October 8, 2012
By Israel Chandler
Going out West, the Pac-12 is filled with talented newcomers. This list reflects that with many names on the list that weren't at their respective schools or playing college basketball last year. With that said, here's a look at the players to watch for in the Pac-12 this year.
1. Shabazz Muhammad (SG, UCLA) – at 6’6” the silky smooth freshman at UCLA is being considered the next big name to enter the draft. With his height and size he can knock down the open jumper, can create his own shot off the dribble, and finish at the rim on just about anyone. He is extremely gifted and will be something special to see this year at UCLA.
2. Andre Roberson (SF, Colorado) – is a 6’7” wing that is very explosive and can jump out the gym. As a sophomore he had a stellar year averaging a double-double respectively at almost 12 points and 11 rebounds a game. He is considered Colorado’s glue because he has a knack for the ball by also averaging 2 blocks and 2 steals a game. If Roberson can improve his offensively ability this year, he will be one of the names that’s high on every GM list.
3. Kyle Anderson (SF, UCLA) – listed at 6’8” Anderson is one of the smoothest players you will watch. He is a point guard in a forwards body. He can dribble, shoot, and with his high IQ can create for him or even his teammates. Look for him to play multiple positions this year at UCLA and be a productive player.
4. Joshua Smith (C, UCLA) – looking to rebound from last year, Smith is coming back hungry and with a chip on his shoulder. At 6’10” and weighing over 300 pounds, Smith was benched last year for being out of shape. When he is in shape Smith is a hand full because he can dominate in the paint and handle just about any center he comes across. This year will show how determined he is to make a name for himself or he will end up behind the many talented freshman they have coming in.
5. Grant Jarrett (PF, Arizona) – considered by most as the best big man on the west coast, he choose to go to Arizona to prove it. At 6’10” 220lbs, Jarrett is a force to be reckon with. He runs the floor the well, block shots, and has quite a few moves on offense. Depending on how he's guarded, he can shoot the mid range with consistency, have a nice hook shot to score over big men, and can even put the ball on the floor and beat his man off the dribble. While young, the lack of big men at Arizona will force Jarrett to contribute right away.
6. Kaleb Tarczewski (C, Arizona) – another young big man that is heading to Arizona next year. He is a true 7 foot center that plays with his back to the basket. He’s very mobile and a great shot blocker. He will compete with Jarrett during the year to see who will get the most playing time.
7. Mark Lyons (G, Arizona) – looking to start over in Arizona, Lyons is a dynamic guard that can put points on the board. Lyons transferred from Xavier where he averaged 15 points 3 assists and shot 43 percent from the field per game. With his troubles on and off the court in Xavier in his past, Lyons is looking to have another breakout year with his new team.
8. Allen Crabbe (SG, California) – going into his junior season Crabbe will be looking to expand his game and carry his team to the next level. As a sophomore he averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds per game. He is a 6’6” wing player that is known for running the floor and knocking down open 3s. This year he is looking to expand his game by becoming a more all around player and explosiveness that GM’s are looking for on the next level.
9. Brock Motum (PF, Washington State) – improving every year in college so far, Motum is looking for is senior season to be even better. At 6’10” and 245 pounds Motum is a long-distance threat that can score in bunches. Pouring in 18 points and 6 rebounds a game, he led the PAC 12 in scoring and was also being considered the player of the year in the conference. He is a nightmare to guard because he can step out and shoot the 3 or put it on the floor and finish at the rim. Going into his senior season he is looking to continue his emergence and be the best player in the PAC 12.
10. Jahii Carson (PG, Arizona State) – will be one of the most explosive players going into their freshman year. Ruled academically ineligible last year, Carson is coming into this season with a chip on his shoulder and ready to prove he has what it takes. At 5’10” he is very explosive and can beat any defender in front of him off the dribble. He will be able to make plays for his team and this is what Arizona State has been missing in the past.