Predicting the Pac-12 All-Newcomer TeamPosted by AMurawa on November 7th, 2011
With eight of the ten players on last year’s all-Pac-10 first team having moved on to greener pastures, there will be a lot of pressure on new players in the league to step into the shoes of their team’s departed stars. While it is always the case in any sport, and especially at the college level, that old players go and new players arrive, the Pac-12 in 2011-12 seems especially reliant on newcomers. At Washington, UCLA and Arizona – three of the four teams generally regarded in the top tier of the conference – players left those teams with eligibility to spare, as Isaiah Thomas, Malcolm Lee, Tyler Honeycutt and Derrick Williams left early for a chance at the NBA. And at each of those schools, newcomers will be asked to chip in right away to pick up the slack for the departed stars. Elsewhere around the league, at places like Oregon and Stanford, teams that had gone through down periods in terms of talent are restocking their cupboards with new faces. And while many of the newcomers are highly touted freshmen who’ve been on the recruiting radar for years (the Pac-12 has nine incoming freshman that were ranked in the ESPNU top 100), there are also Division I transfers and even junior college transfers who can be impact players immediately in this conference. While it remains to be seen exactly how these players will fit in new environments, here is our best guess as to the Pac-12 All-Newcomer team.
G Tony Wroten, Jr., Fr, Washington – An exciting lefty, Wroten steps into a good situation in Seattle. Alongside veteran point guard Abdul Gaddy, Wroten will have plenty of help in the backcourt with the Huskies. And, with a group of talented athletes around him, Wroten figures to get frequent opportunities to showcase his amazing passing abilities. More of a power guard than a flashy speed merchant, Wroten can post up smaller defenders or slash to the basket and score in the lane, but he’ll eventually need to tighten up his jumper in order to fulfill his potential.
G Josiah Turner, Fr, Arizona – Turner is going to be a major part of Sean Miller’s plans in Tucson. A high-energy, athletic lead guard who excels in the open court, Turner will need to show that he is capable of playing under control and facilitating the Wildcat halfcourt offense. Furthermore, without a proven scorer on the squad, he will need to help shoulder the scoring burden in the wake of Derrick Williams and Momo Jones’ departures. While he figures to suffer some growing pains early in the season (pains already seen in Arizona’s two exhibition games), Turner should be a serious difference-maker by the time conference play rolls around.
G Jabari Brown, Fr, Oregon – On a Duck team that lacks a natural scorer at any other position, Brown is a good bet to come into Eugene and lead the team in scoring from day one. The guard from Oakland is a versatile offensive threat who can knock down threes at a high rate or get to the hoop on a drive and finish in spectacular fashion. Or, he can score somewhere in-between, either coming off screens to hit a mid-range jumper or posting up smaller defenders; Brown can do a lot of things for Oregon on the offensive end. If he can buy into Dana Altman’s defensive gospel, Brown will get plenty of freedom to score.
F Aaron Fuller, Jr, USC – On a Trojan team with very little depth, especially in the frontcourt, this newly eligible transfer from Iowa will likely be expected to play a lot of minutes for Kevin O’Neill. Fuller is a combo forward who can create mismatches on the offensive end. If the opposition decides to play a bigger guy on Fuller, he can step outside and either knock down the mid-range jumper or put the ball on the floor and go by his man. If he’s guarded by a smaller defender, he can post that man up and overpower him on the block. Better yet, Fuller isn’t afraid to go get the ball himself, grabbing offensive rebounds and other loose balls. He may not be very flashy, but he’s a very effective player.
F Carlon Brown, Sr, Colorado – Brown sat out last year in Boulder after transferring over from Utah, but now that he’s eligible, he’s ready to make a splash for the Buffaloes. With a strong body and superb athletic skills, Brown is a slashing scorer who can score with the best of them from 15 feet in. And if he’s improved his perimeter game at all since his three years with the Utes, he could form a great tandem with Andre Roberson for head coach Tad Boyle. Perhaps more to the point, on a team with seven underclassmen expected to get serious playing time, the veteran Brown should be a coach on the floor for the Buffaloes.