With players like Derrick Williams, Isaiah Thomas, and Klay Thompson departing for the NBA, the talent level from top to bottom in the Pac-12 this season isn’t exactly at its peak. That means guys who had a mediocre season or played a role on a team last year will be looked at to step up and become the next big stars of the conference. This is evident as we have compiled our best guess as to the All-Pac-12 team, and only one player from last year’s team has made the list. Here we go!
- G Jorge Gutierrez, Sr, California – We begin with the only player from last season’s all-conference team. Gutierrez averaged 14.6 PPG and 4.5 APG in 2010-11, but he will be looked at to take on an even bigger role this year with the departure of Cal’s third-highest scorer, Markuri Sanders-Frison. Grouped in a backcourt with Minnesota-transfer Justin Cobbs, opposing defenses will be stretched to the max on the perimeter.
- G Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon State – If you look at the stats from last season and the previews for this year, there isn’t a very strong representation from Oregon State. But from the returning scoring leaders to the “most entertaining” lists, Jared Cunningham is always a constant. Cunningham averaged 14.2 PPG last season, but his biggest contributions come on defense. Cunningham stepped in for the departed Seth Tarver as Oregon State’s top defender, averaging 2.7 SPG, most of which turned into immediate buckets for the Beavers. If he can make three-pointers with consistency (and if his exhibition performance was any indication, he will), Cunningham is a lock to make the All-Pac-12 team.
- C Harper Kamp, Sr, California – Kamp is actually one of the smaller centers in the league, but his agility and great defense make him one of the most respected players around the conference. With the aforementioned loss of Sanders-Frison, California’s season could hang on how healthy Kamp is and whether or not he stays out of foul trouble. Kamp averaged 14.2 PPG in 2010-11, but his biggest contributions came on the boards. His 5.6 RPG was second only to Sanders-Frison’s mark last year. Read the rest of this entry »