Big East Report: Week 2
The Big East is likely the most visible basketball conference with an extensive ESPN television contract and enduring Sportscenter highlights. Even so, viewers can catch a few unfamiliar talents in the mix.
Listed below are the impact newcomers for each of the 16 conference teams, in order of relevance to the program.
1) Mike Rosario (Rutgers) – Rosario is the first McDonalds All-American ever lured to Rutgers. His value to the program, the team, and the coach cannot be overstated. It is monumental. Watch his first step in awe. The frozen defenders will be.
2) Greg Monroe (Georgetown) - Even if Monroe wasn’t the sensational talent that he is, he would have played plenty for a depleted Hoya frontline. Departed are Roy Hibbert, Pat Ewing Jr., and Vernon Macklin. The 6’10” lefty has a magnificent face-up game.
3) Samardo Samuels (Louisville) - Samuels is everything Derrick Caracter should have been. The powerful, agile center from New Jersey shares all of these characteristics with the aloof Caracter. The difference is heart. Where Caracter lacked greatly, Samuels’ cup runneth over.
4) Jermaine Dixon (Pitt) - Dixon carries himself with more maturity than most newcomers as he played two years at Tallahassee Junior College.
5) Devin Ebanks (West Virginia) – Indiana’s loss is West Virginia’s gain. The best player released from scholarship amidst the Kelamity Sampson was Ebanks. Still struggling to find his shooting touch, Ebanks snatched 34 rebounds against Cleveland State and Davidson.
6) Robert Mitchell (Seton Hall) – Mitchell was the best transfer to leave during the mass Duquesne exodus. The Pirates welcomed him with open arms. He fits nicely as a diverse scorer amongst singularly skilled teammates.
7) Kemba Walker (UConn) - Steady and typically not flashy, Walker is a winner. Despite the existence of experienced Huskies guards, Walker will play plenty. Calhoun has never shied away from recruiting over returnees.
Yancy Gates (Cincinnati) – A real coup for Coach Mick Cronin as he pulled in the best Queen City big man since Andrew Brackman (NC State). ‘Nati was simply nasty in the paint the last few years, starting a 6’6 center. Gates and fellow freshman Steve Toyloy plan to change that.
9) Jeremiah Kelly (DePaul) - Chicago product Kelly chose to stay home and play for DePaul. Too many follow the Windy City winds of fortune out of town for jocular Jerry Wainwright’s taste. The DePaul head coach likes the point guard’s confidence and prideful play.
10) Alex Rivas (South Florida) - Kentrell Gransberry, the green-draped tank you saw in the paint for USF, recently graduated. Rivas is one of the options to defend the post in Stan Heath’s second season. This Bull can run a little bit.
11) Kris Joseph (Syracuse) - He is undoubtedly the greatest basketball player ever to have bloodlines to Trinidad and Tobago. Sorry former Houston Rocket Carl Herrera. With Eric Devendorf allegedly hitting a girl in the face, Joseph’s minutes could be on the rise.
12) Chris Otule (Marquette) - Logistically, the first frontcourt player to get healthy will be the impact newcomer for MU. Both Otule and Joseph Fulce have not and will not play until at least late December. No short-term cure in sight for the MU frontline.
13) Quincy Roberts (St. John’s) – Originally committed to play for the Miami Hurricanes, Roberts is one of nine first or second year players getting real minutes for the Red Men.
14) Carleton Scott (Notre Dame) - Scott arrived on campus last fall, but redshirted. The logjam is not much clearer. ND still has a glut of frontcourt options ahead of him on the depth chart. Minutes will be hard to come by for the 6’7 forward.
Villanova and Providence do not have impact newcomers.
The true reason for the multitude of top-flight Big East teams is not the newcoming crop. It’s the selfless return of Terrence Williams, Hasheem Thabeet, Sam Young, and Jerel McNeal.
When deeply talented teams also have experience, the product is just plain scary.