I, who is the biggest loss? | II, who needs to step up? | III, who will surprise? | IV, most excited to see...? | V, who is the future of the program?
The first of five Big East Basketball Roundtables focuses on the player who will be the single biggest loss for each program.
Stravinsky had his Rite of Spring; we'll consider the Basketball Blogger Roundtable a Rite of Fall. I'll need one of you to compose the music - make sure it has a lot of sneaker squeaks.
To get a head start on college basketball - despite the conference realignment tumult going around the college sports world - I asked some of my fellow Big East basketball bloggers to contribute to another Big East Blogger Roundtable. many of these fine folks have done these with me since this blog was in its old form, the East Coast Bias. I thank all of them for their participation, and am happy we could cover all but one of the Big East programs.
As a league, the Big East returns 56.7% of player minutes - more turnover than the transition to the 2009-10 season, where just under 78% of minutes returned to campus, and the transition to last season, where 62.6% of minutes returned.
The losses in the league are highlighted by St. John's incredible turnover (returning under 5% of last season's minutes) and West Virginia, while Syracuse and Louisville return much of their rosters, primed for a big season with familiar characters. (more on returning minutes from earlier this summer.)
New stars will pop up for the league, but each team will feel the loss of a strong contributor, or a leader, or the player that carried them to post season glory.
Check back in the coming days as we answer the questions with smart and pithy commentary from those who cover the Big East all year round. And check out the other teams' blogs, add them to your Twitter feeds, and comment below about which teams you think will most feel one players' loss.
|School||Site||Twitter feed||Which player's loss will be felt the most by the team?||Comments|
|Cincinnati||Bearcats Blog||@bearcatsblog||He was the best defender in the Big East last season, awards be dammed, and there is no one really to take his place.|
|Connecticut||TheUConnBlog||@theuconnblog||UConn will definitely miss his ability to singlehandedly win a national championship.|
|DePaul||Blue Demons Nation||@bluedemonnation||
|It could be said that the biggest impact from a lost player could be one who never suited up for the Blue Demons. Shane Larkin was a top 100 prospect who went to summer school at DePaul, but in August, due to a 'medical' condition, left the program and is now on the University of Miami team. Larkin was expected to be a key contributor in the Blue Demons backcourt. He could play the point, but had the shooting ability to play off the ball if needed. WIthout him, DePaul had to reach out late and get a JUCO pg in Worrell Clahar.|
|Georgetown was not a good defensive team last season, so if they were going to win it was by their offense. But the offense ran through Chris Wright, a fact made clear after he was lost with a broken hand.
Here's what I wrote after the Hoyas bowed out of the Big East tournament: "Georgetown remains unable to score without Wright leading the offense - in the seven halves of basketball that Georgetown has played without Chris Wright (2nd half v. Cinci forward), the Hoyas have averaged 0.83 points per possession. In the 10+ games previous to his injury (thru 1st half vs. Cinci), G'town had averaged 1.09 points per possession."
|Casual Hoya||@casualhoya||Hoyas will miss Wright's veteran leadership at the point more than Freeman's scoring.|
|Louisville||U of L Card Game||@UofLCardGame||Preston Knowles, who despite putting team first, led Louisville with 14.6 points per game. His injury, with less than five minutes to go in a first-round game against Morehead State, probably sealed U of L's fate in the NCAA tourney.|
Jimmy F. Butler
|Jimmy F. Butler, of course. You could basically dial in JFB for 16-6 all season long, as an efficient contributor to boot. On the other hand, it was nice to see Marquette deliver a first round draft pick for the second consecutive year.|
|Anonymous Eagle||@AnonymousEagle||Maybe you should change this question to "What Marquette player got picked in the first round on the NBA Draft this season?" Anyway: JFB was a dependable scorer, an effective rebounder, and a quiet leader who, ohbytheway, turned himself into a lockdown defender in the last couple months of the year.|
|Pittsburgh||Cardiac Hill||@PittPantherBlog||Losing the trio of Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee, and Gilbert Brown will be huge and you could make a case for any of them. I'll go with Wanamaker, though, since he was the most consistent all-around player.|
|Providence||Friar Basketball||@friarbasketball||...and it's not even close|
|Friarblog||@friarblog||...Although the crowd might get confused about what to cheer about when they don't see Ray Hall come off the bench.The Friars will need to replace Marshon's great scoring ability used across an almost 30% possession percentage (49th in the nation). Friartown is praying the team's possession count drops considerably with an emphasis on defense and a more structured offense.|
|Rutgers||On The Banks||@Dave_White||He's the teams leading scorer. Though losing all the seniors will hurt.|
|Seton Hall||South Orange Juice||@SOrangeJuice||The Pirates will have a tough draw attempting to make up for his lost production. Sure, Hazell definitely had his inefficient games and the label, "volume scorer" stayed perched atop his head during his Pirates career. That said, he could fill it up like no other Pirate in recent history. He was as dangerous a shooter as just about anybody in the conference the last two years and Seton Hall will struggle finding someone to match his confidence level late in games.|
|South Florida||Voodoo Five||@SBNVoodooFive||Its hard to lose your only point guard, but this might be more addition by subtraction. Oh well, we will always have the Big East Tournament against Villanova.|
|St. John's||Rumble in the Garden||@RumbleSBN||
All of them…?
|This doesn't apply. The whole team's gone away.|
|Syracuse||Orange 44||@BH_Orange44||Well, this choice is very obvious. The only senior we lost was Rick Jackson. An automatic double-double machine, he was a great presence in the low post and a great leader for the team.|
|Villanova||The Nova Blog||@SBNTheNovaBlog||Most would pick Corey Fisher here, but Corey Stokes left a huge hole on the perimeter in terms of shooting. Not sure we have anyone close to his sniping ability. That will hurt.|
|VUhoops||@Brian_Ewart||Without a doubt it is Corey Stokes. He really emerged as a go-to option on the perimeter last season and he was a great pure shooter that will be tough to replace.|
|VBTN||n/a||Stokes stretched the defenses, opening the lane for penetration from Fisher and Wayns. Sidelined with a turf toe injury from the Syracuse game proved to be the beginning of the late season slide. Villanova was 17-2 coming out of the Carrier Dome, and went 4-10 through the rest of the season.|
|West Virginia||The Smoking Musket||@CountryRoadsWV||Flowers grew from an athletic but raw freshman into arguably WVU's most complete all-around player. He was a lock-down defender (both on the perimeter and in the paint), blocked shots and rebounded well. He also made himself into a serviceable player on the offensive end, leaving WVU in scoring in several games down the stretch. His consistency will be missed.|