Conference Breakdown: Big East

It isn't a huge group in terms of overall numbers coming in to the Big East, but there is some major star power. Leading the way in that category is Marquette.

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Best Class

There is absolutely no doubt that Marquette is bringing in the top class in the conference. Last year the Golden Eagles had a solid class at signing day only to see a lot of it disappear following the departure of Buzz Williams, and with those extra scholarships Steve Wojciechowski and his coaching staff absolutely went to work.
SEC Rankings
1.  Marquette
2.  Villanova
3.  Georgetown
4.  Creighton
5.  Providence
6.   Butler
7.  Xavier
8.  DePaul
9.  Seton Hall
10.  St. John’s

The first thing they did was the most important, they took Minnesota transfer Wally Ellenson on a transfer. That transfer led to Marquette scoring his younger brother, and top 10 prospect, Henry Ellenson. The younger Ellenson has a chance to be a long time pro, and should make a huge impact at Marquette immediately.

Along with Ellenson, Marquette grabbed three other four-star commitments. In-state products Matt Heldt and Nick Noskowiak as well as Florida native Haanif Cheatham all decided to pick the Golden Eagles giving them one of the best classes in the country.

While the players themselves are impressive in terms of talent and rating, also what this does is it gives Marquette a threat at center with Heldt, power forward with Ellenson, on the wing with Cheatham, and at point guard with Noskowiak.

You simply don’t see many classes that fit together this well, and this is one of those groups that can propel Wojciechowski and his program to deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.

Other Winners

This was an odd year for the conference as a lot of folks were working with limited scholarships. The Big East from a quality and quantity perspective brought in a lot in 2014, so 2015 was obviously not going to be as good as a whole, but still a few other schools did an excellent job besides Marquette.

Most notable in that is Villanova. Jay Wright is someone who doesn’t like to come close to the 13 scholarship limit, and because of that his classes tend to stay on the smaller side in terms of numbers, but always they have quality. This year the big prize for Wright is Jalen Brunson.

The five-star point guard was a huge coup for Wright and his staff, and gives them someone to build around in the backcourt for four years. Also next to Brunson is combo guard Donte Divincenzo who is an athletic and tough player who is capable of scoring from all three levels on the floor. Beyond those two the Wildcats will get help from skilled power forward Tim Delaney who was an early commitment for Nova.

Also Georgetown has a solid two-man class in the fold. The Hoyas loaded on skill on the interior with Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson. Govan is one of the better back to the basket scorers in the class, and Derrickson is someone who can really stretch the defense with his ability to shoot the basketball. Both are also big bodies with length who can be effective in Georgetown’s defensive system.

Finally you have to look to Creighton who secured the commitment of one of the best sleepers in the class in Justin Patton. The local product picked the Bluejays before blowing up at the end of the summer, and he has a chance to be one of the best post players in the class before it is all said and done with his ability to run the floor and tremendous length.

Who Will Help The Most As A Freshman?

This is really a two man race between Ellenson and Brunson. Both are elite at their position, both should come in and should get immediate playing time, and both are smart and well-schooled players who should transition very easily to the college game.
Top Big East Prospects
Top Prospect:Henry Ellenson, Marquette
Best Scorer:Nick Noskowiak, Marquette
Best Passer:Jalen Brunson, Villanova
Best Shot Blocker:Justin Patton, Creighton
Best Post Player: Jessie Govan, Georgetown
Most Versatile: Haanif Cheatham, Marquette
Best Rebounder: Alex Owens, Providence
Best Shooter:Sean McDermott, Butler

With that said, I’m going with Ellenson. He is someone who can slide in at the power forward spot next to Luke Fischer and give the Golden Eagles one of the best frontcourts in the entire country. While Fischer will occupy defenders down low, Ellenson will be free to make plays on the perimeter and at the same time use his size advantage that he is likely to have over most power forwards.

Add in that he knows how to play and will have a lot of comfort with the roster, and I see Ellenson having a huge impact from day one in the Big East.

How They Stacked Up

This hasn’t been quite the recruiting year that it was last year for the Big East, but it was still solid. They rank No. 5 in terms of conferences with talent coming in. Adding arguably the best point guard in Brunson and best power forward in Ellenson is a major coup for the conference.

A lot of the top talent coming into the league is at the power forward and center spots, meaning the future is bright in terms of production on the interior, and now they will look to continue to add a lot of solid guard play.

Things could get a major boost if St. John’s is able to close on Isaiah Briscoe, Brandon Sampson, and Cheick Diallo. Briscoe will decide on Thursday, Sampson could decide at any point, and Diallo is waiting until the spring, but at worst the Red Storm are considered in the top two or three with all of them, and if St. John’s finishes with a homerun the league will be looking very strong in terms of incoming star caliber players.

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