Preseason All Pac-10 Team

Preseason All Pac-10 Team

In this edition of CJ's Corner, I forecast my preseason All Pac-10 team. This is not a prediction about whom the conference coaches will actually select for the all conference team at the conclusion of the season (where reputations come into play), but rather the players I think will be most worthy of selection.

1. Ike Diogu, Arizona State (19.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 0.8 apg).  Once described by a member of the Stanford coaching staff as "big, mean, ugly," Diogu, probably the best player in the conference, should run away with the scoring and rebounding titles not only because he's good but because he'll be surrounded by a young team that will often need him to go for 20-10 to have a chance to win a given game.  Ike should average right around those numbers.  The only knock on the big ugly is his inability and/or lack of willingness to pass the ball and hit the open man when he's doubled in the post (i.e. all the time).

2. Josh Childress, Stanford (14.1, 8.1, 2.1).  At the other end of the spectrum from Diogu in terms of playing on a balanced team, Childress will be the do-everything player on a very balanced Cardinal squad.  His numbers will probably not be eye-popping, but Pac-10 coaches will all know how good Childress is.  If Stanford wins the Pac-10, Childress may have a shot at conference player of the year. 

3. Luke Jackson, Oregon (16.0, 6.9, 3.6).  Overrated by many (including some pundits who project him as a second or third team all-american), Jackson is nevertheless very good.  Like Childress, Jackson will do some of everything and will be the glue that holds the Ducks together.  Look for Jackson to score about 18-19 ppg with point guard Aaron Brooks taking fewer shots than predecessor Luke Ridnour.

4. Channing Frye, Arizona (12.6, 8.0, 0.7).  One of the top 2 or 3 bigs in the Pac-10, Frye will put up big numbers as the only credible post threat for the Wildcats.  Frye should easily lead the conference in blocks, and even Isaiah Fox and his big appetite won't be able to eat into Frye's rebounding totals.  Frye's minutes will increase dramatically this season, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up come February and March.

5. Rory O'Neil, USC (10.1, 4.9, 0.8).  It pains me to have to put a kid who chose USC and Henry Bibby over Stanford and Mike Montgomery on this list, but O'Neil is emerging as one of the premier bigs in the Pac-10.  Able to step out and hit the three or play with his back to the basket (just ask Joe Kirchofer about his drop-step), O'Neil is extremely versatile.  Although sharing the ball could be a problem for the Trojenz this year, O'Neil should get his share of touches because he's the sole post threat for Bibby's squad of slashers.  The only question with Rory is his toughness; he has a tendency to play soft. 

6. Justin Davis, Stanford (10.3, 7.8, 1.4).  Believe the hype.  If Justin Davis played on any team other than Stanford and weren't surrounded by Josh Childress and Rob Little, Davis would be a cinch to lead the conference in rebounding.  As it is, he still might.  Increasingly confident in his impressive array of spin moves on the blocks (especially the left block), Davis should see a nice bump in his scoring output this season to somewhere around 14 points per game.  Combine that with a likely 9 boards per game and extremely underrated passing out of the post (watch how many open looks Matt Lottich and Dan Grunfeld get this year) and Davis should earn a spot on the team.  While Stanford's balance will prevent JD from putting up monster numbers, a conference title would help his candidacy tremendously.

7. Salim Stoudamire, Arizona (13.0, 1.6, 1.8).  The best outside shooter in the Pac-10 (with apologies to Matt Lottich), Stoudamire will get plenty of shots in Arizona's offense.  The Wildcats will play up-tempo and generate a lot of easy baskets, and in the half-court, with multiple slashers in the starting lineup, Stoudamire will benefit from the kind of quality looks that savvy shooters get from the penetrate and kick style that Lute Olson is likely to return to this season. 

8. Marcus Moore, Washington State (18.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.7 apg).  Moore's offensive numbers could suffer in Dick Bennett's grind it out system, but the versatile guard should be a better player thanks to the new head man in Pullman.  Moore made a wise decision in foregoing the NBA draft, and he'll be looking to impress the scouts this season.  The only thing that could derail Moore this year is the potential for a clash with his head coach, who doesn't like one player dominating the ball.

9. Leon Powe, California (n/a).  While it's tempting to choose kal's other big man, Amit Tamir, for this team, Powe is already the better player.  Powe is the weenies' one true low post threat and should consistently score in double figures.  The freshman is also a beast on the boards, and without quality rebounders around him, Powe could snare close to 10 per game and challenge Diogu for the rebounding title.

10. Dijon Thompson, UCLA (14.0, 4.7, 2.8).  Coach Ben Howland may experiment with different combinations this season, but Thompson figures to be the one constant.  Thompson will do some of everything, not unlike Josh Childress, and will be a better player than his statistics alone will indicate.  If UCLA manages to get to .500 in conference play, somebody from UCLA is likely to make the all conference team, and Thompson is the best candidate. 

Near misses:

Mustafa Shakur, Arizona.  The best freshman point guard in the country will get a ton of minutes on Lute Olson's thin squad.  If Shakur proves he can shoot it from deep, he bumps somebody off the list.

Matt Lottich, Stanford.  Lotty will get a lot of open looks thanks to Stanford's capable frontline.  If Matt can shoot north of 40% from deep, making the all conference team is a distinct possibility.

Andre Igoudala, Arizona.  Should put up very solid numbers (except from beyond the arc) and will get special consideration for highlight reel plays. 

Nate Robinson, Washington.  The small but ultra-athletic Robinson is oh-so-close.  He's probably a year away.

Amit Tamir, Cal.  There's no room on my team for a guy who plays softer than Isaiah Fox's underbelly.  This guy plays no D and is as bad a rebounder as you could possibly be at just a hair under seven feet tall.  No wait, that would be Gabriel Hughes.  Nevertheless, Tamir has to be listed here on the strength of his outside shooting.

Hassan Adams, Arizona.  Adams will score in bunches, especially in transition, but in the end, Adams will be overshadowed by teammates Frye, Shakur and Igoudala.

Desmon Farmer, USC.  Incredibly talented, but temperamental, Farmer is seems likely to let his emotions affect him as Bibby plays mind games with his talented squad.


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