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Team-by-team preview of every Pac-12 squad entering the 2020-21 basketball season
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Team-by-team preview of every Pac-12 squad entering the 2020-21 basketball season

Pac-12 men’s basketball teams are scheduled to play 20 games for the first time ever this season, and Arizona will play all teams twice except Cal and Utah.

The 20-game schedule was created by taking the latest rotation of 18 games per team and adding back two games of the four that were scheduled to be skipped under that format.

Arizona’s two added-back games are against Colorado on Dec. 2 at McKale Center and at Stanford on Dec. 19. All other UA conference games will be held after Christmas.

Here’s a look at the conference’s 12 teams in order of predicted finish in the conference’s preseason poll:

UCLA guard Chris Smith (5) attempts to dribble around Utah guard Rylan Jones (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)


Stock: Rising. If the Bruins are going to continue the ascent they found in the second half of last season. Hand them the Pac-12 trophy right now.

Games vs. UA: Week of Jan. 6-10 at McKale Center; week of Feb. 17-21 at Los Angeles

Coach: Mick Cronin (19-12 in one season at UCLA, 384-183 in 17 seasons overall)

Last season: 19-12 overall; 12-6 Pac-12 (second place)

Returning core: PG Tyger Campbell (So., 8.3 ppg, 5.0 apg), SG David Singleton (Jr., 4.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg), SF Jaime Jaquez Jr. (So., 8.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg), PF Chris Smith (Sr., 13.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg), C Jalen Hill (Jr., 9.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg), C Cody Riley (Jr., 8.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg), G Jules Bernard (Jr., 5.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg), G Jake Kyman (5.3 ppg, 40.3 3FG%)

Key losses: G Prince Ali (6.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg), F Alex Olesinski (1.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg.

New guys: G Jaylen Clark (four star freshman), G Johnny Juzang (So., Kentucky transfer, 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg)

Upside: Especially with the return of Chris Smith from the NBA Draft pool, the Bruins have an experienced, balanced veteran attack — and a buy-in to Cronin’s gritty, defensive-minded system.

Downside: The Bruins won’t catch anyone off-guard this time, and losing five-star none-and-done point guard Daishen Nix to the G League puts even more pressure on Campbell.

He said it: “The key for us is going to be not forgetting what we learned last year. Because we learned both — we learned how to get beat, and the things that get you a beat firsthand. And then we learned what it takes to win at a higher level.” — Mick Cronin


Stock: Rising but historically volatile. This may be the best version yet of Bobby Hurley’s “Guard U,” but there are questions inside.

Games vs. UA: Week of Jan. 20-24 at Tempe; March 6 or 7 at McKale Center

Coach: Bobby Hurley (93-69 in five seasons at ASU; 135-89 in seven seasons overall).

Last season: 20-11 overall; 11-7 Pac-12 (tied for third).

Returning core: G Remy Martin (Sr., 19.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.1 apg), SG Alonzo Verge (Sr, 14.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.3 apg), F Kimani Lawrence (Sr., 4.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg), F/C Taeshon Cherry (Sr., 4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg), C Jalen Graham (3.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg), G Jaelen House (3.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg),

Key losses: G Rob Edwards (11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg), C Romello White (transferred to Mississippi, 10.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg), F Mickey Mitchell (1.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg)

New guys: SF Josh Christopher (five-star freshman), F Marcus Bagley (four-star freshman), C Pavlo Dziuba (Ukrainian freshman), F Chris Osten (juco transfer).

Upside: With his clutch play — as evidenced by ASU’s 22-point comeback win over Arizona that he engineered last season — Remy Martin could be this season’s version of Payton Pritchard, a clutch, veteran point guard who leads his team to the Pac-12 title.

Downside: Romello White’s transfer to Ole Miss left a gaping hole inside, and the Sun Devils need better play from Kimani Lawrence, Taeshon Cherry and Jalen Graham to avoid being too guard-heavy.

He said it: “Just got a ton of confidence about what I’ve been watching and how the team is coming together. It could be my most talented team with the most potential.” – Bobby Hurley

Arizona guard Dylan Smith (3), left, and guard Josh Green (0) try to squeeze down on Oregon guard Chris Duarte (5) in the first half of their Pac-12 game at Matthew Knight Arena, January 9, 2020.


Stock: Blue chip. The Ducks are always a factor in the Pac-12 race and will be again this season even without Payton Pritchard.

Games vs. UA: Week of Jan. 13-17 at Eugene; week of Feb. 10-14 at McKale Center

Coach: Dana Altman (259-103 in 10 seasons at Oregon, 669-346 in 32nd season overall)

Last season: 24-7 overall; 13-5 Pac-12 (first)

Returning core: G Will Richardson (Jr., 11.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Chris Duarte (Sr., 12.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg), C N’Faly Dante (So., 5.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Chandler Lawson (4.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg), F Addison Patterson (So., 4.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg).

Key losses: G Payton Pritchard (20.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.5 apg), G Anthony Mathis (8.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg), F Shakur Juiston (6.3 rpg, 2.0 apg).

Newcomers: G Amauri Hardy (Sr., UNLV transfer, 14.5 ppg, 3.3 apg), F Eugene Omoruyi (Sr., Rutgers transfer, 13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg), F Eric Williams (Jr., Duquesne transfer, 14.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg), G Jalen Terry (four-star freshman),

Upside: Overall, the Ducks actually lost a lot fewer players than they normally do, and they will activate two accomplished sit-out transfers in Omoruyi and Williams.

Downside: Pritchard’s laser focus, ability in the clutch and leadership won’t be replaced by one player, though Richardson showed potential last season and the Ducks also have experience (UNLV transfer Amauri Hardy) and speed (freshman Jalen Terry) to join him in the backcourt.

He said it: “We’ve got more guys back than usual, and I like the pieces we’ve added. So we’re optimistic. Guarded optimism.” — Dana Altman

Stanford's Oscar da Silva, left, tries to get past Oregon State's Ethan Thompson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

4. Stanford

Stock: Rising. Despite losing Tyrell Terry early to the NBA Draft, Stanford has just about everyone else back – and pulled in the program’s highest-rated recruit ever in Ziaire Williams.

Games vs. UA: Dec. 19 at Maples Pavilion; week of Jan. 27-31 at McKale Center.

Coach: Jerod Haase (68-61 in four seasons at Stanford; 168-126 in eight seasons overall).

Last season: 20-12 overall; 9-9 Pac-12 (seventh)

Returning core: G Daejon Davis (Sr., 8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg), F Oscar da Silva (Sr., 15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg), G Bryce Wills (Jr., 7.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg), F Spencer Jones (So., 8.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg), F Jaiden Delaire (Jr., 6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg), C Lukas Kisunas (2.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg)

Key losses: G Tyrell Terry (early NBA departure, 14.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg), G Isaac White (early Australia pro departure, 4.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg

New guys: F Ziaire Williams (five-star freshman), G Michael O’Connell (four-star freshman), F Max Murrell (three-star freshman), F Brandon Angel (three-star freshman), G Noah Taitz (three-star freshman)

Upside: Jerod Haase’s recruiting has steadily improved but the the NBA keeps luring guys away early at a school that can’t easily replace them in the spring. But now the Cardinal has enough talent, experience and versatility on hand to make a serious move upward.

Downside: Haase is still only seven games over .500 in four seasons at Stanford, and he’s never beaten Arizona, so he still has things to prove.

He said it: “The first few years here there’s been big changes in terms of personnel and/or in terms of style of play, just kind of trying to figure out how to put the pieces together. I feel differently this year. I feel that we have a system in place. We’ll tinker with it and twist things some, but we really feel like we have a roadmap to success here.” — Jerod Haase

Arizona guard Jemarl Baker Jr. (10) and Washington forward Jaden McDaniels (0) reach for a loose ball as Arizona's Dylan Smith, left, watches during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Seattle. Arizona won 75-72. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Stock: Falling, with some long-term potential. With the Pac-12’s top rated recruiting class — but only three reserves back from last season’s fifth-place team — the Wildcats are the toughest team to predict in the conference.

Coach: Sean Miller (285-98 in 11 seasons at Arizona; 405-145 in 16 seasons overall).

Last season: 21-11 overall; 10-8 Pac-12 (tied for fifth)

Returning core: G Jemarl Baker (Jr. 5.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.3 apg), F Ira Lee (Sr., 3.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg), C Christian Koloko (So., 2.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.9 bpg).

Key losses: F Zeke Nnaji (16.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, early pro departure), G Nico Mannion (14.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, early pro departure), G Josh Green (12.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, early pro departure), G Dylan Smith (8.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), F Stone Gettings (6.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), G Devonaire Doutrive (6.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, dismissed), C Chase Jeter (6.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg), G Max Hazzard (5.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg),

New guys: G James Akinjo (Jr., Georgetown transfer, 13.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.4 apg) F Jordan Brown (So., Nevada transfer, 3.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg in 2018-19), G Terrell Brown (Seattle U grad transfer, 10.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg), G Dalen Terry (four star freshman), F Azuolas Tubelis (four-star freshman from Lithuania), G Kerr Kriisa (four-star freshman from Estonia), C Daniel Batcho (four-star freshman from France), F Bennedict Mathurin (four-star freshman from Quebec), F Tibet Gorener (three-star freshman from Turkey), F Tautvilas Tubelis (two-star freshman from Lithuania).

Upside: Talent and upside of massive recruiting class suggests the Wildcats will be competitive within the Pac-12 in future seasons and maybe even by the end of this one.

Downside: Sean Miller isn’t known as a sandbagger and even he says being picked fifth is higher than he would have expected. For many of the Wildcats, it’s a new role, on a new team, at a new level — and, for some, with a new language.

He said it: “It might be the least experienced team that I’ve ever coached, and we’re trying to keep that in mind as we practice, to make sure that we don’t move at too fast of a pace. … The best teams that we have had here that I’ve coached have had not only very good talent, but a lot of experience, guys in their second, third and fourth years, that would complement that really good freshman class.” – Sean Miller

Southern California head coach Andy Enfield yells at referees during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Los Angeles. USC won 57-48. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

6. USC

Stock: Dipping. The Trojans bring in one of 2020’s top recruits, Evan Mobley, but lose Onyeka Okongwu and a ton of experience.

Games vs. UA: Week of Jan. 6-10 at McKale Center; week of Feb. 17-21 at Los Angeles

Coach: Andy Enfield (132-102 in six seasons at USC; 173-130 in eight seasons overall).

Last season: 22-9 overall; 11-7 Pac-12 (tied for third)

Returning core: F Isaiah Mobley (So., 6.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg), G Ethan Anderson (So., 5.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.2 apg), F Max Agbonkpolo (So., 2.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg),

Key losses: F Onyeka Okongwu (16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, early pro departure), F Nick Rakocevic (10.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, G Elijah Weaver (6.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, transferred to Dayton), G Jonah Mathews (13.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Daniel Utomi (8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg).

New guys: C Evan Mobley (five-star freshman), G Tahj Eaddy (Santa Clara grad transfer, 9.1 ppg, 21 apg), F Noah Bauman (Jr., redshirted last season, 10.8 ppg 2.7 rpg in 2018-19), F Isaiah White (grad transfer from Utah Valley 14.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg), F Chevez Goodwin (grad transfer from Wofford, 11.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.1 bpg), F Boubacar Coulibaly (three-star freshman from Mali)

Upside: With size, athleticism and talent that could make him at least a high lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Evan Mobley has the potential to help USC push into the top four.

Downside: The Trojans have had nearly as much turnover as Arizona over the past two years, losing four starters and a point guard who lost his starting job last season, Elijah Weaver. That’s not a formula for sustained success.

He said it: “It’s very similar to last year — we had only four returning players last year and we have four returning players this year. We have a very different team this season than we did last year. We have a lot of scoring and rebounding, and shot blocking to replace (but) our staff really likes our roster.” – Andy Enfield.

Colorado Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright IV (25) reacts to a call during a game at McKale Center on Jan. 18. 2020.


Stock: Stable. Buffs remain deep and experienced, but losing athletic forward Tyler Bey early will hurt.

Games vs. Arizona: Dec. 2 at McKale Center; week of Feb. 3-7 at McKale Center

Coach: Tad Boyle (210-134 in 10 seasons at Colorado; 266-200 in 13 seasons overall)

Last season: 21-11 overall; 10-8 Pac-12 (tied for 5th)

Returning core: G McKinley Wright (Sr., 14.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg), F Maddox Daniels (Sr., 3.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg), F D’Shawn Schwartz (Sr., 9.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg), C Evan Battey (Jr., 8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg), C Dallas Walton (Sr., 1.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg), G Eli Parquet (Jr., 2.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg.

Key losses: F Tyler Bey (Jr., 13.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg), G Shane Gatling (6.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg),F Lucas Siewert (Sr., 8.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg), G Daylen Kountz (3.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg),

New guys: F Jeriah Horne (Tulsa grad transfer, 11.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg), G Keeshawn Barthelemy (Canadian redshirt freshman), G Dominique Clifford (four-star freshman), Luke O’Brien (three-star freshman), F Jabari Walker (three-star freshman), F Tristan da Silva (freshman from Germany),

Upside: Like ASU’s Remy Martin, Wright is a candidate for Pac-12 player of the year — if he can lead the Buffs into the thick of the conference race. The Buffs are loaded with experience for a second straight year, in part thanks to the arrival of Horne as a grad transfer.

Downside: Expected to challenge for the Pac-12 title last season, Colorado skidded to the finish with five straight losses. In part because of that, expectations will be quieter this time.

He said it: “I love our team, and obviously getting McKinley Wright back was a key for us. I look at our senior class and I look at the incoming guys – and we added our first graduate transfer with Jeriah, who will hopefully lessen the blow of Tyler leaving.” — Tad Boyle

Utah’s Timmy Allen, right, celebrates with Both Gach (11) after he scored against Colorado at the end of the second half during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


Stock: Rising quietly. The Utes’ offseason revolving door slowed down this year and the increased stability should pay off.

Game vs. UA: Week of Feb. 3-7 at McKale Center

Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (171-126 in nine seasons at Utah; 213-146 in 11 seasons overall).

Last season: 16-15 overall; 7-11 Pac-12 (tied for eighth)

Returning core: F Timmy Allen (Jr., 17.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg), F Riley Battin (Jr., 7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G Rylan Jones (So., 9.6 ppg, 4.0 apg), G Alfonso Plummer (8.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 42.0% 3FG), C Branden Carlson (7.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), F Mikael Jantunen (6.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), F Lahat Thioune (1.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg), G Jaxon Brenchley (4.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg),

Key losses: F Both Gach (10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, transferred to Minnesota) ,C Matt Van Komen (1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg, transferred to St. Mary’s),

New guys: G Ian Martinez (four-star freshman), G Pelle Larsen (freshman from Sweden), G Jordan Kellier (juco transfer), G Brendan Wenzel (redshirted as freshman last season).

Upside: Gach’s departure might just be addition by subtraction — he wanted to play point guard, where Rylan Jones has settled in, and the Utes also added the supremely athletic Martinez to the backcourt.

Downside: Utah lost six of its last eight to finish last season, and its defensive efficiency was second to worst in the conference, with Pac-12 teams shooting 37.0% from 3 against the Utes.

He said it: “It’s just kind of looking around the room and realizing – not that we don’t have coaching and teaching to do — but it’s certainly not like starting at the beginning of the puzzle. It is a little bit more comforting.” – Larry Krystkowiak

Washington guard Quade Green, who is currently academically ineligible, wears the No. 8 All-Star jersey of NBA great Kobe Bryant as he stands with teammates during the singing of the national anthem, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in Seattle before the team's NCAA college basketball game against Arizona. Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people were killed in a Sunday helicopter crash in California. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Stock: Stable. Huskies begin slow climb back after going from first to worst last season.

Games vs. UA: Week of Dec. 30-Jan. 3 at Seattlel; week of Feb. 24-28 at McKale Center

Coach: Mike Hopkins (63-41in three seasons at Washington and overall)

Last season: 15-17 overall; 5-13 Pac-12 (12th)

Returning core: G Quade Green (Jr., 11.6, 2.6 rpg, 5.3 apg), G Marcus Tsohonis (So., 7.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg) F Naz Carter (Sr., 12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg), F Jamal Bey (Jr., 3.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg), F Hameir Wright (Sr., 5.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), G Raequan Battle (So., 4.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg), F Nate Roberts (So., 1.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg),

Key losses: C Isaiah Stewart (14.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg, early pro departure), F Jaden McDaniels (12.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, early pro departure), G Elijah Hardy (1.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg, transferred to Portland State), C Sam Timmons (1.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg), C Bryan Penn-Johnson (1.6 ppg, 0.7 rpg, transferred to LSU)

New guys: G Nate Pryor (juco transfer), F J’Raan Brooks (transfer from USC, 2.0 ppg in 2018-19), G Erik Stevenson (Wichita State transfer, 11.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

Upside: If you can pin a lot of the Huskies’ dreary conference play last season to the loss of Quade Green in January for academic reasons – Washington was 11-4 with him and 4-13 without – then this season could be a different story.

Downside: Not only did the Huskies’ defense slip last season but they also struggled with turnovers and defensive rebounding. Then they lost two NBA draft picks, although future draft picks have are rarely correlated with success at Washington.

He said it: “We were growing, we were getting better because when we lost Quade, it was like you were coaching a completely different team. We learned a lot. (Now) we’ve got a lot of guys with experience returning and we’re excited to move forward with it.” — Mike Hopkins

California coach Mark Fox, right, yells to players beside Matt Bradley, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

10. CAL

Stock: Rising. The Bears more than doubled their conference win total during Mark Fox’s first season, and Matt Bradley should have more help around him this time.

Game vs. UA: Week of Jan. 27-31 at McKale Center.

Coach: Mark Fox (14-18 in one season at Cal, 300-194 in 16 seasons overall)

Last season: 14-18 overall; 7-11 Pac-12 (tied for eighth)

Returning core: G Matt Bradley (Jr., 17.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg), F Andre Kelly (Jr., 7.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), F Grant Anticevich (Sr., 8.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg), C Lars Thiemann (So., 3.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg), F Kuany Kuany (So., 2.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg), G Joel Brown (So., 2.4 ppg, 1.8 apg), F D.J. Thorpe (So., 1.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg).

Key losses: G Paris Austin (9.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg 2.5 apg), G Juhwan Harris-Dyson (4.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, left team early), G Kareem South (8.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg),

New guys: G Ryan Betley (grad transfer from Penn, 12.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg), G Makele Foreman (grad transfer from Stony Brook, 15.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Monty Bowser (four-star freshman), F Jalen Celestine (three-star freshman).

Upside: The Bears might have pulled off the Pac-12’s biggest turnaround last season if UCLA didn’t upstage them. Cal has a solid core back from a group that bonded with Fox quickly last season.

Downside: Cal wasn’t a good shooting team last season, and its low (25.8) offensive rebounding percentage made it look even worse. Plus, they struggled with turnovers.

He said it: “Because these kids had had such great adversity, what was more important to me a year ago than implementing a system or anything else was logistics – to allow these kids to have enough success to give them hope and belief going forward. I think last year’s team really allowed us to change the momentum of the program to where now I think kids show up with a really terrific mentality every day.” — Mark Fox

Washington State guard Isaac Bonton (10) shoots during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Arizona in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Arizona won 66-49. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)


Stock: Stable. The Cougs were much improved under analytics-minded coach Kyle Smith last season, but C.J. Elleby’s departure will keep them from rising higher this season.

Games vs. UA: Week of Dec. 30-Jan. 3 at Pullman; week of Feb. 24-28 at McKale Center

Coach: Kyle Smith (16-16 in one year at WSU, 281-138 in 10 years overall)

Last season: 11-21 overall, 4-14 (11th)

Returning core: G Isaac Bonton (Sr., 15.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Tony Miller (Sr., 7.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Marvin Cannon (). G Noah Williams (So. 6.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg), G Ryan Rapp (So., 1.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg), C Volodymyr Markovetsky (So., 2.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg), F D.J. Rodman (So.,1.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg), F Aljaz Kunc (So., 4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg),

Key losses: F CJ Elleby (18.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, early pro departure), F Jeff Pollard (8.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Marvin Cannon (3.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, transferred to Charlotte).

New guys: F Andrej Jakimovski (four-star freshman), Carlos Rosario (four-star freshman), C Dishon Jackson (three-star freshman), G TJ Bamba (three-star freshman), C Efe Abogidi (three-star freshman), F Jefferson Koulibaly (three-star freshman).

Upside: Not only have the Cougars absorbed the transition to Smith’s style, but they also brought in what 247 Sports ranked the Pac-12’s fourth-best recruiting class. So even if there isn’t a move upward this season, there might be in the future.

Downside: Digging deep into analytics wasn’t necessary to see that the Cougars just couldn’t shoot well last season, 43.3% overall and 31.4% from 3 in conference play. Their leading returning scorer, Isaac Bonton, put his 163 3-pointers in the basket only 30.7% of the time.

He said it: “We’ve got to attract the best talent we can and then figure it out from there. The analytics that we use really measure how hard you play, how hard you compete defensively, rebounding, ball-handling. Then we try to put together a package offensively that works for that group. Last year we were just working on competing hard.”—Kyle Smith

Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle motions to his players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 men's tournament Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Stock: Falling. Wayne Tinkle’s do-everything son, Tres, is gone. So what happens now?

Games vs. UA: Week of Jan. 13-17 at Corvallis; week of Feb. 10-14 at McKale Center

Coach: Wayne Tinkle (93-96 in six seasons at Oregon State; 251-187 in 13 seasons overall)

Last season: 18-13 overall; 7-11 Pac-12 (tied for eighth)

Returning core: G Ethan Thompson (Sr., 14.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg), F Alfred Hollins (Sr., 5.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg), G Zach Reichle (Sr., 7.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Antoine Vernon (Jr., 1), G Gianni Hunt (So., 2.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg), G Jerod Lucas (So., 4.6 ppg, 0.9 rpg), C Roman Silva (2.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg), F Dearon Tucker (So., 0.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg),

Key losses: F Tres Tinkle (18.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg), C Kylor Kelley (11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.5 bpg),G Sean Miller-Moore (juco transfer), F Payton Dastrup (BYU transfer).

New guys: G Tariq Silver (juco transfer), F Rodrique Andela (juco transfer), F Maurice Calloo (juco transfer), F Isaiah Johnson (three-star freshman), F Julien Franklin (Fr.,redshirted last season).

Upside: Three junior college transfers — including former Oklahoma State reserve Maurice Calloo — help give the Beavers a sneakily veteran look. Although defense was a weak spot last season, the Beavers are quicker this time and also have an array of defensive schemes that can trip up opponents at any time.

Downside: While Ethan Thompson will get every chance to improve his NBA stock after returning from the draft pool, there will also be a lot of pressure — and defensive attention — on him unless Reichle and some of the Beavers’ role players carry more of the load.

He said it: “What’s hurt us the last couple of years is (Ethan Thompson) and Tres were our two leading rebounders, and we felt like it really took away from our ability to run the wings and create havoc. I think we’ll have that with some of the athleticism we’ve added and it’s gonna be fun to kind of put Ethan in some different spots. He’s gonna have some guys out there that can give a little more production.” — Wayne Tinkle

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or On Twitter @brucepascoe

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