Pac 12 Turmoil: Early Season Hoops Soap Opera


Men’s Basketball in the Pac 12 has been nothing short of a soap opera. There is drama on almost every team, whether it be in the form of injuries, suspensions, players quitting on their team, or just what comes out on the court.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, there is no clear front-runner in the Pac 12. This conference looks to be wide open and many teams are now included that weren’t in preseason. Think teams like Stanford (8-1) and Oregon State (6-1).

Part of it has to do with poor play and/or injuries, but a lot of it has to do with the drama that is surrounding almost every team in the Pac-12.

Let’s break it down each team (alphabetically):


  • Oct. 27- Arizona loses their first exhibition game to SPU. The talent just isn’t as ready as many thought.
  • Nov. 13- Heralded freshman, Josiah Turner, was benched to send a message. Coach Sean Miller said he needed to adjust to college both on the court and off the court.
  • The team struggles with their big men, no real developed talent or strength down low. They lose a couple in a row to Mississippi State and San Diego State.
  • Dec. 4- Heralded recruit, Sidiki Johnson leaves the school and decides to transfer.
  • Dec. 6- Turner is suspended for their Florida game on Dec. 7 for supposedly missing a team meeting.

Arizona State

  • Not much drama at this program, though they do need to work on their turnover problem- averaging 18 a game.
  • Move on.


  • Cal looked to be one of the teams immune to the Pac 12 turmoil bug, until…
  • Dec. 2- Richard Soloman was suspended for “conduct contrary to department values.”
  • Dec. 4- Cal lost to SDSU a game they probably would have won if they had Solomon.


  • The Buffaloes have been fortunate to avoid the turmoil.


  • Nov. 11/17- Top recruit, Jabari Brown, struggles and commits almost as many turnovers as points he scored.
  • Nov. 20- Brown leaves the program, no explanation.
  • Nov. 25- Another freshman, Bruce Barron leaves the program, also no explanation.

Oregon State

  • The Beavers look like they may be the real deal behind Jared Cunningham.
  • No drama here- besides that they may be one of the biggest threats in the Pac-12.


  • Similar to the Beavers, the Cardinal had a coach on the hot seat at one time but now is relishing in their 8-1 start and taking advantage of the rest of the drama in the Pac-12.


  • This drama may have started before the season when they were forced to move out of their normal home while it was under renovation.
  • Nov. 11- Lost to Loyola Marymount
  • Nov. 15- Reeves Nelson was suspended indefinitely.
  • Nov. 15- Lost to Midd Tennessee State
  • Nov. 20- Nelson misses the team bus and then the plane to Hawaii but Coach Ben Howland does little to disciple him.
  • Josh Smith is out of shape and in terrible condition to play basketball. While listed as one of their stars, he is only playing about 16 minutes a game due to conditioning.
  • Dec. 6- Nelson was rumored to be kicked off the team but later was announced that he was suspended indefinitely, again. Coach Howland once again shows no backbone.


  • Plagued with injuries.
  • Sept. 13- Jio Fontan undergoes ACL surgery and is out for the season.
  • Oct. 12- DeWayne Dedmon breaks his hand and was said to be out 6-8 weeks.


  • Record is 1-7 on the year and have lost 6 straight.
  • Nov. 9- 7’3 center David Foster schedules foot surgery. He could be done for the season.
  • Dec. 5- Utah suspends star point guard and leading scorer Josh Watkins.


  • Freshman woes, lack of leadership, lack of fundamentals.
  • Not much drama on the team, just a young team learning to play together.

Washington State

  • No noticeable drama here.

The Pac 12 turmoil has made it so the top teams are staring at the bottom and the bottom teams are shooting for the top. It has made it for a wild ride for those that follow Pac 12 basketball and drama at UCLA and Arizona don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Stay tuned.