Big East Morning Five: 02.10.12 Edition
Posted by Patrick Prendergast on February 10th, 2012
- The 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game rosters were announced yesterday. A prestigious honor for 24 four-year high school seniors, the event will take place on March 28 at 9:30 PM eastern at Chicago’s United Center and be televised on ESPN. The East roster will feature two Big East commits in center Dajuan Coleman who will attend Syracuse and point guard Kris Dunn who is headed to Providence. There are also five Mc-Donald’s All-Americans who have yet to make their pledge, including three who are being coveted by Big East schools. While Duke is rumored to be the favorite for Philadelphia forward Amile Jefferson, Villanova remains a strong contender and Connecticut is in the mix as well. The Huskies are also in the picture with Georgia forward Tony Parker, as is Georgetown who would also love to lock up Devonta Pollard, a forward from Mississippi.
- Perhaps even more astounding than Villanova’s comeback victory over Providence on Tuesday was that the Wildcats were able to climb back from a 19 point second-half deficit without their leading scorer Maalik Wayns, who was forced out of the game for good with a knee injury prior to the run. Wayns (17.8 PPG, 4.5 APG, 4.0 RPG) has been held out of practice since the game while awaiting results from an MRI he underwent on Wednesday. Those results came back yesterday and revealed a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee. Wayns’ playing status is day-to-day. Fortunately for Wayns and Villanova they do not play again until Wednesday, February 15 at South Florida, so it is possible Wayns will not miss any game action.
- After dropping a close overtime contest to #2 Syracuse, Georgetown received some good news yesterday when it learned that assistant coach Kenya Hunter was released from the hospital. Hunter was not able to make the trip to Syracuse as he was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital upon becoming ill and passing out after the Hoyas’ practice on Tuesday. While in the hospital Hunter underwent tests but no other information about the cause of his illness or current condition have been reported. Certainly Hunter’s release from the hospital was an encouraging sign however.
- We always knew Rick Pitino could recruit players, but what about programs? Pitino has been a vocal proponent of Big East stability since things went into flux as a result of conference realignment, and if you listen to Josh Pastner, head coach of newly minted Big East member Memphis, Pitino’s lobbying sealed the deal for his Tigers. “We play Louisville next year as part of a home-and-home series,” said Pastner, “I really believe Coach Pitino deserves a standing ovation when Louisville comes here because one of the main reason we got into the Big East was through Coach Pitino’s public politicking for us to get in.” Memphis represents a welcome addition to the Big East from a basketball standpoint, bringing with them a tremendous hardwood tradition and great backing as evidenced by their average attendance of 16,500 per game.
- Like any good recruiter Rick Pitino, despite landing his big fish in Memphis, does not rest on his laurels and continues to work. Yesterday in an interview with Jeff Goodman and Bruce Pearl on SiriusXM’s “Inside College Basketball” Pitino reiterated his desire to see Temple become the next member of the Big East. Pitino said he believes the Big East will add another school and that it should be Temple because, like Memphis, Temple is an inner-city school with football and strong basketball roots. The Owls have been on the Big East’s radar but reports have indicated Temple’s Philadelphia neighbor and current Big East member, Villanova, is opposed to the idea in what they might term a ‘too close for comfort’ scenario. Pitino provided an interesting retort in the interview saying, “I don’t understand because South Florida had to say, ‘Look, we don’t like it but we’ll take Central Florida. If that’s in the best interests of the conference, we’ll do it.’ And Villanova’s going to have to say, ‘If it’s in the best interests of the conference, we’ll do it.’ The Louisville coach also said he texted Big East Commissioner John Marinatto every other day asking when Memphis would be coming. Here’s hoping Mr. Marinatto has unlimited texting because something tells us the ante just got upped.