Thursday morning the Pac 12 Preseason Men’s Basketball Poll came out and for the first time in quite some time Utah Men’s Basketball has some expectations around it. The Runnin Utes were tabbed to finish 2nd in the Pac 12 this season by a panel of Pac 12 Media members. If you want the full story and poll here it is.
I had a vote in this year’s preseason poll and my ballot looked like this:
9. Arizona State
11. Washington St.
12. Oregon St.
Larry Krystkowiak brings back nearly his entire unit from a year ago that won 21 games. What Utah has this year is depth and versatility. A number of guys that can play a variety of positions. The core the team will be led by Delon Wright, thought by many to be the best player in the Pac 12, Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge.
As for the rest of the Pac 12 Conference I think the league looks like it could have 5 NCAA teams this year: Arizona, Utah, Colorado, UCLA and Stanford. The jury is still out for me on Oregon, Cal and Washington. I think the Pac 12 divides up into three catagories this season. A Top 5, Middle 3 and bottom 4.
We didn’t vote on this in our preseason balloting from the Pac 12 but I’ll give you my Preseason All Pac 12 1st and 2nd teams, my Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year….
All Pac 12 First Team
Delon Wright, Sr, G, Utah
Rondae Hollis Jefferson, So, F, Arizona
Josh Scott, Jr, F/C, Colorado
Chasson Randle, Sr, G, Stanford
Stanley Johnson, Fr, G/F, Arizona
All Pac 12 Second Team
TJ McConnell, Sr, G, Arizona
Kevon Looney, Fr, F, UCLA
Joseph Young, Sr, G, Oregon
Jordan Loveridge, Jr, F, Utah
Xavier Johnson, Jr, F, Colorado
Player of the Year
Delon Wright-Utah’s senior guard is simply the best all around basketball player in the Pac 12. He impacts the game in so many ways on both end of the floor. If his jumper is improved as advertised this season he’ll take care of the item missing in his arsenal.
Freshman of the Year
Stanley Johnson-The Arizona freshman forward was one of the most sought after recruits in the land last season. He’ll step into a loaded team and have an immediate impact.
The Utes take the floor for the first time this season on November 6th at the newly renovated John M. Huntsman Center against Pacific College of Oregon in an exhibition game. We’ll have that game and all of the Runnin Utes games this season on ESPN 700.