Giving Thanks for the Pac-12's Finest So Far

By Evan Barnes
Ed Szczepanski – US PRESSWIRE

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, Pac-12 fans already have much to celebrate so far. After a down two seasons, most of the conference is off to a good start in 2012-13 – minus Washington losing to Albany. Three teams are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and players are already making an impact worth noting.

In the spirit of the holiday, here’s a list of reasons Pac-12 fans can give thanks after the first two weeks of the season.

Give thanks for the Cal backcourt of Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. The Los Angeles born duo

have combined to average 47.4 points per game, with Crabbe currently leading the nation at 26.7 ppg. Right now, they’re in the clubhouse for the most dynamic guards in the conference.

Give thanks for Jordan Adams (UCLA), Jahii Carson (Arizona State) and Brandon Ashley (Arizona) as the Pac-12 freshmen making the most impact so far. Adams is third in the conference in scoring as a reserve (19.6 ppg) with Carson right behind him at 18.7 ppg. Carson’s also 2nd in assists per game (5.3) while Ashley hinted at his potential with 20 points and 10 rebounds against Long Beach State.

Give thanks for Colorado living up to their expectations as a surprise in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes are 4-0 and upset Baylor and Murray State on their way to winning the Charleston Classic Tournament this month. I’d keep my eye on Askia Booker, who won the tournament MVP, as a player to contend for All Pac-12 honors.

Give thanks for USC being an improved squad. At 3-2, they might not be as impressive as Colorado has been but they look like a team with sleeper potential once they develop more chemistry. They may have laid an egg against Illinois, but their tough win against Texas suggests they could be tougher down the road.

Give thanks for Arizona State big man Jordan Bachynski and his nation-leading 7.3 blocks per game. While we’re at it, how about some thanks for fellow Sun Devils Carrick Felix and Evan Gordon leading the Pac-12 in steals (3.3 and 3.0, respectively). I love a team that’s tough defensively and I’m happy that the Sun Devils are trying to rebuild with defense.

Finally, give thanks the NCAA did the right thing and declared Shabazz Muhammad eligible for UCLA after three games. 2 games in, it’s clear Muhammad, a possible 2013 NBA lottery pick, will make the Bruins and the Pac-12 that much more exciting to watch.

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