News came out today that Nic Wise withdrew his name from the NBA Draft pool and will return to Tucson for his senior season. While some say this could put the Wildcats in contention for a top spot in the Pac-10 next year, I disagree.
It is clear that the Pac-10 will take another dip in overall talent for the second consecutive year, but it will still be incredibly difficult for Arizona to stay within the upper echelons of the the conference. Having Wise return for his senior season does help the Wildcats in trying to play into the upper half, and it should help Wise’s draft status now that he will have more offensive control with Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill gone (you could say he made a wise decision, pun very much intended).
With Wise back in the fold I would still place Washington, California, and UCLA as teams that will no question be ahead of Arizona at the end of the season. I like Oregon State’s prospects for next season in Craig Robinson’s second year.
Oregon State’s only significant losses were Seth Tarver and Rickey Claitt, otherwise they return a roster that made a significant improvement from the previous season with their top-2 scorers returning in Calvin Haynes and Roeland Schaftenaar.
The loss of Hill alone makes it difficult for me to put the Wildcats ahead of Oregon State. Coupled with the loss of Budinger, they should be battling either Oregon State or Arizona State for fifth place.
So with the news of Wise coming back, obviously many Husky fans thought of the game where he went off of the Dawgs for 27 points, but don’t worry to much about it. Wise and Tajuan Porter will be very similar next year, high scoring guards on struggling teams.