Big East Basketball Chat with Desmond Conner

On Monday November 7th, the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner visited with the fans at WeAreDePaul.com to talk some Big East college hoops.

Below is the transcript from that chat…

11/7/05 21:33:49 desmond Logs in

11/7/05 21:33:55 BlueDemonExpress: There's the man.

11/7/05 21:34:00 BlueDemonExpress: Welcome, Desmond.

11/7/05 21:34:56 desmond: glad to be here

11/7/05 21:36:07 BlueDemonExpress: Okay, first question most important to our fan base. Jerry Wainwright - how do you think he'll stack up in the BIG EAST in recruiting and coaching, given all the big name coaches in the league?

11/7/05 21:37:54 desmond: Good question. I think the first season is going to give Jerry and the gang a good understanding of where the program needs to be to compete in this conference. I also think that everybody is going to have to be better. No nights off.

11/7/05 21:38:19 BlueDemonExpress: How do you feel Cincinnati's transition into the BIG EAST will go? Some of us have a hunch that the style they played in C-USA won't fly in the BIG EAST.

11/7/05 21:39:18 desmond: Well, the BE is certainly a finesse league. Cincy is what Cincy is and I doubt the program will change. That said, I think the refs my change their style for them.

11/7/05 21:39:58 BlueDemonExpress: Change their style? How so?

11/7/05 21:41:28 desmond: Cincy plays an aggressive style. Really aggressive. When they get hit with fouls that they would perceive as ticky-tack and that happens a few times, they'll have to adjust

11/7/05 21:41:50 BlueDemonExpress: At least one national prognosticator (won't name names, but his last name rhymes with "oil") projected only six teams in the NCAAs for the BIG EAST this year. Does that seem right to you?

11/7/05 21:43:47 desmond: Oil, huh? OK. Popular guy round these parts. They'll probably be more if not, at least quite a few will be on the bubble heading into the final two weeks of the season. But I think more than 6. The committee realizes this is the best and biggest league

11/7/05 21:44:49 BlueDemonExpress: Yea, he's pretty popular around here, too. Do you think the unbalanced schedule in the BIG EAST could have enough effect on a given bubble team to either move them in or out of the NCAAs?

11/7/05 21:47:06 desmond: No, I don't think that's going to be a problem. 11/7/05 21:47:19 BlueDemonExpress: Three teams that many seem to view as similar are DePaul, Notre Dame and Marquette. Could you compare their strengths and weaknesses, in your opinion?

11/7/05 21:49:45 desmond: I don't know how it's shaking out but I'd like to see Mejia at the two guard. There are so many talented guys there in this league and he's one. Don't know how strong you guys are up front I know Brumfield is back. Backcourt issues at ND and Marquette needs two more Dwayne Wades.

11/7/05 21:50:05 BlueDemonExpress: West Virginia: Lucky or good last year? And what about for this year?

11/7/05 21:50:58 desmond: No, they were good, excellent on the perimeter and gutty. Not a secret anymore. Tougher this year. Nice system though. 11/7/05 21:51:52 BlueDemonExpress: Player and team: biggest pleasant surprise? Biggest disappointment?

11/7/05 21:52:22 desmond: You mean last year?

11/7/05 21:52:35 BlueDemonExpress: No, for this upcoming year - your predictions.

11/7/05 21:54:01 desmond: Ooh,um, it's hard to pick a player now but I think Seton Hall won't get it together and neither will St. John's.

11/7/05 21:54:33 desmond: You're talking about two programs that were good in the conference slowly falling off.

11/7/05 21:54:34 BlueDemonExpress: Will Louis Orr or Gary Waters coach at their current respective schools in 2006-2007?

11/7/05 21:55:11 desmond: I say no. Neither are going to win. Don't have the players to compete in this league.

11/7/05 21:55:35 desmond: Bottom line business and they've struggled long enough.

11/7/05 21:55:46 BlueDemonExpress: Any other coaches in immediate trouble?

11/7/05 21:56:26 desmond: I'd keep an eye on Tim Welsh at Providence.

11/7/05 21:56:49 desmond: That could be interesting.

11/7/05 21:57:04 BlueDemonExpress: How big is the loss of Sumpter to 'Nova? Are they still BIG EAST contenders without him?

11/7/05 21:58:23 desmond: Great question. Poor guy. He was son of a gun to cover for anybody nice inside outside game. But Nardi, Foye and Ray are some group on the perimeter. But no, I think they need Curtis to follow through on winning the conference title.

11/7/05 21:58:55 BlueDemonExpress: What are your quick-hit thoughts on Syracuse?

11/7/05 21:59:30 desmond: Got some good young big players to play the post but losing Warrick, Pace and Forth was a lot.

11/7/05 22:01:10 BlueDemonExpress: Awesome, thanks. This is the "open mike" part. Anyone can ask Desmond a question now.

11/7/05 22:01:42 DP: What are your thoughts on the top 10 BE frosh?

11/7/05 22:03:59 desmond: Have not really studied them too much because the sophs, juniors and seniors are good but obviously UConn has a nice group. I'm hearing some good things about Chandler, Currie and Woods, too.

11/7/05 22:05:32 desmond: I talked to Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh about his Biggs, a Mickey D's kid.

11/7/05 22:05:58 billybluedemon: Is coaches / recruits not honoring verbal commitments part of a growing trend?

11/7/05 22:08:27 desmond: Kids are committing so early nowadays and I think that creates a big problem because while they make the commitment they're still open to being recruited. Some coaches honor the verbal. Some don't and then kids change their minds anyway.

11/7/05 22:08:13 therozman: Speaking of recruiting....will DePaul be the only school to benefit from Chicago recruits in the Big East, or will all of the schools recruit Chicago more because of the conferences presence?

11/7/05 22:09:37 desmond: Great question therozman. I don't see how the other schools can't come into chicago now. High school hotbed.that's a pressure Wainright is going to face too, keeping the best kids at home.

11/7/05 22:11:16 BlueDemonExpress: Desmond, what's with the Big East's television contract? Our out of town fans get to see fewer games now than they did last year, but we're in a bigger and better conference.

11/7/05 22:12:17 DP: PC doesn't have one game on national TV this season.

11/7/05 22:13:31 desmond: I think that will change. It has to or it kind of defeats the purpose, partly, of having Depaul join. I'm a DirectTV with the hoops package. I would suggest everybody jump on that if you have the ability. There are some incredible games on this season.

11/7/05 22:14:18 desmond: That's weird about PC.

11/7/05 22:14:22 DP: Will Pitt have to adjust its game to succeed or continue to ride the goon squad mentality and continue to foul out in the NCAAs?

11/7/05 22:15:18 desmond: Well, I think they've got some players that can score now. they're young but they can score the basketball. That's how they neutralized games before because they really couldn't.

11/7/05 22:16:21 BlueDemonExpress: Do you feel like this conference is configured for the long-haul, or is there going to be a split at some point in the near or far future?

11/7/05 22:17:20 desmond: I think 16 teams is too much. I think there will break off after this 5-year commitment is over. There will be a lot of complaining about getting into the tournament.

11/7/05 22:17:40 therozman: Desmond, I am concerned that financially DePaul cannot compete with the BCS football schools....do you foresee the basketball only conference members struggling as time marches on?

11/7/05 22:18:45 desmond: Yes I do. We all know that football will be the goose that lays the golden egg.

11/7/05 22:18:50 billybluedemon: Non-Big East question - Will Dave Leitao experience success at UVA?

11/7/05 22:20:49 desmond: You know, I talked to Dave Saturday morning and I asked him how is team was doing and he was just kind of like, ugh. But you guys know Dave's expectations are so high for any and everybody that plays for him. It'll be a challenge but this guy can coach.

11/7/05 22:23:03 BlueDemonExpress: Do you think the Big East Tourney would ever consider expanding to 16 teams?

11/7/05 22:23:51 desmond: No sir. Don't know how you would schedule it, unless it began on Monday or Tuesday as opposed to Wednesday.

11/7/05 22:24:04 therozman: Desmond, what are your thoughts about the Big East having an unbalanced schedule?

11/7/05 22:24:25 therozman: I think it is ridiculous that we are in a conference where we don't play 2 teams each year

11/7/05 22:25:25 desmond: You'll have a Big East champ obviously, but you'll always be able to argue it because everybody can't play everybody twice.

11/7/05 22:25:49 therozman: We don't even play everyone once though!

11/7/05 22:26:42 desmond: I know....it won't always be like that but that's in line with what I just mentioned. Unless everybody plays everybody twice…

11/7/05 22:25:42 DP: What do think about Georgetown's chances and JT III's recruiting?

11/7/05 22:28:30 desmond: Georgetown's chances to what? Win the conference title? No. Jeff Green will be good and I want to see how the big guy, Hibbert comes along but they'll struggle to be middle of the pack and that will hurt recruiting.

11/7/05 22:30:14 billybluedemon: Thanks Desmond.

11/7/05 22:30:17 BlueDemonExpress: Desmond, thank you very much for your time tonight.

11/7/05 22:30:22 desmond: Guys I guess that's it. This was fun. Let's do this when the season gets into swing. It'll be fun. Thank you.

11/7/05 22:30:55 desmond Logs Out

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