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Pac-10 recruiting wrap-up

Posted by Jeff Nusser on November 15, 2007

The Pac-10 did little to hurt its reputation as potentially the toughest conference in the nation yesterday with four top 15 recruiting classes. Here’s a quick roundup of the action from around the league, in order of Scout.com’s class rankings. The national ranking is in parentheses.

Remember, this is only the early signing period. While the bulk of the recruits sign now, there always are a few high-profile stragglers that make their way to the late signing period. It was thought that the Cougs wouldn’t have any late period scholarships available last year, and they ended up with three thanks to transfers.

UCLA (1)

  • The jewel: Jrue Holliday is an athletic, heady player a number of services had ranked as the best guard in the country. Scout.com says he’s a winning machine who can pass, score and defend — precisely the kind of guy coach Ben Howland loves. After a few so-so recruiting classes (by UCLA standards), a pair of Final Four appearances in Westwood have got the highest profile players starting to buy into Howland’s no-nonsense approach. That is a dang scary thought for the rest of the Pac-10. Said Holliday: “Coach Howland made it to the Final Four two years in a row. That’s hard to come by. Arron Afflalo is in the league now. Jordan Farmar. I know he can make NBA players and that’s what I’m trying to do. He thinks I can be one.”
  • Local take: The LA Times

Arizona (7)

  • The jewel: Brandon Jennings is the highest rated, but its Jeff Withey and Emmanuel Negedu that give Wildcat fans hope. Arizona hasn’t had a legitimate inside presence since Channing Frye graduated three years ago, and one could argue that with the plethora of talented guards that have come through Tucson — always a hallmark of Lute Olson — that was the one thing that was keeping the Wildcats from truly realizing their potential. If these two develop, watch out.
  • Local take: Arizona Daily Star

Oregon (11)

  • The jewel: Michael Dunigan is precisely the kind of kid that probably never would have come to Oregon if the NBA hadn’t instituted its one-year-out-of-high-school rule. He’s a 6-foot-10, 260-pounder who has the ability to become an absolute beast. Coach Ernie Kent gushed, “He’s the most dominant big man we’ve ever had here,” and called him physical, punishing, smart and athletic. Dunigan is not on Kevin Love’s level, but if you’ve got any doubt what a special big man can do for a team, look to Los Angeles.
  • Local take: The Oregonian

Washington (15)

  • The jewel: When Federal Way guard Isaiah Thomas failed to stay on track to graduate after committing to UW and subsequently shipped off to an East Coast prep school, at least a few people thought the explosive guard would never wear purple and gold. Well, it appears Thomas is coming home after all, although he’s still got some work to do academically. He’s got a reputation as a tough kid to coach that seems to be directly at odds with Lorenzo Romar’s team-first philosophy, but there’s no doubting the kid’s pure talent. He is an outright scorer that will torch the Pac-10 the moment he steps on the floor. If he truly makes it there.
  • Local take: The Seattle Times

USC (24)

  • The jewel: Six-foot-6 wing Demar DeRozan is an explosive athlete who apparently really only won over recruiting analysts in the last year. His athleticism has never been in question, but his basketball IQ has. Apparently, all has been satisfied, as Tim Floyd makes his mark for the second year in a row by landing one of the highest-profile recruits available. The class is a little thin after that, though.
  • Local take: The school did not officially announce the signings, so there are no full stories.

WSU (Hon. Mention)

  • The jewel: Not to belabor the point, but in case you hadn’t heard, Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver are graduating. Michael Harthun is a shooting guard who should add some scoring punch immediately, although we all know that “immediate contribution” and Tony Bennett probably won’t go hand in hand anytime soon, given the offensive and defensive demands he places on his players.
  • Local take: Sportslink

Arizona State

  • The jewel: Johnny Coy is a 6-foot-7 swingman who figures to add talent to a roster that was devoid of it before Herb Sendek’s arrival. The Devils had the No. 16 class with five signings last year, so ASU signed only two players this year. Next year probably will be a big year for Sendek, as he has more scholarships come open and tries to build some depth.
  • Local take: The Arizona Republic

Cal

  • The jewel: One has to wonder how long Ben Braun can keep his job. D.J. Seeley, a 6-4 shooting guard, really is the lone commitment of note for the Bears. It’s been a while since the Bears have been serious contenders in the Pac-10.
  • Local take: San Francisco Chronicle

Oregon State

  • The jewel: Speaking of guys about to lose their jobs, Jay John has had five years to rebuild the Beavers and after one brief uptick, seems destined for another tough season. He’ll more than likely leave behind a pretty empty cupboard, too. Four-star guard Eshaunte Jones is expected to sign in this early period. He originally committed to Indiana, but switched to OSU after enrolling in prep school. The school has yet to receive his LOI.
  • Local take: The Oregonian

Stanford

  • The jewel: Guard Jeremy Green probably is the most ready to contribute right away, but the jewel might end up being 6-10 forward Miles Plumlee. He’s reportedly a smart player who will make an impact once he adds some strength to his 205-pound frame. (That’s right — a 6-10 guy who weighs what I do. Yeesh.)
  • Local take: San Francisco Chronicle
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