Pac-10 Basketball: Top Six Players

October 23rd, 2008

It’s the same old story in the Pac-10 this season.  UCLA should once again dominate the conference and a boatload of departed talent is being replaced with a boatload of new talent.


Pick Six: Big East

Throughout the week, check back for articles highlighting the Top 6 players in each BCS league. Then next week we’ll be rolling out the Top 6 at each position.


1. Darren Collison – UCLA – Senior


While Ben Howland’s squad is decimated once again by defections from its roster, the good news is Darren Collison is back for his senior year.  Not only just the top player in the Pac-10, Collison is also the conference’s best two-way player, deadly on both ends of the floor.  He’ll have a talented Bruins roster making a run at another Final Four appearance.


Stats: 14.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.8 apg


2. James Harden – Arizona State – Sophomore


Its heady times in Tempe, as Herb Sendek’s squad is poised to give UCLA a run for their money and also return one of the country’s best players.  That player would be lefty wingman James Harden, who had a superb freshman season.  Able to shoot, drive and play hard D, he’ll be a serious contender for All-American honors this season.


Stats: 17.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.2 apg


3. Chase Budinger – Arizona – Junior


It is not often that a player averages 17 and 5 and shoots 38% from deep and is still considered a bit of an underachiever.  That shows how talented – and how much is expected from – Chase Budinger.  With Jerryd Bayless and Brandon Jennings off playing with the big boys, the time to shine is now for Budinger.


Stats: 17.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.9 apg


4. Jon Brockman – Washington – Senior


The 6’7” 255lb Brockman is a beast.  Not only is he one of the Pac-10’s best, now that the Sonics have been stolen from the city he is also the best baller in town.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t had a good enough supporting cast his first three seasons in Seattle for the Huskies to make much noise.  Washington will need at least another double-double season from their big man this year to have a chance in the Pac-10. 


Stats: 17.8 pph, 11.6 rpg, 1.1 apg


5. Jrue Holiday – UCLA – Freshman


With Russell Westbrook bolting early for the NBA, most collegiate teams would be hard-pressed to replace him in their lineup.  Not in Westwood, where super frosh Jrue Holiday slides into his combo guard slot.  Holiday and Collison will form perhaps the nation’s best backcourt.


Stats: DNP Freshman


6. DeMar DeRozan – USC - Freshman


Same story with the Bruins cross-town rival, USC.  O.J. Mayo is gone and should be impossible to replace, except for the fact that DeMar DeRozan is on campus now.  While he isn’t as complete a player as Mayo is, he will provide Tim Floyd with an explosive scorer on the wing.


Stats: DNP Freshman


Next in line:  Taj Gibson, USC; Jeff Pendergraph, Arizona State; Jordan Hill, Arizona; Josh Shipp, UCLA. 


-- Tomorrow: SEC