The deadline for the draft entry has come and went, but players still have a month to withdraw their names after testing the waters. There are several players that as of right now are likely to return, including Ryan Anderson (CAL), Mbah a Moute (UCLA) and Shipp (UCLA). Since there is no way to really know for sure what is going to happen, let's assume that each team that has had a player declare for the draft and not sign an agent has one player that will return, and everyone else goes. They will not be listed in the starting line-up, but will have their name and the impact of their return listed seperately. Now before any idiot decides to say that is unlikely... I know, but I'm not going to try and predict what the mind of a college student is going to decide!! I'm going to post rivals together starting off with Arizona/Arizona State
Starting Line-up: Jennings, Johnson, Horne, Hill, and Withey.
First of the Bench: Wise and Negedu
Arizona will be a longer team that will look to use their height to apply defensive pressure. They will be back to pushing the tempo more after a strange season, which can be labeled the "black sheep" of this UofA era, under Kevin O'Neill. Arizona's defense will still be a bit sketchy, but Jennings is a solid defender, and having a second big-man in the front-court will help tremendously. As it sits right now, they are one of the shortest benches in the conference and for a Lute Olson team in recent memory. Yes, even shorter than the '07/'08 version. Unless Budinger returns, or Olson can pull a rabbit out of his magical recruiting hat, these guys will be in trouble. Regardless of the potential returnee, Arizona is going to have a different look next year: a front-court minded team. Guard play is going to be significant, but look for the ball to go down low a lot more and for Arizona's front court to punish the other PAC-10 teams this coming year.
Potential Returnee: Arizona fans and players will be paying special attention to Chase Budinger over the next few months, hoping he's going to withdraw his name from the hat. If he returns to school for his junior season, Arizona will be a favorite to win the conference. They will have one more legit offensive weapon, and he will likely take the SG spot. Jennings will be the slasher, and passer, but Arizona could still use another slashing guard instead of just another spot-up shooter.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Starting Lineup: Glasser, Abbot, Harden, Pendergraph, Boateng
First off the Bench: Shipp & Kuksiks
Arizona State will ultimately be the same team as last year, even with the loss of senior Antwi Atuahene. While once again Harden will be the toughest guy to stop, Pendergraph is going to be the key. Without Pendergraph in the game ASU has no weapons in the front court. Similar to Jordan Hill for Arizona, it will be interesting to see if Pendergraph will become a smarter player with that additional season under his belt.
Potential Returnee: Okay, so he transferred and won't be back. Christian Polk, even if he did suit up in an ASU jersey next season still wouldn't see much floor time. Harden has those minutes pretty well locked up. So the bench is a little weaker, big deal when you consider he only scored 3.5 ppg last season.