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Pac-12 Review: 2015-16 basketball recruiting

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What kind of talent will the Pac-12 be adding next year, and how will it impact the conference pecking order?

Is Allonzo Trier the next one-and-done Arizona recruit to lead the Wildcats to a Pac-12 title? Is that hat a good choice for Carmelo?
Is Allonzo Trier the next one-and-done Arizona recruit to lead the Wildcats to a Pac-12 title? Is that hat a good choice for Carmelo?
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any decent college program, regardless of the sport. But that's particularly true for basketball, where one or two elite dudes can carry a team, and where size and athleticism can less easily be overcome with game planning and execution.

After a clear down season, the Pac-12 is looking up in 2015-16. Why? Mostly recruiting. 2/3rd of the conference are pretty pleased about the collection of talent they are currently slated to bring in next year, and that should make for a much more intriguing season than in years past.

It's worth noting that the recruiting season is very much not over. 10 top 100 prospects are still uncommitted, and a few are considering Pac-12 schools. And these rankings don't consider the impact of transfers. Plenty can and will change between now and next October. But we've got a baseline here to help establish expectations.

(All recruiting rankings taken from the 247 composite team rankings. Your individual preference may vary)

1. Arizona

National Ranking: 3

4/5 star recruits: 4

Business as usual. Arizona is practically bringing in a whole new starting lineup (and if Ivan Rabb had headed to Tucson it would have legit been a new Fab 5) and probably won't miss much of a beat. Allonzo Trier and Ray Smith are the headliners, but PG Justin Simon might be the key player as Sean Miller searches for a replacement for T.J. McConnell

2. Washington

National Ranking: 15

4/5 star recruits:5

The biggest surprise of the season is Washington. True, UW is up high in part because attrition means they could bring in a large, 6 player class. But five 4* players is legit. Kudos to Lorenzo Romar for preventing the on-court UW death spiral from turning into a recruiting death spiral. That said, I think it's safe to say that his job depends on turning the recruiting stars into actual wins, and quickly.

3. UCLA

National Ranking: 18

4/5 star recruits: 2

I guess Jrue Holiday didn't totally hate his UCLA experience, because his brother Aaron is now a Bruin, and the biggest question now is: who plays point guard? Will UCLA play both Aaron Holiday and Bryce Alford as combo guards? Will one of them slide over to the 2?

Another big question: UCLA hasn't gotten any major commitments from elite post players. With the departure of Kevon Looney, will this be a team that struggles inside?

4. Oregon

National Ranking: 19

4/5 star recruits: 3

An Oregon recruiting class made up of freshmen commits? No JC transfers, no 5th year seniors, nobody kicked off their previous team due to mysterious rule violations?! Where's the Dana Altman I know and love?

Oregon brought in two point guards, and one of them will take over the reigns from Joseph Young. Add in a solid post prospect and the Ducks should weather the departure of Young reasonably well.

5. Oregon State

National Ranking: 20

4/5 star recruits:3

If Bryce and Steve Alford wasn't enough father/son excitement for you, get to know Tres and Wayne Tinkle! Seriously though, OSU added four star recruits at guard, wing, and forward. Add that to Gary Payton and you have the makings of a dangerous team.

6. USC

National Ranking: 25

4/5 star recruits: 2

USC brings in two front court 4* recruits in an effort to realize the 'dunk' half of the dunk city nickname.

7. California

National Ranking: 28

4/5 star recruits:1

Hey, I didn't make these composite rankings! And for what it's worth, the margin between UCLA at 18 and Cal at 28 is pretty small. But what does that say about the Pac-12 that Cal can bring in their best recruiting class in years and not even be (currently!) in the top half of the rankings? I think general consensus in these parts is that Cal's pair of 3* prospects are undervalued, but it's also true that those guys may not be making a huge impact next year anyway with Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Stephen Domingo ahead of them on the depth chart.

8. Stanford

National Ranking: 39

4/5 star recruits: 2

Stanford brings in three wings/power forwards, which makes me wonder who in the hell is going to play point guard next year? Chasson Randle nominally held that position last year and played 89% of available minutes, so there's nobody on the current team that got any experience running the show. Somebody stuck deep down the bench is going to be thrust into a big role next year.

9. Utah

National Ranking: 76

4/5 star recruits:0

Recruiting rankings for the Pac-12 take a big, big dive after Stanford, and it's surprising to see Utah down this low. Larry Krystkowiak built Utah into a great team with skill development and cagey talent evaluation rather than brilliant recruiting, so maybe it won't matter. Still, I bet Utah fans were hoping that a season of top 25 basketball and a sweet 16 trip would translate into more than a couple 3* recruits and a JC transfer.

10. Washington St.

National Ranking: 89

4/5 star recruits:0

Sometimes teams are down this far because they don't have any scholarships to give out. Michigan and North Carolina, for example, are bringing in 1 player each, so they score low. That's not the case with Wazzu, who have 4 commits and probably need more after a spate of transfers. But it's hard to get people to come to Pullman, and it shows in the rankings.

11. Arizona St.

National Ranking: 90

4/5 star recruits:0

Only 1 recruit on board in Tempe, which probably isn't a big surprise under a just-hired head coach. Bobby Hurley will have a couple of open scholarships to play with if he can get anybody this late in the game.

12. Colorado

National Ranking: 99

4/5 star recruits:0

Yikes. Granted, this wasn't a big recruiting year for the Buffs, but still. A few years ago, Colorado was solidly in the tier just under Arizona and UCLA in the Pac-12 recruiting pecking order. Now they have a 3 star JC transfer and two unranked prospects. Buffs fans have to desperately hope that Tad Boyle stumbled upon some diamonds in the rough, because otherwise Colorado's basketball slide will continue.