BIG EAST men’s basketball programs will boast a very strong cast of newcomers for the 2015-16 season. The major national recruiting services agree that BIG EAST schools have attracted some of the top recruits in the country. And some of those newcomers who will be eligible this season figure to play important roles for their respective teams.
While the recruiting lists are always interesting to monitor, evaluating high school and junior college players remains an inexact science. Still, the national recruiting services believe that BIG EAST schools have recruited extremely well.
Scout.com, Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and ESPN.com all have some BIG EAST schools among their top-rated classes nationally. The classes for Marquette, Villanova and Georgetown have received the most attention in the rankings.
The BIG EAST is coming off a 2014-15 campaign which saw six of its 10 teams earn NCAA Tournament berths and eight of its squads appear in the national polls.
Scout.com and Rivals.com both have eight of their top 100 ranked players headed to BIG EAST schools.
Here is a school-by-school roundup of new recruits and transfers:
Men’s Basketball Newcomers for 2015-16:
Nate Fowler, C, Fr., 6-10, 250, Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller
*Jordan Gathers, G, Gr., 6-3, Los Angeles, Calif./St. Bonaventure
*Tyler Lewis, G, Jr., 5-10, 171, Statesville, N.C./N. C. State
Sean McDermott, G-F, Fr., 6-6, Pendleton, Ind./Pendleton Heights
Fowler, a skilled center candidate, will be aiming for regular duty immediately. McDermott, who figures to play on the wing, brings strong shooting credentials. Lewis and Gathers are transfers who figure to be immediate contributors in the backcourt. Lewis started 18 games two seasons ago at point guard at NC State. Gathers, who comes from St. Bonaventure, is a versatile guard and a quality shooter.
*Cole Huff, F, Jr., 6-8, 210, Altadena, Calif./Univ. of Nevada
Martin Krampelj, F, Fr., 6-8, 205, Grosuplje, Slovenia/Impact Academy (Fla.)
Justin Patton, F, Fr., 6-10, 215, Omaha, Neb./North
Marlon Stewart, G, Fr., 6-2, 200, Rock Island, Iowa/North Scott
Khyri Thomas, G, Fr., 6-3, 190, Omaha, Neb./Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)
*Mo Watson, Jr., G, Jr., 5-10, 170, Philadelphia, Pa./Boston U.
Transfers Huff and Watson, Jr. are expected to make strong bids to start at power forward and point guard, respectively. Both were full-time starters and double-figure scorers at their previous schools. Patton moved up significantly on the recruiting lists this past year and will push for time at forward. Krampeli, like Patton, is a forward with good size and impressive all-around skills. Thomas and Stewart fit the Bluejay profile of strong perimeter players will good shooting skills.
Oumar Barry, C, Fr., 6-9, Camp Springs, Md./Bishop O’Connor (Va.)
Eli Cain, F, Fr., 6-6, Delanco Township, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep
Develle Phillips, F, Fr., 6-8, Upper Marlboro, Md./Clinton Christian (Md.)
New head coach Dave Leitao has added some needed size to the roster. Phillips and Barry both have reputations as strong rebounders and defenders and were highly ranked by recruiting services. Cain is a scoring wing who can play either guard position and add an outside shooting threat to the backcourt.
%Akoy Agau, F, So., 6-8, 230, Omaha, Neb./Univ. of Louisville
Jessie Govan, C, Fr., 6-10, 263, Manhasset, N.Y./Wings Academy
Marcus Derrickson, F, Fr., 6-7, 250, Bowie, Md./Brewster Academy (N.H.)
Kaleb Johnson, F, Fr., 6-6, 185, Martinsville, Va./Carlisle School
The group of four newcomers adds size and strength to the Hoya roster. Govan is one of the nation’s top center prospects who has superb all-around skills. He will have the opportunity to make immediate contributions. Derrickson is a power forward candidate who also will push for playing time right away. Johnson is a small forward prospect who was a topflight scorer in high school. Agau, a transfer from Louisville, is a frontcourt candidate who will be eligible in December.
Sacar Anim, G, Fr., 6-5, 190, Minneapolis, Minn./DeLaSalle
Traci Carter, G, Fr., 6-0, 160, Philadelphia, Pa./Life Center Academy
Haanif Cheatham, G, Fr., 6-5, 175, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Pembroke Pines Charter
Henry Ellenson, F, Fr., 6-10, 230, Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake
*Wally Ellenson, F, Jr., 6-6, 210, Rice Lake, Wis./Univ. of Minnesota
Matt Heldt, C, Fr., 6-10, 240, Neenah, Wis./Neenah
A consensus top-five power forward prospect, Henry Ellenson is the highest rated player in coach Steve Wojciechowski’s heralded recruiting class. Ellenson will join his older brother Wally, a forward who is eligible after transferring from Minnesota. Haanif Cheatham is a strong shooting guard prospect along with Sacar Anim. Heldt is a candidate at center who adds much needed depth to the front line. Carter may contend for the open starting spot at point guard.
Rodney Bullock, F, R-So., 6-8, 220, Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan
Ricky Council II, G, Fr., 6-4, 185, Durham, N.C./Moravian Prep
Drew Edwards, G, Fr., 6-3, 175, Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall
Ryan Fazekas, G, Fr., 6-8, 200, Chesterton, Ind./Marquette Catholic
Alex Owens, F, Fr., 6-8, 240, Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge
Bullock has not played in two seasons and missed all of last year with a knee injury. He was a highly ranked small forward prospect out of high school and is expected to make an immediate impact. Owens is a power forward candidate. Edwards is considered a combo guard. Though he is 6-8, Fazekas is a shooting guard prospect. Council is a strong perimeter player and good shooter.
Malik Ellison, F, Fr., 6-6, 175, Voorhees, N.J./Life Center Academy
Marcus LoVett, G, Fr., 6-0, 170, Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park
Ron Mvouika, G/F, Gr., 6-6, 200, Spain/Missouri State
Darien Williams, F, So., 6-8, 210, San Francisco, Calif./Iowa Western JC
The first group of newcomers for new coach Chris Mullin includes a mix of freshmen and transfers. The freshmen are LoVett, a strong point guard candidate, and Ellison, who is expected to offer strong shooting production from the 2-guard position. Williams, a junior college transfer, is a versatile athlete who could see playing time at either forward position. Mvouika is a graduate transfer from Missouri State who can help on the perimeter.
Amarveer Singh, G-F, Fr., 6-7, New Orleans, La./Thurgood Marshall (N.Y.)
Myles Carter, F, Fr., 6-9, Chicago, Ill./St. Rita’s
Dalton Soffer, G, Fr., 6-5, 190, San Diego, Calif./Poway
Singh brings credentials as a strong wing player who is a deft shooter and passer. Carter will be a power forward candidate who excels as a defender and rebounder. Soffer is expected to be a formidable 3-point threat.
Jalen Brunson, G, Fr., 6-1, Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson
Tim Delaney, F, Fr., 6-9, Pitman, N.J./Blair Academy
Donte Divincenzo, G, Fr., 6-4, Wilmington, Del./Salesianum
Brunson is the highest rated of the three incoming freshmen and may make immediate inroads in coach Jay Wright’s rotation. Delaney is a versatile forward who brings face-up shooting skills. DiVincenzo also has solid all-around skills and will push to be noticed in the backcourt.
Kaiser Gates, F, Fr., 6-8, 205, Suwanee, Ga./St. Francis
Makinde London, F, R-Fr., 6-10, 220, Nashville, Tenn./Montverde Acad. (Fla.)
Edmond Sumner, G, R-Fr., 6-5, 183, Detroit, Mich./Country Day
The Musketeers, coming off a season that ended in the NCAA Sweet 16, welcome Gates, a versatile forward who can help in many areas. Sumner and London are redshirt freshmen who have had a year to practice and acclimate themselves to the Xavier system. Sumner will contend for a starting position at point guard. London will vie for playing time closer to the basket.
*Transfer who will be eligible in 2015-16
%Transfer who will be eligible in second semester of 2015-16.