Assessing Big East recruiting

Providence is recruiting hard for the spring, but other Big East schools are also out there and their fall hauls are impressive. Here's a look at how the league has recruited and what PC fans can expect to see, regarding new talent, next season.

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While college basketball games are played from November through March, recruiting is a year-round game that all coaches participate in. Fans focus on the season at hand, but coaches are always thinking about next season and several seasons ahead. Smart fans look ahead too, because next year is here before you know it.

 

For Providence, as the current season has played out, certain needs have become obvious. With Kris Dunn set to depart, and the current freshmen class performing at a level consistent with its preseason ranking, the need for a big talent infusion is readily apparent. There is no depth at point guard, shooting has been a disappointment and there is a severe shortage of post presence. All of these needs must be addressed prior to next year’s tip-off to keep the NCAA train rolling.

 

By the very nature of college sports, rosters are moving pieces. Players come and go and how coaches manage their rosters determines ultimate success or failure. PC is not recruiting in a vacuum. Throughout the league, other schools are also losing players and bringing in new players in an attempt to keep the status quo (Villanova, Xavier), stay near the top (Providence), or improve their standing (Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall). So, in comparison to the Friars, how have other teams done with recruiting? And what can be expected in terms of who to watch out for in 2016-17?

 

It should be noted that – so far – the recruiting haul this year by the Big East is not as good as what the league has brought in the previous two years. In ESPN’s team rankings, only two Big East teams cracked the Top 40: Xavier (31) and Villanova (33). On Scout, Villanova (23) and Xavier (25) are the only two in the Top 25. League teams reeled in only 7 Top 100 players and just one Top 50 player. Schools will look to supplement their classes in the spring, but to stay among the top conferences, the Big East must do better.

 

We took a look at how each team had performed in recruiting through February 22, understanding that the recruiting year was not complete and the spring signing period was still several months away. This was more an attempt to see where teams stand today and what they hope or need to do in the spring. Every Big East recruit is listed and the stars listed are from ESPN’s database for consistency. The numbers before each name indicate the consensus ranking at the moment from 24/7 Basketball, which takes into account all major recruiting services.

 

Butler

Expected losses:

Kellen Dunham, Austin Etherington, Jordan Gathers, Roosevelt Jones

Transfer:

Kethan Savage, G, George Washington

Recruits:

#274 Henry Baddley, SF, 6-5, 190, OH, ***

#176 Kamar Baldwin, SG, 6-2, 175, GA, ***

#99 Joey Brunk, C, 6-10, 240, IN, ****

#158 Howard Washington, PG, 6-2, 172, NY, ****

Summary:

An Indianapolis media outlet recently asked if Butler had enough talent to compete in the Big East. The question was spurred by a team that had started the season hot but had faltered in league play. Losing Jones and Dunham will certainly hurt, but Chris Holtmann had a busy fall, inking four prospects. Look for Brunk to finally give the Bulldogs a viable post presence and Washington will compete for the PG spot. Butler still has more work to do to get to the top of the league, and the toughness of Jones and the sharpshooting of Dunham aren’t easy to replicate, but this class is pointing in the right direction.

 

Creighton

Expected losses:

Geoffrey Groselle, James Milliken

Recruits:

#317 Davion Mintz, PG, 6-4, NC

Summary:

With 9 players who are either freshmen or sophomores, Creighton has been busy stockpiling young talent. Groselle and Milliken both have able replacements already on the roster and Greg McDermott has done a good job blending youth with experience and navigating back to the upper half of the league. PC briefly looked at Mintz and the PG arrives at Creighton under the radar. Two redshirts will become eligible next season and Creighton may be done for 2016.

 

DePaul

Expected losses:

Cory Dolins, Myke Henry, David Molinari, Aaron Simpson, Raushan Stimage

Recruits:

#196 Brandon Cyrus, SG, 6-4, 190, IN, ***

#272 Al Eichelberger, PF, 6-7, 230, MI, ***

#282 Devin Gage, PG, 6-2, 185, IL, ***

Summary:

Henry and Stimage are the biggest losses for a school trying to stay out of the Big East basement. Unfortunately for DePaul, that’s been their goal for a while. On paper, the fall class will do little to attain that goal. While recruiting rankings are often wrong and the only proof is what a player does on a college court, for a program to show great improvement, which is what is needed in Chicago, a concerted effort must be made to draw recruits from richer waters. DePaul fans are hopeful that PF Eichelberger is better than his ranking. Dave Leiteo will have the chance to add two more players in the spring. He needs to make it count.

 

Georgetown

Expected losses:

Bradley Hayes, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Riyan Williams

Recruits:

#167 Jagan Mosley, PG/SG, 6-3, 200, NJ, ****

Summary:

Scouts are split on Mosely, who hails from Bob Hurley’s St. Anthony program. What is for sure is that he is a strong and athletic SG with limited shooting range. John Thompson III has a couple of scholarships in his pocket and obviously Smith-Rivera will be a big loss that Mosely will try to plug while Hayes’ departure limits depth up front. What Thompson does have is decent and highly regarded depth already on the roster and Jesse Govan should develop in the middle. If JTIII can land Taurean Thompson in the spring, it would be his second St. Anthony recruit.

 

Marquette

Expected losses:

Michael Mache

Transfer:

Andrew Rowsey, PG, UNC Ashville

Recruits:

#68 Brendan Bailey, SF, 6-8, 195, UT, ****

#80 Sam Hauser, SF, 6-6, 190, WI, ****

Summary:

Mache is not a big loss but Marquette fans expect super-frosh Henry Ellenson to declare as well and that would be a huge hole to fill. Fortunately for those fans, Steve Wojciechowski has it rolling on the recruiting trail. Wojo will have Luke Fischer anchoring the middle for another year and has a roster full of young talent as a result of two straight excellent classes. Nine players are freshmen and sophomores. Consensus Top 100 recruits Bailey (on a two-year mission) and Hauser will provide additional depth and wing shooting for a team on the rise in the Big East, while Rowsey transfers in and is a scoring PG.

 

Providence
Expected losses:

Kris Dunn

Transfer:

Isaiah Jackson, SF, 6-6, 212, George Mason

Recruits:

#155 Maliek White, PG, 6-2, 170, VA, ***

Summary:

With Dunn leaving for the NBA, the Friars’ roster is in major need of a talent infusion. The only fall signee was White, and scouting services are split on him, with ESPN rating as a 3-star and Scout as a 4-star. But most agree with ESPN. Dunn is irreplaceable and White will compete with Kyron Cartwright for the starting PG spot next season but PC has glaring holes up front. After missing on a number of frontcourt targets in the fall, PC hopes to add two big men in the spring, as multiple roster openings may happen. Providence is heavily involved with Kalif Young, Darius Hicks, Isaiah Whaley and Cheikna Dembele, among others and PG Makai Ashton-Langford may reclassify to 2016. Expect 2-3 additional signees. Transfer Isaiah Jackson, an A-10 Rookie Team member, has looked good in practice, needs to make an immediate impact and he can play multiple positions.

 

Seton Hall

Expected losses:

Derrick Gordon

Transfers:

Jevon Thomas, PG, 6-1, 185, Kansas State

Recruits:

#87 Myles Powell, SG, 6-1, 195, NJ, ****

Summary:

With only 5th year grad Gordon departing, Seton Hall features a young and talented roster. Thomas is a transfer with experience who should help right away. Powell is expected to be an immediate impact freshman as an undersized SG. Kevin Willard features 10 freshmen and sophomores on his roster and Anderson should help Angel Delgado inside. The only monkey wrench for the Pirates will be if Isaiah Whitehead decides to declare, but the Hall is quality deep in backcourt and wing help.

 

St. John’s

Expected losses:

Felix Balamou, Durand Johnson, Ron Mvouika

Transfer:

Tariq Owens

Recruits:

NA Bashir Ahmed, SF, 6-7, 190, NY JUCO

#102 Richard Freudenberg, SF, 6-8, 190, GERMANY, ****

#53 Shamorie Ponds, PG, 6-1, 180, NY, ****

Summary:

Chris Mullin won the tug of war with PC over Ponds and he should step right in for Balamou at PG. St. John’s has an all-star cast of recruiters among their assistants and bringing in talent shouldn’t be a concern. Coaching that talent up has always been where past St. John’s staffs have fallen short. A very young team that featured a couple of promising newcomers took their lumps this season, but Ponds, Freudenberg and junior college ready Ahmed should provide an instant burst of talent. Tariq Owens transfers in and top recruit Marcus Lovett becomes academically next season, as wel, after sitting out this yearl.

 

Villanova

Expected losses:

Ryan Arcidiacono, Patrick Farrell, Henry Lowe, Daniel Ochefu, Kevin Rafferty

Transfer:

Eric Paschall, PF, 6-7, 260, Fordham

Recruits:

#135 Dylan Painter, C, 6-10, 215, PA, ****

#21 Omari Spellman, PF, 6-9, 275, OH, *****

Summary:

Nova is one of two teams in the Big East that is a true program. The Wildcats don’t rebuild, they reload. As the dominant team in the league since the Big East reformed, the recruiting gravy train never stops. For most teams, losing Arcidiacono and Ochefu would hurt big time, but Jay Wright just moves on. Jalen Brunson will step into Arcidiacono’s shoes and Wright has three big-time post players ready to replace Ochefu and more size than Villanova has had in a long time. Spellman might be the top incoming freshman in the league while transfer Eric Paschall is the reigning A-10 Rookie of the Year and should help immediately.

 

Xavier

Expected losses:

Remy Abell, Kevin Coker, James Farr

Transfer:

RaShid Gaston, PF, Norfolk State

Recruits:

#141 Eddie Ekiyor, PF, 6-8, 215, CANADA, ****

#77 Quentin Goodin, PG, 6-3, 190, KY, ****

#125 Tyrique Jones, PF, 6-7, 240, CT, ****

Summary:

Xavier is the other school in full program-mode. Abell is the teams’ best perimeter defender and Farr teams with Jalen Reynolds to give the Musketeers a formidable frontline, but Chris Mack addressed all concerns in the fall. Along with J.P. Mancura, Goodwin should be a lockdown perimeter defender and Ekiyor and Jones will give Xavier continued presence in the paint, alongside Reynolds. PC was involved with Jones, but assistant Luke Murray, who joined Mack this year from URI, delivered the PF to Cincinnati. Gaston has one year of eligibility and could be an immediate impact player as an experienced transfer.


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