Ranking the Top 50 Big East Players, Part III: #16-#1

Posted by Brad Cavallaro on November 7th, 2018

Here are the top 16 players in the Big East to conclude the series. Part I can be found here and Part II can be found here.

Markus Howard is one of the More Interesting Players in College Basketball (USA Today Images)

  • 16. Eli Cain, DePaul, SR, Wing. Cain experienced decreased scoring and efficiency as a junior, a decline that coincided with his move from the wing to the point guard position. But last year’s lead guard experiment should ultimately benefit the senior as he was able to diversify his skill set. As Cain returns to his natural position this season as a secondary ball-handler, expect a bounce-back campaign. He averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.7 APG last year.
  • 15. Emmitt Holt, Providence, SR, PF. Holt missed all of last season with an injury/illness, but he should make a substantial impact in his return to the Providence lineup this year. The 6’7’’ senior played almost exclusively at center two seasons ago, but he will now see more time at power forward, correspondingly reducing his quickness advantage over opposing big men. Holt can score with his back to the basket, attack from the high post, and hit three-point jumpers, which makes him a very dangerous offensive player.
  • 14. Naji Marshall, Xavier, SO, Wing. Marshall broke into the starting lineup midway through last season and showed great potential as a freshman. The 6’7’’ wing can play both the three and the four positions and should be in position to break out in replacement of Trevon Blueitt. He averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG a season ago, but he could easily approach 15.0 PPG in his new role. The versatile and athletic Marshall is certainly a player to watch over the next few seasons.
  • 13. Quentin Goodin, Xavier, JR, Guard. Goodin was forced into major minutes as a freshman at Xavier when Edmund Sumner suffered an injury. There was a steep learning curve for him at that point, but he ultimately benefited from being thrown into the fire because he has developed into one of the best players in the conference. He is a big physical guard who can attack the basket, defend at a high level, and facilitate for his teammates. Goodin shot 40 percent from three-point range in Big East play last season, and if he can replicate that accuracy, he will be rightly considered a top-tier point guard in college basketball.
  • 12. Max Strus, DePaul, SR, Wing. Strus made the jump from D-II look effortless last year with a seamless transition to high-major basketball. The 6’6’’ wing is a knockdown shooter who should become one of the top scorers in the Big East this season. He averaged 16.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and hit 81 three-pointers as a junior.
  • 11. Justin Simon, St. John’s, JR, Guard. Simon is a stat sheet stuffer who impacts the game in a variety of ways. The versatile 6’5’’ guard averaged 12.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG and 5.1 APG last season. Between his size and defensive ability, Simon is an ideal fit next to Shamorie Ponds in the St. John’s backcourt. If he can replicate his 42 percent three-point shooting from a season ago, he will become an NBA Draft pick.
  • 10. Sam Hauser, Marquette, JR, Wing. Hauser is one of the best three-point shooters in college basketball and is a prototypical stretch four. It will be interesting to see if he is asked to be more of a creator now that Andrew Rowsey has graduated, and if that impacts his efficiency. The savvy junior averaged 14.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and shot an incredible 49 percent from three-point range last year.

  • 9. Phil Booth, Villanova, SR, Wing. Booth finally has a chance to become a featured player at Villanova after Donte Divincenzo and Omari Spellman both left early (and unexpectedly) for the NBA. He averaged 10.0 PPG and shot 38 percent from three-point range as the fifth wheel in the starting lineup. His scoring should approach the 15.0 PPG mark this season with increased responsibility on offense.
  • 8. Myles Powell, Seton Hall, JR, Guard. Speaking of featured players, Myles Powell has enormous shoes to fill after so much production on his team has graduated. Powell is an excellent shooter who expanded his offensive game as a sophomore. He will have to continue to take major steps forward as he will start to see much more defensive attention. The 6’2’’ guard averaged 15.5 PPG last season and has an outside chance of leading the Big East in scoring.
  • 7. Alpha Diallo, Providence, JR, Wing. Diallo is an interesting player with a unique skill set. The 6’7’’ wing is extremely versatile and can defend four positions. Offensively, he does most of his damage by posting up smaller guards and by knocking down mid-range shots. His three-pointer is well below average, but he impacts the game in so many ways that he still provides immense value. Diallo is now the face of the Providence program and it will interesting to see how much his 13.2 PPG and 6.6 RPG increase with his new role.
  • 6. Mustapha Heron, St. John’s, JR, Wing. Heron had an excellent season for a surprising Auburn team last year. The 6’5’’ wing can score in a variety of ways and his addition makes the St. John’s roster even more explosive. The Ponds/Heron tandem is going to be extremely difficult to defend no matter who is thrown at them. Heron averaged 16.4 PPG and 5.3 RPG as a sophomore.
  • 5. Markus Howard, Marquette, JR, Guard. Howard is an elite perimeter shooter and one of the best scorers in college basketball, but he also carries some noticeable flaws. He does not provide much resistance on the defensive end and passing can often be an afterthought. The addition of Chartouny should allow Howard to focus on what he does best, score. Howard averaged 20.4 PPG and hit 111 threes as a sophomore.
  • 4. Kamar Baldwin, Butler, JR, Guard. Baldwin is an excellent defender who took a major step forward offensively as a sophomore. With Kelan Martin gone, Baldwin will have to take another step forward this season. The lefty can succumb to poor shot selection at times, but that can be a necessity for the main offensive cog. Baldwin averaged 15.7 PPG and 3.2 APG and could eclipse the 20.0 PPG mark this season.
  • 3. Eric Paschal, Villanova, SR, PF. Paschal is a perfect fit in modern basketball due to his versatility. He is a great athlete who is strong enough to play a small-ball five. This is extremely valuable for Villanova because he brings floor spacing and athleticism without Jay Wright having to trade off defense and rebounding. Paschal is starting to generate some buzz as a potential NBA Draft pick and it is not hard to see why. He should also improve on his 10.6 PPG and 5.3 RPG from last season and develop into a legitimate All-Big East level player.
  • 2. Jessie Govan, Georgetown, SR, Center. Govan is one of the most talented big men in college basketball as he can score with his back to the basket and space the floor with his jumper. The Georgetown offense should run through Govan this season, but it is hard to envision him significantly improving his 17.9 PPG and 10.0 RPG from a season ago. His 35 percent three-point shooting is also impressive for a player his size.
  • 1. Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, JR, Guard. Lastly, Shamorie Ponds is the favorite for Big East Player of the Year and could easily become the best player in the conference by the end of the season. Ponds is a dynamic guard who is impossible to keep out of the paint, and although his three-point shooting dropped significantly last season, he still managed to be a major contributor. It will be interesting to see how Ponds and Heron coexist together in the backcourt and how the latter’s addition affects Ponds’ statistics. He averaged 21.6 PPG and 4.7 APG for the Red Storm as a sophomore.
Brad Cavallaro (5 Posts)


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