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    Men’s Pac-10 Conference Breakdown

    The Arizona men’s basketball team faces a tough road ahead against a Pacific 10 Conference that many coaches have said is the best they’ve ever seen, and the best conference in the nation. A breakdown of each Pac-10 team follows, in the order of Arizona Daily Wildcat men’s basketball beat writer Michael Schwartz’s predicted finishes:

    UCLA

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 30-6 (15-3)

    Conference finish: First

    Head coach: Ben Howland, fifth season

    Returning starters/players: 4/13

    Key loss: Arron Afflalo (G) (Pac-10 Player of the Year) – 16.9 points per game, 80.2 percent free-throw shooting last season.

    Key returners: Darren Collison (G) (All-Pac-10) – 12.7 points per game, 5.7 assists, 2.2 steals (led Pac-10), 44.7 percent 3-point shooting (led Pac-10); Josh Shipp (G) – 13.3 points, 3.9 rebounds; Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (F) – 8.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 49.2 percent field-goal shooting; Lorenzo Mata-Real (C) – 6.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 64.6 percent field-goal shooting

    Key additions: Kevin Love (C) (Naismith, Wooden, USA Today, McDonald’s and Parade High School Player of the Year) – 33.9 points, 17.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 4.2 blocks as a high school senior; Chace Stanback (G/F) – 25.8 points, 11.9 rebounds as a high school senior

    Coach Howland says: “”We are excited about this year. The biggest thing that I have no control over is our health. We’ve had a number of different nagging injuries through the preseason. We are very excited about our core group returning from two Final Fours and adding the best high school player in the nation.””

    Arizona

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 20-11 (11-7)

    Conference finish: Third (tie)

    Head coach: Lute Olson, 25th season

    Returning starters/players: 2/10

    Key losses: Marcus Williams (F) (All-Pac-10) – 16.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 49.4 percent field-goal shooting; Ivan Radenovic (F) – 15.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 50.7 percent field-goal shooting, 87.2 percent free-throw shooting; Mustafa Shakur (G) – 11.9 points, 6.9 assists (led Pac-10), 4.0 rebounds

    Key returners: Chase Budinger (F) (Pac-10 Freshman of the Year) – 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 48.5 percent field-goal shooting, 84.5 percent free-throw shooting; Jawann McClellan (G) – 9.6 points; Jordan Hill (F) – 4.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 65.2 percent field-goal shooting

    Key additions: Jerryd Bayless (G) (McDonald’s All-American) – 33.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.0 steals as a high school senior; Jamelle Horne (F) – 20.9 points, 10.7 rebounds 4.1 assists, 2.5 blocks as a high school senior; Laval Lucas-Perry (G) – 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds as a high school senior

    Coach Olson says: “”I think we’re still working just as hard as we’ve ever worked. I expect our players to play their tails off. I expect them to compete in every game. I expect them to work hard and be the best they can be.””

    Stanford

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 18-13 (10-8)

    Conference finish: Sixth

    Head coach: Trent Johnson, fourth season

    Returning starters/players: 5/12

    Key losses: None

    Key returners: Lawrence Hill (F) (All-Pac-10) – 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 50.9 percent field-goal shooting; Brook Lopez (F) (All-Pac-10 Freshman) – 12.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks; Anthony Goods (G) – 12.8 points; Robin Lopez (C) – 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks (led Pac-10)

    Key additions: None

    Coach Johnson says: “”I’m as relaxed as I’ve been at this point because this is the first time since I’ve been at Stanford where we’ve been relatively injury-free. We’re clearly a much better basketball team than we were last year. We should be a very good defensive team and a very good rebounding team.””

    Washington State

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 26-8 (13-5)

    Conference finish: Second

    Head coach: Tony Bennett, second season (Pac-10 Coach of the Year)

    Returning starters/players: 4/10

    Key loss: Ivory Clark (F) ð- 8.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 50.0 percent field-goal shooting

    Key returners: Kyle Weaver (G) (All-Pac-10) – 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.2 steals; Derrick Low (G) (All-Pac-10) – 13.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists; Robbie Cowgill (F) – 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds; Daven Harmeling (F) – 8.9 points

    Key additions: None

    Coach Bennett says: “”When we were picked 10th in this league, it didn’t shake us. We knew we were going to be competitive. The same holds for this year. We are selected higher, but our kids are realistic. We are right on that line. If we’re not playing well, we are susceptible. We’re like most teams in college basketball – we are close to being good, and close to not being good. I like my team because we have veterans, guys with Pac-10 experience under their belts. We rely on our experience. There is no substitute for juniors and seniors.””

    Oregon

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 29-8 (11-7)

    Conference finish: Third (tie)

    Head coach: Ernie Kent, 11th season

    Returning starters/players: 4/8

    Key loss: Aaron Brooks (G) (All-Pac-10) – 17.7 points (led Pac-10), 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists

    Key returners: Tajuan Porter (G) (All-Pac-10 Freshman) – 14.6 points, 110 3-pointers (led Pac-10), 90.9 percent free-throw shooting (led Pac-10); Bryce Taylor (G) 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 51.7 percent field-goal shooting; Malik Hairston (G) – 11.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 52.3 percent field-goal shooting; Maarty Leunen (F) – 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds

    Key additions: Drew Viney (F) – 18.0 points, 12.0 rebounds as a high school junior; Kamyron Brown (G) 10.0 points, 8.0 assists as a high school junior.

    Coach Kent says: “”We’ve lost a great player in Aaron Brooks. He was the leading scorer in the Pac-10 last season. But we have four starters back, and we need to figure out who is going to be that guy that is going to step up and win basketball games for us.””

    USC

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 25-12 (11-7)

    Conference finish: Third (tie)

    Head coach: Tim Floyd, third season

    Returning starters/players: 2/7

    Key losses: Nick Young (F) (All-Pac-10) – 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 52.5 percent field-goal shooting; Gabe Pruitt (G) – 12.5 points per game, 4.4 assists, 80.0 percent free-throw shooting; Lodrick Stewart (G) – 13.8 points

    Key returners: Taj Gibson (F) (All-Pac-10 Freshman) – 12.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 55.8 percent field-goal shooting (led Pac-10); Daniel Hackett (G) – 5.3 points

    Key additions: O.J. Mayo (G) (McDonald’s All-American) – 28.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 5.0 steals as a high school junior; Mamadou Diarra (F); Angelo Johnson (G)

    Coach Floyd says: “”We lost 44 points per game, but, hopefully, we have gained more than anybody in the league. That’s the only way we’ll be able to compete. We’ve got a special player returning in Taj Gibson, and we are going to be relying a lot on young guys.””

    California

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 16-17 (6-12)

    Conference finish: Eighth

    Head coach: Ben Braun, 12th season

    Returning starters/

    players: 3/9

    Key losses: Ayinde Ubaka (G) – 13.7 points, 4.3 assists; Omar Wilkes (G) – 9.9 points, 48.5 percent percent field-goal shooting

    Key returners: Ryan Anderson (F) (All-Pac-10 Freshman) – 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 47.6 percent field-goal shooting; DeVon Hardin (C) – 10.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 49.4 percent field-goal shooting; Theo Robertson (F) – 8.8 points, 4.3 rebounds

    Key additions: None

    Coach Braun says: “”I feel good about our team. … DeVon (Hardin) is back and is healthy. It is great to have him back in the lineup. Ryan Anderson is happy about that, too. Jordan Wilkes is back, as well. I am really encouraged by our big guys. We were one of the smallest teams last year, and this year we are one of the biggest. We hope our big guys will be our strength.””

    Washington

    2006-07 record (Pac-10): 19-13 (8-10)

    Conference finish: Seventh

    Head coach: Lorenzo Romar, sixth season

    Returning starters/

    players: 4/8

    Key loss: Spencer Hawes (C) (All-Pac-10 Freshman) – 14.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 53.2 field-goal shooting

    Key returners: Jon Brockman (F) (All-Pac-10) – 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds (led Pac-10), 55.0 percent field-goal shooting; Quincy Pondexter (F) – 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 49.8 percent field-goal shooting; Ryan Appleby (G) – 10.5 points, 43.3 3-point field-goal percentage, 92.7 percent free-throw percentage; Justin Dentmon (G) – 10.1 points

    Key additions: Matthew Bryan-Amaning (F) – 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds as a high school senior; Justin Holiday (F) – 20.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks as a high school junior

    Coach Romar says: “”I think if it wasn’t us, they would’ve had to pick someone else and you would’ve had to ask the same question. Someone had to be there. We finished seventh with Spencer Hawes and now he is gone and we are picked to finish eighth, so I guess they thought we couldn’t finish higher than that without him. We’ll see how it plays out.””

    ASU

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 8-22 (2-16)

    Conference finish: Tenth

    Head coach: Herb Sendek, second season

    Returning starters/players: 4/7

    Key loss: Serge Angounou (F) – 6.8 points, 6.3 rebounds

    Key returners: Jeff Pendergraph (F) – 12.1 points, 9.1 rebounds (second in Pac-10), .551 percent field-goal shooting (second in Pac-10); Christian Polk (G) – 12.0 points, .791 percent free-throw shooting; Jerren Shipp (G) – 7.6 points

    Key additions: James Harden (G) (McDonald’s All-American) – 18.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists as a high school senior; Eric Boateng (C) (2005 McDonald’s All-American) – 21.0 points, 16.0 rebounds, 5.0 blocks as a high school senior in 2004-2005; Jamelle McMillan (G) – 13.0 points, 8.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds as a high school senior

    Coach Sendek says: “”There are always several benchmarks to judge success. Last season, I thought we were enormously successful, not in terms of wins and losses, but in other areas. We were tremendously successful in terms of resilience and perseverance. We’ll continue to honor the process of getting better, focusing on the things we can control.””

    Oregon State

    2006-2007 record (Pac-10): 11-21 (3-15)

    Conference finish: Ninth

    Head coach: Jay John, sixth season

    Returning starters/players: 2/6

    Key losses: Sasa Cuic (F) – 11.6 points; Kyle Jeffers (C) – 8.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 55.2 percent field-goal shooting

    Key returners: Marcel Jones (F) – 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds; Josh Tarver (G) – 9.2 points, 3.8 assists

    Key addition: C.J. Giles (F/C) – 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds as a sophomore for Kansas in 2005-2006

    Coach John says: “”The trip to Italy really helped the guys who have been around for a while. We have a number of freshmen that I am really pleased with. The big kids have been extraordinary surprises, as they are ready to play. We did have turnover – five players that had eligibility did not return, including one senior. We had six scholarships that we were able to fill with better players, so we will be a better team than we were a year ago.””

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