I'm just going to give you a list of names real quick, bear with me.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Eddie House, Harold Miner, Brandon Roy, Jason Terry, Baron Davis, Brent Barry, Kyle Weaver, Brevin Knight, Luke Ridnour.
10 prominent basketball players representing each school in the Pac-10 when I grew up. It took me all of 38 seconds to think of these players names when I thought about the school.
The question is, could you name 10 players PERIOD from the Pac-10 right now?
(Don't cheat, don't Google...don't look on Wikipedia either)
I think you get my point.
As of February 17th there is not a Pac-10 represented team in the AP Top 25 polls. This is coming from a conference who has 2 historical basketball programs (UCLA, Arizona) and 5 programs who have consistently been pretty good in years past. (Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Cal) Then you have USC, who should be the a prime destination for a major college basketball powerhouse (I don't care if UCLA is down the road) yet they have been flashes in the pan at best. Oregon State and Washington State have had random years of excellence but have consistently stayed in the cellar of the Pac-10.
Well guess what, everyone in the Pac-10 might as well be in the cellar.
Its a sad state of affairs for me personally, as I'm a HAYOOGE Arizona fan. From back in the days of Steve Kerr, Kenny Lofton, Sean Elliott, Jud Buechler and Co. to the Arenas, Jason Gardner, Michael Wright, Richard Jefferson, and Eugene Edgerson (Globetrotters stand up) days. To Jason Terry single-handedly carrying AZ to a Final Four. However, most importantly...The Light Skinned Coalition Signature Series All-Time Team aka The 1997 Arizona Wildcats team featuring: Mike Bibby, Miles Simon, AJ Bramlett, and Bennett Davison were definitely holding it down for the LSC. Plus, Michael Dickerson was a killer on that '97 squad. Plus Jason Terry was the 6th man on that team and they were truly dynamic. That team was the first team to ever beat 3 #1 seeds on its way to becoming National Champions.
Now look at Arizona, 7-6 conference record and 13-12 overall. Pitiful.
Look at UCLA, 6-6 conference record and 11-13 overall. WTF.
The fact that the conference leader is Cal and their record is only 17-8 should let you know that there's a real problem around those Western parts. They got destroyed at the 2K Sports Classic in New York by Syracuse and Ohio State, and their best non-conference win is against Princeton. Yep, Princeton.
Now, I'm not going to completely destroy the Pac-10, they do got a couple of killers on the court. Jerome Randle (Chi-town stand up) from Cal will be a nice PG in the league as he's getting 20 & 5 easy right now. Landry Fields from Stanford is a nice wing (6'7", 215) who's putting up 22 & 8 right now for a horrid Stanford team. Same goes for Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas (yep, that's his real name) holding it down for U-Dubb as they're getting 20 & 17 per game respectively.
But seriously, there's just not a lot of nice things to say about this conference right now. For the simple fact that the Mountain West is decidedly better than the Pac-10 is crazy. (Go look at New Mexico, BYU, San Diego State and UNLV then get back to me.) How the hell did we get here? What will it take for the west coast powerhouses to get it together? Maybe they need to bring in BYU and Gonzaga into the Pac-10 and make it a 12 team league. Just a thought.
The world is a better place with the Pac-10 being strong in college basketball, as it stands right now...Cal might be going to the dance without a date.