During the 23 seasons between 1985-86 and 2007-08, Arizona and UCLA combined to win 19 Pacific-10 Conference regular-season titles and seven of the 11 Pac-10 tournament titles contested during that span.
After a two-year lull in 2009 and 2010, the West Coast heavyweights are showing signs of conference domination and national prominence once again. Arizona captured the 2011 Pac-10 regular season title and both have pieced together star-studded recruiting classes.
(Arizona commitment) and Kyle Anderson
(UCLA) headline what could signal a hoops revival in the new-look Pac-12. The Wildcats and Bruins have locked down a combined six Class of 2012 Top 100 recruits and some big names remain in play for both schools.
"The Pac-12 has been down for a couple of years, but the classes that UCLA and Arizona are bringing in provide an immediate talent boost to the conference," CBSSports.com college basketball writer and recruiting analyst Jeff Borzello said. "There was a lack of bonafide five-star prospects within the league, but Arizona is bringing in at least two, with Kaleb Tarczewski
still considering the Wildcats. (No. 1 overall prospect) Shabazz Muhammad
is still in play for the Bruins.
"The talent influx in Westwood and Tucson mean those two could fight for Final Four berths again within two years."
New hires are another theme prominent in our look at the nation's top recruiting classes for 2012. Ed Cooley at Providence, Mark Turgeon at Maryland, Billy Kennedy at Texas A&M and UNLV's Dave Rice have all made a splash.
"When Cooley and Turgeon arrived at their new schools, the constant talk was recruiting: could both do what their predecessors couldn't do – attract top-notch talent to the school?" Borzello said. "Neither Keno Davis or Gary Williams were getting top-50 players on a consistent basis. Cooley and Turgeon have already set the bar high."
With under two months to go before the early signing period, heavyweights like Connecticut, Duke and Kentucky aren't in their customary positions among the elite when it comes to talent acquisition. According to Borzello, that's unlikely to continue.
"There are still plenty of big names left on the board for these programs," Borzello said. "All three have top-30 shooting guards in the fold, and they are in the mix for several more.
"Connecticut is playing with house money after landing former 2012 prospect Andre Drummond, but they're still on the hunt. When the dust settles, we know that John Calipari is going to have a top-three recruiting class, and Duke will land one of their remaining five-star targets. It's just the way things work in college basketball – we don't have to worry about certain programs getting their fair share of stars."2012 Top 25 recruiting classesRankings
compiled by Jeff Borzello and Jason Hickman. Borzello is a college basketball
and recruiting writer for CBSSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffborzello.
Hickman covers high school basketball and college recruiting for MaxPreps.com.
Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Hickman.
1. ArizonaVerbal commitments:
No. 6 Brandon Ashley
(6-8, 225, PF), No. 23 Gabe York
(6-2, 175, PG/SG), No. 29 Grant Jerrett
(6-9, 220, PF)Program impact:
With this trio on board, Sean Miller has snared six Top 40 recruits the past two years. Things could get even better with the addition of 7-footer Tarczewski, ranked No. 7 in the MaxPreps Class of 2012 Top 100 and expected to choose between Arizona and Kansas.2. IndianaVerbal commitments:
No. 27 Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell
(5-11, 165, PG), No. 34 Hanner Perea
(6-8, 220, PF), No. 51 Jeremy Hollowell
(6-7, 195, SF), Peter Jurkin
(7-0, 205, C), Ron Patterson
(6-3, 190, SG)Program impact:
Indiana fans are likely to exercise a bit more patience with Tom Crean's rebuilding job knowing this type of talent is headed to Bloomington.3. ProvidenceVerbal commitments:
No. 10 Ricardo Ledo
(6-6, 190, SG/SF), No. 25 Kris Dunn
(6-2, 170, PG), Joshua Fortune
(6-5, 180, SF)Program impact:
Some red flags exist with Ledo, but Dunn will be a huge addition on and off the court. Cooley has won over a lot of Friar fans before coaching a single game at Providence.4. UCLAVerbal commitments:
No. 3 Kyle Anderson
(6-7, 215, PG/SF), No. 55 Jordan Adams
(6-5, 215, SF), No. 83 Dominic Artis
(6-0, 165, PG) Program impact:
Ben Howland badly needed a star and got it in Anderson. Now the Bruins will look to get greedy by landing No. 1 overall prospect Muhammad.5. PittsburghVerbal commitments:
No. 66 James Robinson
(6-2, 200, PG), Steven Adams
(6-11, 230, C)Program impact:
Adams, a native of New Zealand, will likely land in the Top 10 when the Class of 2012 Top 100 is updated in January. He's been impressive during short stints in the United States the past two summers and will play at Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.)
this season. Robinson is a fierce competitor and heady point guard that fits the mold of Panther players under Jamie Dixon.