(This is the second of a series. For a list of participants and who is leaving the Big East, see Part I)
This is the second of four installments of the July roundtable series with Big East bloggers. This one will cover the incoming recruiting classes for Big East men's basketball teams. Check back tomorrow for our pundits discussing the concept of a "down" Big East, and on Friday we'll talk about the 2011 recruiting classes.
Below, get to know the players who will try to score points for DePaul, the huge incoming class for Marquette, the European imports for Seton Hall, the beast that is JayVaughn Pinkston, the guys that will try to fill Greg Monroe's shoes, plus notes on recruits from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. John's.
Q2: Tell us about your recruiting class for next year (about 20 words per player if you need to describe them). Will they have a strong impact?
answers, after the jump.
Blue Demons Nation: Moses Morgan may lessen the hole left by the departure of Will Walker. Morgan will be a shooter/scorer for the Blue Demons, and has impressed those who have seen him this summer around Chicago.
Brandon Young is DePaul’s latest attempt at getting a quality PG, though he is now being looked at as being more of a combo guard by new coach Oliver Purnell. He will be good athletic ability, along with tenacious defense to the Blue Demons.
Cleveland Melvin is the latest addition to the Blue Demons, as the former UConn commitment decided on the Blue Demons this spring. He is a top level athlete, who will hopefully bring energy to the team. His length should cause problems in the Purnell/Ron Bradley press.
Chicago College Basketball: DePaul still has two open scholarships for the 2010 recruiting class, so it's possible that another name gets added to this list, but at the moment the class stands as:
- Brandon Young - A 6'3" point guard from the Washington, D.C. area.
- Cleveland Melvin - A 6'8" power forward from Massachusetts.
- Moses Morgan - A 6'5" small forward/shooting guard from Las Vegas.
Walter Pitchford, a center from Indiana, was also supposed to be on that list, but after a long saga the Blue Demons have officially released him from his National Letter of Intent. My guess is that Purnell is trying to find one more guy for this season and that DePaul will end up "banking" the other scholarship for the class of 2011. The highest rated of those prospects is Young, but point guard is the one place where the Blue Demons still have a bit of depth, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of impact each of these players makes on the court.
Cracked Sidewalks: About half the roster for Marquette is new this year. It includes two top 100 recruits (Vander Blue and Jamail Jones), a JUCO All-American (Jae Crowder), a quick Chicago PG in Reggie Smith, and then some additional beef in Davante Gardner. Former top 100 player Jamil Wilson will sit out the year after transferring from Oregon.
Expectations are high for Blue, Jones, and Crowder. Expectations for Blue are already sky-high after participating on the USA U-18 squad this summer – unjustifiably so in our mind. Crowder could emerge as Hayward’s replacement in the starting lineup.
Hoya Prospectus: Four freshmen will be joining the Hoyas this year. At least two should see some court-time:
- Nate Lubick - 6'9" power forward, athletic, strong rebounder, likely starter as sophomore, possible point-forward, should get significant minutes
- Markel Starks - 6'2" point guard, quick, reliable shooter, likely starter as sophomore, should see some court-time
- Moses Abraham - 6'9" center, defensive ability but questionable offense, ideal for a red-shirt but not with the Hoyas' thin front-court
- Aaron Bowen - 6'5" swingman, shooter, a bit of a mystery until some reliable scouting from Kenner League can be reported.
VUHoops: This was originally a three-man recruiting class for Jay Wright, but Markus Kennedy decided to spend an extra year in high school. James Bell was the first member of the class to commit, and while ESPN.com calls him a small forward, he is listed as a guard for Nova. He's a very athletic 6'5" wing who can shoot with good range. He plays well off the dribble and can get past defenders into the paint.
JayVaughn Pinkston was a McDonalds All-American who played power forward in high school. At 6'6", however, it remains to be seen where he will actually line up as a Wildcat. He has shooting range out to 3-point territory and has suggested that he views himself as a guard on the next level. At Villanova, though, he will play on the frontline and is expected to contribute there right away.
Villanova by the Numbers: JayVaughn Pinkston, a 6-7, 235 pound #3/#4 out of Bishop Loughlin HS in New York City -- Curtis Sumpter's alma mater . A McDonald's All-American who was named New York State's Player of the Year in 2010, Pinkston resembles Sumpter in that his front court skills (offensive and defensive) are farther along at this point than his "wing" skills. An athletic player of whom the official website says "...The range on his jumper extends to 3-point territory...".
James Bell, a 6-5 225 pound wing, was born in Plainfield, NJ, smack in the heart of Villanova's recruiting territory, and raised in Orlando, FL, surprised many who did not realize he had roots in this area, when he verballed in the spring of 2009. Bell is explosive and athletic, scores easily in transition, but will probably have to adjust to a more structured offense. His recruiting service ratings rose quickly in the summer of 2009, but have settled this past year to the somewhere in the #70-#99 range.
Both are on campus taking courses and working into shape. The squad has 10 scholarship players available for 2010-2011, so both should see minutes, but neither is expected to be a "go-to guy" on offense in 2011.
The Nova Blog: Jay brought in 2 quality players. G/F James Bell is an athletic specimen who should see playing time right away with the departure of Taylor King. Bell is great at finishing at the rim and has a developing outside shot. He'll start out behind Corey Stokes and Dominic Cheek, but I expect him to see the court a lot in the OOC schedule.
SF/PF Jayvaughn Pinkston was ranked the top player in New York City last year, so anytime you can get that on campus you have to be excited. Pinkston is a bruiser, and his style should suit him well in the BEAST. He's a little undersized for the 4 at 6'6", but the McDonald's All-American has been a handful for everyone he faced, including some higher ranked players. His perimeter game is developing, but with the departure of Taylor King, he'll see the court immediately.
GonzoBall: Arguably the biggest recruit to come to South Orange in four years was brought in by the Seton Hall administration, not the coach. After a tumultuous four years, a new coach has arrived in Kevin Willard.
While the players that have been brought in are important, a change in philosophy and execution might be the most noticeable difference in the 2010 Pirates. With a focus on defense and rebounding, Coach Willard will give the Hall some much needed stability on the sidelines.
In between the lines, Coach Willard has brought in players from Europe including recent commit 6-11 Aaron Geramipoor who hails from England.
Teaming in the front-court will be Patrik Auda, from the Czech Republic; he was the first commit to Coach Willard. Joining him is Anali Okoloji. Okoloji is a 6-8 forward who will see minutes that will enable Pope to have a breather. While Auda and Okolji are expected to immediately contribute to the team, Geramipoor is looked at as more of a developmental player and at 6-11 and 17 years old, the time will be given to him to develop.
Coach Willard also snagged Ole Miss transfer Eniel Polynice, who will be eligible to play this year after graduating in three years from Ole Miss. Polynice will be continuing his education at The Hall in a communications graduate program that Ole Miss does not offer, allowing him to play immediately for the Pirates. He will compete to break into the starting lineup or possibly settle as the 6th man. A former Bobby Gonzalez recruit, Fuquan Edwin is an explosive player at guard/forward position and the most highly ranked player coming out of high school to Seton Hall.
Moore and Wright have been practicing with the team as part of a summer basketball league here in Pittsburgh and both have looked fairly good. I expect Moore to contribute a little more than Wright this year. Both could be redshirted, but Moore is probably capable of contributing a little bit right away.
Epps is a highly regarded recruit and has aspirations of playing immediately. But since he won't join the team until the Fall, he could be a little behind. That coupled with PG Travon Woodall's improved play at the end of last year could mean that Epps sees little time.
Bearcats Blog: The recruiting class this season is just 2 players. Justin Jackson is an acclaimed power forward, making ESPN's top 100 list. The other is center Kelvin Gaines, who was ranked the 17th best center by ESPN. Both were rivals 3* recruits. I think Jackson could have a strong impact. He wanted to play at UC, and I think he can follow the tradition of solid UC power forwards. Redshirt guard Sean Kilpatrick was redshirted to take over for Vaughn, so he's got a huge burden to undertake as well as the other freshman.
Rumble in the Garden: This year, the recruiting class is wing/ forward Dwayne Polee. There was rumor of a new commitment from Michael Perez, an unheralded guard from Tuscon, Arizona; but other reports refute his supposed commitment. Of course, unheralded US high school signees in July are usually not impact players. Another recruit, Remi Barry, may also be in the mix... though there is only 1 scholarship open right now.
Dwayne Polee: extremely athletic jumping jack – and RSCI Top 100 player – is an undersized power forward looking to transition to the wing. He’ll get some spot time while working on his shooting and his handle.