Andy Katz ranks the Pac-12's top 10 players for the 2019-2020 season.
1. McKinley Wright IV, Colorado
Colorado's record books have McKinley Wright IV's fingerprints throughout. The guard is the Buffaloes' active career leader in points (910) and assists (342) and could become the 35th player in history to reach the 1,000-point mark. Averaging 13.0 points, 4.8 assists and 1.1 steals fast-tracked the junior into All-Pac 12 first team honors last season. Though the season didn't result in a NCAA tournament appearance, Wright's talent resembles that of the top-level talent seen within the 64-team bracket.
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2. Tres Tinkle, Oregon State
30-for-30. That's how many games Tres Tinkle played and started all last season. The forward averaged 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists,1.7 steals and 36.4 minutes per game. Now a senior, he's amassed honors most players only dream of. A selection to the 2018-2019 National Association of Basketball Coaches District 20 first team, U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District IX team, All-Pac-12 First Team — and the list continues. His numbers have only continued to grow through his career, and his production is expected to garner the same attention in 2019-2020.
3. Payton Pritchard, Oregon
Oregon's continuous ascent into the upper echelon of college basketball is reflective of its recruiting classes, in-season success and the production of Payton Pritchard. Entering his senior year, the guard ranks second in Oregon career steal with 164, trailing only Kenya Wilkins (213), and fourth in career assists with 487, nearing Luke Ridnour (500). He led the national in total minutes played (1,349) after starting all 38 games. He was ultimately named Pac-12 tournament's most outstanding player.
4. Remy Martin, Arizona State
Arizona State has averaged 77.6 points per game last season, and that's in connection to Remy Martin's innate ability to find open shooters in all possible scenarios. He's a defender's nightmare. The junior guard earned All-Pac-12 Second Team honors last season after recording several career milestones. At Georgia, Martin and the Sun Devils removed an 18-point deficit to pull out a 76-74 victory. Martin secured 21 points, 8 rebounds (a career-best), 5 assists and 3 steals in the comeback. Soon after, he was name Pac-12's play of the week.
5. Isaiah Stewart, Washington
One of the best players from the 2019 recruiting class, Isaiah Stewart stands at 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds and could be a dominating force around the rim and incredible overall rebounder. Stewart and Washington coach Mike Hopkins have known each other since Stewart's freshman year in high school in New York. With Albany City Rocks, a sector of the Nike EYBL circuit, he averaged around 18 points and 11 rebounds. He's also an owner of a gold medal alongside his U17 World Cup USA Basketball teammates. He will immediately fill Noah Dickerson's (graduated) center role.
Top Freshman of the Year Candidates from @TheAndyKatz:— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) October 2, 2019
Onyeka Okongwu (@USC_Hoops)
Scottie Lewis (@GatorsMBK)
Tyrese Maxey (@KentuckyMBB)
Isaiah Stewart (@UW_MBB)
Anthony Edwards (@UGABasketball)
Cole Anthony (@UNC_Basketball)
James Wiseman (@Memphis_MBB) pic.twitter.com/dSJJ7K3moF
6. Jaden McDaniels, Washington
Though he follows fellow Huskie Stewart in these rankings, Jaden McDaniels will ultimately be a perfect companion to the center. He picked Washington over Kentucky in May. His addition is great for the Huskies who lost four other their starters from last season. The athletic forward was a McDonald's All-American, he can score from anywhere, and he should be a difference-maker.
7. Nico Mannion, Arizona
The Italian-born Nico Mannion chose to stay in Arizona (Pinnacle High School) and man the point guard position for the Wildcats. He joins wing John Green, another high-regarded 2019 recruit, as Arizona's future offensive leader. The McDonald's All-American averaged 30.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists — and ultimately became the nation's top point guard recruit.
8. C.J. Walker, Oregon
After years of highly acclaimed recruiting classes, Oregon continued its run in 2019 with the signature of C.J. Walker. In the meantime, the small forward was selected for the 2019 Iverson Roundball Classic — an All-Star-like event aimed at showcasing the top high school talent. It included a game, banquet and dunk and three-point contest. Though Walker has no college minutes on the resume, he's shown a flare for entertaining, and with that entertainment comes skills. While in high school, he attempted a between-the-legs, reverse-360 in-game dunk and he beautifully succeeded. "SportsCenter" and other media outlets caught on quick. See below for the move.
Zion Williamson made similar headlines while in high school and at Duke (and will continue to thrill in New Orleans). Seems like this is becoming a norm for the future of college basketball and the NBA.
9. Onyeka Okongwu, Southern California
The Chino Hills native is staying home in Los Angeles to become a Trojan. Though he has effective offensive skills, his defensive instincts are elite. His 6-foot-8 frame and basketball instincts pair well in USC's position-less basketball — where players are more dynamic positionally. As a senior in high school, Okongwu dominated the field, averaging 27.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.3 blocks and 4.0 assists per game, and ultimately led Chino Hills High School to its third DI state title.
10. Tyler Bey, Colorado
After leading Colorado with 13.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game and the Pac-12 in double-doubles (17), Tyler Bey was selected to the All-Pac-12 First Team and named the Pac-12 most improved player of the year after nearly doubling his freshman season numbers. What makes this untraditional guard such a dominating force within the conference is his versatility to play multiple positions. Long and explosive, the 6-foot-7 athlete is capable of defending those bigger than him.