1993-94 record: 14-4, 1st place; 29-6, lost in NCAA Final Four
Coach: Lute Olson
Years coaching: 22, 12th at Arizona
Coach’s record: 458-179, 267-86 at Arizona
Key returners: G Damon Stoudamire, 5-11, 162, Sr.; C Joseph Blair, 6-9, 256, Jr.; G Reggie Geary, 6-2, 174, Jr.; F Ray Owes, 6-8, 200, Sr.
Key newcomers: F Michael Dickerson, 6-5, 185, Fr.; G Miles Simon, 6-4, 188, Fr.; F Ben Davis, 6-9, 240, Jr.
Short jumpers: One of Tucson’s most popular eateries - Olson’s on Broadway - is owned by Lute Olson.
Coach’s comment: “Coming off a successful season topped by a trip to the Final Four, the veterans know what it will take to get there again.”
Outlook: The nation’s winningest program over the last seven seasons (194-38) just keeps getting better. Four starters return from last year’s Final Four team, which also produced the school’s seventh Pac-10 title in nine seasons. Replacing offguard Khalid Reeves won’t be easy, but Stoudamire has world-class quickness and is improving as a shooter each time out.
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
1993-94 record: 10-8, tied for 4th; 15-13, lost in NIT’s first round.
Coach: Bill Frieder
Years coaching: 16, 6th at Arizona State
Coach’s record: 278-150, 87-63 at Arizona State
Key returners: F Mario Bennett, 6-9, 225, Jr.; G Marcell Capers, 6-2, 190, Sr.; Isaac Burton, 6-5, 195, Sr.; F Ron Riley, 6-5, 200, Jr.
Key newcomers: G Jeremy Veal, 6-3, 175, Fr.; F Joe Zaletel, 6-7, 205, Jr.
Short jumpers: Frieder, who was a top-notch junior bowler, is one of nation’s few college basketball coaches who did not play the sport in college.
Coach’s comment: “Our biggest strengths will be having a healthy Mario Bennett for the first time in two years and having a nucleus of players who have been through the rigors of the schedule once or twice before.”
Outlook: Look out! For the first time since Frieder took over the program, the Sun Devils are healthy. Bennett showed his bigtime potential last season, averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds despite laying off for almost two years because of a knee injury. Steven “Hedake” Smith, the Pac-10’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, is gone, but Frieder has an abundance of long-range bombers ready to step up and take his team to its sixth-consecutive postseason tournament.
CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
1993-94 record: 13-5, tied for 2nd; 22-8, lost in NCAA’s first round
Coach: Todd Bozeman
Years coaching: 3, all at California
Coach’s record: 33-10
Key returners: G/F Monty Buckley, 6-6, 210, Sr.; G Randy Duck, 6-2, 180, So.; G K.J. Roberts, 5-11, 170, Sr.; C Ryan Jamison, 6-11, 240, Sr.
Key newcomers: G Jelani Gardner, 6-6, 200, Fr.; F Tremaine Fowlkes, 6-6, 205, Fr.
Short jumpers: Nine of the 13 players on Cal’s roster are either freshmen or sophomores and two of the four upperclassmen - Alfred Grigsby and Roberts - missed most of last season because of injuries.
Coach’s comment: “I expect us to be really hungry, because I know this team knows what it could have accomplished last year had they been healthy.”
Outlook: Bozeman has the Cal program on track to join the nation’s elite. The early departures of Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray to the NBA would have crippled most teams, but the Bears have experienced players returning at every position - along with Gardner and Fowlkes, who were rated among the top prep prospects in the country last winter. Grigsby, who missed all but three games last season because of a back injury, still isn’t 100 percent healthy, but he is giving the Bears some quality minutes inside.
1993-94 record: 6-12, 8th; 10-17, no postseason play
Coach: Jerry Green
Years coaching: 12, 3rd at Oregon
Coach’s record: 170-145, 16-32 at Oregon
Key returners: G Orlando Williams, 6-2, 207, Sr.; G Kenya Wilkins, 5- 10, 154, So.; F Jeff Potter, 6-9, 233, Sr.
Key newcomers: None
Short jumpers: The Ducks, considered a “sleeper” for a postseason tournament berth, haven’t played in the NCAA tournament since 1961 when they lost to Southern California in the first round.
Coach’s comment: “I do think we’re on the right track to rebuilding the program and I think this could be as cohesive a group of young men since I’ve been here.”
Outlook: The Ducks return their top 11 scorers from last season and have one of the Pac-10’s most prolific scorers in Williams, an all-league pick who averaged 18.6 points a game as a junior. Still, Oregon’s 8-1 start this season has baffled the experts. It seems a little flukish, but if Wilkins keeps improving as quickly as he has at the point, the Ducks have a chance to end their long NCAA tournament drought.
OREGON STATE BEAVERS
1993-94 record: 2-16, 10th; 6-21, no postseason play
Coach: Jim Anderson
Years coaching: 6, all at Oregon State
Coach’s record: 70-72
Key returners: G Brent Barry, 6-6, 170, Sr.; F Mustapha Hoff, 6-7, 200, Sr.; G Stephane Brown, 6-2, 195, Sr.; F Kareem Anderson, 6-4, 227.
Key newcomers: F Vladimir Heredia, 6-9, 255, Jr.; G Rob Williams, 6-3, 175, Fr.
Short jumpers: Jim Anderson, a 1959 OSU graduate, is the only coach in league to have attended a Pac-10 school.
Coach’s comment: “When you consider we have our starting unit back, as well as our injured players and new recruits, I think there will be a big jump in Oregon State basketball.”
Outlook: Anderson has been on the hot seat the past several years and probably needs to win to keep his job. He has two of the league’s best players in Barry and Hoff although Hoff missed last season after undergoing back surgery. They currently rank 1-2 in the Pac-10 in scoring. But there still isn’t much to recommend about the Beavers’ supporting cast - or Anderson’s future.
1993-94 record: 10-8, tied for 4th; 17-11, lost in NIT’s first round
Coach: Mike Montgomery
Years coaching: 17th year, 9th at Stanford
Coach’s record: 296-179, 142-102 at Stanford
Key returners: G Dion Cross, 6-2, 175, Jr.; F Andy Poppink, 6-7, 215, Jr.; G Brevin Knight, 5-10, 155, So.; G David Harbour, 6-3, 185, Sr.
Key newcomers: C Tim Young, 7-1, 245, Fr.
Short jumpers: Montgomery has taken Stanford to postseason tournaments in six of the past seven years and has only one losing season (1992-93) in his 16 as a head college coach.
Coach’s comment: “The key to our success this year is to remain injury-free, as we have just 11 players on our roster. But I think we have a chance to be a pretty solid basketball team.”
Outlook: With point guard Brevin Knight, last year’s Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, returning at the point, along with two other starters, the Cardinal expected to contend for another postseason tournament berth. But not even Montgomery dreamed of the 9-0 start that has Stanford ranked in the nation’s Top 25. Still, Knight remains the key, and the fact that he missed last week’s win over Cornell with a “hot spot” on his foot that could develop into a full-blown stress fracture is a reason for concern.
1993-94 record:13-5, tied for 2nd; 21-7, lost in NCAA’s first round
Coach: Jim Harrick
Years coaching: 16, 7th at UCLA
Coach’s record: 304-150, 137-53 at UCLA
Key returners: F Ed O’Bannon, 6-8, 217, Sr.; G Tyus Edney, 5-10, 155, Sr.; C George Zidek, 7-0, 250, Sr.; F Charles O’Bannon, 6-6, 205, So.
Key newcomers: C omm’A Givens, 6-10, 235, Fr.; G Toby Bailey, 6-5, 185 Fr.; F J.R. Henderson, 6-9, 215, Fr.
Short jumpers: Jim Harrick has more wins (137) in his first six years at UCLA than any other Bruins coach, including the legendary John Wooden, who won 118 in his first six seasons.
Coach’s comment: “With four starters back, six other lettermen and one of the best recruiting classes in college basketball, I look forward to this season with great anticipation.”
Outlook: The Bruins have it all - size, speed, a splendid mix of senior leadership and youthful exuberance and great chemistry. With Ed O’Bannon and Edney, a pair of all-Pac-10 performers, back for their senior seasons, Harrick has plenty of reason for unbridled optimism. If the Bruins can avoid the nagging injuries that slowed their stretch drive last year, they could challenge for their first trip to the Final Four since 1980.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS
1993-94 record: 9-9, 7th; 16-12, lost in NIT’s first round
Years coaching: 7, 1st at USC
Coach’s record: 120-56
Key returners: F Lorenzo Orr, 6-7, 200, Sr.; G Burt Harris, 5-10, 175, Jr.; G Brandon Martin, 6-4, 195, Jr.; G Stais Boseman, 6-4, 200, So.
Key newcomers: G Cameron Murray, 6-1, 170, Fr.
Short jumpers: The Trojans have made four consecutive post season tournament appearances for the first time in the school’s history.
Coach’s comment: “One of our strengths has been that we have very balanced scoring (six players averaging in double figures), but on the backside of it, our defense and rebounding need much improvement.”
Outlook: Parker, who was promoted to the head coaching job a few days prior to the start of the regular season after George Raveling retired, has some solid returnees in Orr, an All-Pac-10 selection last season, and Martin, who finished strong as a sophomore. The return of Stais Boseman, who had been academically ineligible the first semester, will help the defense, but with forward Tremayne Anchrum out for the season with an injury, the Trojans don’t seem to have enough weapons to challenge for a first-division finish.
1993-94 record: 3-15, 9th; 5-22, no postseason play
Coach: Bob Bender
Years coaching: 6, 2nd at Washington
Coach’s record: 65-79, 5-22 at Washington
Key returners: G Byrant Boston, 6-1, 169, Jr.; Michael McClain, 5- 11, 189, Jr.; F David Hawken, 6-8, 214, Jr.
Key newcomers: C Mike Amos, 6-9, 249, Jr.; F Mark Sanford, 6-8, 195, Fr.; G Jason Hamilton, 6-0, 175, Jr.
Short jumpers: Bob Bender, who played at Indiana as a freshman in 1976 before transferring to Duke, is the only person to play for two different teams that advanced to the NCAA championship game.
Coach’s comment: “We were one of the best defensive teams in the conference (last season). Now we’ve got to be a more consistent team offensively and not go through the scoring droughts that we did last year.”
Outlook: Bender is doing a lot of things right, as evidenced by the Huskies’ recent upset win over Michigan. But the seven newcomers he has brought into the program since taking over last year are still trying to develop an identity. Boston, who sat out last year because of bad knee, seems to be back in form and Amos has become a force inside. Still, UW seems at least a year away from competing for a spot among the league’s best.
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
1993-94 record: 10-8, tied for 4th; 20-11, lost in NCAA’s first round
Coach: Kevin Eastman
Years coaching: 8, 1st at WSU
Coach’s record: 124-75
Key returners: F Isaac Fontaine, 6-4, 208, So.; F Mark Hendrickson, 6-9, 231, Jr.; G Donminic Ellison, 5-10, 175, So.
Key newcomers: F Carlos Daniel, 6-7, 215, Fr.; G Shamon Antrum, 5-10, 170, Jr.; G Chris Griffin, 6-1, 196, Fr.
Short jumpers: The last WSU coach to post a winning record in his first year at the school was Karl Schlademan, who finished 11-10 back in 1927.
Coach’s comment: “We will be one of the younger teams in the country, but you can never underestimate a group of guys who know the responsibilities that go along with winning.”
Outlook: The Cougars miss the senior leadership of Tony Harris and Fred Ferguson, but have shown flashes of potential. Fontaine, an all-freshman selection last year, has big-time scoring ability and a beefed-up Hendrickson continues to do yeoman work inside. Ellison is getting more consistent at the point and senior Rob Corkrum has looked good of late. With only 10 scholarship players, depth is a problem. The Cougars must stay healthy, but even if they do there are no guarantees they will be able to extend their streak of four consecutive first-division finishes.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by Steve Bergum, staff writer
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