Evan Daniels, FOXSports/Scout.com's National Basketball Recruiting Analyst, took some time to answer a few questions regarding SMU basketball, recruiting and the Big East:
Laken Litman: What does heading into the nation's best basketball conference do for a struggling program like SMU?
Evan Daniels: It's obviously going to be a difficult task, but I think it's one that SMU wants to take. The Big East has more exposure from a basketball standpoint and SMU has a chance to take advantage of that. I'm sure they are going to sell the league to recruits and advertise this move as much as possible to prospects. Any time a school makes a move like this the key is they are going to have to recruit at a high major level. That's what SMU is going to have to do.
LL: Dallas has so much to offer with its perfect weather, being a top five sports market city and having the Mavericks here. Plus SMU's Moody Coliseum is undergoing a $40 million renovation that will be complete in time for Big East conference play to begin in 2013, so the facilities will be some of the best in the nation. Do you think all of that, plus the fact that SMU will be in the Big East and on national TV, will attract a higher caliber recruit?
ED: There's no question that SMU has some amenities that many schools don't. I've seen their practice facility and been on their campus, it's a beautiful place. Toss in the renovations and new conference and they have a lot to sell. Can they get high caliber recruits? That's a great question and one that is difficult to answer. I think the key is to target the guys in Dallas and throughout the state of Texas. They need to move on the high major guys in their area early. There is enough talent in that state where they can get their fair share of talented recruits.
LL: How long do you think it will take for SMU to be competitive in the Big East? Even without Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia, the competition is still far and away better than the likes of Jackson State, a team the Mustangs lost to by one point earlier this year.
ED: There's no question that they are taking a step, even with ‘Cuse, Pitt and WVU leaving. Their success on the court will likely be determined by their success on the recruiting front. They need to bring in some Big East caliber guys and do it swiftly. Can they compete and bring in those guys? Certainly. How long will it take? That's hard to predict.
ED: I think Mbargorba is a nice pick up for them. He's a guy with some potential and is rated among our top 30 centers in the 2012 class. At this stage he's a guy that can impact a game with his length and shot blocking ability. If he continues to develop his offense then we could see this guy have a pretty strong college career. Bernardi is a guy that shoots the ball very well from long range and coaches can always find a spot for a guy that shoots it as well as he does. Ofoegbu is an athlete and a guy that does his work by slashing to the rim and in transition. It's a solid group for SMU.
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