RTC Big East Microsite Week in Review

Posted by Dan Lyons on January 8th, 2014

After a bit of a holiday-induced hiatus, the week in review is back! We are in the infancy of the Big East basketball season, but the conference is beginning to take shape. Big East microsite writers Jameson Fleming, George Hershey and I bring you this week’s power rankings, all-conference team, and player and freshman of the week.

Villanova is Reaching for #1 in Our Power Rankings

Villanova is Reaching for #1 in Our Power Rankings

Player of the Week: Doug McDermott: We should probably rename this the “Doug McDermott Player of the Week Award.”  I would love to see someone else here, but then McDermott went out and scored 30 against Seton Hall and only 19 against DePaul.

Freshman of the Week: Josh Hart: The Big East doesn’t have many super freshmen this year, but Hart is carving out a nice role for Villanova. He’s scored double figures in each of his last five games and is hitting a remarkable 45.9 percent of his threes.

Power Rankings

  • 10.) DePaul (8-8, 0-3):
    Dan Lyons: New year, same DePaul?  That’s what it looks like so far this year for the Blue Demons, who have opened conference play 0-3.  They did keep it close against Georgetown and Marquette, but Creighton made quick work of DePaul yesterday.
    Jameson Fleming: The Blue Demons have been competitive against Marquette and Georgetown. That’s a good sign moving forward. Read the rest of this entry »
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Last Week’s Villanova and Marquette Tournament Runs Spurred by Freshmen

Posted by George Hershey on December 4th, 2013

The college basketball world was amazed by Villanova’s surprising run to the Battle 4 Atlantis championship last weekend. After having a relatively easy start to the season, the Wildcats landed in the Bahamas and beat USC prior to a match-up with the #2 ranked team in the nation, Kansas, followed by a battle against #23 Iowa in the title game. Seasoned veterans James Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston and Ryan Arcidiacono helped lead the team on its stunning run, but the play of freshmen Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins, especially in the championship game, was instrumental and a major reason the Wildcats came out on top.

Josh Hart helped secure the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship (Tim Aylen/AP)

Josh Hart helped secure the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship
(Tim Aylen/AP)

Marquette also made a run to the championship game of the Wooden Legacy tournament in California. Although the Golden Eagles lost to San Diego State in a tight championship game on Sunday night, leading scorer Davante Gardner played with the flu and Derrick Wilson looked to have hurt his groin, rendering him mostly incapable of playing in the second half. Despite those problems, Buzz Williams’ team was able to make it a close game and had a chance to win at the end because of the remarkable play of freshman Deonte Burton. Fellow freshman JaJuan Johnson also was instrumental in beating Cal State Fullerton and played well against Arizona State in the other two games.

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RTC Big East Microsite Week in Review

Posted by Dan Lyons on November 18th, 2013

The 2013-14 college basketball season is off and running, and it was a really interesting week for the Big East conference, which saw a number of teams compete in big non-conference games.  Only half of the teams in the league remain unscathed, so there may be some shuffling in our power rankings this week.

Few players in the entire nation have had the start that Doug McDemott has this season.

Few players in the entire nation have had the start that Doug McDemott has this season.

Week One Power Rankings

  • 10.) DePaul (2-1), Last Week (10): The Blue Demons very nearly knocked off a Southern Miss team that many expect to be among the top squads in Conference USA, falling to the Golden Eagles, 75-68.  Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young are off to strong starts.
  • 9.) Butler (2-0), LW (9):  After handling Lamar, the Bulldogs had a close call with Princeton, knocking off the Tigers, 70-67.  Butler is getting even scoring across the board, with five players averaging at least nine points per game.
  • 8.) Seton Hall (2-1), LW (7): Things haven’t been easy for the Pirates.  After participating in the game that launched a thousand referenda on refereeing in 2013, Seton Hall edged by Kent State by two before dropping a game at Mercer in double overtime.  Fuquan Edwin and Sterling Gibbs look very good early, but with the Pirates sitting at 231st in the nation in assists at 11.7 per game, they need to do a better job of moving the ball.
  • 7.) Xavier (3-0), LW (8): Unsurprisingly, Semaj Christon is good at scoring the basketball.  The Musketeers are glad to have Dee Davis back after missing two games—the junior guard had a well-rounded game against Morehead State, scoring seven points, grabbing five rebounds, and doling out nine assists in 35 minutes.
  • 6.) Providence (3-0), LW (6): The Friars’ opening night win against Boston College doesn’t look quite as good with the Eagles going on to drop games to UMass and Toledo, but they’ll have chances to prove themselves with games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky rapidly approaching.  Providence has an array of scorers, headlined by the consistent Bryce Cotton, and as a team hits free throws at an 85 percent clip. Don’t foul these guys, America.
  • 5.) St. John’s (1-1), LW (5): The young Red Storm nearly came away with a big win against Wisconsin in their first game.  D’Angelo Harrison and JaKarr Sampson look very good through two games, while Steve Lavin and company are still waiting for freshman point guard Rysheed Jordan to put everything together.

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Season In Review: Villanova Wildcats

Posted by mlemaire on May 6th, 2013

After an incredibly disappointing 13-19 finish to last season, coach Jay Wright was starting to hear murmurs of discontent from a Wildcats’ fan base that had watched their team slowly fade into obscurity following a 2009 run to the Final Four. Entering this season the pressure was on Wright to prove that he could get the program headed in the right direction again, and he rose to the challenge… barely. The Wildcats finished 20-14 on the season and 10-8 in conference play, which was good enough to slot them eighth, but they made the NCAA Tournament on the backs of three wins over the conference’s three best teams — Louisville, Georgetown, and Syracuse — and there was still plenty to be concerned about in Nova Nation. They will be looking to take another step forward next season, but first let’s take a trip back and review Villanova’s 2012-13 season.

Preseason Expectations

Coming off that ugly season and losing their two best offensive players — Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek — the Wildcats were not expected to make a lot of noise this year. Both the coaches in the conference and our writers here at the microsite pegged Villanova as the 12th-best team in the Big East because of question marks about where the offense would come from and how quickly the new faces would get adjusted. Most who followed college basketball knew that the Wildcats had more veteran talent than some of the other squads ranked ahead of them, but after watching them falter with much of the same talent the year before, it was tough to believe that Villanova was capable of finishing in the top half of the conference.

Freshman Guard Ryan Arcidiacono Was Instrumental In Getting Villanova Back To The NCAA Tournament (U.S. Presswire)

Freshman Guard Ryan Arcidiacono Was Instrumental In Getting Villanova Back To The NCAA Tournament (U.S. Presswire)

The Good

There were plenty of positives for both individuals on the Villanova roster and the team itself, but if we were ranking them in order of their importance, the two-game stretch where they beat Louisville and then Syracuse in late January basically saved the Wildcats’ season. They had lost three straight conference games heading into that brutal stretch, and even though they were both home wins, they were still crucial to making ‘Nova believe they could hang with anyone. The team itself had its good pieces and its bad ones. The defense ranked in the top 30 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and the offense got a boost from the fact that the Wildcats were the very best in the country when it came to free throw to field goal ratio. Wright also knew that certain players would need to step up if the Wildcats were going to be a factor this season, and luckily some players rose to the occasion. Senior center Mouphtaou Yarou (9.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 47.8%FG) capped a solid career on the Main Line with a dependable senior campaign, improving his free-throw shooting by nearly 10 percentage points and crashing the boards even harder in conference play (9.7 RPG). It took sophomore JayVaughn Pinkston (13.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 46.6 FG%) half a season to find his footing,  but once he did, he consistently scored in double figures and became a match-up nightmare for opposing teams. Freshman point guard Ryan Arciadiacono (11.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 34.3% FG) averaged 34 minutes per game and proved he was more than capable of being a Big East point guard.

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Who’s Got Next? Kentucky Adds Two More Studs; Selden Decides For Kansas…

Posted by CLykins on October 17th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Young and Lee Join Historic Kentucky Class

Young’s Addition Bolsters UK’s Already Star-Studded Class (US Presswire)

If your familiar with the phrase “the rich get richer”, that describes Kentucky basketball recruiting. After landing a pair of top-five prospects from the class of 2013, twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison, the Kentucky Wildcats received verbal commitments from two more highly ranked 2013 prospects, in the form of James Young last Thursday and Marcus Lee on Wednesday afternoon. Young is a 6’6″ shooting guard out of Rochester High School (Michigan) and is the No. 5 ranked prospect in the ESPN 100. Lee, a 6’9″ power forward out of Deer Valley High School (California), is the No. 28 ranked recruit. Along with Kentucky, Young listed Kansas, Michigan State and Syracuse in his final four while Lee had just listed California as his only other possible destination. Young and Lee will now join the Harrison twins and unranked prospect Derek Willis as a part of Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class.

“Kentucky has always been my dream school,” said Young, who revealed his choice by holding up a “Kentucky Bound” blue T-shirt. “I’m not just looking for the NBA. I’m looking for an education and a national championship and that’s about it.” Young emerged as a prime recruiting target for the Wildcats in the spring and had listed Kentucky as the team to beat for his services since the summer. Young has made two consecutive visits to Lexington, once for Kentucky’s alumni weekend and the other this past weekend for “Big Blue Madness.”

Kentucky will now possess the most lethal perimeter trio in all of college basketball for the 2013-14 season with the addition of Young to complement the Harrison twins. In the left-handed Young, the Wildcats are getting one of the best pure scoring guards in the country. An aggressive scorer who can stroke it from deep or utilize his mid-range game, Young is exceptional at scoring off the catch and has a plethora of moves to get to the rim. On the defensive end, he uses his athleticism and length well to disrupt the opposition. The one aspect of his game that needs the most work is his ball-handling. In transition, he can fill lanes but with improved ball security, he could be even more deadlier running the fast break and making plays for either himself or his teammates.

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Big East M5: 10.11.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on October 11th, 2012

  1. Louisville coach Rick Pitino went on the radio earlier this week to talk about all things Cardinals’ basketball and The Card Chronicle was generous enough to extract the key points from the conversation. The most interesting tidbit for us was Pitino’s praise of sophomore guard Kevin Ware. Ware landed at Louisville last season after a mini-recruiting scandal involving his courtship to Central Florida but he struggled picking up the offense after only gaining his eligibility in December and he was asked to play out of position as a backup point guard. Now, according to Pitino, he has worked hard to improve his shot and his athleticism and has stood out so much in practice that Ware is currently the team’s starting shooting guard… ahead of the mercurial Russ Smith. Of course you will probably see a lot of Smith this season, but if Ware starts living up to his vast potential, Louisville will be scary good this season.
  2. The list of College Basketball’s Top 100 players from CBSSports.com came out Monday and while we don’t want to spend too much time trading in irrelevancies, we do want to talk about how happy we are to see that the Big East’s top representative is Georgetown sophomore Otto Porter, who checked in at No. 16, ahead of the more recognizable and popular picks, Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva. You will see next week that we didn’t pick Porter as our preseason player of the year, but some of us feel like we may regret that choice as the season goes on. Porter is still relatively unknown on the national scene, but you can expect that to change quickly now that he is the focal point of the Hoyas’ offense.
  3. Apparently Villanova‘s recent on-court struggles have not adversely affected Jay Wright’s ability to recruit, especially in Washington, DC. The Wildcats recently collected a commitment from 6’5″wing Josh Hart who couples with 6’6″ power forward Kris Jenkins to give the program a pair of top-100 recruits from the District. Jenkins is an undersized bruiser in the mold of a less-skilled, more physical JayVaughn Pinkston. Hart will likely play on the wing, but he is versatile and athletic enough to play multiple positions. If he can become more aggressive offensively and continue to develop his outside shooting, he will be a big-time, multi-year contributor for Wright.
  4. Early in September we learned that precocious Providence freshman Ricky Ledo would only be allowed to practice with the Friars this season, not play. While the NCAA isn’t going to tell the public why Ledo is only a partial-qualifier, it seems pretty clear to those in the know that Ledo’s one semester stint at Notre Dame Prep played a role in the NCAA’s decision. The NCAA is investigating the Massachusetts prep school for shady academic and financial issues, and as a result, a number of Division I recruits, including Ledo, were ruled ineligible to play this season. The good news for Friars’ fans is that Ledo plans to stick around and play next season as a redshirt freshman, which will be a small consolation for fans hoping to see the program’s fabulous recruiting class in action next month.
  5. For many teams in the conference, Midnight Madness kicks off this Friday. Every school takes a different approach to this event but it is always fun to see which coaches get dressed up, which musical stars show up to perform, and which walk-on will dump 18 points on his teammates in the intrasquad scrimmage. While we like to think of ourselves as analytical minds here at the Big East microsite, that doesn’t mean we don’t love the occasional dose of frivolity either, especially when it is guaranteed to involve Doug E. Fresh. Check back tomorrow morning as we run with a light-hearted but essential guide to Friday’s Midnight Madness festivities.
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Villanova Assistant Coach Doug Martin Forced to Resign — Why Was He Hired in the First Place?

Posted by Chris Johnson on August 13th, 2012

Christopher Johnson is an RTC columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn .

Early last week Villanova announced the hiring of assistant coach Doug Martin, who formerly served similar positions at a private Catholic high school in Virginia as well as the Team Takeover AAU program, a traditional grassroots powerhouse based out of the fertile Washington DC-area recruiting grounds. The hire was questionable on several fronts, and it brought into clearer focus Villanova’s pursuit of Josh Hart, a member of Team Takeover and a prime target on the prospect market who currently holds offers from Memphis, Cincinnati, Arizona, Rutgers and the Wildcats, among others. Yet it wasn’t Martin’s ties to AAU basketball – and his potential role as a recruiting pipeline for Villanova – that cast legitimate doubts over his hiring. It was his resumé, which according to the school’s website said Martin “played collegiate basketball at UW-Green Bay for coach Dick Bennett from 1991-1995.” ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil unearthed the specifics of Martin’s factual inaccuracies shortly after the Wildcats released word of their newest employee. UWGB has no recollection of him playing there, nor is there any record of Martin on year-by-year statistics or available media guides from the 1990-91 through 1994-95 seasons, Martin’s indicated time frame of participation. His LinkedIn profile claims bachelor degrees from both UWGB and Viterbo University, an NAIA school in Wisconsin. But according to the Viterbo website, Martin played four seasons there rather than at UWGB. Villanova confirmed the inaccuracies over the weekend, and on Saturday announced Martin’s resignation.

The hiring of Martin raises the question of whether AAU-affiliated coaches will have greater access to assistant coaching positions at power-conference schools (Photo credit: H. Rumph Jr/AP Photo).

In today’s social media-crazed world, where any conceivable tidbit of important information is available at the push of a button, lying about your playing history while landing a job as an assistant at a power conference program is simply astonishing. Gone are the days when factual documentation was accepted with little in the way of thorough web-based analysis or speedy, credible cross-checking services. At first glance, Martin’s error doesn’t seem all that egregious. He never played at Wisconsin-Green Bay – as both his high school and Villanova biographical profile suggests – but rather at a different small-sized Wisconsin school. The two schools fall under different sublets of athletic classification (NCAA Division I and NAIA, respectively), which, by all accounts, is no minor error. Yet Martin’s playing past probably holds little, if any bearing on his ability to coach at one of the nation’s top-tier Division I programs some 20 years later. Don’t get me wrong, defrauding the hiring process, particularly at a time when it’s practically impossible to get away with such bait-and-switch maneuvering, is asinine. And Martin’s forced resignation was indeed the best and only way to handle the situation.

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Who’s Got Next? Domingo A Hoya, Robinson A Hoosier And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 25th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Georgetown Reels In Top-50 Junior Wing

Domingo Is A Great Pick-up For Head Coach John Thompson III And Georgetown.

Domingo A Big Pick-up For the Hoyas. Georgetown has been working hard on local guys in the Class of 2013 such as point guard Rysheed Jordan, shooting guard Davon Reed and center BeeJay Anya, but the Hoyas went to the opposite end of the country to pick up their first commitment in the junior class as small forward Stephen Domingo, a California native, made a verbal to head coach John Thompson III. Domingo is actually the second California wing to commit to Georgetown as Hollis Thompson a Los Angeles native. Domingo also has ties to the nation’s capital since his grandparents are D.C. residents and his mom is a District native. Domingo is a great pick-up for the Hoyas since he is a great shooter with terrific range and a smooth stroke. He can knock it down off the bounce or in catch-and-shoot situations and has great height and length. Georgetown is also chasing after point guard Tyler Ennis, small forward Nick King and power forward Jermaine Lawrence in the Class of 2013 although they may be out of the race for top-100 small forward Josh Hart now.

What They’re Saying

Junior Juwan Parker on where each school stands in his recruitment: “I’m considering three schools right now: Memphis, Georgia and Stanford. I would rank them in that order.”

Memphis Leads For Junior Standout Juwan Parker. (Daryl Paunil/National Recruiting Spotlight)

Junior Stanford Robinson on why he committed to the Hoosiers: “[Indiana head] coach [Tom] Crean, we connected very, very quickly. We shared a lot of laughs, he presented his plan of where he sees me fitting in and how I could play a part in it.

Junior Stephen Domingo on choosing Georgetown: “It was really the relationship I developed with coach [John Thompson III] and the way they promote the versatility of their wings. They rely on their wings a lot and they use their wings in a way I can be productive offensively and defensively.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Who’s Got Next? Tony Parker Commits, Ripple Effect of Greenberg Firing

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 26th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Tony Parker Joins Adams, Anderson and Muhammad at UCLA

Parker Choose UCLA Over Duke, Georgia And Ohio State. (Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Tony Parker Gives UCLA Top Recruiting Class.  Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker committed to UCLA Monday over Duke, Georgia and Ohio State, joining point guard Kyle Anderson and small forwards Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad in head coach Ben Howland’s stellar 2012 recruiting class. Parker brings a tremendous inside presence to Westwood and is someone who will be able to rebound as soon as he steps onto campus. He is an elite big man with a great skill set in the low post and has the ability to score through a variety of moves in the paint. He can make a hook over both shoulders and is able to play facing the basket, although he’s at his best with his back to the basket. The biggest knock on Parker has always been the same — that he’s out of shape and lacks stamina. However, the Georgia native has worked hard to dispel that notion and although he can still improve his conditioning, he’s definitely gotten better at running the court and has an improved motor. Once Parker gets to UCLA, he’ll join a crowded frontcourt that already includes sophomore power forwards David and Travis Wear and sophomore center Josh Smith. Every single person in the UCLA’s 2012 recruiting class worked hard on recruiting Parker and Adams even predicted back in December that the Bruins would land him. UCLA fans should remain cautiously optimistic, though, because as we’ve pointed out at RTC, having a highly ranked recruiting class doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, borne out by UCLA’s 2008 recruiting class. Although, there are some differences between this year’s recruiting class and the one four years ago.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Marshall Wood on asking for a release from Virginia Tech: “I need to get my release so I can review all my options. If somebody gets the job at Tech that recruited me or something and I have a really good relationship with [him], I possibly could still go back. But right now I just want to get the release so I can have more options to look at.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Big East Recruiting Round-Up: Volume Two

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on December 2nd, 2011

Big East Recruiting Round-up is a recurring feature that will focus on, well, recruiting.  Rumors, buzz, rankings…..everything potentially shiny and new. 

Nerlens Noel Poll Results!

Nerlens Noel, Heavily Desired by Providence Fans...

When last we met on the recruiting trail, super class of 2013 center Nerlens Noel was a hot topic of discussion.  He had semi-revealed a short list of five schools, four of which reside in the Big East.  So we did what any red-blooded American college basketball site would do and took it to the voters.  The turnout was great and all of the hanging chads have been counted.  They apparently voted early and often in the Ocean State because, as you can see below, the results were overwhelmingly in favor of Providence.  Perhaps we should rename ‘Friartown’ to ‘Nerlenstown.’  If you’d like to get a late vote in, the polls will remain open so go for it!

Will the Bernie Fine Controversy Hurt Syracuse’s Recruiting Efforts?

Syracuse recruits comment on whether or not Bernie Fine allegations impact their decision. It is important to note that this check-in occurred on November 23 which was before the Laurie Fine telephone call recording broke.  Further, with head coach Jim Boeheim now being called into question it is reasonable to believe some recruits will take a wait-and-see approach.  As noted in our previous round-up, Syracuse has signed two highly-rated recruits out of the class of 2012 in DaJuan Coleman (6’10″ center – Jamesville DeWitt – NY – Ranks: Rivals: 27, ESPN: 14) and Jerami Grant 6’7″ – forward – DeMatha – MD – Ranks: Rivals: 60 , ESPN: 43)

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