College Basketball Nation: Tony Wroten

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.
The tallies have been counted. The results are in. The Washington Huskies are your outright 2012 Pac-12 champions, an honor they managed to obtain despite losing at UCLA Saturday. How? Because Cal -- thanks to two straight road losses to end the season, including Sunday's 75-70 loss at rival Stanford -- lost its share of the top position in the league. As conference title races go, this was a rather anticlimactic finish, and it probably says something incisive about the conference in general that its winner was decided via losses.

But give some credit to the Huskies too. UW clearly got better over the course of the Pac-12 season. But for a few detours along the way -- an 87-69 loss at Colorado here, an 82-57 loss at Oregon there -- they've mostly played good basketball, and they've been excellent down the stretch in close games. They earned this title, inefficacious finish and all.

The big question now, of course, is what this final week of the season means for the Pac-12's at-large chances. One thing's for sure, it wasn't good. Arizona's loss at Arizona State may well eliminate the Wildcats from serious bubble consideration. Washington and Cal's losses further dinged what were already weak tournament profiles, which, like the rest of the league's, are devoid of anything resembling quality nonconference victories.

Pac-12 fans will argue that the conference's regular-season champion deserves an at-large bid by default. But why? Because it's the Pac-12? That's not a reason. The more you dive into the resumes on offer here, the more you wonder if two bids won't require deep Pac-12 tournament runs from both the Huskies and Bears. Three bids is specious. Four feels like a huge stretch. And I'm not sure any team should feel entirely safe if it fails to capture the automatic bid on offer in the Staples Center this weekend.

Shortly thereafter, the committee will register its assessment, and we can mercifully stop talking about this forever. Until then, expect plenty of sturm and drang from fans all along the West Coast. It's going to be an interesting week.

1. Washington: We'll leave behind the criticisms of the conference and the agonizing over NCAA tournament selection and instead praise the Huskies for their ability to get wins despite never really dominating in any phase of the game. Per Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency stats, UW was this league's sixth-most efficient offense and its fourth-best defense. Per John Gasaway's most recent Tuesday Truths (which doesn't include the final batch of games, but does include the 17 that preceded them), the Huskies had the fifth-best efficiency margin in conference play. So how did it go 14-4 and win the league title? Much more often than not, Washington won close games down the stretch. That's a skill, too, and if Tony Wroten, Terrence Ross, Abdul Gaddy & Co. do get to the NCAA tournament (and no guarantees, but I'd guess they will) it's one that should serve them well.

2. California: Two season-ending road losses will obscure an otherwise excellent conference run by the Bears. That's a bit of a bummer, because this team was the league's statistical best for most of the season. They led the league in efficiency margin pretty much wire to wire, and they had one of the league's best offenses throughout. Alas, the Bears will have to settle for second place. The good news? Theirs is the league's only top-40 RPI, which should come in handy if the Bears falter in the Pac-12 tournament. They aren't a guaranteed tourney inclusion by any stretch, but they're the closest thing this league has.

3. Oregon: Oregon has been a different team since former Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph found his stride in Pac-12 play. The Ducks have played especially well lately, winning their last four games, including potential resume-killers at Stanford and Oregon State last week. As a result, they finished 13-5, tied for second in the league. Given where this team appeared to be early in the season, that's a major sign of improvement.

4. Arizona: To this Bubble Watcher's mind, the Wildcats' profile was already very shaky before Sunday. After Sunday, it may be too shaky for the selection committee after all. That's because Arizona lost 87-80 at Arizona State, which ranks No. 246 in the RPI. It was a rare Sun Devils win in a typically one-sided rivalry, and it couldn't have come at a worse possible time for Sean Miller's team.

5. Colorado: The Buffaloes were always a fringe bubble candidate, but their back-to-back, season-ending road losses at Oregon and (especially) Oregon State are sure to end any hopes of an at-large tournament selection. Even so, some credit is deserved. Tad Boyle lost Alec Burks (a first-round NBA draft pick) and Cory Higgins (the team's senior leader) at the same time his team was relocating to a new conference replete with new and unfamiliar opponents and road venues. Despite all that, the Buffaloes finished 11-7 in the league and played themselves into the tournament conversation for weeks at a time. This season may not end in Dance glory, but it was an unqualified success all the same.

6. UCLA: When George Dohrmann's now-famous Sports Illustrated expose dropped last week, it could have been an unmitigated disaster for the Bruins' program. In some ways, it was, revealing Ben Howland as a distant, difficult personality who allowed talents like Reeves Nelson to behave rather horribly for years as his program's success disintegrated around him. But on the court, UCLA responded with what may have been its best week of the season. On Thursday, Howland's team was comprehensive in its win over Washington State; on Saturday, the Bruins played temporary spoiler to Washington at home. If Howland survives this mess to coach another season in Westwood, the positivity and solidarity exhibited by these besieged players and coaches -- who will now have to be the foundation of a top-down reworking of this entire program's modus operandi -- may count as a major reason why.

7. Stanford: The Cardinal may not have lived up to the potential they flashed in their 11-1 start (and their near-upset of Syracuse in Madison Square Garden in November), and they won't be heading to the NCAA tournament this season (barring a Pac-12 tourney title, obviously). But Dawkins' team did take a major step forward from last season's 15-16 finish. What's more, they beat Cal on Sunday, and spoiling their rivals' share of a Pac-12 title has to feel pretty good, too.

8. Washington State: Ken Bone's program hardly had a banner season, but let's keep it positive. Washington State center Brock Motum emerged almost from nowhere, establishing himself as a major force to be reckoned with this season and one to be feared in 2012-13. You can make a very cogent player of the year case for Motum. At the very least, his performance was all-conference-worthy, and he'll be one to watch next season.

9. Oregon State: Oregon State closed out its Pac-12 slate with two straight home wins, but the victories were just the sixth and seventh of the season. It's clear Craig Robinson's program -- despite the consistent excellence of guard Jared Cunningham, for whom you can also make a pretty convincing POY case -- has a long way to go before the rebuilding project is through.

10. Arizona State: Tough year for the Sun Devils, but at least it ended well. If rival Arizona falls off the bubble picture in the days to come -- and it probably should -- it will have Sunday's 87-80 upset at ASU to thank. Arizona State fans haven't had much to smile about this season, but serving as a potential death knell for their hated (and usually dominant) rivals has to provide some solace.

11. Utah: The Utes were putrid in 2012, particularly in the nonconference, and they didn't improve much once Pac-12 play began. But they did compete. Given how bad this team looked in November and December, and the fact that it dismissed do-everything guard Josh Watkins midway through the season, Utah's scrappy competitiveness against obviously superior Pac-12 rivals is, if anything, a credit to Larry Krystkowiak's leadership. Here's to brighter days ahead.

12. USC: The Trojans ended their season the way they lived it: being almost unfathomably bad on the offensive end. Their point totals in this week's home losses to Washington and Washington State (58 and 38, respectively) added yet two more data points to a rather remarkable stat: The Trojans scored more than 60 points just twice in conference play. Some of that is pace, but most of it is the 82.7 (adjusted) points per trip. It also pales in comparison to the greatest data stat of them all: In this year's Pac-12 -- the worst year in this league in quite some time -- USC went 1-17. Blech.

Casting our ballots: Pac-12

February, 29, 2012
Editor’s Note: To see our expert picks for each of the nation’s 12 top conferences, click here. To cast your vote in these races, visit SportsNation.

A quick look at the player and coach of the year races in the Pac-12:

Player of the Year

Last year, this race was easy. Derrick Williams (speaking of which, how about his line against the Clippers Tuesday night?) was simultaneously one of the nation's most exciting, important and efficient players. The 2011 Pac-10 player of the year ballot didn't require much in the way of deep, ruminative thought. Just write down "Derrick Williams, Arizona" and go enjoy the rest of your day.

The 2012 race is far less transparent. Perhaps that's an effect of the nature of this very down league, which lacks the diffuse top-flight NBA talent of the past decade. Or maybe it's just one of those years, in which the Pac-12 has a lot of solid players, and some very good ones, but no one obvious pick, no player whose performance has screamed "I'm better than everyone else here." When you look at the tempo-free stats -- offensive rating, for example -- the numbers seem to bear that out: Among players that used at least 24 percent of their team's possessions, the league's highest offensive rating belonged to Washington State's Brock Motum (108.9). By contrast, most other power six leagues have several players above that threshold, in some cases by a considerable margin.

Which, actually, is a good, quick way to insert Motum into this conversation. The chances Motum will win the official Pac-12 POY award are probably slim to none. His team's record (14-14 overall, 6-10 Pac-12, as of this writing) just isn't good enough to get him that kind of consideration. But Motum has been an efficient and versatile interior force for a team that desperately needed one when senior guard Faisal Aden suffered a career-ending ACL injury earlier this season. His surprise emergence kept an already-bad Wazzu team from totally falling off a cliff. They don't give many POY awards for "sneakily the most important player on a thoroughly mediocre team," so Motum won't win the award. But he is certainly worthy of a mention. The same can be said for Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham, who leads the league in points (18.7) and steals (2.6) average per game.

[+] EnlargeWashington's Tony Wroten
Steven Bisig/US PRESSWIREWashington freshman Tony Wroten is averaging 16.7 points per game.
In the end, though, we have to give the nod to Washington guard Tony Wroten. Wroten has plenty of holes in his game, to be sure. He dominates the ball, and not always for the better. He's made just 9 of his 49 3-point attempts all season. His turnovers nearly eclipse his assists. And so on. But there are no perfect players in the Pac-12 this season -- there is no Derrick Williams -- and Wroten's overwhelming athleticism and playmaking ability at the off-guard spot has, for all occasional flaws, often been the difference in Washington's nine-wins-in-10-games run to the top of the Pac-12 standings this week. Cal's Jorge Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe deserve honorable mentions, as well, but Cal's strengths lie in its balance. Wroten has talent alongside him -- Terrence Ross could be a candidate, too -- but Wroten's total floor game (his averages: 16.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals) make him arguably the most difficult player to gameplan for in the entire league. And as the season has worn on, the freshman has often raised his game.

It's no slam dunk. But very little in this year's Pac-12 is.

Coach of the Year

Coach of the Year is always a weird award, isn't it? Most voters seem to look at preseason predictions -- which the voters themselves (or the coaches, or both) create in the first place -- and judge a coach based on how his team performed against those expectations. This discounts the importance of recruiting, of managing elite talent, or both, and it tends to boil the award down to a pretty crude calculus.

Which is why we have to give this year's Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor to ... wait for it ... UCLA's Ben Howland.

Kidding, you guys! Kidding! Holster your angry comments! I just had to make sure you were paying attention, is all. (I have a better chance of winning the 2013 NBA Dunk Contest than Howland does of winning coach of the year. Ain't happenin'.)

All joking aside, and with apologies to likewise deserving leaders like Washington's Lorenzo Romar, Oregon's Dana Altman, Cal's Mike Montgomery and Arizona's Sean Miller, this year's Pac-12 Coach of the Year is -- or at least should be -- Colorado's Tad Boyle. Last offseason, Boyle lost his two best players (senior guard Cory Higgins and NBA-bound guard Alec Burks), and the Buffaloes were rightly expected to finish near the middle, or even the bottom half, of the Pac-12. But behind a stellar season from sophomore forward Andre Roberson, Boyle has his team currently sitting at 19-9 overall and 11-5 in the league with an outside shot -- a small one, but a shot nonetheless -- at sneaking into the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday.

In 2011, with an NBA talent and a very productive senior leader on his team, the Buffs were one of the few deserving candidates to miss out on the Big Dance. That Boyle might yet get this year's team in that field is a testament to the job he's done in his second season.

Conference Power Rankings: Pac-12

February, 6, 2012
Allow me to concur with my colleague, Myron Medcalf, who included the Pac-12's intriguing title race among his five observations Sunday:
2. The Pac-12 race is actually exciting: Let’s ignore the fact this could still be a one-bid league and the overall conference has been bested by multiple mid-major conferences this season. The Pac-12’s title race is compelling right now. Washington beat Arizona on the road last weekend and then overcame a late double-digit deficit to beat UCLA on Thursday. The Wildcats overcame Cal’s early 22-9 lead in one of the better matchups of the week: a 78-74 road win for Arizona, which it followed up with a victory at Stanford. The Pac-12 might end up with the most captivating finish in the country simply because so many teams possess questionable NCAA tourney résumés.

This is entirely true. Sure, the quality of play in the Pacific 12 conference isn't the highest in the country, but so what? If you want to watch the best basketball in the world, played by all of its best players, well, NBA League Pass is right this way. Go wild. If you want your hoops defined as much by imperfection as success, it's hard to do much better than this fascinating and downright weird league.

Anyway, onto the rankings.

1. Washington: For much of the season, yours truly has been pining over the Washington Huskies. Well, not pining, exactly, but at least keeping an eye out. With Tony Wroten, Abdul Gaddy, Terrence Ross and Aziz N'Diaye, Washington has always appeared to be the most talented team in the conference. Of course, talent only goes so far, and for much of the season, this team's talent was undermined by a lack of chemistry and a lack of defense, and not always in that order. Both of those things have changed in conference play. The Huskies are hardly blowing the doors off on offense, but they're allowing the league's third-fewest points per possession on defense, and unlike their mediocre nonconference slate, Lorenzo Romar's team is getting key stops, closing out tight games and winning on the road. As a result -- and thanks to Cal's home loss to Arizona this week -- Washington finds itself alone atop the Pac-12 standings Monday morning. Can the Huskies take that lead to the finish line? It may not matter, this team's at-large tourney profile is still pretty mediocre. But you can't knock Washington's improvement. If things keep going this way, Romar's team will be in excellent position heading into the all-important Pac-12 tournament.

2. California: The Bears have spent the entire Pac-12 season looking like this conference's best, or at least most solid, team. That perception hasn't changed, despite Thursday's home loss to Arizona, which dropped California out of first place in the league standings. Thing is, Cal has reached its ceiling. The Bears are what they are. That's not something we can necessarily say about Washington, which looks capable of greater improvement each time it takes the floor. The Bears are solid (and their total per-possession numbers are solid, if not amazing, particularly in conference play) but unspectacular. Meh.

3. Colorado: Is it time to believe in Colorado? Insofar as "believe in Colorado" means "think they might be the third- or fourth-best team in the Pac-12," then yeah, sure. The Buffaloes are playing solid defense and got a couple of nice wins last week over Oregon State and Oregon (though Saturday night's win over the Ducks featured a controversial last-second foul call on Oregon's E.J. Singler that gave coach Tad Boyle's team two late, game-sealing free throws). In any case, the Buffaloes still need to prove themselves on the road. This team's only Pac-12 road victory came at USC, and five of their final seven games -- including the next three, at Arizona, Arizona State and Utah -- are on the road. We'll see.

4. Arizona: The Wildcats move up the board further than anyone this week thanks to their impressive Bay Area sweep, which began Thursday at Cal and ended Saturday at Stanford. Both were solid wins for coach Sean Miller's improving bunch. The Wildcats are now 7-4 in conference play with the best per-possession defense in the league. Arizona's offense could hold them back (it was uncharacteristically good at Cal, and it didn't prevent a win at Stanford), but the Cats may have found their niche on the defensive end.

5. Oregon: Perception-wise, it's hard to penalize the Ducks too much for losing on the road at Colorado, let alone losing on the road on such a controversial last-second call. Coach Dana Altman's team has an excellent chance to bounce back this week when Washington comes to town, so that's good news. But Oregon has yet to really impress when it comes to efficiency margin in league play, and while Altman and Oregon fans may feel like they are a few missed opportunities away from contention, the Ducks' advanced metrics beg to differ.

6. Stanford: Stanford entered league play with a sluggish offense and what appeared to be the conference's best defense. Since then, coach Johnny Dawkins' team has regressed to the mean on the defensive end, allowing the fifth-most points per possession in Pac-12 play. That wouldn't be so bad if Stanford were playing a bit better on offense. Unfortunately, that's not the case. That's why Arizona was able to win in Palo Alto on Saturday despite scoring well under a point per possession, and that's why Stanford, once a potential title contender, is stuck here at 6-5.

7. Oregon State: It's hard to move the Beavers either up or down after Oregon State lost at Colorado and won at Utah. Guard Jared Cunningham leads an offense that can score in bunches and a defense that is far too permissive both at home and on the road. Last week's win at Oregon was nice, but little else has been impressive.

8. UCLA: Believe it or not, the Bruins score the most points per trip of any team in the Pac-12. Travis and David Wear are providing efficient role scoring, and Joshua Smith remains a load for any defense to handle. Strangely enough for a program that has prided itself on defense in the Ben Howland era, this team is totally mediocre on the defensive end. Losing to Washington on the road, as the Bruins did Thursday, is hardly a crime. But the way UCLA lost -- with a timeout still on the board -- was curious. More importantly, this team hasn't gone anywhere since the turmoil of November and December, and that has UCLA fans questioning the program's future direction.

9. Washington State: Washington State had one thing going for it in early Pac-12 play: home-court advantage. The Cougars were offensively potent at home, and that trait guided them to wins over Stanford and Cal in back-to-back games last month. But Faisal Aden's sad, career-ending ACL injury has robbed them of even that ability, made evident by a meager 60-53 win over USC and a 60-points-in-65-possessions performance in Saturday's three-point loss to UCLA. This was never going to be a tournament team, but that doesn't make Aden's fate, or its effect on this fledgling squad, any easier to swallow.

10. Arizona State: No surprises here. Arizona State had two road games this week -- at Stanford, at Cal -- and lost by 20-plus in both. Those blowouts moved the Sun Devils to 3-8 in league play, good enough to stay atop Utah and USC and no one else.

11. Utah: The Utes will never truly wash off the stink of their horrendous nonconference performance; on a per-possession basis, they've been ranked in the low 300s all season, and they'll be there for the remainder. But they do still own one more league win than USC. Then again, Utah has lost its past four (including at USC), mostly in blowout fashion, and the Utes may return to their seemingly predestined spot at the bottom of these rankings if the trend continues.

12. USC: And then there's Southern California. The Trojans' only win in league play came at home over Utah, and while they kept things relatively close at Washington State (losing 60-53), that's hardly worth much. USC is scoring about 0.83 points per possession in Pac-12 play, a league that hardly specializes in lockdown defense. Unless the Trojans discover a magical way to score the basketball in the next few weeks, their only hopes of avoiding the 2012 Pac-12 wooden spoon award is if Utah somehow plays even worse.
Editor's Note: For Myron's recap of Saturday's afternoon action, click here.

More Saturday games. More drama. A weekend slate that wasn’t supposed to offer much ultimately produced an impressive collection of games. Saturday night only added to the excitement.

Washington 69, Arizona 67

This game might have been a preview of the vibe we’ll see in the Pac-12 tournament. Not one team in this league can feel secure about its NCAA tournament hopes, but the conference's collective downfall does make for plenty of must-win drama.

Consider this: Between the 14:16 and 2:28 marks of the second half, Arizona recorded exactly one field goal. And yet, with two minutes to play, this was just a six-point game. Solomon Hill’s 3-pointer with 9 seconds to play tied the game at 67. He was awesome, scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. But while he made nine of his 10 shots, the rest of team went 12-of-40 (30 percent) from the field.

And after Hill's big bucket, Josiah Turner committed a huge foul on C.J. Wilcox, who hit a pair of free throws before freshman Tony Wroten blocked Turner’s layup at the buzzer. The Pac-12 is certainly down. But it’s also a very scrappy league right now because of the uncertainty. Arizona was bad for a chunk of this game, but the Wildcats kept coming -- because, well, it's UA-UW and these matchups are always dramatic.

The Huskies, who lead the Pac-12 at 7-2, scored a crucial road win, while Zona’s at-large hopes took another major blow with its third home loss of the season. Fun game.

No. 21 Virginia 61, North Carolina State 60

The Cavaliers led 55-45 with 6:37 on the clock, but barely held on here. The Wolfpack was sloppy for the bulk of this game and finished just 2-of-15 from beyond the arc. Near the five-minute mark, Alex Johnson missed three shots on one possession. He botched a layup on a fast break, then missed a contested follow-up and a 3-pointer. It was that kind of evening for the Pack.

But they bounced back and chipped away at Virginia’s lead. They outscored UVa 15-5 in the final six minutes of the game and Scott Wood hit a late 3 to close the gap to 1. The Cavs missed a jumper in the final seconds so NC State had a chance to tie on the last possession, but Virginia’s defense clamped down on Lorenzo Brown, whose 3-point attempt at the buzzer was way off.

The Cavs continue to find ways to win and force teams to play their grind-it-out style of basketball. Mike Scott (18 points) certainly helped, but Virginia was outrebounded 42-25 -- it gave up more offensive boards (18) than it had defensive boards (17)! -- and still pulled out the win. The Cavaliers' 17th victory gives them one more than all of last season.

That’s certainly something to be proud of, but I’m not sold on the Cavs as a team that will do damage in the NCAA tournament. Not with struggles against Towson, a bad home loss against Virginia Tech and other so-so efforts this season. Their finish against NC State on Saturday showcased some of this team’s flaws.

No. 20 Saint Mary’s 80, BYU 66

Wait, wasn't this supposed to be the weekend that the Gaels fell in West Coast Conference play? As impressive as SMC's 8-0 start in the WCC was, there was a palpable buzz that suggested the Gaels' success was directly linked to the fact that they played five of their first eight conference games at home, including routs of BYU and Gonzaga.

A rematch with Brigham Young on the road -- the Marriott Center is one of the most challenging venues in the country -- spelled doom. Right? But Saint Mary’s truly separated itself from the rest of the league with a 14-point victory that really wasn't even that close, despite SMC's heavy turnover total (24). It was a scrappy game both on the floor and off it -- fans threw things onto the court at one point as the Cougars lost back-to-back home games for the first time ever under Dave Rose. Four Gaels recorded double-figure point totals, led by Brad Waldow (19 points, 8 rebounds). I already can't wait for that Saint Mary's-Gonzaga game in Spokane.

Some more observations from Saturday night ...
  • Oh Dayton, you confusing Atlantic 10 contender (pretender?). From Dec. 7 through Jan. 7, the Flyers won seven of eight games, including victories over Alabama, Ole Miss, Saint Louis and Temple. They’ve now lost three of five after Saturday’s 86-81 home loss to … wait for it … Rhode Island (4-18, 1-6 Atlantic 10). That’s not OK. What a wacky league. Xavier, Saint Louis and Dayton, three teams expected to emerge from the crowd, all have three conference losses as La Salle, St. Bonaventure and UMass (a very impressive winner over the Billikens on Saturday) share the conference lead. The A-10 seems as wide open and as unpredictable as any league in the country. Who can call it right now? Not me.
  • The last time Minnesota and Illinois faced off, the Gophers lost to the Illini in double overtime in Champaign. On Saturday, Minnesota got its revenge with a 77-72 OT win at the Barn. After losing their first four conference games, the Gophers have won four of their past five. They’re a young team with limited depth, but Tubby Smith has coached this team extremely well in this five-game stretch.
  • It was a huge night in Conference USA as the league's top four teams squared off. What we learned is that Memphis and Southern Miss, which play each other Wednesday in Hattiesburg, are the conference's co-favorites. Behind a career-high 29 from Will Barton, the Tigers rallied in the second half for a hard-fought home win against Marshall. The Golden Eagles also had a huge second half to win in Orlando, where UCF had won 16 straight (including a recent victory over Memphis). Neil Watson and Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson combined for 45 points as Larry Eustachy's underrated squad improved to 19-3. Yes, 19-3.
  • Think the Mountain West is a pushover? No. 15 UNLV needed overtime to dismiss Boise State on the road and the Rebels needed an extra period again Saturday, when they beat Air Force 65-63. AFA is ranked 156th in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted tempo ratings and Vegas is 17th, but these two squads were even on the scoreboard until the closing seconds. But the Falcons committed two turnovers in the last 15 seconds of the contest and squandered their chances to win this one late. Still, it was more evidence that the Mountain West is deeper than it appears to be on the surface. Mike Moser continued his destructive streak with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Oklahoma scored a key road when it beat No. 24 Kansas State 63-60. The Sooners pressured the Wildcats, who committed 20 turnovers. Frank Martin has been preaching defense, but K-State didn’t have much against Steven Pledger, who scored 30 points. The Wildcats have lost three of their past six. Meanwhile, this had to be a satisfying win for Lon Kruger, who used to play and coach in Manhattan. What a great job he's done in his first year in Norman.
  • Seton Hall looked like an NCAA tournament team after it followed a blowout road loss at Syracuse with a four-game winning streak. But the Pirates have lost their past four and looked lackluster in a 60-51 home defeat to Louisville. Boy, that surprising season turned sour really quick, didn't it?
  • Speaking of New Jersey, how strange is this Rutgers season? After Saturday's victory over Cincinnati, the young Scarlet Knights now have wins over Florida, Connecticut and the Bearcats ... and losses to DePaul, Illinois State, Princeton and a down Richmond team.
  • Wichita State and Drake took a combined 149 shots in their triple-overtime thriller Saturday night. The Bulldogs outplayed the Shockers and deserved their 93-86 victory. Kraidon Woods’ layup for Drake sent the game into the first extra period and Rayvonte Rice hit a pair of late free throws to take the game into a second overtime. Drake’s Kurt Alexander and Wichita State’s Ben Smith traded late 3s in the second extra period to send the game into a third OT. In that third overtime, Drake scored the first five points and WSU couldn’t close the gap. The Shockers suffered their first loss since New Year’s Eve, but this is still a quality team. Wichita State is now one game behind Creighton in the MVC. Let's all count down to that Feb. 11 rematch in Omaha.

Conference Power Rankings: Pac-12

January, 2, 2012
We're still very much in wait-and-see mode in the Pac-12, but we do have a few results to chew on after last week's league-opening games:

1a. California
1b. Stanford

This configuration might be just a tad bit unfair to Stanford, which was No. 1 in last week's rankings and which beat the exact same teams -- UCLA and USC -- that Cal defeated in the first two days of Pac-12 play. So, as a peace offering, I didn't fully relegate the Cardinal to No. 2. Technically, they're still tied for the top spot. To me, the gap between these two teams, based on their nonconference performance and their near-identical first week of play, is too minor to forge any significant distinctions.

Still, I thought Cal looked a bit more impressive in its two season-opening wins (particularly in its 85-69 handling of UCLA), and the Bears have the benefit of efficient offense to go with stifling defense. Right now, Stanford's stagnant offense still looks like it could hold Johnny Dawkins' team back. Until that gets sorted out -- and/or another challenger to the throne emerges -- Cal looks like the favorite to win this league.

3. Washington: Is UW that aforementioned emerging contender? OK, OK, let's not get ahead of ourselves -- the Huskies still have their fair share of issues on both ends of the floor. That said, it was hard not to notice this team's improvement in last week's victories over Oregon State (95-80) and Oregon (76-60). Sure, both came at home, but so did Washington's loss to South Dakota State. The team we saw last week looked nothing like the one that yielded 92 points to the Jackrabbits.

Instead, the Huskies -- led by freshman guard Tony Wroten, who notched 43 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists in those two wins -- look like they're building the chemistry and defensive toughness that plagued them so frequently in their 6-5 start. There is much more work to be done, of course, but this team could yet round into a bona fide conference title favorite in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

4. Arizona: The Wildcats had few issues with in-state rival Arizona State in their Pac-12 opener, but that was their only result of the week and ASU is simply not a very good team. So I didn't award a lot of credit here. But the Wildcats handled business, and they, like Washington before them, are still improving in a variety of ways. Buy low, I suppose.

5. Oregon: The Ducks didn't look all that impressive in Saturday night's loss to Washington -- or maybe the Huskies were simply better -- but in either case, they deserve credit for going into a tricky neutral-court venue in Spokane and coming out with an easy win over Washington State. A 92-75 victory over Wazzu doesn't mean much in a vacuum, but on the road, this early in league play, it's still a solid accomplishment.

6. Oregon State: Why is Oregon's win at WSU impressive? In part because the Ducks' sworn enemies -- the hated Beavers of Corvallis, which sounds like an army regiment from the French and Indian War -- were unable to do the same. Instead, OSU went 0-2 in its first two conference games, following up that 95-80 loss at Washington with an 81-76 loss in Pullman. This team jumped out to a 10-2 record in the nonconference, including its efforts to secure the Pac-12's only moderately impressive win (Texas). Still, Oregon State was hardly going gangbusters before league play started, even against a relatively meager nonconference schedule. Was that record a mirage? Or is it simply that tough to win on the road? For now, I'm going with the latter. But we'll see.

7. Washington State: The Cougars had been getting by on offensive efficiency for much of the season, and that trend seems likely to continue going forward. It needs to, anyway. Bone's team simply doesn't defend all that well, and it paid dearly for it in that 92-75 home loss to Oregon. Wazzu's next three games are all on the road, and while the first two opponents (Utah and Colorado) don't strike fear into anyone's heart, a slip-up in either game ahead of Jan. 15's trip to Washington could be make-or-break, at least in terms of perception.

8. UCLA: Bruins fans holding out hope that the Pac-12 season would bring fresh success to this struggling club were left wanting last week, as UCLA began conference play with two consecutive losses. To be fair to the Bruins, those losses were entirely understandable -- both came on the road, one to Cal, one to Stanford. The Stanford loss -- a 60-59 defeat -- was particularly forgivable. Sure, UCLA isn't used to looking for positives in one-point league losses; that's not how this program rolls. But as far as encouragement goes, that's what I've got. Had a possession or two swung in the Bruins' way, they'd surely be ranked much higher than this. That's a step in the right direction at least.

9. USC: The Trojans fell to 0-2 in league play and 5-10 overall last week, but I'm willing to cut them some slack. Like UCLA, USC played on the road in the Bay Area, and its defense -- SC is an excellent defensive team -- kept both games within striking distance throughout. The Trojans lost 53-49 to Cal and 51-43 to Stanford. Expect to see a lot of those kinds of results from this team, which can defend with the best teams in the country. Unfortunately, it just can't seem to score.

10. Colorado: I could see ranking Colorado above USC; after all, the Buffaloes are 9-4 overall and 1-0 in conference play after their opener. But I couldn't pull the trigger, and here's why: USC, for all of its problems, has at least one definable skill: defense. Colorado, at least thus far (and to my eye, which I admit is far from omniscient), doesn't. And, sorry, but I can't move a team up just because they beat poor Utah's brains in (73-33) at home. I mean, a win's a win, and you play your schedule, and so on ... but I still need to see more.

11. Arizona State: The Sun Devils didn't get Utah-style-crushed in their league opener at Arizona (final score: 68-51), so that's something. And Herb Sendek's team does appear to be improving on the defensive end. But make no mistake: This team is bad. That didn't change in the past seven days.

12. Utah: Alas, as has been the recurring theme of the Pac-12 power rankings, the Sun Devils are bad -- just nowhere near as bad as Utah. (When you think about how ugly ASU's play has been -- and you consider the fact that a player like Chris Colvin is using 25.8 percent of his team's possessions despite a 69.0 offensive rating, and that's just one example -- that's saying something.) On Saturday, the Utes were utterly crushed, 73-33, by Colorado, by my lights the 10th-best team in one of the worst power-six leagues we've seen in years. Last week, Utah ranked No. 313 in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency rankings. This week, they rank No. 334. No. 334 out of 344! That's three places below SIU-Edwardsville and two below Maryland-Baltimore County. And it's only the first week of Pac-12 play. Man. It's going to be a long season in Salt Lake City.

Huskies will go as Tony Wroten goes

December, 6, 2011
Tony WrotenSteven Bisig/US PresswireWashington guard Tony Wroten is showing a lot of promise early in his freshman season.
This summer, at the Nike Skills Camps in Chicago, one guard consistently stood out from the rest. He was left-handed. He had good vision, a solid outside shot and a knack for making the well-timed pass to a streaking forward on the break or appropriately deciding to finish the play himself.

At 6-foot-5, he stood taller than most of his fellow guard attendees, all of which were (or were about to be) the best point guards in the country. By the end of the day, he had NBA scouts raving. In a sea of talented-but-too-short point guards, here, finally, was a player with the skills and size to play the position at the next level.

This player was Tony Wroten, Jr.

This college hoops writer, wary of small sample sizes though he is, allowed himself to throw his data-oriented caution to the wind. I was sold: Wroten was going to be great, and the 2011-12 Huskies were going to be better than anyone had reason to expect.

Moreover, Wroten's commitment to Lorenzo Romar's team couldn't have come at a better time. This summer, the Huskies waved farewell to point guard and spiritual leader Isaiah Thomas, a ball-dominant, left-handed guard who led his team in minutes, points, assists and steals in 2010-11 and won the conference tournament title over Arizona with a floating jumper at the buzzer. With Thomas gone and Wroten in, the Huskies were replacing a very good but undersized lefty point guard with a much bigger, much more naturally talented version -- and a guy with plenty of his own swagger, too.

After seven games, at least one thing is clear: Wroten is every bit as important for the Huskies as Thomas. Maybe even more so.

The question is whether Wroten is ready for that sort of responsibility. On that front, the jury is still very much out.

The freshman guard has had no shortage of opportunities this season. After seven games, per Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency stats, Wroten ranks No. 4 in the nation -- to be clear, that's No. 4 out of every college basketball player in the country -- in usage rate. Wroten finishes 35.9 percent of his team's available possessions when he's on the floor; the next-highest of the Huskies, sophomore Terrence Ross, checks in at 21.7 percent.

Wroten has dominated possessions: He brings the ball up the floor and initiates Washington's offense, but he also has the freedom to create for himself whenever he chooses to do so. He takes 28.8 percent of his team's available shots.

The problem? Wroten's efficiency isn't just so-so -- so-so would be good for a player that shoulders this much of his team's offensive load. No, Wroten's efficiency numbers are downright bad. After seven games, the guard's offensive rating, per KenPom, is 86.0. (For comparison's sake, Ross' 118.5, while teammate C.J. Wilcox is among the best in the country at 131.2.) His effective field goal percentage (which accounts for the added value of a 3-point shot) is 46.2 percent. His true shooting percentage (which factors in free throw percentage) is 47.2. Wroten's turnover rate is 27.6 percent.

According to Synergy Sports Technologies data, Wroten has scored 88 points on his 119 possessions this season -- an average of .739 points per possession. Wroten has been much better in transition (27 points on 26 possessions) than he has in the half court, but half-court possessions have accounted for 78.2 percent of his possessions on the floor. His tallies in those trips: 93 possessions, 61 points, .656 points per possession. Synergy's built-in descriptors politely describe this mark as "below average."

Weirdly enough, it's not as if Wroten has been forcing bad jumpers or obviously trying to do more than he's capable of. According to Synergy, 71.4 percent of his shots are "around basket (not post-ups)." Essentially, as the Wroten film backs up, these are drives to the rim. He simply hasn't been finishing. Throw in the close misses with the turnovers, and you have a recipe for severe individual offensive frustration.

Fortunately, there are plenty of positive signs in Wroten's game. Despite all the turnovers, his turnover-to-assist ratio is still positive, because Wroten has been finding open teammates with regularity. (Assist rate: 30.1 percent, which ranks just outside the top 100 nationally.) Wroten has also turned those drives into plenty of trips to the free throw line; he's drawing nearly 7.2 fouls for every 40 minutes he's on the floor (national rank: No. 32).

In the meantime, the Huskies' problems aren't limited to their freshman guard. He isn't the only one turning the ball over, for example. Plus, Romar has said that he's allowed his team to experiment in the first few weeks in order to better find out what he was.
"I've looked at that quite a bit, and obviously that's my fault," he said. "Early on, as you're putting your team together, a lot of times offensively you kind of let the guys play more just to try to find out who can do what when they're actually playing.

"Sometimes you can restrict players and hold them back and you don't know what they are capable of giving you. I kind of let the guys blow it out early on, probably too much. It usually bites us early because we don't do as good of a job offensively as we should do."

That quote came before Washington's loss at Nevada, but it's no less true for the passage of time. It's safe to assume Romar will gradually attempt to tighten Wroten's game, to accentuate the things he's good at -- leading the Huskies in transition, creating matchup problems on the perimeter, penetrating and working toward the rim -- and minimize the problem areas.

There are other caveats, too. Here's a big one: Wroten is still just a freshman. Much like Austin Rivers or Harrison Barnes or anyone else, it's unfair to judge him after four weeks of college basketball. There's a learning curve, and Wroten is on it.

Likewise, it's important to remember that whole small sample size thing. It's just seven games. It's early.

More likely than not, Wroten will finish more of those plays around the rim, improve his efficiency and have a very productive freshman season in Seattle. He'll adjust to collegiate defenses, realize he can't get away with certain things at this level, and cut down on his turnovers in the process. He'll get used to playing with guys like Ross and Wilcox and Abdul Gaddy, and he'll defer more frequently when the shots don't fall. If I had to guess whether Wroten will improve, worsen or perform at roughly the same level all season, I'd bet the house on "improve."

But as early as it is, we do know this much for sure: Few players in 2011-12 will be as important to their teams' success -- or failures -- as Wroten. The Huskies' potential mirrors their silky 6-foot-5 freshman point guard's. They can't improve if Wroten doesn't.

In other words: Stay tuned.

Tony Wroten undergoes minor knee surgery

October, 20, 2011
Washington's preseason practices continued to be hampered by injuries, as freshman guard Tony Wroten underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Thursday. The Huskies' top incoming recruit said in a statement that the surgery was "minor" and that his goal was to return to action by the time the Huskies play a Nov. 4 exhibition game.

A team spokesman would not comment on if the discomfort was related to a torn anterior cruciate ligament Wroten suffered in high school while playing football, forcing him to miss his junior season.

"Tony could have probably gone the whole season with a little discomfort at times and played through this," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said in a statement. "But he and his family, plus our staff, thought it would be better to take care of this now so he would be fine for the rest of the year.

"It has been nagging him a little bit, but he'll be ready to go in no time soon."

Wroten, the nation's fifth-ranked point guard recruit for the class of 2011 by ESPNU, is expected to make a significant impact on the team after missing some practice time due to the procedure.

The surgery comes less than a week after Washington's top 3-point shooter, Scott Suggs, underwent foot surgery that is expected to sideline him at least eight weeks.

Washington, which received votes in the coaches' preseason top-25 rankings released earlier in the day, does have point guard Abdul Gaddy returning to the team after recovering from a season-ending ACL injury from January.

The Huskies' guard play will be an important factor after top scorer Isaiah Thomas unexpectedly left school for the NBA draft following his junior season.

High praise for Washington's Tony Wroten

October, 11, 2011
Washington guard Tony Wroten is one of the most highly-touted freshman guards in the country, and Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar isn't exactly shy about his excitement.

Over the weekend, there was Romar on 950 KJR comparing Wroten to Magic Johnson, saying, "Sometimes guys see things, but they see it a second late. He sees things right as they are developing and he delivers the ball on the spot. And he can do that while going full speed. And those are things that Magic was able to do."

On Tuesday during his first news conference of the season, Romar also talked about the under-appreciated part of Wroten's game on defense. Romar learned that while speaking with the coach of the USA Under-17 team that Wroten helped win a gold medal.

"When he did come into the game, the game would change because defensively, he would lead the charge," Romar said. "That was pretty impressive. When the game was on the line, that’s how he would respond."

Wroten, the fifth-ranked point guard in the 2011 class, is perhaps better known for his flashy passes and athleticism. Wroten being well-rounded at such an early stage of his career would be even more dangerous for Pac-12 opponents hoping the Huskies experience a drop-off in the backcourt after Isaiah Thomas left for the NBA draft.

There will be a certain amount of pressure on Wroten as well because of the confident style he played with in high school and because the Seattle native will have the ball in his hands in front of a hometown crowd.

The fans will be expecting Wroten to deliver excitement, just as he did for Romar on the recruiting trail while with Team USA.

UW's Terrence Ross getting preseason buzz

July, 20, 2011
The always-entertaining Isaiah Thomas conducted an online chat with the Seattle Times today and had some interesting thoughts. The former Washington guard likes UCLA to win the league if the Huskies don't, called the court at Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena "ugly," and also said of new Sacramento Kings teammate Jimmer Fredette, "He's like the Justin Bieber of basketball. Everywhere we go, people are crying over him."

The declaration from Thomas that should excite Washington fans was this:
Terrence Ross is the most talented player I've played with during my time at the UW.

During the three years Thomas was in Washington, he played with the likes of future NBA draft picks Jon Brockman and Quincy Pondexter. So that's a high compliment for Ross, the 6-foot-6 guard who made the honorable mention all-conference freshman team. Ross averaged eight points per game, and there have been other indications he's ready for a breakout season.

Percy Allen of the Seattle Times recently watched pickup games on campus and had this observation:
Even with NBA players on the court, at times Ross looked like the best player on the floor. Still if you were drafting a team of the players Thursday, the 7-1 [Spencer] Hawes would probably be the first person taken. But Ross would likely go No. 2. He thrives in an open-gym setting. He wowed the few folks in the stands with high-flying dunks, alley-oop slams and putback jams. Whenever anyone guarded him one-on-one, Ross either tried to blow past them with a dribble drive or he jabbed and whirled to create room for a fadeaway jump shot. Ross, a 20-year-old sophomore, also looks much more chiseled than he did last season.

That's great news for the Huskies, who will be looking for a go-to player after Thomas left for the NBA draft and Justin Holiday and Matthew Bryan-Amaning completed their eligibility.

A lot of the attention will be focused on the backcourt with the arrival of flashy freshman Tony Wroten and the return of Abdul Gaddy from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

But don't forget about Ross.

The real reason Isaiah Thomas left UW

June, 22, 2011
Washington guard Isaiah Thomas made the stunning decision to leave the Huskies behind for the NBA draft after his junior season, and in an interview with, he elaborated on what the story called "the real reason" he left school.

[+] EnlargeIsaiah Thomas
Mike Nelson/US PresswireAn injury to teammate Abdul Gaddy allowed Washington's Isaiah Thomas a chance to show off his point guard skills.
According to the story, it was because Abdul Gaddy's season-ending injury allowed him to show what he could do at point guard and that after the season, coach Lorenzo Romar told him he'd be sharing duties this coming year with Gaddy and top recruit Tony Wroten.
"Knowing me, the NBA would have happened anyway eventually," Thomas said. "But it wouldn't have happened this year. Me having the ball in my hands as much as I did was a blessing in disguise. Gaddy and I talk about it all the time. He says, `Man, if this didn't happen to me, you wouldn't be where you are right now.'

"Every team I visited, the first question was always, `Why did you put your name in for the draft?'" Thomas said. "And I told each team the reason was the circumstances of next season at Washington had I stayed. With Gaddy coming back and Wroten coming in, I wouldn't have been able to showcase my skills as (primarily) a point guard, which is the position I will be playing at the next level.

"My stock wouldn't be any higher next year, no matter what I did. A lot of people don't realize all that went into my decision. They just say, `Oh, he should have stayed.' They don't see all the circumstances."

The explanation Thomas gives creates yet another what-if scenario that has to leave fans wondering. Kyrie Irving revealed in May that had he not been able to return from his toe injury during the NCAA tournament, he would have stayed in school.

What Thomas did was present the chain of events that led to his leaving school, and it was ignited when Gaddy went down. Thomas was able to show off his all-around game at point guard and all the while still showed his game on offense. Anyone who heard Gus Johnson's description of his "cold-blooded" buzzer-beating shot to beat Arizona in the Pac-10 tournament championship game knows that.

The Gaddy injury was unfortunate, and few would have guessed it would also lead to Thomas shining to the point that he thought it was his time to go. But with Wroten expected to play major minutes and Gaddy gearing up for a comeback from knee surgery, one can see what Thomas was thinking a little more clearly now.

Tony Wroten has flair for the dramatic

October, 7, 2010
After countless twists and turns and tweets, Tony Wroten Jr. has made what he called "the decision."

The nation's No. 31-ranked recruit by ESPNU is staying home in Seattle and headed to Washington, but what a ride it was for the point guard.

Wroten, as of July, claimed Kentucky to be among his two finalists, but ended up asking John Calipari on Twitter why he cut off the courtship.

Wroten included Louisville as a finalist, but only playfully fiddled with a Cardinals cap before donning a Huskies one at the press conference.

"(Rick) Pitino's a great coach, but I had to do at the end of the day what's best for me," Wroten said on the Seattle Times webcast.

With Washington, Wroten went with his father's alma mater and a program that last season went to the Sweet 16. He joins a recruiting class compiled by Lorenzo Romar that already includes shooting guard Hikeem Stewart and power forward Jernard Jarreau.

"My home is where my heart is," Wroten said.
We've met class of 2011 prospect Tony Wroten, Jr., before. That meeting occurred when Wroten gave a rather effusive interview on his own behalf to's Evan Daniels. When asked about his game, Wroten described it as "unstoppable," because "nobody in the country has stopped me when I'm at my best."

Wroten's outspoken attitude isn't limited to interviews, though. The guard recently took to his Twitter page with a rather crazy question for Kentucky coach John Calipari. To wit:
@UKCoachCalipari aye coach. I just wanna know why u stopped recruiting me?

Naturally, Calipari didn't respond. Probably a good idea. Wroten almost certainly would have fired back. His willingness to speak his mind on Twitter has also led him to question why Washington coach Lorenzo Romar showed up to more of his AAU games than Calipari. The last thing Calipari needs is a coach-recruit flame war. Or a trending topic. ("#whycoachcal?" We can work on it.)

Anyway, Wroten is set to make his college decision Thursday, with Washington and Louisville now the two frontrunners. Whichever school lands him, they'll be getting as outspoken a recruit as any in the 2011 class. Whether that's a good thing is up for debate.
Earlier this month, Diamond Leung introduced you to Tony Wroten, Jr., the No. 3 point guard in the class of 2011. Wroten has narrowed his final two college choices to Washington and Kentucky, which puts him at the nexus of another unlikely UW-UK recruiting battle (the first created, of course, by Terrence Jones' indecision).

Here's a prediction for you: Wherever Wroten ends up, he's going to be just as entertaining in interviews as he is on the court. In reference to the Jones saga, he told reporters he wouldn't "do UW dirty like that." The latest semi-awesome Wroten quote comes courtesy of Scout's Evan Daniels, who asked Wroten, "When you're at your best, what's your game like?"

"Unstoppable, to be honest with you," Wroten to Daniels. "Because nobody in the country has stopped me when I've been at my best."

Wroten also said that his passing and vision were "something I think I do better than anyone." If Wroten is as half as talented as he is confident -- and judging by his video highlights, that's probably a fair estimate -- then he's going to be an awfully good Huskie.