These are no Siskels and Eberts, but a handful of Pac-12 beat writers had the best – or worst? – view of what was one rotten men’s basketball season. Jeff Faraudo of the Oakland Tribune (Cal), Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic (Arizona State), Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune (Washington) and Tom Kensler of the Denver Post (Colorado) join the Daily News’ Jon Gold for a roundtable discussion on what doomed the conference…and what it can do to fix itself.
3) Who was the best player you saw this season and why?
Jon Gold:: Forget my earlier potshot at Gutierrez – he is the conference’s most exciting player to watch, and ultimately, its best. What that says about the rest of the league is up for debate. But after starring at mighty Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, he came to Cal ready to play.
Jeff Faraudo: My trip to Seattle — and my only chance to see Tony Wroten in person so far — was wiped out by a snow storm. Jorge Gutierrez doesn’t dazzle with above-the-rim stuff, but he’s so smart, so tough, so versatile he elevates Cal’s team.
Doug Haller: : The scoring display Terrence Ross put on in the second of Washington’s win over Washington State in January was the best performance I’ve seen in four years of covering this conference. Ross shot 1 of 9 in the first half, then exploded for 26 points in the second. He finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds.
Bill Oram: My memory is pretty clouded by the display Devoe Joseph put on against Utah last weekend, but I’ll try to penetrate that. I still think Jorge Gutierrez was the best player in the Pac-12 in terms of what he did for his team (I see this is something I will be able to extrapolate on shortly), but if we’re talking about pure talent, I don’t know how you can top Jared Cunningham. The Oregon State guard is the most dynamic player in the Pac-12, period. He can score on absolutely anyone, is a lockdown defender, and can throw down a double-pump reverse jam in traffic. Absolutely stunning.
Ryan Divish: Thanks to Washington’s schedule, I got to see Marquette and Duke. But Terrence Ross is still probably the best player I watched in the Pac-12. There were other impressive players, but Ross’ improvement defensively, his ability to rebound and his versatile offensive game make him the best. What impresses me more is that he plays within the flow of the game. He doesn’t play just to put up numbers or dominate the basketball. He just plays and plays well.
Tom Kensler: Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez struggled offensively in both games against Colorado. Perhaps he was trying too hard, having left Mexico to play high school basketball in Denver. But it’s impossible not to notice all things that Jorge does for his team, at both ends of the floor. Washington’s Tony Wroten will be scary good as he matures.