Big East Offseason Preview
After having a National Champion in 2016 and sending seven teams to the Big Dance in 2017, it’s safe to say the Big East is back.
Big name players such as Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) Angel Delgado (Seton Hall) Marcus Foster (Creighton) and Rodney Bullock (Providence) opted to return to school while the only big hits the conference took were losing Justin Patton and Edmond Sumner to the NBA draft.
Until proven otherwise its Villanova’s world (in the big east) and everybody else is just living in it. Losing senior class of All-American Josh Hart, Mr. Big Shot Kris Jenkins and Starting Center Darryl Reynolds will not be easy to overcome. On the bright side, Jalen Brunson could turn into an All American and Mikal Bridges (Big east defensive player of the year in ’16-’17) is projected to be an NBA first round pick in 2018. Also, don’t forget about Phil Booth who started the first 3 games of the season for the wildcats last year and was then sidelined with a knee injury for the season.
Xavier s-t-u-m-b-l-e-d to the finish line last season, barley making the NCAA tournament and then turned that into an Elite 8 appearance. Trevon Bluiett could win National Player of the Year and Chris Mack is one of the best coaches in the business. I would say losing Sumner will be tough, but they played a good part of the season without him last season. Lookout for impact freshman point guard Paul Scruggs (Ranked 30th in the ESPN top 100 and highest rated big east freshman in 2017)
With everybody returning next season and a top 15 recruiting class coming in, the Friars are looking to take a jump forward next season. Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock have First Team Big East potential and Makai Ashton-Langford could be freshman of the year in the Big East. Ed Cooley thrives when being looked past, but I don’t see anybody looking past Providence this year.
4. Seton Hall:
With walking Double-Double Angel Delgado returning to school things are looking good for the Pirates. Khadeen Carrington led the way with 17 points a game last season and Myles Powell could break out in ’17-’18. The talent is there for sure, but can The Hall get past the first round in the big dance?
5. Saint John’s:
Marcus Lovett and Shamorie Ponds combined to average 33 points a game as freshman and will definitely look to take a bigger leap as sophomores. Transfers Marvin Clark (Michigan State) and Justin Simon (Arizona) will look to make an immediate impact. I think this could be Chris Mullin’s year to break into the Big Dance.
Not only did the Bulldogs lose their Head Coach Chris Holtmann but also do it all big man Andrew Chrabascz which will hurt down low. Kelan Martin will average close to 20 points per game and has NBA talent. Look for Kamar Baldwin to take a leap in his sophomore campaign.
Guards. Marcus Foster is a bucket, Khyri Thomas is a defensive stopper and Kaleb Joseph will be an impact transfer running the point. But who will fill in for first round pick Justin Patton down low?
Markus Howard led the country in 3-point percentage last season and is one of the players I’m most looking forward to see in the ’17-’18 season. However, Marquette lost a lot from last season and I see them taking a step down.
Losing Billy Garrett Jr Hurts, but a decent recruiting class and Eli Cain could keep the Blue Demons from the basement of the Big East.
Patrick Ewing’s first season will be spent at the bottom of the league. This roster needs a lot of help, but I am looking forward to the first time Saint John’s and Georgetown square off in the battle of Mullin vs Ewing.
Pre-season Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett (Xavier)
Preseason First Team:
Jalen Brunson (Villanova)
Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)
Marcus Foster (Creighton)
JP Macura (Xavier)
Mikal Bridges (Villanova)
Preseason Second Team:
Kyron Cartwright (Providence)
Kelan Martin (Butler)
Markus Howard (Marquette)
Rodney Bullock (Providence)
Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall)