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Pac-12 basketball seeks national respect, despite self-inflicted hurdles

By in Press Enterprise on November 8, 2017

By Scott Wolf

The Pacific-12 Conference always seeks national respect when it comes to basketball and no one could deny the league’s prominence in recent weeks.

Arizona and USC are the subject of an FBI corruption scandal and each had key assistant coaches indicted. Now that is a sure sign of becoming a big-time conference and it just so happens the Wildcats and Trojans are considered the two best teams.

If that wasn’t enough, three UCLA players were arrested in Hangzhou, China, for allegedly shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store.

Hopefully, the Pac-12 will make some news on the court too. So here’s a look at some of the best (and worst) as the season opens this weekend:

TOP FIVE TEAMS

Arizona: The Wildcats are national-title contenders with star guard Allonzo Trier and 7-foot-1 freshman Deandre Ayton. But will the FBI investigation derail their season?

USC: What is the status of sophomore guard De’Anthony Melton out of Crespi High? He was held out of two scrimmages and Coach Andy Enfield won’t say why. That leads to speculation it is tied to the FBI scandal.

UCLA: The Bruins look like a Top 25 team with center Thomas Welsh and guard Aaron Holiday back. But how many players will return from China?

Oregon: The Ducks should be a mess after their Final Four team lost Jordan Bell, Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey. But New Mexico-transfer Elijah Brown averaged 20.9 points last season, guard Payton Pritchard was a starter last season and five-star freshman forward Troy Brown will make an immediate impact.

Arizona State: It’s Year 3 of the Bobby Hurley era and time for some results. Guards Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice will provide the offense.

TOP COACH

Dana Altman, Oregon: No one in the Pac-12 gets more out of their roster than Altman. He is the only Pac-12 coach to get his […]    

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