College basketball is sold to the casual fan through narratives and boldface names, along with the name on the front of the jersey. Guys like Luke Harangody are expected to carry their team; but who else will emerge from their team to be the guy opposing teams have to stop, the guy that gets the lead in the sports news? I asked my fellow bloggers in the Big East. Part 1 and part 2 were published earlier.
This roundtable's participants are below, with links to the pages on their sites with their full answers:
Black and Green Irish Blog (Notre Dame)
Chicago College Basketball (DePaul)
Eye of a Panther (Pittsburgh)
Hoya Prospectus (Georgetown)
I Bleed Blue and White (Villanova)
Orange 44 (Syracuse)
The Rumble in the Garden (St. John's)
U Conn Blog
Villanova by the Numbers
I'll be posting the answers - one question at a time - on this site. There are 7 questions in total, and they should all be up in a few days. It's a big league, after all, and large group of participants. Enjoy, spread on the message boards and forums, and comment freely (but with civility).
Our respondents were asked the following: the Big East enters the season without a lot of players who have carryover buzz from last season - Luke Harangody and perhaps Scottie Reynolds are the names a casual fan might be most familiar with. Which players will step up and be the "face of the league"?
You will see the names Harangody, Reynolds, Kemba Walker, Greg Monroe, and Lazar Hayward frequently.
Q. The Big East enters the season without a lot of players who have carryover buzz from last season - Luke Harangody and perhaps Scottie Reynolds are the names a casual fan might be most familiar with. Which players will step up and be the "face of the league"?
Black and Green Irish Blog (Notre Dame): : Again, I'll pick the easiest choice for an ND blogger and say Harangody will be the face of the league. He's already well-known enough around the country and has to carry this team if the Irish want to get back to the top four. If things fall in place, it's going to say big things about his leadership.
Orange 44 (Syracuse): I think this is the season for Scottie Reynolds. If last year was the "year of the Center" for the Big East, this season should be about the guards. I have never been big on Luke Harangody, perhaps because as of late Syracuse seems to have Notre Dame’s number. But Scottie Reynolds is always dangerous when he takes the floor, no matter what team he is playing. He always gives his team a chance to win, and is a bone fide team leader. I believe he will get the most attention, and probably rightfully so.
Eye of a Panther (Pittsburgh): Other than those two, I'd say Greg Monroe, who was the Rookie of the Year and Lazar Hayward who averaged over 16 points per game. With Marquette losing their three amazing guards, Haywood could be a darkhorse to surpass Harangody for the league's top scorer. Deonta Vaughn is a beast and freshmen Lance Stephenson and Dante Taylor could also step up and be key players for the league immediately.
Chicago College Basketball (DePaul): This year seems like Luke Harangody's year. He had an awesome season last season, but it got lost in the fact that Notre Dame as a team wasn't too good. This year they'll probably be an NCAA caliber squad and he'll get the due he deserves. Two other names: Georgetown center Greg Monroe - the national media loves the Hoyas; Marquette forward Lazar Hayward - will the be story of the year if the Golden Eagles do anything this season.
U Conn Blog: If I had to bet my life on it, I'd say Scottie Reynolds, but seeing as I loathe him as an opponent I'll instead go with Kemba Walker, who fills me with hope and joy every time he steps onto the court. The guy practically won an elite-8 game by himself and has done more than anyone else to make me forget the name George Mason, so Walker it is.
I Bleed Blue and White (Villanova): As much as it pains me to admit it, Greg Monroe is probably going to have a monster year and be considered the best big man in the conference. He was in the spotlight last year and it looked to be too much for him. Now that he’s off the radar a bit, he’s going to make people realize he’s here again. And as a homer pick, Corey Fisher. We’re already talking about him possibly leaving for the draft after this season. He’s going to be up there with the best guards in the country.
Hoya Prospectus (Georgetown): Kemba Walker - UConn will get plenty of national TV games, and he's the best talent on that team.
Samardo Samuels - Same role for Louisville as Walker for UConn.
Corey Stokes - Nova will be a preseason Final Four contender, but need a lot more than Reynolds. Stokes will get his due.
Lazar Hayward - Marquette needs to win some games for this one, but it will be the Lazar Hayward show.
Greg Monroe - Likely lottery pick, if he lives up to expectations.
Villanova by the Numbers: IBBW identified Greg Monroe out of Georgetown in his blog - he is a good choice. My 2 cents - Samardo Samuels out of Louisville will draw early media attention, as will Corey Fisher from Villanova. Other good candidates include Jerome Dyson out of Connecticut, Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh, Lazar Hayward of Marquette and Devin Ebanks from West Virginia.
The Rumble (St. John's): Many new faces mean many new narratives, new go-to guys. I'd pick Kemba Walker. I would choose Jeremy Hazell, whose solid scoring has gone unnoticed. And with actual depth, Seton Hall might eke out some surprising wins. Then again, Seton Hall games hardly ever get national coverage, so Hazell will continue to be "underrated."