Big Night For Pac-12 In the 2012 NBA Draft


The 2011-2012 basketball season was a down year for the Pac-12 with only two teams making the NCAA tournament (Colorado, and California), not including the regular conference season champs (Washington). There were a couple of bright spots with Stanford winning the N.I.T., and Washington State making it all the way to the CBI Championship, but still a disappointment for the conference. This is the Pacific 12 conference we’re talking about; “Conference of Champions.” Four years ago the Pac-12 was an elite conference for basketball with six teams making the NCAA Tournament, and had super talent with Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, O.J. Mayo and even the Lopez brothers. Could the 2012 season get any worse for this conference?

Only three players from the ENTIRE Pac-12 conference were drafted last night in Newark, NJ. However all three prospects were taken in the first round of the Draft. Success? Given the situation the conference has been in for the past couple years, this was a big night for Pac-12 basketball. Having a top-ten pick in Terrence Ross (UW), and two guards selected before the three guards of the national champion Kentucky Wildcats. I’ll take that as a win for the Pac-12.

Read a description of each Pac-12 player selected in the 2012 NBA Draft here: 

No. 8 Terrence Ross – Toronto Raptors

SG/SF University of Washington

Ross was the best player in the Pac-12 and made First Team All-Pac 12 last season as a sophomore at Washington. He might be the biggest steal of the draft given his potential. Ross’ biggest strength is his shooting. He was seen as the best shooter and most athletic/explosive guard in the draft. His game has NBA written all over it. When he wants to take over a game, he has the skill to do it. It’s just a matter of when he can figure it out for himself. The Sophomore has been compared to former great Coug basketball player Klay Thompson, except Ross is more athletic. Something Ross has improved from his freshman year was his on ball defending. Last season he averaged 16.4 points, 1.4 assists, and 6.4 rebounds a game.

How he fits: Terrence Ross can immediately come in and help out the Raptors. Toronto already has a great scorer in DeMar Derozan (USC) and can make a great duo in the backcourt with Ross. The Raptors are heavily pursuing future Hall of Famer Steve Nash who is a free agent this off-season. If the Raptors land Nash and given how weak the Eastern Conference is, Toronto is a playoff team for sure.

No.24: Jared Cunningham – Cleveland Cavaliers (Traded to Dallas Mavericks)

SG Oregon State University

Cunningham also made a strong case to be Pac-12 player of the year last year as he carried Oregon State. The junior did make First Team All-Pac 12. He is an offensive threat with his long range of shooting, speed getting to the bucket and ability to get his teammates involved. Cunningham averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 2.5 steals a game his junior year at Oregon State. Another strength he posses is his defense; his mentality is to play his man tight and pressure. As you can see with the amount of steals he accumulates per game, he is a lock down defender.

How he fits: Dallas may turn Cunningham into a point guard due to Jason Kidd being a free agent and having nobody else to play that position. Or remains a shooting guard and comes off the bench. The former Oregon State guard comes into Dallas with not a lot of pressure given how strong of a franchise the Dallas Mavericks are. I like the pick up by Dallas, and it adds youth to the roster, plus another prolific scorer .

No. 25: Tony Wroten Jr. – Memphis Grizziles

PG/SG University of Washington

Probably the most exciting/frustrating player to watch if you’re a Husky fan or just a die hard basketball fan. Coming out of high school, Wroten was seen as one of the best high school players in the country. Soon did he learn the college game is much much different. Let’s start with the good: Wroten might be one of the best passers I’ve ever seen. His court vision is insane; can make you jump out of your seat with his “no-look” passes. He can get to the basket easily with his speed and draw the foul or finish in transition. The bad: Let’s just say Wroten’s specialty isn’t shooting. At times he plays out of control and turns the ball over. Wroten was the Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year and made First Team All Pac-12. He averaged 16.0 points, 3.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game as a freshman at UW. Jay Bilas of ESPN compared Wroten with Boston Celtics star, Rajon Rando who wasn’t a great shooter coming out of college (Kentucky) either, but a playmaker. I can see Wroten being a solid player in the NBA, but needs to improve his shooting and mature.

How he fits: Wroten arrives with a franchise that has a winning mentality and doesn’t have a lot of pressure riding on him. Memphis has a solid team with Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, OJ Mayo and a great point guard in Mike Conley Jr.. Conley Jr. can help Wroten improve his game. Expect Wroten to come off the bench as maybe the sixth man and helping Memphis to a strong 2012-2013 season.

Have Patience Coug Fans:

I know its rough reading about the success UW basketball had with the 2012 NBA Draft, but the future of Cougar basketball is bright! Unfortunately there were no Cougs selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, but next year might be a different story. If Reggie Moore can focus on basketball, have a solid year and stay out of trouble, he might have a shot at getting selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. Freshman Demarquise (Que) Johnson could be (hopefully not) a one and done type player. He has first round talent and has been compared to Klay Thompson. When the time is right for Que to leave Pullman, he will be a highly scouted prospect with the possibility of a lottery selection in his future. I know Johnson hasn’t played a minute of college basketball yet, but this kid has talent and a bright future ahead in Pullman.

Here are a few highlights of Demarquise Johnson:

Go Cougs!

–Evan Baron (@BaselineBaron09)