Big East Dreams

A recently reclassified New York big man has his sights set on playing in the Big East conference, and West Virginia is among the frontrunners on his list of interest.

Six foot, eight inch Ryan Rhoomes of Thomas Cardozo High School grew up watching Big East schools play, so it's no surprise that he favors many of those same institutions as he blossoms into a major Division I prospect. Rhoomes, an athletic player with lots of bounce, already has offers from West Virginia, St. John's, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and if things go the way he wants it won't be a surprise to see him wind up at one of those universities.

"The Big East is big in New York," Rhoomes said of his interest. "That's the league where I've always wanted to play."

Even though New York metro area schools such as St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers haven't been tearing it up of late in the league, it still commands wide respect and interest in the Big Apple. A number of teams, most notably West Virginia and Pittsburgh, have established major recruiting ties to the city, and Rhoomes figures to add his name to the list of players that hail from within that footprint. He also has an offer from Virginia Tech, but it seems clear at this point that the Big East occupies much of his thinking.

Although he hasn't yet visited West Virginia, Rhoomes is very interested in the Mountaineers.

"Both Coach Harrison and Coach Huggins have come to my school and been to watch me play," Rhoomes said. "They talked about their interest in me, and how they saw me fitting in with their style. I think West Virginia's style of play fits me well, and I like the way Coach Huggins works with his players. They are strict, and I'm used to that style."

On the floor, Rhoomes fits West Virginia's profile. An athletic leaper who bounds up and down the floor and attacks the basket, Rhoomes is an agile player who uses his speed and quickness to great advantage. Currently tipping the scales at 215 pounds, he believes that he'll fill out even more over the next year and a half before he makes the move to the college level.

Although he's a senior at Cardozo this year, Rhoomes has already decided to spend next year at South Kent School, a noted prep destination in Connecticut that has sent many players on to Division I destinations, including St. John's, Rutgers and Pittsburgh in the Big East.

"I'm going for both academics and basketball," said Rhoomes, who hopes to emerge from the school even more prepared for the rigors of life in the toughest college basketball league in the country. "I think it will help me."

NOTES

  • Rhoomes' Cardozo squad, playing in the tough New York Public Schools Athletic League, is off to a 7-0 start. Rhoomes is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds per contest.

  • Rhoomes will play AAU basketball this summer with the New York Panthers, one of the better teams on the highly competitive New York AAU scene.

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