It's been often said that recruiting is an inexact science. Players who are highly ranked sometimes flop, while others who barely scratch the Top 300 become stars. Look at Bryce Cotton. Unrecruited out of high school, Cotton had no Division I or Division II offers, and Providence took a flier on him as summer was ending. Four years later, he's an All-American and First Team All-Big East player who led the league in both scoring and assists during his career.
So, if ranking players is tough, ranking classes can be even more difficult. Experience teaches us that it is rare when a class graduates in the same form as when it was recruited. Players transfer, flunk out or find trouble. Fans with stars in their eyes, project each class as though every player will be a star, but the reality is, more players find the pine than move into starring roles.
One thing remains clear, though. Consistently wading in the waters of the Top 100 will usually result in a greater rate of success. Yes, there are many examples of Top 100 players not panning out, but you always take your chances with talent.
By that measure, the Big East recruited extremely well in its first year as a reconstituted league. Multiple Top 100 and 150 players dot the rosters of Big East teams, and if the league underachieved on the court last season, the talent infusion coming its way is a harbinger of better times ahead.
That said, projecting is fun in college basketball and below are ScoutFriars.com Big East recruiting rankings. The rankings take into consideration not only talent, but also what level of immediate contributions are likely to be made in the upcoming season from the classes. In parenthesis after each player's name are rankings from, first, Scout, second, Rivals and third, ESPN.
1. Georgetown Hoyas
Georgetown leads the way with a class that is challenging for a spot in the national Top Ten. With four Top 100 signees, the Hoyas should see an immediate spike in talent. Playing time will be an interesting problem for John Thompson III, as three of the five recruits are natural power forwards. Copeland is the highest rated, but Providence was able to nab Ben Bentil when White committed to Georgetown.
PF Isaac Copeland (38, 23, 16), PF Paul White (60, 50, 34), SG L.J. Peak (62, 68, 31), PG Tre Campbell (88, 126, NR), PF Trey Mourning (NR, NR, NR)
2. Xavier Musketeers
Xavier's late grab of Austin pushed them past Seton Hall in my ratings. Four four-star players highlight this class, and Bluiett, Sumner and Macura are all dead-eye shooters. Austin helps to mitigate the late loss of Semaj Christon. All in all, Chris Mack's recruiting should keep the Musketeers in the upper echelon of the Big East.
SF Trevon Bluiett (31, 34, 46), SG Edmond Sumner (96, NR, 78), SG J.P. Macura (98, 105, NR), PF Makinde London (NR, 83, NR), C Sean O'Mara (NR, 138, NR), PG Larry Austin (NR, 117, NR)
3. Seton Hall Pirates
This is the recruiting class that Seton Hall has been waiting for. Whitehead may be the best scorer entering the Big East and Delgado is a high-motor, high volume rebounder. Carrington is undervalued. The Pirates and Kevin Willard desperately needed this boost and Whitehead should make an immediate impact and contend for Big East Rookie of the Year.
SG Isaiah Whitehead (14, 16, 14), PF Angel Delgado (48, 53, 48), SG Khadeen Carrington (NR, 127, NR), PF Desi Rodriguez (NR, NR, NR), SF Ismael Sanogo (NR, NR, NR), PF Michael Nzei (NR, NR, NR)
4. Providence College Friars
What does it say about the overall recruiting of the Big East when Providence grabs three Top 100 recruits and yet ranks only fourth as a team in the league recruiting lists? It says that the Big East did a bang up job, as PC's class is rated as high as 19th nationally. Chukwu is an immediate defensive game-changer, while Lindsey can be a glue guy and provide help from the perimeter. Bentil is a chiseled power forward who will look nice next to Chukwu and late pickup Cartwright will provide point guard depth. After missing out on Devonte Graham and Austin, Ed Cooley has said he may take one more recruit, but "it will have to be a point guard."
C Paschal Chukwu (64, 61, 61), SF Jalen Lindsey (84, 69, 84), PF Ben Bentil (86, 89, NR), PG Kyron Cartwright (NR, NR, NR)
5. Villanova Wildcats
After dominating the regular season during the first year of the "new" Big East, Jay Wright is in a position of not losing much and just reloading. Booth will provide excellent depth at either guard position while Bridges comes in with a rep for defense.
SG Phil Booth (70, 85, 92), SF Mikal Bridges (92, 95, 82)
6. Creighton Bluejays
With a tremendous senior class departing, Greg McDermott needed a big splash from his recruiting class. He got help, but not the tidal wave he was looking for. Harrell should help replace some of the shooting that is leaving and Gilmore should beef up the frontcourt, but the Bluejays may struggle in their first year without Doug McDermott and friends.
SF Ronnie Harrell (73, 84, 71), PF Leon Gilmore (NR, 134, NR)
7. DePaul Blue Demons
Oliver Purnell is running out of time. He needs to win now and DePaul was in the running for big name recruits like Cliff Alexander, but ultimately, Purnell was forced to dip into the junior college ranks. Stimage, Wood and Simpson all bring talent and have the advantage of being older and more experienced, a necessity for more immediate contributions.
SF Rashaun Stimage (JC), SG Darrick Wood (JC), PG Aaron Simpson (JC), PF Ray Doby (NR, NR, NR)
8. Butler Bulldogs
Another school in immediate need of talent infusion after a disappointing first year in the Big East, Brandon Miller added solid, if unspectacular, depth to his squad with this class. Martin is the most highly regarded and is highly versatile. Meanwhile, Wideman and Davis should strengthen Butler's frontcourt and enable the Bulldogs to compete up front. Miller likely needs another recruiting cycle to take advantage of the Big East membership.
SF Kelan Martin (NR, 139, NR), PF Tyler Wideman (NR, NR, NR), SF Jackson Davis (NR, NR, NR)
9. St. John's Red Storm
Steve Lavin has built a reputation as an extremely effective recruiter, but his teams have often sacrificed chemistry for talent. After a big splash with his 2013 class, this recruiting class has been much more low-key. DeLaRosa has the potential to be an effective contributor in the middle, while Thomas is a junior college signee, but this class was filled with a number of swings and misses.
C Adonis DeLaRosa (NR, NR, NR), SF Keith Thomas (JC)
10. Marquette Golden Eagles
Poor, poor Marquette. A decent recruiting class exploded when Buzz Williams cut bait and left. Steve Wojciechowski managed to hang onto Cohen, but three other recruits opted to leave. Wojciechowski will spend the spring and summer looking at all avenues to add more talent.
SF Sandy Cohen (87, 97, 83)