The NBA tips off its regular season tonight, which for most college basketball fans means little more than just another sign that the season is imminent. But it is always nice to keep an eye on former college players that we grew to know and love way back when. With that in mind, we’ll take a quick spin around the Pac-12 and briefly touch on what can be expected of each of their 54 former players currently on NBA rosters. We’ll group these guys by their former schools, starting with UCLA, who has 12 alums playing in the league, down to Washington State, whose sole representative is Klay Thompson, and Oregon State, whose Jared Cunningham debuts this season. And then, once college hoops tips off in a little more than a week’s time, you can forget all about these guys again until April.
- Arron Afflalo (Orlando) – Back when Afflalo was playing for the Bruins, you saw his future NBA self pretty clearly – a professional, hard-nosed defender with the ability to score on the perimeter. With five years of experience behind him and his best NBA season directly in the rear-view mirror (15.2 PPG in 33 minutes per night with Denver), Afflalo landed in Orlando as part of the deal that sent Dwight Howard to Tinseltown.
- Trevor Ariza (Washington) – He was awful as a Bruin, but he’s made quite a career for himself in the NBA. A key factor on the Lakers’ 2009 title team, Ariza has bounced around since he left for a big free agent contract, proving himself more of a role player than a go-to scorer.
- Matt Barnes (Los Angeles Clippers) – After spending a couple years with the Lakers, Barnes heads down the hall to the Clippers locker room, where he’ll be expected to play a big part early while Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill recover from injury.
- Darren Collison (Dallas) – After striking out in their bid to sign free agent Deron Williams, the Mavericks settled on Collison as their backup plan at the point, trading their backup center Ian Mahinmi to Indiana for the former Bruin. Collison has been solid in his three years in the league, but lost the starting job with the Pacers last season. Read the rest of this entry »