Early draft entrants, transfers, decommits, coaching changes and a rape investigation in Oregon portend hard times for PAC-12 hoops.The pundits said the PAC-12 has been on the upswing for the past two seasons - starting with Ben Howland's number one-ranked Bruin recruiting class and followed by six league teams getting into March Madness this past season including an Elite Eight appearance by Arizona. 2014-15? Not so much, and the mainstream media has taken notice. NBC Sports points out that things changed pretty quickly in six weeks. Yahoo Sports calls UCLA the biggest loser in the early draft entry period.
What happened? Here's the short list:
1) Three Bruins, from a team that lost in the Sweet Sixteen, decided to enter June's Draft. The big surprise - Jordan Adams changed his mind at the last minute and joined his teammates Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine. UCLA goes from a solid number two and challenging Arizona to...? Here, I said they had a shot at beating Arizona, to here I said they would finish anywhere from third to fifth. But who would capture second - Utah? They beat us in Utah last year, but I still don't buy it.
2) Meanwhile, up in Oregon, there's quite the mess. Golden boy Dana Altman, master of the transfer, isn't so golden anymore. Damyeon Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin have all been suspended. Artis is transferring along with Ben Carter and A.J. Lampray. Mike Moser and Jason Calliste graduated. Am I missing anyone. Only Joseph Yound and Elgin Cook from the rotatin players are coming back.
3) Coaching Changes: Mike Montgomery retired from Cal and Craig Robinson was fired from Oregon State. Although seemingly faded this past season, Mike Montgomery has always been held in high regard. Not Craig Robinson. Robinson's firing was oddly later in the year than is ideal for recruiting. OSU was a 16-16 team, and is nevertheless in rebuilding mode. Maryland transfer Nick Faust is reopening his recruitment, Eric Moreland declared for the NBA Draft and Hallice Cooke transferred. Poor Ben. Even if he does get the job, he's starting from nothing.
4) Colorado's Junior Spencer Dinwiddie entered the NBA Draft despite missing most of last season with a torn ACL.
I can go on and on. Cal graduates its two best players, Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, and incoming freshman point guard, Ahmaad Rorie decommitted. Stanford graduated Powell and Huestis. ASU lost Jahii Carson to the draft, and graduated Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall.
My head is spinnning!
Meanwhile, Sean Miller is still rolling along in Arizona. The Bruins might still finish in second, but instead of the dog fight with Arizona, it's going to be nip and tuck with Utah and Stanford.