Markkanen.
7.Chimezie Metu USC 6’11” Junior
USC likely has the best front court in College Basketball and the reason for that is because of Boatwright and Metu. Last year as a Sophomore Metu was more relied upon to help out scoring wise as Bennie Boatwright was injured however that injury helped him overall become a better player. Metu averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last year. This year Metu will likely produce similar numbers but look for him to be more efficient this season. Overall if he can put up the type of season most expect of him, he should finish as a First or Second team All Pac-12 and USC should be a Top-10 team in College Basketball.
8.Thomas Welsh UCLA 7’0” Senior
Thomas Welsh is considered by most the best mid-range shooter in College Basketball, when Welsh shoots it from that 15 foot range it goes in most of the time. Welsh while being the best mid-range shooter in College Basketball also is a good rebounder and is the perfect veteran that UCLA needs on this years team. While Welsh will not blow anyone away with anything but his jump shot you can expect him to give valuable experience down low and 13 and 10 per game type scorer.
9.Aaron Holiday UCLA 6’1” Junior
Aaron Holiday is regarded as a team first type of player and that reputation comes from the fact he was willing to come off the bench last year for the Bruins. This year Holiday will play a different role as he will now need to be a starting guard who takes leadership for UCLA. Last year as a Sophomore Holiday averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists per game but when you look at what UCLA lost, it would be no surprise to see him average around the 15 and 5 mark as UCLA looks to stay atop the Pac-12.
10.Jordan McLaughlin USC 6’1” Senior
USC is a Top-10 team this year and the main reason is because they return everyone from last years team. While Metu and Boatwright will get most of the attention for USC, there is no doubt that Jordan McLaughlin is the driving force for the Trojans. McLaughlin as a sophomore averaged 13.4 points per game, but last year as a Junior McLaughlin shared the ball more often, averaging 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game and that let players around him become better overall. Look for him this year to average around the same but look for the Trojans to be better overall because of his team first mentality.