Thursday, November 1, 2007

Big East Conference Preview


For more of my take on the Big East, visit the Big East Basketball Report,, and the Pittsburgh Sports Report.

Player of the Year: Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown

Newcomer of the Year: Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse

All-Conference Team:
G- Dominic James, Marquette
G- Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
F- Terrence Williams, Louisville
F- Jeff Adrien, Connecticut
C- Roy Hibbert, Georgetown

Second Team:

G- Jerel McNeal, Marquette
G- Edgar Sosa, Louisville
G- Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown
F- Geoff McDermott, Providence
C- Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida

Third Team:
G- Eric Devendorf, Syracuse
G- Eugene Harvey, Seton Hall
G/F- Brian Laing, Seton Hall
F- Paul Harris, Syracuse

F- Dajuan Summers, Georgetown

1. Georgetown: The Hoyas had an outstanding season a year ago, reaching the Final Four and winning both the Big East regular-season and conference titles. However, they do lose All-America and lottery pick Jeff Green, but John Thompson III should have more than enough firepower to make another deep run in March. It all starts with Roy Hibbert, the best center in the country by a long margin. He could have gone to the NBA, but he decided to return for his senior year and a shot at a title. “The NBA will hopefully still be there next year, so I’m going to have fun this year. I want to win a national championship,” Hibbert told reporters at the Big East Media Day. The All-America is still developing his game at both ends of the floor. Offensively, he uses his size to get points around the basket and is an adept passer out of the post. On the defensive side, he is a very good shot-blocker and rebounder but needs to become more mobile inside if he wants to become the next dominant big man in a long line of Georgetown centers. Returning at forward is DaJuan Summers, a developing combo forward who has a similar skill set to Green. He can do a variety of things, including shooting from long-range and taking players off the dribble. Expect him to take his game to the next level this year. Patrick Ewing Jr. may start, but his energy and athleticism make him the perfect sixth man. He provides good rebounding and can score close to the basket on dunks and pubacks. Vernon Macklin is solid close to the goal and will provide depth down low. The backcourt is also extremely solid. The starters don’t jump out at you with stats, but All-Big East guard Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp do a little of everything and are key cogs in the Hoyas’ attack. Wallace can shoot the ball well and does not turn the ball over, while Sapp produces in every category and can play multiple positions. Like Wallace, he takes great of the ball. Austin Freeman is a highly-touted freshman wing who can shoot the ball very well and should make an immediate impact. Fellow frosh Chris Wright will see plenty of time at the point, but a broken right foot will keep him out for now. Returnees Jeremiah Rivers and Tyler Crawford will also push for minutes. Projected Finish: NCAA

2. Louisville: The Cardinals finished last year on a high note, winning their last six regular-season games and dominating Stanford in the NCAA Tournament before falling in a heart-breaking loss to Texas A&M. With four starters and a wealth of talent back, Rick Pitino could be back in the Final Four in the near-future. Like Georgetown, Louisville’s main strength is its frontcourt. The Cardinals can go with a variety of looks and line-up options with the versatility and depth of this group. Terrence Williams is a versatile wing who is one of the better all-around players in the country—when he’s consistent. He goes through bouts of inconsistency with his shooting, but the rest of his game is terrific. Williams led the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists. All-conference big man David Padgett and Juan Palacios are both injury-prone seniors who are hoping to get through a full season. Padgett is a solid big man who can score efficiently with both hands, while Palacios is another versatile forward who can score and rebound. Derrick Caracter might be the most talented big man on the team, and is tough to stop around the rim. He has also improved his work ethic and maturity in the offseason. Earl Clark is a match-up nightmare and could see time in the backcourt as well. He is arguably the player on the team with the most potential. Freshman George Goode is talented, but the logjam in front of him means he won’t see too much time, while Terrance Farley could see minutes down low. In the backcourt, point guard Edgar Sosa leads the way. He played very well at the end of the year, and could emerge as one of the best lead guards in the country. He can get to the basket with ease, and is a solid distributor due to his playmaking ability. He is a decent outside shooter, but needs to improve his defense. Jerry Smith will start next to him because of his outstanding three-point shooting. The Cardinals don’t have a lot of outside shooters, and Smith is one of the best in the Big East. Junior Andre McGee is very quick at the point, and will back-up Sosa. Clark and Williams can swing to the two if necessary. Projected Finish: NCAA

3. Marquette: The Golden Eagles were inconsistent last season. At times, they looked like a potential Final Four team, in wins at Louisville and at Pittsburgh, while at other times they looked like an NIT, especially in a loss to North Dakota State and in three-point wins against Valparaiso and Idaho State. This year, with everyone back, Tom Crean hopes to have a team with less ups-and-downs. It starts in the backcourt, where Marquette is home to one of the best three-guard lineups in the country. Dominic James struggled last season with his shot, but will look to return to his freshman-season form, in which he became one of the best point guards in the country. He is fearless when driving to the basket, and is also solid at finding his teammates. Jerel McNeal is one of the best two-way players in the country. He can lock down opponents on the defensive end, and is also a good offensive player. However, he turns the ball over too often, and needs to improve that to reach his true potential. Wesley Matthews does everything well, but is not much of a shooter from long-range. He is a solid rebounder and passer. David Cubillan is a terrific outside shooter, while Ball State transfer Maurice Acker is very quick and averaged double-figures in the MAC. The frontcourt will be the key for the Golden Eagles. Ousmane Barro returns at center. He is a long 6-10 center who provides athleticism and the ability to run the floor. Barro had a decent season last year, scoring and rebounding well on the inside. At the power forward position, Dan Fitzgerald and Lazar Hayward will fight for the starting job. Fitzgerald is extremely versatile and can play nearly any position on the court—and has in his four years at Marquette. He is a very good three-point shooter and a solid al-around performer. Hayward is very tough to stop around the basket despite his 6-6 size, but needs to improve his perimeter game. Freshman Trevor Mbakwe will also see plenty of time down low. He is very athletic and is tough to defend around the rim due to his explosiveness and dunking ability. Projected Finish: NCAA

4. Syracuse: The Orange had a rough finish to last season, despite winning six of their last eight games. The disappointment stems from Selection Sunday, when the Orange were left out of the NCAA Tournament in favor of teams like Stanford and Arkansas even though they had 23 wins overall, including ten in the Big East. ‘Cuse loses its entire frontcourt, including All-Big East forward Demetris Nichols. He will be replaced by stud freshman Donte Greene. Greene is a very good outside shooter who can also score going to the basket. Defensively, he is long but not overly strong. He will team with Paul Harris to form a very solid forward tandem. Harris came into school with tons of potential, and despite a sub-par year a season ago, this could be his breakout campaign. He is very tough to stop around the basket due to his strength, and is a tenacious rebounder despite his 6-5 size. Rounding out the starting frontcourt will be redshirt sophomore Arinze Onuaku. He is a good rebounder who is also a solid offensive player if he can stay healthy. Splitting the center duties with him will be freshman Rick Jackson. He is a very good inside scorer and rebounder who could be a very effective player for Jim Boheim this year. JC transfer Kristof Ongenaet and Sean Williams will also push for time. In the backcourt, the Orange could feature one of the better duos in the conference by the end of the season. Eric Devendorf is a talented scorer and shooter who can get to the basket and also knock down threes if given space. He had to play the point last year, though, but will be able to move over to the wing this season. That is because of the arrival of McDonald’s All-American point guard Jonny Flynn, one of the best recruits in the country. He has outstanding quickness and floor vision, and is one of the best passers in the conference. He is also a terrific defender who will help at the front of Syracuse’s zone. Josh Wright has experience playing the point, and will provide depth and insurance in case Flynn falters. Freshman Antonio Jardine is a scorer who will see time on the wing. Projected Finish: NCAA

5. Villanova: Jay Wright seems to find a way to win, no matter what sort of lineup he puts out on the floor. He ran four guards two years ago, and made it within one game of the Final Four. Last year, he had a more standard lineup, but had a freshman point guard—and the Wildcats still won 22 games and made the NCAA Tournament. This season, expect at least two fresh faces in the starting lineup—and possibly no starter taller than 6-8. It all starts with a loaded perimeter group, led by the aforementioned freshman Scottie Reynolds, now a sophomore. He is one of the best guards in the country and should take a step forward this season with more help on the perimeter. He needs to improve his shooting, but is extremely difficult to defend when he is knocking down his shots. Starting next to him will likely be two freshmen, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. Fisher is a stud point guard and can both score and distribute extremely well. He is a very good playmaker and can play off the ball as well. Stokes is a flat-out shooter. He has great three-point range and can get hot from behind the arc. He needs to improve his dribble-drive though. Sophomore Reggie Redding has improved in the offseason, according to Wright, and will push for a starting job. He has already demonstrated the ability to play tough defense. Another freshman, Malcolm Grant, is a solid guard who can score and pass the ball well. Up front, ‘Nova will likely go another year without a go-to post player, but it should still be fine. Shane Clark and Dante Cunningham are two combo forwards that can do a variety of things. Cunningham will be the team’s best frontcourt player. He is athletic and is active on the glass, with his main scoring opportunities coming around the basket. Clark is a solid defender and rebounder who should become a better offensive player this year. Redshirt freshman Antonio Pena could be the post scorer Wright is looking for. He can grab rebounds and finish well on the interior. Sophomore Casiem Drummond and redshirt freshman Andrew Ott are decent off the bench, and Dwayne Anderson will provide depth on the wing. Projected Finish: NCAA

6. Pittsburgh: The Panthers go through the same routine every year. They lose two or three key starters, usually including one star, and everybody thinks it’s going to be a down year for Jamie Dixon and co. Then Pitt goes out, wins 25 games or so, and wins a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. It’s like clockwork. This year is no different. The Panthers lose three starters, including Antonio Graves, Levon Kendall, and star center Aaron Gray, one of the best big men in the country last year. But Pitt should still make the NCAA Tournament again. The Panthers are led by their deep and talented perimeter group. Levance Fields is a crafty point guard who takes care of the ball and does not turn it over often. He is also a good long-range shooter who makes plays when driving to the basket. Ronald Ramon is one of the best three-point shooters in the Big East, and always seems to do whatever the team needs him to do in order to win. Mike Cook was a double-figure scorer last year, and could become the team’s go-to-guy this season. He is a very good shooter, both inside and outside the arc, but can also go to the basket. Senior Keith Benjamin provides athleticism off the bench, while freshman Bradley Wanamaker can score and defend well. Up front, Sam Young and Tyrell Biggs are the leading returnees. Young has loads of potential and has yet to have a break-out season. This could be his year. He can finish very efficiently and is very athletic. Biggs had some solid contests last year, and provides good rebounding and defense. A large group of newcomers will help replace Gray down low. “I couldn’t be happier with the way they have developed—the four guys that have been playing at that spot. We’re going to find productivity out of that group,” Dixon said at the Media Day. DeJuan Blair is the most highly-touted of the group, and is a very good rebounder and inside-outside scorer. Cassin Diggs has been a major surprise in practices thus far, said Dixon. Gary McGhee and Austin Wallace will also fight for minutes. Wing Gilbert Brown is very athletic and can score well off the bench. Projected Finish: NCAA

7. Connecticut: The Huskies hope to put last season’s 17-14 (6-10 in the Big East) debacle behind them and quickly move forward to this year. “It was a real difficult year,” guard Jerome Dyson said. “It’s hard for us to go down as one of those teams that didn’t win.” UConn returns all five starters, and Jim Calhoun is one of the better coaches in the country. It starts with a deep and talented frontcourt. Jeff Adrien is a double-double lock every time he steps on the court, and he could be even better this year. He is tough to defend around the basket due to his strength, but has also improved his shooting touch in the offseason. He is also a relentless rebounder and a solid shot-blocker. 7-3 sophomore Hasheem Thabeet returns at center. He is an outstanding shot-blocker who affected opposing post players a great deal. However, his offensive game is nowhere near his defensive game yet, but he improved his post moves in the offseason by working against NBA players and former UConn stars. “If I can score against Emeka Okafor, I can score against anyone,” Thabeet said. Backing them up will be Curtis Kelly, the team’s most improved player in the offseason according to Dyson, and sophomore big men Jonathan Mandeldove and Gavin Edwards. Kelly is a tough scorer around the basket, while Mandeldove and Edwards will provide depth. Stanley Robinson and Marcus Johnson will man the small forward position again. Robinson has terrific potential and just needs to play more consistently to become a star in the Big East. Johnson is very athletic and can finish in transition. In the backcourt, sophomores Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins, and junior A.J. Price return. Dyson could be the next star in a long line of Husky wings that have gone on to excel in the NBA. However, he may be playing more point guard this season, according to Calhoun. He is a very good scorer who will be the team’s go-to-guy on the perimeter. Price started at the point last year, and providing good scoring and playmaking. Wiggins is extremely quick and provides good scoring and defense. Senior Craig Austrie is a former starter and will provide leadership and bench support this year. Freshman Donnell Beverly is the team’s only freshman. Projected Finish: NCAA

8. Providence: Talking to various coaches around the league, the team mentioned the most when referring to clubs hoping to move up in the standings was Providence. The Friars return four starters, and the talk of the conference heading into the year is PC. “I think they’re very skilled and experienced, which are two good places to start, and they’re well-coached,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. “I think they’re going to be an NCAA Tournament team.” The Friars are led by an underrated perimeter group. Sharaud Curry is a scoring point guard who can shoot the three and distribute the ball well. He is a playmaker. However, he will miss several games with an injury. Senior forward Charles Burch isn’t worried though. “I think it’s going to hurt us initially,” he said. “It also can help us, because it will allow us to see what else we have. It’s going to test us.” Stepping in for Curry while he is out will be Dwain Williams and Manhattan transfer Jeff Xavier. Williams stepped in for Curry last season when he was injured and provided solid three-point shooting and scoring. Xavier is an explosive scorer who was one of the top players in the MAAC two years ago. He is also a very solid defender. Shooting guard Weyinmi Efejuku is an extremely underrated guard within the conference. He is a very good shooter and scorer who was inconsistent at times last year. If he stays focused, he will be one of the best players in the league. Brian McKenzie is a good defender who can score. Geoff McDermott is one of the best all-around players in the country. He is a solid scorer from the forward spot, but is a tremendous rebounder and passer. If he stays healthy, look out—he is a star. Jonathan Kale also returns up front. He is a good scorer and rebounder who has improved range. The key in the frontcourt will be center Randal Hanke, who took last season off for personal reasons but averaged 13 points and 5 rebounds two seasons ago. He is an extremely efficient shooter who can block shots. Burch will provide depth, as will sophomore big man Ray Hall. Jamine Peterson will find a way to get minutes. Projected Finish: NCAA

9. Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish finally broke through the Selection Sunday sadness that has faced them the past few years, garnering a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament before promptly losing to Winthrop in the first-round. On top of that, the Irish lose wings Russell Carter and Colin Falls, one of the highest-scoring tandems in the country. Coach Mike Brey thinks ND could be better, though. “I think we have a chance to be better because we have eight veterans back that have won together,” he said. “Our group played together and won together, and feels like there is some unfinished business.” Leading the way is the backcourt duo of Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson, two point guards who will start together this year. McAlarney is a prolific scorer who was kicked out of school last year for marijuana possession. However, he is back and brings his penetrating abilities with him. He is a solid playmaker. Jackson is more of a pure point guard, and will likely handle most of the ball-handling duties this season. He is very quick and can get to the basket. “What people forget is that when this team found itself against Maryland and Alabama in December, they played together 25 minutes,” Brey said. “We’ve already done this.” Providing depth in the backcourt will be wing Ryan Ayers, who can shoot the three, and freshman Ty Proffitt. Up front, Notre Dame returns forwards Rob Kurz, Luke Harangody, and Zach Hillesland. Kurz will be the senior leader for the team, and can do a variety of things on the court. He can score both inside and outside, and is also a very good rebounder. Harangody is extremely strong and is a bruiser on the interior. He is efficient from the field and can finish around the basket due to his strength and surprising athleticism. Hillesland is another inside-outside forward who can create match-up problems. Luke Zeller can step out and hit the three-pointer, despite his 6-11 size. Freshman Tyrone Nash will likely see plenty of time off the bench. Projected Finish: NIT

10. West Virginia: The Mountaineers could the most interesting team in the league. They return four starters from an NIT title team, and bring in one of the most successful coaches around in Bob Huggins. So why the low expectations? Simply put, the current WVU players might not fit Huggins’ system very well, compared to how they were used in former coach John Beilein’s system. Despite that, expect this team to contend. It starts on the perimeter with point guard Darris Nichols, one of the more underrated lead guards in the conference. He is a very good distributor who hardly ever turns the ball over, and can also score very well. Nichols, like most WVU players, can shoot the three. Alex Ruoff is one of the best all-around players in the league. Even though he played on the wing, he finished second in the conference in assists, and was also a terrific defender. The 6-6 junior can knock down perimeter shots. At forward, Joe Alexander and Da’Sean Butler, both double-figure scorers, return. Alexander is very athletic and can finish well inside. He also needs to improve his rebounding. Butler was the sixth man last year, but needs to step up this season. He is athletic and is a good scorer and rebounder. Expect him to have a big year. Down low, Jamie Smalligan will start. He can shoot well from the perimeter and the 7-footer is also a solid rebounder. The depth on the perimeter will come from sophomore Joe Mazzulla, a solid combo guard. Wellington Smith made the most of his minutes last year at forward, and John Flowers could see time immediately as a freshman off the bench. Projected Finish: NIT

11. Seton Hall: The Pirates are another team that could be a potential surprise in the Big East. They return four starters from last year, and will move into a new arena this year in an attempt to ignite some fan support for a rising Seton Hall program under Bobby Gonzalez. The perimeter is the key to the team. It will be led by sophomore guard Eugene Harvey and senior wing Brian Laing, the two leading scorers in the Big East last season. Harvey was one of the best freshmen point guards in the country last season, and might be primed to become a household name across America. Laing was the team's leading scorer and rebounder a year ago, and can do a variety of things on the court. Three more perimeter players also return to the line-up and rotation. 6-2 Jamar Nutter is a good scorer and will look to improve his shooting this year; 5-11 Paul Gause is a terrific defensive player who Gonzalez thinks is extremely underrated on both a Big East and national level; and 6-4 Larry Davis can shoot the three with efficiency. Gonzalez thinks Davis could be a sleeper. Another impact player in the backcourt will be freshman Jeremy Hazell, an outstanding shooter and scorer from the perimeter. The frontcourt will be the key for the Pirates. John Garcia is the lone returnee in the frontcourt, and he has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. However, according to sources near the program, Garcia has made enormous strides in the offseason and could be a go-to post player this year. The rest of the frontcourt will be comprised of newcomers Mike Davis, Michael Glover, Augustine Okosun, and Brandon Walters. Davis is a decent scorer in the post and can also rebound and play defense. Glover could start right away next to Garcia. Okosun and Walters will provide depth. Projected Finish: NIT

12. Cincinnati: The Bearcats finished last in the conference last season, going only 2-14 in league play and 11-19 overall. However, they do return four starters and will be much improved this year. Cincy had a key loss, though, when former Texas transfer Mike Williams was lost for the year with a ruptured Achilles in preseason practice. The Bearcats have a very solid inside-outside in guard Deonta Vaughn and forward John Williamson. Vaughn is a very good scorer and all-around play who needs to improve his perimeter shot in order to take the next step. The 6-6 Williamson is a very good scorer and rebounder who has the ability to outplay players bigger than him because of his tenacity on the glass. Joining Williamson in the frontcourt will be returning starter Marcus Sikes. He is a solid scorer and rebounder but he can also distribute the ball and knock down the perimeter shots. Freshman Alvin Mitchell is going to be a potential star on the wing. He can score very well when going to the basket. Down low, freshman Anthony McClain will make an immediate impact due to his 6-11 size and shot-blocking ability. Adam Hrycaniuk is an inside-outside performer who will push for a starting job. On the perimeter with Vaughn will be Jamual Warren and Marvin Gentry. Warren can get to the basket and create plays for himself and teammates. He is also a solid defender who can rebound. Gentryis a decent perimeter shooter who could take a big step forward this year. Freshmen Rashad Bishop and Darnell Wilks will provide depth on the wing. Projected Finish: No Postseason

13. St. John’s: The Red Storm are still looking to take the major step forward that everyone has been anticipating—or hoping—for the past several years. Instead, Norm Roberts has steadily improved this team, going from 6 wins the year before he arrived to 16 last season. However, the Johnnies lose three starters and could struggle to make the Big East Tournament this year. The returnees are led by Eugene Lawrence and Anthony Mason Jr. Lawrence is one of the best all-around statistical contributors in the league with his ability to score, rebound, and distribute. He lost weight in the offseason and will take on more of an aggressive role this season. Mason could be an All-Big East player by the end of the year. He demonstrated flashes of his potential last season, and can score in a variety of ways. When his shots are falling, look out. Larry Wright is a good shooter who will fight for a starting job next to Lawrence, while Tomas Jasiulionis will provide depth down low. The key to this team will be its deep crop of freshmen. The leader of the group is forward Justin Burrell. He will start right away and could become a dominant inside presence before his time is done in Queens. Also up front are Dele Coker and Sean Evans. Coker is a very good shot-blocker who needs to improve his raw offensive game, while Evans is a combo forward who has great athleticism and can do a variety of things. The main newcomer in the backcourt is Malik Boothe, a 5-9 point guard who will push for a starting job. He is a very good defender and takes care of the ball, and is extremely quick going to the basket. D.J. Kennedy is another good all-around player who will see plenty of minutes, and Paris Horne is a great athlete who can run the floor and score. Mike Cavataio will provide depth. Projected Finish: No Postseason

14. DePaul: The Blue Demons started off strong last season, including a win over Kansas, but stumbled during the middle part of the year, and was relegated to the NIT despite a 9-7 Big East record. Furthermore, they lose stars Sammy Mejia and Wilson Chandler, the latter an early-entry to the NBA. However, DePaul brings in a very good recruiting class to help replace the talent lost, including stud freshmen Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal. Tucker is a 6-5 wing that is very athletic and provides very good scoring and solid rebounding and defense. Koshwal is another highly-touted recruit who will start immediately. He is a good interior scorer and rebounder. JC transfer Matija Poscic is an experienced big man who will see playing time right away. 7-2 Kene Obi and Mario Stula will also help in the frontcourt. As for the returnees, Karron Clarke leads the way. He can do a variety of things on the court, but is a very solid three-point shooter. He can also rebound fairly well. Senior Wesley Green has a chance to start in the post. He finished last year strong and needs to become more consistent. On the perimeter, the Blue Demons need to find a point guard. Sophomore Will Walker could be the best pure point guard on the team. He is quick and can score and distribute. Junior Jabari Currie is a good shooter who led the team in assists last year and takes care of the ball. Cliff Clinkscales is quick and can pass well. Projected Finish: No Postseason

15. South Florida: The Bulls avoided the cellar last year, finishing 3-13 in the conference and only 12-18 overall. It was an improvement over the year before, when USF won only 7 games. However, this year the Bulls bring in a new coach, former Arkansas head man Stan Heath, who was fairly successful in Fayetteville. Due to the lack of success South Florida has seen, one of the best centers in the country lives in relative anonymity. Kentrell Gransberry has one of the best statistical seasons of any big man in the nation last year, averaging close to 16 points and over 11 rebounds per game, while shooting very efficiently from the field. He is an excellent rebounder who is tough to stop around the basket. Point guard Chris Howard provides a good perimeter balance. He is a very good distributor who can also rebound fairly well and score a couple of baskets per game. Solomon Bozeman is a good scorer and a decent shooter who needs to provide production from the wing after playing the point last year. On the wing will be junior Jesus Verdejo, a very good scorer who is also athletic and can finish around the basket. Adamu Saaka and freshman Dante Curry provide depth. Rounding out the lineup will be either forward Aris Williams, a solid rebounder who wasn’t able to practice until recently due to offseason surgery on his knee, or newcomers Mobolaji Ajayi and Orane Chin. Ajayi is a JC transfer who can run the floor and provides athleticism, while Chin is a tremendous athlete and defender who will score and rebound. IUPUI transfer Mohommed Esseghir will back-up Gransberry. Projected Finish: No Postseason

16. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights still have not taken the huge step forward that the RU football team did. They had 20 wins four years ago, but dropped to 10 the next year. They had 19 wins two years ago, but only had 10 last season. Without any sort of consistency from year-to-year, it is going to be tough for Rutgers to make waves in the Big East. RU does have some solid players though. JR Inman is an underrated player within the conference, but he has a chance to breakout this year. He is a good scorer and a very good rebounder who needs to become more consistent. Also up front will be 6-9 senior Byron Joynes and 6-11 sophomore Hamady Ndiaye, the only other two legitimate low-post options for Fred Hill. Joynes is a good rebounder and defender who lacks a consistent inside game, while Ndiaye is a good athlete who plays well around the rim. On the wing will likely be Jaron Griffin, a decent scorer and rebounder who was horrendous shooting the ball last year. Providing depth up front will be freshman Earl Pettis. In the backcourt, Anthony Farmer returns, but he will have to fight to regain his starting spot. He was a decent scorer and distributor, but he struggled mightily with his shot and playmaking abilities. Furthermore, freshmen Corey Chandler could make an immediate impact at guard. He is a big-time scorer who can get points in a variety of ways. Two other newcomers that will make an impact are point guard Mike Coburn and shooter Justin Sofman. Coburn can create for himself and his teammates, while Sofman is a long-range specialist. The only other factor in the backcourt will be returnee Courtney Nelson, who, like the rest of the Scarlet Knights, was an abysmal shooter last year. Projected Finish: No Postseason

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  1. i was trying to add this blog as an .rss feed, but the feed is all messed up. symbols and chinese or japanese...