We are very close to the start of another college basketball season, and tickets to the 2019 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas from March 13-16. The Pacific-12 Conference is the Conference of Champions, and the annual championship tourney often provides a grand stage for some of the best college players in the country.
From 1987-1990 and again from 2002 to the present, the Pac-12 Tournament has thrilled fans to no end. Whether it is exciting upsets or dominant performances by favorites, the league routinely puts on a great show. The Arizona Wildcats have won the tournament seven times—including three of the last four (2015, 2017, 2018). The Oregon Ducks have won four times, and the Washington Huskies and the UCLA Bruins each have three titles each.
Here is our list of the Top 7 all-time best players in the history of the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. Enjoy!
7. Arizona forward Luke Walton (2002-2003)
He is now the head coach of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, but Walton had a good college career with the Wildcats. He was the MVP of the Pac-12 Tournament in 2002 as Arizona won the event. That year, Walton averaged 15.7 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game, and 1.6 steals per game. He was the 32nd overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, and Walton won two NBA titles with the Lakers as well (2009, 2010).
6. Arizona forward Deandre Ayton (2018)
Despite just playing one year of college basketball before being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, Ayton makes this list because he was dominant last year. He was Conference Player of the Year and the 2018 Tournament MVP, while averaging 20.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg, and 1.9 blocks per game throughout the season. He shot 61.2 percent from the floor as well.
5. UCLA guard Darren Collison (2006-2009)
He played for the Pac-12 Tournament champs in 2006 and 2008, winning tourney MVP honors in 2008. Overall for his career with the Bruins, Collison posted marks of 11.5 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 1.6 spg. He started 102 of his final 103 games at UCLA, as the Bruins went to the Final Four during his career three times (2006-2008). Twice, Collison was named to the conference's first-time lineup (2007, 2009).
4. Arizona forward Sean Elliott (1987-1989)
This pick is old school, as Elliott was the first player in conference history to win the Tournament MVP Award in back-to-back seasons, and he did it in 1988 and 1989. In four seasons with the Wildcats, he averaged 19.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 3.4 apg, and Elliott was the consensus National Player of the Year in 1989. He was the third overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft, and he went on to win an NBA title with San Antonio Spurs a decade later.
3. Washington guard Isaiah Thomas (2009-2011)
Joining Elliott as the only players to win consecutive tourney MVPs, Thomas led the Huskies to two straight tourney titles in 2010 and 2011 before going pro and earning fame and notoriety in the NBA. He averaged 16.4 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.5 rpg, and 1.2 spg in three years with Washington. In his final two seasons, he made the conference first time, and Thomas also posted 6.1 apg as a junior.
2. USC guard DeMar DeRozan (2009)
His one year of college basketball was a great one, and he's turned into an outstanding professional player, making four NBA All-Star teams—including the last three in a row. DeRozan went out with a bang for the Trojans, leading them to the Pac-12 tourney title in 2009 and winning MVP honors in the process. He averaged 13.9 ppg and 5.7 rpg in his one college season, while scoring 18 ppg in two NCAA Tournament games as well.
1. UCLA guard Reggie Miller (1987)
Sometimes old school is the best school, and Miller exemplifies this. A member of the NBA Hall of Fame now, he averaged 17.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 2.0 apg while with the Bruins for four years, and he was the first-ever MVP of the conference tournament. Over his final two seasons in college, Miller averaged almost 24 ppg and 5.4 rpg while shooting 55 percent from the floor—including three-point attempts.