Pac-10's Top 10 Players
On the surface, Nelson certainly doesn't appear to be one of the conference's best players. But he maximizes his abilities by doing all the little things. Reeves offers a bevy of post moves, the ability to finish with both hands and the type of blue-collar hustle that has made him a fan favorite in Pauley Pavilion. Reeves and Tyler Honeycutt developed into a highly effective frontcourt duo in the second half of last season.
Overton is unquestionably the top defensive player in the conference and one of the best in the nation. Even though he's pretty slight at 5-foot-11, Overton is an absolute pest, forcing turnovers and frustrating opposing guards to no end. And his offense isn't too shabby, either, producing 8.5 points per game and distributing the ball effectively (3.1 apg).
Entering his fourth season as a starter, Abbott has established himself as one of the league's best shooters, especially from beyond the arc (boasting a 40.4 percent clip last season). But he's more than just a hot hand on the perimeter -- Abbott has developed a nice all-around game and even averaged 4.4 rebounds per game.
Moore's play is overshadowed by star teammate Klay Thompson, but he enjoyed quite a freshman season in Pullman. As a three-star recruit who signed late with Washington State, Moore didn't enter last season with any buzz. But he was a revelation for new coach Ken Bone, averaging 12.7 points and 4.2 assists per game.
Honeycutt struggled with various injuries last season, but when healthy, he's undoubtedly one of the Pac-10's most talented individuals. Honeycutt really rounded into form in the second half of last season, recording multiple double-doubles and producing a number of highlight-reel plays on both ends of the floor.
Vucevic made tremendous strides in his game last season, leading the Pac-10 with 9.4 rebounds per game and averaging 10.7 points and 1.3 blocks, to boot. And he showed flashes of a fantastic all-around skill set. Pairing Vucevic with fellow big Alex Stepheson, the Trojans should have the most formidable frontcourt in the conference.
Even as Landry Fields' sidekick last season, Green averaged 16.6 points per game, thanks to one of the sweetest strokes in the Pac-10. The junior boasts range well beyond the three-point line and isn't afraid to pull the trigger -- he launched nearly eight threes per game, converting a highly respectable 38.1 percent. After posting 10 20-point-plus games in 2009-10, he could easily double that mark this season.
Overlooked coming out of high school, Williams burst on the scene during his first season in Tucson, averaging 15.7 points and 7.1 rebounds and running away with the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year award. What Williams lacks in pure athleticism and height, he more than makes up for with savvy post play, a long wing span and brute strength. He's also extremely efficient, shooting 57.4 percent from the floor. While Washington is the preseason favorite to win the Pac-10, many folks think Williams could carry the Wildcats to the conference crown.
Thomas may be only 5-foot-9, but he's one of the toughest, gutsiest players in America. The junior guard is a very creative player on the offense end of the floor, with the ability to score on the perimeter or knife into the lane for an acrobatic deuce. And when the defense hones in on Thomas, he regularly sets up teammates for an easy buckets. Although consistency was a bit of an issue to start last season, he played his best ball down the stretch and was named first team All-Pac-10 and the Pac-10 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
While next-level talent seems thin in the conference this year, Thompson is one player who looks like he has an NBA future. The Pac-10's top returning scorer (19.6 ppg) is also the most versatile player in the conference. At 6-6, he can play multiple positions, displays plus ball-handling ability and reminds some of Evan Turner. He also has a picture-perfect jump shot, with range beyond the three-point line. Strangely, he's been prone to horrendous shooting slumps -- missing 24 straight shots in one three-game span.