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May 31, 2007

Power Rankings: Bigger out West

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Head Coach

If you feel the country listing to the left, that's not a political shift.

It's a shift in the power of college basketball to the West.

Take a look at the initial Rivals.com power rankings for the 2007-08 season. Decimated by early departures for the NBA, we decided to do an early update and found 13 of the 50 players now listed are in the Pac-10. No other conference has more than seven.

Throw in three centers from the Mountain West Conference and the fact 11 of the Pac-10 guys are front-court players, and not only is it a shift in power but a shift at the power positions.

Nearly every team in the Pac-10 has somebody it can lean on at forward or center. UCLA has Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Stanford boasts the Lopez twins and Lawrence Hill. USC has Taj Gibson. Washington trots out bruiser Jon Brockman. And the list goes on.

A few of the players in our power rankings are coming off injuries and/or surgeries and will have something to prove to hold onto their spots. Brandon Rush inherits the top spot at small forward, but he recently suffered a torn ACL. The power rankings and Jayhawks fans everywhere will be watching his rehab closely.

Alabama point guard Ronald Steele, sixth in our power rankings, was plagued by injuries all of last season. He had surgery on both knees in April and is expected to be 100 percent next season.

UCLA's Shipp, No. 4 among small forwards, had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip in April. His rehab was expected to take 2-3 months, so he should be full speed come October when practice begins.

We decided not to include any incoming freshmen in our first look at the power rankings. We'll wait until the season is closer to see how they're adjusting to campus life before adding them.

Also, if a player has declared for the NBA Draft even if they haven't hired an agent we did not consider them for this edition of the power rankings.

Because of these factors, we'll update the power rankings a few more times before the season begins.

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Head Coach

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.


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