Around the Big East:<br> Summer Hoops Edition

Another look at Big East basketball, this time from Brian Smith of our affiliate,

While there isn't much going on in the world of college basketball besides frantic summer recruiting, the occasional transfer, and the odd NCAA violation, there has been enough activity thus far to warrant an update of the goings-on in the Big East.

  • The Heights have been quiet this summer, and considering the news out of Cincinnati, Villanova, and La Salle, that isn't a bad thing. One player did commit to Boston College at the end of June. Evan Neisler, a 6'7 forward from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, committed to the Eagles. Neisler is from Connecticut originally and just moved south for his last two years of prep ball. That now gives BC an abundance of players on the roster who are between 6'4 and 6'7, but Neisler might still be growing.

  • Villanova found itself on two years probation from the NCAA recently, for various minor violations of recruiting and benefit rules. The Wildcats will not be banned from the NCAA Tournament or lose any scholarships, so the probation essentially amounts to a slap on the wrist and five minutes of sitting in the corner thinking about what they've done. The worst of the violations appeared to be allowing some players use of telephone access codes to make long distance calls that ended up with the school suspending 12 players for varying lengths of time.

  • The most recognizable St. John's player from the scandal that blew apart the team this winter, Elijah Ingram, has found a new home after being dismissed by St. John's. Ingram will transfer to New Mexico State to play for Lou Henson.

  • Georgetown's problem with players leaving the program continued this week, as sophomore reserve guard Matt Causey announced that he will transfer. The announcement comes a year after guards Tony Bethel and Drew Hall left for North Carolina State and College of Charleston, respectively. This leaves new coach John Thompson III (yes, THAT Thompson, he's the son of the legendary coach) with a thin roster of only 10 scholarship players.

  • Providence dodged a major bullet for next season when star forward Ryan Gomes pulled out of the NBA Draft and returned to school for his senior season. The Friars had already lost Marcus Douthit to the draft and thought they had lost Rob Sanders as a transfer. Well, a recent story in the Providence Journal says Sanders has been taking classes and playing pickup basketball on campus. Perhaps Sanders will return despite his harsh words for the program when he left in March.

  • Providence also recently extended the contract of head coach Tim Welsh through the 2009 season after leading the team to a 20-9 record last year and a 101-82 record in his six years at the school.

  • Seton Hall signed Stan Gaines, a transfer from the University of Minnesota. Gaines played in 30 games and started 17 for the Gophers as a sophomore, scoring 5.5 points and grabbing 3.2 rebounds per game. Gaines will have two years of eligibility after sitting out the 2004-2005 season.

  • The 2004 NBA Draft saw three Big East players taken, with Connecticut's Emeka Okafor going second overall to the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, Ben Gordon third overall to the Chicago Bulls, and Providence's Marcus Douthit as the 27th pick in the second round to the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • We'll have season previews of all the Boston College opponents later in the year, but consider this lineup for Connecticut:

    PG: A.J. Price (photo)
    SG: Rashad Anderson
    SF: Denham Brown
    PF: Charlie Villanueva
    C: Josh Boone

    With transfer Ed Nelson, super-freshman Rudy Gay, and Hilton Armstrong coming off the bench. Wow…

Brian Smith is the basketball beat writer for He can be reached at This story originally was published on

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