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6 PAC-10

If the donnybrook atop the Pac-10 among UCLA (page 68), Cal
(page 76) and Stanford (page 82) looks juicy, get a load of the
free-for-all in the rest of the league. With a mix of cagey
veterans, frisky youngsters and a couple of resurgent programs,
the conference race from top to bottom will be keenly
competitive. Call it the Packed-10.

Washington State, with all five starters back from an 18-12
team, is a dark horse for the league title. Last year the
Cougars played a run-and-stun style, leading the NCAA in team
field goal percentage (.517) and setting 26 school records
(including an 83.5 scoring average) on their way to the NIT's
round of eight. But this revved-up bunch stalled at times in
close games and never came together defensively. "Last year we
learned what we have to do to become an elite team," says junior
swingman Isaac Fontaine. "This year we're going to do all those

Fontaine, the Pac-10's top returning scorer (18.5 ppg), is a
smooth operator with the ball in his hands, whether gliding to
the basket or knocking down pull-up jumpers. Senior forward Mark
Hendrickson (16.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is a 6'9", 245-pound bruiser who
is also agile enough to play on the wing, from which he is a
career 41% three-point shooter. Hendrickson is being touted by
Washington State as "the nation's most versatile player."
Perhaps this includes his talents on the baseball diamond, where
his heater has been clocked at 92 mph. Junior point guard
Donminic Ellison (11.3 ppg, 6.9 apg) and mad bomber Shamon
Antrum (13.7 ppg, 59 three-pointers) may emerge as the
conference's best backcourt.

For Arizona the off-season was deja vu. The Wildcats laid an egg
in the first round of the NCAA tournament last March for the
third time in four years, and they have spent the summer trying
to live it down. "We've still got a little pie on our face,"
says Reggie Geary, one of Arizona's five seniors. "Erasing that
memory is gonna be a big part of our season."

Geary will be a key to the Cats' success as he takes over the
point guard slot vacated by Damon Stoudamire, who now plays for
the NBA's Toronto Raptors. Luckily for Arizona, Geary figures to
distribute the ball more than Stoudamire ever did. The team has
some inside power with beefy senior center Joseph Blair (12.0
ppg, 7.0 rpg) and senior forward Ben Davis. Sophomore swingman
Miles Simon (8.9 ppg, 45% on treys), a willowy deep threat who
can also slash to the basket, will prove to be one of the
conference's best players.

With its top six scorers and six of its top seven rebounders
returning, Washington, 9-18 last year, figures to be the most
upwardly mobile team in the Pac-10. Senior guard Bryant Boston
(14.7 ppg) is a strong finisher in the lane and a threat from
downtown, and sophomore forward Mark Sanford's myriad talents
(14.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are dwarfed only by his many nicknames. Big
Dog in high school became Doggy Dogg upon arrival in Seattle,
and after showing considerable spring on alley-oops last year,
Sanford is now known as Froggy Frog.

All the intangibles are there for Washington, including good
genes. Boston's uncle Ralph won three Olympic medals in the long
jump, and hotshot freshman guard Donald Watts is the son of
former NBA standout Slick Watts. And then there's the 7-foot
German freshman Patrick Femerling, the world's tallest good-luck
charm. The last time the Huskies reached the NCAA tournament,
in 1986, they had another 7-foot German in the pivot, Christian

Arizona State went 24-9 and had a terrific run last year to
reach the Sweet 16, but the Sun Devils lost their big man, Mario
Bennett; their little big man, point guard Marcell Capers; and
something in between in dangerous forward Isaac Burton. This
year the Sun Devils will put the pedal to the metal on their
transition game and unleash explosive 6'5" senior swingman Ron
Riley (16.0 ppg), who came on strong last year. "It's going to
be frantic out there because to win ball games we're going to
have to outrun people," Riley says.

USC, 7-21 last season, will be better than it was last year. Of
course, that's not saying much, considering the Trojans finished
the season with a 14-game free fall. The coaching situation has
finally been resolved with Charlie Parker's shedding of the
"interim" tag he wore last season after George Raveling stepped
down. And there is talent here, particularly balletic junior
swingman Stais Boseman (12.0 ppg) and junior forward Jaha Wilson
(14.1 ppg). Jaha means "king of warriors" in Swahili, and Wilson
was just that last season, when--despite being only 6'5", 210--he
led the Pac-10 in rebounding, with a 10.1 average per game.

Last year Oregon went 19-9 and made it to the NCAA tournament
for the first time in 34 years. This year it's hoping not to
slip to the back of the Pac again. Star guard Orlando Williams
is gone, and the Ducks don't have a senior on their roster. But
keep an eye on junior point guard Kenya Wilkins (12.1 ppg, 6.1
apg), a quicksilver creator who has held his own the last two
years in a conference chock-full of stellar point guards. The
Ducks may be short on talent, but last year's success has them
quacking a new tune. "In the past, Oregon teams expected to
lose," Wilkins says. "This team plans on doing a whole lot of

Oregon State may be bad, but at least the Beavers are willing to
admit it. "We're being pretty realistic," says senior guard J.D.
Vetter. "We just want to be competitive, shoot for .500 and,
with some serious luck, reach the NIT." Gone are seven
letterman from last year; the Beavers' top returning scorer,
undersized 6'7" center Vladimir Heredia, averaged a paltry 6.9
points per game. First-year coach Eddie Payne is going to take
some lumps, but there is at least one consolation: At season's
tip-off the Beavers will be tied with the defending national
champions in the conference standings.

--Alan Shipnuck

COLOR PHOTO: OTTO GREULE/ALLSPORT USA Hendrickson is the Cougars' flexible flier. [Mark Hendrickson]

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER (TOP); Blair and Arizona hope to erase last spring's flop with a flourish at the finish. [Overhead view of Joseph Blair at basket]

1 UCLA (6)
2 California (8)
3 Stanford (11)
4 Washington State
5 Arizona
6 Washington
7 Arizona State
9 Oregon
10 Oregon State