basketball Edit

Way Too Early Pac-12 Basketball Predictions

ASU head coach Bobby Hurley
ASU head coach Bobby Hurley

The topic of conference realignment dominated the news this past week – and rightfully so. On Thursday, UCLA and USC announced they would be joining the Big Ten Conference in 2024, which has long-term ramifications not only for the Pac-12 but the future landscape of college sports as a whole.


For now, let’s not dwell on conference realignment. Instead, let’s look ahead to another season of Pac-12 basketball…while we still have it.


As usual, it’s been an eventful offseason, which is par for the course in the transfer portal era of college hoops.


But don’t worry -- we have you covered.


Barring some last-minute changes, the rosters appear to be set for next year, so we broke down the comings and goings for each Pac-12 school and offered our way-too-early predictions for the 2022-23 season:


*Indicates player was a starter last season.

UCLA head coach Mick Cronin
UCLA head coach Mick Cronin (AP)

1. UCLA


Returning Players: F Jaime Jaquez* (13.9 ppg), G Tyger Campbell* (11.9 ppg), G Jaylen Clark (6.7 ppg), G David Singleton (4.8 ppg), F-C Kenneth Nwuba (1.2 ppg), F Mac Etienne (injured last season), G Will McClendon (injured last season)


New Additions: G Amari Bailey (5-star), C Adem Bona (5-star), G Dylan Andrews (4-star)


Departures: G Johnny Juzang* (NBA early entrant; 15.6 ppg), G Jules Bernard* (graduated; 12.8 ppg), F Cody Riley* (graduated; 7.3 ppg), F Peyton Watson (NBA early entrant; 3.3 ppg), C Myles Johnson (graduated; 3.6 ppg), G-F Jake Kyman (transferred to Wyoming; 2.4 ppg)


The Skinny: UCLA lost three starters from last year’s Sweet 16 team, but the dynamic duo of Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez return for the Bruins, who enter next season as the prohibitive favorite to win the Pac-12 race. Both Campbell and Jaquez are two-time all-conference selections and are expected to anchor a talented Bruin squad that also returns super senior David Singleton and junior Jaylen Clark, who could be primed for a breakout season. UCLA also signed a top-10 recruiting class, which includes five-star prospects Amari Bailey and Adem Bona, as well as Dylan Andrews, a four-star recruit. Mac Etienne and Will McClendon, who both missed last season with ACL injuries, are healthy now and should provide additional depth for the Bruins.

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd
Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd (Rick Scuteri | Associated Press)

2. ARIZONA


Returning Players: F Azuolas Tubelis* (13.9 ppg), G Kerr Kriisa* (9.7 ppg), G Pelle Larsson (7.2 ppg), C Oumar Ballo (6.8 ppg), G Adama Bal (1.5 ppg), F Tautvilas Tubelis (0.3 ppg)


New Additions: G Courtney Ramey (transfer from Texas; 9.4 ppg); G Cedric Henderson Jr. (transfer from Campbell; 14 ppg), F-C Henri Veesar (4-star), C Dylan Anderson (4-star), F Filip Borovicanin (NR)


Departures: G Bennedict Mathurin* (NBA early entrant; 17.7 ppg), C Christian Koloko* (NBA early entrant; 12.6 ppg), G Dalen Terry* (NBA early entrant; 8 ppg), G Justin Kier (graduated; 6.8 ppg), F Kim Aiken Jr. (transferred; 5 ppg), G Shane Nowell (transferred to UNLV; 0.8 ppg)

The Skinny: Arizona exceeded everyone’s expectations last season, finishing with a 33-4 record and advancing to the Sweet 16. The Wildcats lost a ton of talent to the NBA but are still expected to contend for the Pac-12 crown, largely thanks to returning starters Kerr Kriisa and Azuolas Tubelis, an all-conference selection last season. The duo is expected to lead a balanced Arizona squad that also includes Pelle Larsson, Oumar Ballo, and Adama Bal. All three were rotation players last season but are expected to play a bigger role in 2022-23. Additionally, the Wildcats added a pair of transfers—Courtney Ramey and Cedric Henderson – who should make an immediate impact next season. Incoming freshman Henri Veesar, from Estonia, could also factor prominently into the rotation.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman
Oregon head coach Dana Altman (AP)

3. OREGON


Returning Players: G Will Richardson* (14.1 ppg), F Quincy Guerrier* (10.1 ppg), C N’Faly Dante* (8.1 ppg), G Rivaldo Soares (4.7 ppg), F-C Nate Bittle (1.7 ppg), F Lok Wur (0.9 ppg), F Ethan Butler (redshirted)


New Additions: G Keeshawn Barthelemy (transfer from Colorado; 11.1 ppg), G Jermaine Couisnard (transfer from South Carolina; 12 ppg), C Kel’el Ware (5-star), G Tyrone Williams (JUCO), G Brennan Rigsby (JUCO)


Departures: G Jacob Young* (graduated; 12 ppg), G De’Vion Harmon* (transferred to Texas Tech; 10.8 ppg), F Eric Williams (transferred to San Diego; 8.4 ppg), C Franck Kepnang (transferred to Washington; 4.7 ppg), C Isaac Johnson (transferred to Utah State; 2.4 ppg)

The Skinny: Oregon missed the NCAA tourney for only the second time in 10 years when they didn’t qualify for the Big Dance last season. However, with three starters returning, including all-conference guard Will Richardson, the Ducks are expected to bounce back next season. Richardson, who surprisingly came back for a fifth season, will once again run the show in Eugene, but he should get plenty of help from fellow returnees Quincy Guerrier, N’Faly Dante, and Rivaldo Soares. Oregon also added a pair of talented transfers in Keeshawn Barthelemy and Jermaine Couisnard, who are both expected to challenge for a starting spot next season. On the recruiting front, the Ducks added Kel’el Ware, a five-star prospect, and Tyrone Williams, who was one of the top JUCO players last season.

USC head coach Andy Enfield
USC head coach Andy Enfield (D. Ross Cameron/USA TODAY Images)

4. USC


Returning Players: G Boogie Ellis* (12.5 ppg), G Drew Peterson* (12.4 ppg), G Reese Dixon-Waters (4.8 ppg), F Joshua Morgan (3.2 ppg), G Kobe Johnson (1.2 ppg), F Harrison Horney (1.6 ppg), G Malik Thomas (0.3 ppg),


New Additions: C Vince Iwuchukwu (5-star), F Kijani Wright (4-star), F Tre White (4-star), G Oziyah Sellers (3-star)


Departures: F Isaiah Mobley* (NBA early entrant; 14.2 ppg), F Chevez Goodwin* (graduated; 11 ppg), F Max Agbonkpolo* (transferred to Wyoming; 7.7 ppg), G Ethan Anderson (transferred to Wyoming; 4.4 ppg), G-F Isaiah White (graduated; 3 ppg), F Boubacar Coulibaly (transferred to Pepperdine; 1.7 ppg)


The Skinny: USC lost three starters, including all-conference forward Isaiah Mobley, who bolted early for the NBA. The Trojans, however, return its starting backcourt of Boogie Ellis and All-Pac-12 guard Drew Peterson. Both players tested the NBA Draft waters but ultimately decided to return to school for another season. The duo will undoubtedly shoulder a heavy load for USC next year. Also returning to the mix are Joshua Morgan and Reese Dixon-Waters, who is a prime candidate for a breakout season in 2022-23. The Trojans are also counting on their top-15 recruiting class to make an immediate impact. Vince Iwuchukwu, a five-star prospect, headlines the team’s impressive haul. The recruiting class is rounded out by four-star prospects Kijani Wright and Tre White, as well as Oziyah Sellers, a three-star recruit.

Stanford head coach Jerod Haase
Stanford head coach Jerod Haase ((AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo))

5. STANFORD

Returning Players: F Spencer Jones* (12 ppg), F Harrison Ingram* (10.5 ppg), G Michael O’Connell* (7.1 ppg), F Brandon Angel (7.7 ppg), F James Keefe* (5.3 ppg), C Maxime Raynaud (4.5 ppg), G Isa Silva (3.5 ppg), F Max Murrell (2.4 ppg), G Jarvis Moss (redshirted last season)

New Additions: G Michael Jones (transfer from Davidson; 11.8 ppg), F Jaylen Thompson (4-star), F Ryan Agarwal (4-star)

Departures: F Jaiden Delaire* (transferred to San Diego; 10.1 ppg), G Noah Taitz (transferred to Loyola Marymount; 4.5 ppg), F-C Lukas Kisunas (graduated; 2.4 ppg), C Keenan Fitzmorris (transferred to Stony Brook; redshirted)

The Skinny: Stanford returns four starters and roughly 80 percent of its scoring from last season. The most notable returnee is Harrison Ingram, who decided to come back for his sophomore season after considering the NBA Draft. Ingram, who was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year last season, anchors a veteran Cardinal squad that is seeking only its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 15 years. Other returning starters include sharpshooter Spencer Jones, steady point guard Michael O’Connell, and scrappy big man James Keefe. Also returning to the mix are key reserves Brandon Angel, Isa Silva, and Maxime Raynaud. Stanford also hit the transfer portal this offseason—a rarity considering the school’s strict academic requirements—and added guard Michael Jones from Davidson, who could play his way into the starting five.

ASU head coach Bobby Hurley
ASU head coach Bobby Hurley

6. ARIZONA STATE


Returning Players: G DJ Horne* (12.5 ppg), F Marcus Bagley (10 ppg), G Luther Muhammad (5.2 ppg), F Alonzo Gaffney* (4.2 ppg), C Enoch Boakye (2 ppg), G-F Jamiya Neal (2 ppg)


New Additions: G Desmond Cambridge (transfer from Nevada; 16.2 ppg), C Warren Washington (transfer from Nevada; 10.5 ppg), G-F Devan Cambridge (transfer from Auburn; 5.3 ppg), G Frankie Collins (transfer from Michigan; 2.8 ppg), G Austin Nunez (4-star), C Duke Brennan (3-star)


Departures: G Marreon Jackson (graduated; 10.4 ppg), F Kimani Lawrence* (graduated; 10.1 ppg), F Jalen Graham* (transferred to Arkansas; 9.9 ppg), G Jay Heath* (transferred to Georgetown; 10.6 ppg), F Will Felton (transferred to North Carolina A&T; redshirted), G-F Demari Williams (Oral Roberts; redshirted), G Justin Rochelin (transferred to Oregon State; redshirted)


The Skinny: Coming off back-to-back losing seasons, Arizona State is looking to bounce back in 2022-23. The Sun Devils return a solid core of players, including leading-scorer DJ Horne, Luther Muhammad, and Alonzo Gaffney. The most important returnee, however, might be Marcus Bagley, who was limited to only three games last season with a knee injury. When healthy, Bagley is considered one of the league’s most talented players. Additionally, the Sun Devils were able to add some serious talent this offseason. ASU nabbed four players from the transfer portal—Desmond Cambridge (Nevada), Devan Cambridge (Auburn), Frankie Collins (Michigan), and Warren Washington (Nevada)—all of whom are expected to make a significant impact next season. Austin Nunez, a four-star prospect, could also factor into the rotation.

Colorado head coach Tad Boyle
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle (AP)

7. COLORADO


Returning Players: F Tristan da Silva* (9.4 ppg), G KJ Simpson (7.4 ppg), G Nique Clifford (6.7 ppg), G Julian Hammond (2.9 ppg), G-F Luke O’Brien (2.6 ppg), C Lawson Lovering (1.9 ppg), G-F Quincy Allen (injured last season), G Javon Ruffin (injured last season)


New Additions: G Ethan Wright (transfer from Princeton; 14.7 ppg), G Jalen Gabbidon (transfer from Yale; 11.3 ppg), C Joe Hurlburt (4-star), G RJ Smith (3-star)

Departures: F Jabari Walker* (NBA early entrant; 14.6 ppg), F Evan Battey* (graduated; 12.4 ppg), G Keeshawn Barthelemy* (transferred to Oregon; 11.1 ppg), G Eli Parquet* (transferred to UNLV; 6.9 ppg)


The Skinny: Colorado lost four starters from last season’s NIT squad, including All-Pac-12 selections Jabari Walker and Evan Battey. However, it’s not all bad news for the Buffaloes, who return a solid young nucleus, including Tristan da Silva, the lone returning starter from last year. Colorado’s reputation for developing young talent should benefit returning players like KJ Simpson, Nique Clifford, and Lawson Lovering, who are all poised to play much bigger roles in 2022-23. The X-factors, however, could be a pair of grad transfers from the Ivy League, Ethan Wright (Princeton) and Jalen Gabbidon (Yale), who provide much-needed experience for an otherwise young roster. Javon Ruffin (knee) and Quincy Allen (hip), who missed all of last season with injuries, are healthy now and should provide additional depth for Colorado.

Washington State head coach Kyle Smith
Washington State head coach Kyle Smith ((AP Photo/Jeff Chiu))

8. WASHINGTON STATE


Returning Players: G TJ Bamba (7.7 ppg), F Mouhamed Gueye* (7.4 ppg), C Dishon Jackson (6 ppg), F Andrej Jakimovski (5.4 ppg), F DJ Rodman (4.2 ppg), F Carlos Rosario (injured last season), G Myles Rice (redshirted last season),


New Additions: C Adrame Diongue (4-star), G Justin Powell (transfer from Tennessee; 3.7 ppg), F-C Mael Harmon-Crespin (NR); G Dylan Darling (NR), C Solomon Ominu (NR), G Jabe Mullins (transfer from Saint Mary’s; 2.9 ppg)

Departures: G Michael Flowers* (graduated; 14.2 ppg), G Tyrell Roberts* (transferred to San Francisco; 11.4 ppg), G Noah Williams* (transferred to Washington; 9.5 ppg), F Efe Abogidi* (NBA G League; 8.1 ppg), G Jefferson Koulibaly (transferred to SMU; 2.6 ppg), G Ryan Rapp (transferred to Hawaii; 1.2 ppg), F Tony Miller (transferred to TBD; redshirted)


The Skinny: It was a rough offseason for Washington State, who unexpectedly lost several players to the transfer portal, as well as leading-scorer Michael Flowers, who exhausted his eligibility. However, the Cougars received a boost when Mouhammed Gueye returned to Pullman after testing the NBA Draft waters. Gueye, who was named to the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team, is the lone returning starter from last year’s squad. He’s expected to lead a solid cast of characters, including rotation players like TJ Bamba, Dishon Jackson, Andrej Jakimovski, and DJ Rodman. The Cougars also bring in an underrated recruiting class, headlined by four-star prospects Andrame Diongue and Mael Harmon-Crespi. Justin Powell, a transfer from Tennessee, could also factor prominently into the rotation — if he’s granted a waiver from the NCAA.

Washington head coach Mike Hopkins
Washington head coach Mike Hopkins ((AP Photo/Isaac Brekken))

9. WASHINGTON


Returning Players: G Jamal Bey* (11.4 ppg), G PJ Fuller (7.4 ppg), G Cole Bajema (5.4 ppg), F Langston Wilson (2.6 ppg), C Riley Sorn (2.1 ppg), F-C Jackson Grant (1.1 ppg), F Samuel Ariyibi (0.8 ppg)


New Additions: F Keion Brooks Jr. (transfer from Kentucky; 10.8 ppg), G Noah Williams (transfer from Washington State; 9.5 ppg), C Franck Kepnang (transfer from Oregon; 4.7 ppg), C Braxton Meah (transfer from Fresno State; 2.2 ppg), G Koren Johnson (4-star), G Keyon Menifield (3-star), F Tyler Linhardt (NR)

Departures: G Terrell Brown Jr.* (graduated; 21.7 ppg), F Emmitt Matthews Jr.* (transferred to West Virginia; 11.7 ppg), G Daejon Davis* (graduated; 7 ppg), F Nate Roberts* (graduated; 5.5 ppg), G Dominiq Penn (transferred to TBD; 1 ppg)


The Skinny: After losing four starters from last year’s team, Washington was able to retool its roster thru the transfer portal. The Huskies didn’t have to look too far – adding a pair of transfers from rival Pac-12 schools: Noah Williams (Washington State) and Franck Kepnang (Oregon). Washington also landed Keion Brooks, a former five-star recruit from Kentucky, and Braxton Meah from Fresno State. The newcomers should team nicely with the Huskies’ returning players, which includes Jamal Bey, who is heading into his fifth season with the program. Also returning to the mix are a trio of key reserves from last season – PJ Fuller, Cole Bajema, and Langston Wilson. All three should see increased roles next year. Incoming freshman Koren Johnson, a four-star prospect, could also see meaningful action.

Utah head coach Craig Smith
Utah head coach Craig Smith (Associated Press)

10. UTAH


Returning Players: C Branden Carlson* (13.6 ppg), G Lazar Stefanovic* (7.5 ppg), G Rollie Worster* (7.5 ppg), G Gabe Madsen (6.7 ppg), F Bostyn Holt (4 ppg), G Jaxon Brenchley (2.6 ppg)


New Additions: G Mike Saunders (transfer from Cincinnati; 7.3 ppg), F Ben Carlson (transfer from Wisconsin; 1.6 ppg); F Gavin Baxter (transfer walk-on from BYU; 6.6 ppg), C Keba Keita (3-star), G Wilguens Exacte (3-star), F Luka Tarlac (3-star)

Departures: G Marco Anthony* (graduated; 9.1 ppg), G Both Gach (graduated; 8.7 ppg), G David Jenkins Jr. (transferred to Purdue; 8.5 ppg), F Dusan Mahorcic (transferred to NC State; 5.5 ppg), F Riley Battin* (transferred to Cal Baptist; 4.4 ppg), C Lahat Thioune (transferred to UCF; 3.8 ppg)


The Skinny: Utah had its fair share of ups and downs last season, which marked the beginning of the Craig Smith era in Salt Lake City. The Utes are hopeful Year 2 will result in more success, and there’s reason to be optimistic. The team brings back three starters, including All-Pac-12 center Branden Carlson. Utah also returns its starting backcourt of Rollie Worster and Lazar Stefanovic, who was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team last season. Also returning to the fold are Gabe Madsen and Bostyn Holt, who should see increased roles in 2022-23. Additionally, the Utes landed a pair of transfers—Mike Saunders (Cincinnati) and Ben Carlson (Wisconsin)—who both have a chance to crack the starting five. Incoming freshman Keba Keita, a three-star recruit, could also factor into the rotation.

Cal head coach Mark Fox
Cal head coach Mark Fox (UGA Sports Communication)

11. CALIFORNIA


Returning Players: F Jalen Celestine* (7.5 ppg), G Joel Brown* (4.8 ppg), F Kuany Kuany (4.8 ppg), C Lars Thiemann (4.7 ppg), F Sam Alajiki (3.1 ppg), G Jarred Hyder (1.3 ppg), F Obinna Anyanwu (0.9 ppg), G Marsalis Roberson (0.6 ppg), F Monty Bowser (injured last season)


New Additions: G Devin Askew (transfer from Texas; 2.1 ppg), G DeJuan Clayton (transfer from Hartford; injured last season), C ND Okafor (3-star), F Grant Newell (3-star)

Departures: G Jordan Shepherd* (graduated; 14.6 ppg), F Andre Kelly* (transferred to UC Santa Barbara; 13.4 ppg), F Grant Anticevich* (graduated; 9.7 ppg), G Makale Foreman (graduated; 4.1 ppg), G Dimitrios Klonaras (transferred; 1.5 ppg), F DJ Thorpe (medical retirement)


The Skinny: Next season could be an uphill battle for California, who lost its top three scorers from last year’s squad, which finished tenth in the conference standings. The Bears, however, return a pair of starters in Jalen Celestine and Joel Brown. Also returning to the mix are Kuany Kuany, Lars Thiemann, and Sam Alajiki, who should all see a bump in minutes next season. Cal made some waves in the offseason with the transfer addition of Devin Askew (Texas), a former top-40 player in the 2020 class. The Bears added a second transfer, Dejuan Clayton, who will be entering his seventh(!) season in college – due to medical redshirts and the extra COVID year. Incoming freshman ND Okafor, a three-star recruit, could also factor into the rotation.

Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle
Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle (AP)

12. OREGON STATE


Returning Players: F Glenn Taylor Jr. (6.9 ppg), F Ahmad Rand (5.3 ppg), G Dexter Akanno* (4.9 ppg), F Isaiah Johnson (1.3 PPG), C Chol Marial (ineligible last season)


New Additions: G Christian Wright (transfer from Georgia; 5.3 ppg), F Dzmitry Ryuny (transfer from San Francisco; 1.7 ppg), G Justin Rochelin (transfer from Arizona State; redshirted), G Jordan Pope (3-star), F Tyler Bilodeau (3-star), F Michael Rataj (NR), G Nick Krass (3-star), F Jayden Stevens (NR)

Departures: G Jarod Lucas* (transferred to Nevada; 13.5 ppg), G DaShawn Davis* (transferred to Mississippi State; 10.9 ppg), F Warith Alatishe* (graduated; 9 ppg), F Maurice Calloo (graduated; 8.6 ppg), C Roman Silva* (graduated; 7.2 ppg), G Gianni Hunt (transferred to Sacramento State; 4.7 ppg), F Rodrigue Andela (graduated; 4.6 ppg), G Xzavier Malone-Key (graduated; 3.8 ppg), G Tre Williams (transferred to Tulane; 3 ppg)


The Skinny: Oregon State is coming off a historically bad season, in which the team went 3-28 overall, including a woeful 1-19 record in conference play. The Beavers, who lost their top five scorers, are officially in rebuild mode. Oregon State, however, has a nice building block in Glenn Taylor, who was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team last season. He leads a group of returners that includes Ahmad Rand, Dexter Akanno, and Chol Marial, who was academically ineligible last season. The Beavers added a trio of transfers—Christian Wright, Dzmitry Ryuny, and Justin Rochelin—who should be part of the regular rotation next season. Oregon State also signed a five-man recruiting class, which includes three-star recruits Jordan Pope and Tyler Bilodeau, as well as Michael Rataj, an intriguing prospect from Germany.


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