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November 20, 2007

Bruins on top again in the Pac-10

What do back-to-back trips to the Final Four mean in recruiting? They yielded the nation's No. 2 recruiting class and the best collection of guards in the nation.

UCLA has taken full advantage of its success and has assembled one of the truly elite collections of players in the class of 2008. Ben Howland and his staff made it a point to recruit nationally, but they also tapped into the natural pipelines in the Golden State.

This year's class yielded great results, starting with Jrue Holiday - the nation's No. 3 player and the top overall point guard in the nation. Holiday, out of North Hollywood's Campbell Hall High School, is one of the most dangerous backcourt players in the country.

His presence, particularly on the defensive end of the floor, will be felt immediately in Westwood. Holiday is the highest rated guard to sign with the Bruins since Baron Davis in 1997.

Holiday is joined by guards Jerime Anderson (No. 48 overall) and Malcolm Lee (No. 51 overall) and big man Drew Gordon (No. 49 overall).

The incoming 2008 recruiting class has similar comparisons to the 2004 recruiting class. Jordan Farmar (No. 22 in 2004), Arron Afflalo (No. 26), Josh Shipp (No. 43) and Lorenzo Mata (No. 73) all inked with the Bruins in 2004.

Biggest recruiting coup

The Oregon Ducks have begun to develop a strong Midwestern pipeline, and Ernie Kent landed an important prospect in Chicago center Michael Dunigan.

In a year where every team landed a scoring guard, the Ducks have secured one of the best interior defenders in the nation. Dunigan gives the team it's most intimidating force in the paint since Kent has been at the helm in Eugene. Dunigan also considered Indiana, Purdue, Georgetown and Illinois.

Budding rivalry

Best of the Pac-10
Best perimeter scorer: Demar DeRozan, USC
Best low post scorer: Tyreese Breshers, Washington
Best passer: Brandon Jennings, Arizona
Best shooter: Jeremy Green, Stanford
Best rebounder: Drew Gordon, UCLA
Best shot-blocker: Michael Dunigan, Oregon
Best defender: Jrue Holiday, UCLA
Most versatile: Malcolm Lee, UCLA
Best in the clutch: Jrue Holiday, UCLA
Best basketball IQ: Jrue Holiday, UCLA
Best pro prospect: Demar DeRozan, USC
Best speed: Brandon Jennings, Arizona
Best motor:Emmanuel Negedu, Arizona
Best strength: Emmanuel Negedu, Arizona
Best leaper: Demar DeRozan, USC
Impact player: Jrue Holiday, UCLA
Biggest sleeper: Klay Thompson, Wash. State
Sleeper class: Washington State
There is a freshman rivalry budding in Los Angeles between O.J. Mayo of USC and UCLA's Kevin Love. The City of Angels freshman rivalry will continue next year.

USC is bringing in another dynamic guard in Demar Derozan, the nation's No. 2 prospect. UCLA has Jrue Holiday, the No. 3 overall ranked prospect in the country. The two could face each other next month at the Ocean View Tournament of Champions.

Derozan and Holiday are the highest rated players to enter the same conference in the same year in the history of Rivals.com.

Biggest miss

Renaldo Woolridge, a top-60 player from Harvard Westlake High School in Los Angeles, will be the player about which conference coaches say, "That one got away."

The 6-foot-7 standout trimmed his list to Georgetown, USC and Tennessee and opted for Rocky Top and the SEC. Woolridge visited USC a number of times, but surprisingly more Pac-10 programs didn't recruit Woolridge. Arizona State invested a lot of time in him, but the four-star wing looked on the other side of the country for a college.

Best storyline

Every team in the conference has signed a Rivals150 player, and all but one school has signed a top point guard or shooting guard.

USC has Derozan, and UCLA inked Holiday as well as fellow top-55 players Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee. Arizona is bringing in yet another five-star guard in Brandon Jennings. Oregon has a pair of top-100 guards coming to Eugene in Matthew Humphrey and Teondre Williams.

Washington signed native son Isaiah Thomas, St. Louis guard Scott Suggs and Elston Turner - a Sacramento native now in Houston.

Stanford has it's backcourt of the future in Jarrett Mann and Jeremy Green.

Despite being a top-55 prospect, Cal recruit D.J. Seeley is a sleeper within the conference.

Washington State dipped into Oregon for Michael Harthun, and Oregon State went all the way to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia to land Indiana guard Eshaunte Jones.

  • Vote: Who has the Pac-10's top class? | No. 1 SEC | Coming tomorrow: No. 3 ACC

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