Ranking the best basketball jobs by conference: Pac-12
What is the best job in the Pac-12? Amazingly, the conference has won just two national titles since John Wooden retired 45 years ago. So who can break through?
Here is a ranking of how attractive job each job is should it come open.
Arizona feels like the best job in 2020 to give a coach a chance at winning national championships in this league. It’s a school that can attract players from all over the country, can be a major player for California talent and the increase in prep schools in Arizona can only help. The Wildcats have the facilities and fan support to put it all together for a big-time program.
The Nike influence is a real deal, and the brand of Oregon now travels all over the country. The Ducks have a huge budget that allows the coaching staff to recruit all over the country, and the facilities are as good as anywhere. You can win a national championship at Oregon.
The older generation might have this job ranked higher, but this isn’t the same job it was when John Wooden was racking up national titles. There is a great recruiting base, a great campus and it’s a huge basketball brand. It’s just not as easy to get it rolling there as it once was and the expectations are sky-high.
There are tons of players that come out of the area, and the Huskies can get them all. It’s also a place that can attract players all over the Pac-12 footprint. The perception of the weather in Seattle makes it a little tougher to get recruits to buy in, and it’s so far away from most areas with players.
There are so many players within striking distance of the campus. The Trojans have great facilities and financial support. There just isn’t a ton of fan support because it’s a crowded sports market and there isn’t a history of sustained success.
Stanford recruits from a very limited pool of recruits, but within that pool they tend to do very well all over the country. The Cardinal showed in the 2020 class they can also keep a five-star prospect like Ziaire Williams home. It’s just tough to knock it out of the park in Palo Alto with the limited recruiting base.
7. Arizona State
The Sun Devils have ramped up the financial support in recent years and it’s in a great location. The campus, by all accounts, is among the best in the league. As mentioned with Arizona, the influx of players to the area via prep schools is an added bonus. It’s just not a place - as with USC - that has ever really experienced a sustained a period of success.
It’s a little bit of a unique job in the Pac-12 because the fan support is top-notch and it creates a real home-court advantage. The administration supports the program and the Utes' facilities are really good. There just isn’t really a natural recruiting base and it’s hard to pull top recruits out of other areas.
The location is one of the best in the league and the reputation for players who get a degree from the school is really attractive. But for that reason it can also be tough to recruit players. That, plus the lack of winning tradition and financial support, makes it one of the tougher jobs in the league.
Again, another school in the Pac-12 with an awesome campus. There just aren’t a lot of players in the state to recruit and it’s hard to go and get them from out of the region because there isn’t a strong history of winning in Boulder.
11. Oregon State
The Beavers do get some of the better fan support in the Pac-12 and they have a history of winning. But that history is just so long ago it doesn’t register with recruits coming through now. Oregon State takes a back seat to Oregon in its own state and it has an uphill battle recruiting top talent out of California. Wayne Tinkle and his staff have made the best of one of the tougher jobs in the league.
12. Washington State
Tony Bennett and Kelvin Sampson won in Pullman, but they are the exception that proves the rule. It’s a hard place to win. It’s not in a great location. Like Oregon State with Oregon, Washington State can’t compete with Washington and Gonzaga in its own state and it can’t really get much traction in California with top recruits. If Kyle Smith can get the job done there, it speaks more to the type of coach he is than this being a good job.