College Basketball Nation: Ari Stewart

Summer Shootaround: Pac-12

July, 17, 2012

Editor's note:’s Summer Shootaround series catches up on the offseason storylines for each conference. For more on the Pac-12, click here.

1. UCLA's late recruiting surge: Less than two months after a Sports Illustrated story threatened to damage the reputation of coach Ben Howland and his program, the Bruins added a pair of standout freshmen who could make UCLA a top-10 staple this season. Shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad -- the No. 2-ranked prospect in the class of 2012 -- announced his intentions during a live telecast on ESPNU in May. Center Tony Parker, who is ranked No. 26, followed suit soon after. Mix in fifth-ranked Kyle Anderson, a small forward who signed in the fall, and it's easy to see why UCLA's haul was ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN.

2. Mark Lyons transfers to Arizona: The Wildcats' list of newcomers became even more impressive with the addition Lyons, who scored nearly 1,200 points in three seasons at Xavier. Arizona coach Sean Miller signed Lyons when he coached the Musketeers and had a chance to reconnect with him when Lyons decided to transfer for his final season. Lyons will provide a huge boost to a squad that also welcomes the country's third-ranked recruiting class. Mix in returnees such as Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson and there will be no excuses for the Wildcats missing the NCAA tournament, which they've done two of the past three seasons.

3. USC's bounce back: Could a team that finished 6-26 overall and 1-17 in Pac-12 play last season actually make the NCAA tournament in 2013? Trojans coach Kevin O'Neill says yes, and there appears to be validity to his optimism. Last year's squad lost four starters to season-ending injuries and was down to six scholarship players by the end of the season. Now USC is preparing to welcome back team captain Jio Fontan and NBA prospect Dewayne Dedmon along with newcomers such as Wake Forest transfers J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart. Tissue-thin a year ago, the 2012-13 Trojans will be the deepest team of O'Neill's tenure.

4. Washington hurt by NBA draft: The Huskies' chances of repeating as Pac-12 champions took a major hit when sophomore small forward Terrence Ross and freshman point guard Tony Wroten left school early to turn pro. Both players became instant millionaires when they were selected in the first round. Ross was picked eighth by Toronto; Memphis nabbed Wroten with the 25th selection. The early departures will put additional pressure on players such as C.J. Wilcox, Abdul Gaddy and Aziz N'Diaye. Even with Ross and Wroten in the lineup, Washington missed the NCAA tournament last spring. Can they make it this season without them?

5. Can Jahii Carson make Arizona State relevant again?: The Sun Devils experienced their worst season under Herb Sendek when they went 10-21 last season. But let's face it: Arizona State hasn't had a quality point guard since Derek Glasser graduated two years ago. Carson was supposed to fill that void as a freshman last season, but he was ruled academically ineligible and never played a game. Luckily, he was able to practice with his teammates, which should help him adapt to the college game more quickly when he takes the court for the first time this fall. Arizona State has missed the NCAA tournament the past three seasons.

Inside Sunday's box scores

December, 14, 2009
Five things to know from Sunday's action:

1. Northwestern put on a historic display against North Carolina A&T, setting Big Ten records for 3-pointers made (20) and attempted (47) in a game. It was really the weekend of the 3, as Seton Hall and Centenary also hit 20 shots from long range on Saturday. So in the span of two days, we saw three teams hit at least 20 3-pointers in a game. It only happened once (by VMI) all last season. Northwestern was led by 35 points from Drew Crawford, the most by a freshman this season and a Northwestern freshman record. Prior to Sunday, Crawford had only six points in his last three games combined.

2. Fordham’s Chris Gaston is quietly one of the most productive freshmen in the nation. He went off for 32 points and 15 rebounds in the Rams’ 73-56 loss to St. John’s. The last freshman with 30-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in a game was Kansas State's Michael Beasley in February 2008. Gaston now leads all freshmen with 19.1 ppg, 12.0 rpg and seven double-doubles.

3. Entering the season, Wake Forest had not attempted fewer than six 3-pointers in a game this decade. On Sunday, the Demon Deacons attempted only five for the second time this season. In a 90-50 blowout of Elon, Wake Forest was just 2-of-5 from long distance. Those five shots were split between only two players: C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart. Ten different Wake players made multiple field goals. In a microcosm for the game, Elon attempted 24 3s, but only managed to hit one more than the Demon Deacons.

4. Fairfield freshman Derek Needham notched 14 assists against Sacred Heart to tie the most by a player this season. He more than doubled his previous career high in assists. But unlike John Wall (Kentucky) and Eugene Harvey (Seton Hall), who also have had 14 in a game, Needham also scored 19 points. Needham and Wall are the only freshmen averaging 15-plus points, five-plus assists and two-plus steals.

5. Xavier’s Jason Love only scored seven points in the Musketeers’ 83-79 double-overtime win over Cincinnati. However, he saved his best for last, scoring five of the final six points of the game. Love also tied career highs in rebounds (19) and blocks (5). The rebounds might be the most impressive statistic. In a game in which Xavier was outrebounded by nine, Love had half of the team’s 32 defensive rebounds. Prior to this season, the senior only had three double-digit rebounding games. He now has five this season, including three games of 15-plus rebounds.