The last of the five Big East Basketball Roundtables focuses on the future of the program - the players on the roster or hopefully coming to the University who will carry the team into the future. Look for why Brian at VU Hoops hates this question, an essay by Hoya Prospectus on Georgetown, and why for a number of programs, the future isn't wrapped up in a player but in a coach.
Look out for Round 2 of the Roundtable , which will include all-conference picks, predicted quartiles, and more from our team of bloggers. Thanks to all of them for adding to these Roundtables, and read their blogs, follow them on Twitter. There's some good, insightful, funny, and downright frightening things being written out there.
Read more, after the jump.
I think the future of the program is the current class. UC has 6 players signed, Jeremiah Davis, Octavius Ellis, Ge'Lawn Guyn, Cheikh Mbodj, Sanders and Shaquille Thomas. Thomas was recently cleared by the NCAA, and he's expected to be an impact freshman. It's not known if he will suit up right away though. All the prospects are rated rather well. All fill needs the Bearcats will have this year, and next. If they can blossom, the Bearcats could maintain their level.
I don't know if UConn has its next multi-year alpha dog on campus, and while Drummond has been UConn fans' recruiting pipe dream since 2008 or so, I wouldn't bet on him staying past this year. This incredible recruiting class (Drummond, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels) is possibly Calhoun's best ever, and it feels for all the world like Cal is trying to gear up for one last monster run at a fourth title rather than worry about the future too much. I suppose I could go with Shabazz Napier, who is likely to be here for three more years and who could potentially turn into one of the best non-Kemba PGs ever at the school.
DePaul Blue Demons Nation
The not the distant future is maintained by Cleveland Melvin (photo at right by Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images) and Brandon Young. Both were given an opportunity to see extensive minutes as freshmen, and, for the most part, had a good deal of success. Melvin's time was limited in the early part of his freshman campaign, but once the opportunity was given to him, he ran with it, all the way to the Big East Rookie of the Year award. Young started out his freshman season looking like the best player on the DePaul squad. However, when conference season came around, and he became more of a focus of the opponent's defense, he had some rough patches. However, reports are that Young is easily the most competitive player on the Blue Demons squad and has really put in the time and effort over the off-season to take his game to the next level.
However, the long-term success of DePaul must extend beyond Melvin and Young, and 2013 guard Billy Garrett Jr is looking to be the next key player in helping DePaul rebuild. A top 50 player by nearly all publications, Garrett's commitment to the Blue Demons should not come as a surprise, as his father, Billy Garrett Sr, is an assistant coach on the staff. A role that Garrett Jr. has really taken on since offering his verbal is working on getting other prospects to consider and ultimately come to DePaul.
How successful his work, along with the efforts of the coaching staff to achieve this, will be the key in continuing to rebuild this once proud program.
Since college athletes have a time limit, it's usually hard to divide up teams into "eras" like you can with pro sports teams (think the Peyton Manning era for the Colts, etc.). But with JTIII, there's been some delineation simply because of the cycle of classes he's had. Sure, there's some overlap and people that don't quite fit, but so far there's been two real eras: the Jeff Green/Roy Hibbert/Jon Wallace era; and the Chris Wright/Austin Freeman/Greg Monroe era.
The former was a wild success; the latter not a failure but a disappointment, even if the primary cause really might simply have been Greg Monroe jumping a year earlier than Jeff Green did. (The lesson, as always: seven years of starting NBA big men trumps two years of starting NBA big men, no matter who your guards are.)
With the remaining '08 class being seniors, the '09 class consisting of one junior who might graduate early, this is a rebuilding year. The '10 class brought solid players in Markel Starks and Nate Lubick (and hopefully the as-yet-little-used Moses Ayegba and Aaron Bowen). We expect Starks and Lubick to be strong starters for years to come, but they aren't likely to be the best players on a Final Four team to our eyes.
What they can be is the perfect four year complements to strong '11 and '12 classes. The '11 class seems to be very solid with a chance for two stars in Porter and Trawick. Tyler Adams has been hurt a bit, so it is harder to get a read on him, but Mikael Hopkins seems to have shed a lot of questions about his on-court effort and Greg Whittington has shown flashes of brilliance even while being overshadowed a bit by a similar player in Porter. The class is big, talented, and already seems to have chemistry. They are the future.
The question will be who joins them, but another very strong class in '12 could take team to another level. Georgetown is involved with a number of top '12 recruits (Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker) and three strong classes in a row -- especially if '12 added some guardplay -- would set the team up at a level of talent it hasn't had for a while. The 2004-08 Hoyas got lucky in a way; Green and Hibbert had no hype and were not in a rush to play in the NBA. College basketball is much more like what they experienced with Greg Monroe (who the Hoyas were lucky to keep for a second year). One or two good classes, or unbalanced classes, or even a single star, won't often make a championship-level team. Continually loading talent does.
I can't compete with that answer from Hoya Prospectus, so instead I'll sink my gnarly claws into it and go along for the ride. The only thing I'll add is that along with the hoops-only Catholic schools in this Conference, Georgetown's future in the Big East and on the college hoops landscape is cloudy at best. Anyone who thinks otherwise is drinking some delusion-infused Kool-aid.
Peyton Siva is the future, with the speed, shooting ability and team first attitude that will enable him to assume the leadership role vacated by the absence of Preston Knowles. He will get a huge assist from incoming freshman Wayne Blackshear who may be the best recruit Pitino has landed in his 10 years at Louisville.
Marquette | Excited to See: Jamil Wilson
Marquette's been Guard U for the last 10 years (Wade, Diener, James, McNeal, Matthews, and so on), so we'll go in a completely different direction and say sophomore big man Davante Gardner. Big Ox showed surprisingly nimble footwork and a semi-sophisticated low post game while working off the baby fat during his freshman season, and he showed up this fall looking leaner and meaner. If he makes good on the promise he showed last year, he could be the best MU big man since ... Damon Key? Jim McIlvaine? I'm not even sure how far back I'd have to go.
Vander Blue, Jamil Wilson, and Davante Gardner. Those three players will be the foundation of Marquette's team for the next three years at guard, wing, and post. However, with the talent Buzz has been bringing in, we're probably missing too many players to count.
A few months ago, it sounded like Birch. That may still be the case but 2012 recruit Steven Adams (photo at left by Kevin Stent, Sunday Star Times) is making lots of waves. He's rated as the No. 4 overall recruit by Rivals and is already being touted as potentially the top international player in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Questions about his academic eligibility aside (and whatever crap Jeff Goodman thinks about him), Ricky Ledo has the chance to make an amazing impact on his hometown of Providence. While the Kris Dunn verbal was equally as important, the fact that Ed Cooley was able to keep the talented local star home is a big deal.
Even if he only stays one or two years, Ledo can help bring wins to Friartown and also pave the way for other top recruits. Despite what you will hear about teams not really wanting him, Ledo ultimately chose Cooley over John Calipari, Bob Huggins, Jim Boehim, and Jim Calhoun. How is that for recruiting ammo?
Kris Dunn is a potential All American and a ground-breaking recruit for new head coach Ed Cooley. Good student, good player, and good kid.
Routers finally has a full roster and a highly anticipated freshman class coming in. It's going to be fun to watch them play, grow and improve together.
Kevin Willard. After a rough first season at the helm, Willard needs to start showing improvement with Seton Hall. The Pirates only lose Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope following this season, so he'll have plenty of time to make it work with his current cast. The problem with that? He still hasn't landed a prized recruit through his first two recruiting seasons. Time isn't running out, but the tick-tock of the pendulum is growing louder. Next year marks the 'oh-so' important third year of attempting to turn around this program and the results need to start accompanying the effort.
Anything with a core of Jawanza Poland, Nash, and Rudd. Recruiting news is sparse down here, so with the exception of 2013 PG Kasey Hill, I haven't heard of anything. We also have 7'3" Jordan Omogbehin on-campus, but he is still a 2 year project and will redshirt this year. Other than that...I got nothin.
St. John's Rumble in the Garden | @RumbleSBN The future is in Moe Harkless and D'Angelo Harrison and Ricardo Gathers. The others may be good players - and Sir'Dom may turn out to be a beastly Jason Richardson - but I think those three will be what make the Johnnies go in the coming years. And as long as Steve Lavin and his team are together, St. John's fans have a lot to look forward to.
I think this recruiting class entering this season will be a solid base for the future once Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph depart. Michael Carter-Williams, Trevor Cooney, and Rakeem Christmas should be a solid, inside-outside combination of players. They should be productive and on campus for the next few years at least.
I absolutely hate this question. I really don't want to predict the future when the present isn't so bad. There are no seniors on this team, and this 2011-12 roster has two seasons to figure out how to play together and win games. The last time that happened, Villanova went to the 2009 Final Four. If you press me, however, the answer is Ty Johnson and Ryan Arcidiacono — one of whom will run point after Maalik Wayns leaves school.
The incoming class (Ty Johnson, Darrun Hilliard, Markus Kennedy, Achraf Yacoubou and JayVaughn Pinkston) is pretty good. The staff has secured commitments from guard Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochufu for next season. If the freshmen can contribute to filling the scoring gap and re-establish the defense, then the Wildcats should be in good shape going forward.
The current freshman class - Ty Johnson, Markus Kennedy, Achraf Yacoubou, Darrun Hilliard & JayVaughn Pinkston
This year's freshman class is deep and talented, and the ability of those players to adjust to the college game will determine WVU's success over the next four years. But I'm going to take a pass on all of them and say Bob Huggins.
Luring Huggins to come home has been a boon for WVU, as no coach with his kind of resume' would consider a lifetime contract at WVU unless it was his alma mater. He brings a pride and toughness to the Mountaineers' style of play that resonates well with the fan base and his genuine love for the school and the state excite people about basketball at what is otherwise a football school.
Plus, he can recruit, which is not an easy thing to do in a conference with so many great programs and coaches. WVU basketball is all about Bob Huggins, and as long as he's there, the Mountaineers will hold their own.