Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big East Walkaround -- Pre NBA Draft

The NBE Report tracked down two good off season reports in the past two days. Slam Online's Joey Whelan posts a very nice capsule on each Big East team's incoming class. He nominates Connecticut's class of four recruits (two each for the front court and back court) as "arguably the top recruiting class in the conference this season". The school the Huskies will argue with is Villanova, which also welcomes four freshmen recruits. Like UConn, Nova will bring in two for the front court (Yarou & Armwood) and two for the back court (Cheek and Wayns). Whelan also singled out Pittsburgh's four man class (three for the front court) for special mention, suggesting that with the additions of Dante Taylor (to whom he devotes some of his strongest praise), JJ Richardson and Talib Zanna, "...The Panthers may have assembled the rebounding recruiting class in the conference for next season..."

Jeff Goodman over at Foxsports also assembled a conference rundown, much in the same vein as a number of rundowns he has penned for other conferences. Goodman's is especially valuable because he identifies not only the outbound transfers (if any) that each team sustained since the end of the season, but also the staff changes. This has been an particularly volatile off season for Big East staffs as both South Florida and Villanova have lost assistant coaches to head coaching job searches, but Jerry Wainwright, under pressure from AD Jean Ponsetto, replaced his entire staff of 3 assistant coaches. A very unusual move for a Head Coach. Goodman also catalogs each team's invitational tournaments and noteworthy OOC games.

The NBE blogger reproduced Goodman's rundown and added his own notes/comments. The blogger's supplement identifies a number of the critical/impact transfers due to gain eligibility before and during the season and in a few cases, provides some background on the program. Goodman's presentation was a bit tighter, but the NBE post is worth the 5-7 minutes extra after you finish Goodman's piece.

The Courier-News' Rutgers beat writer Jerry Carino produced a couple of posts for his New Jersey Hoops Haven Blog last week. The first, "'Big Ten' reasons..." takes a look at reasons why Rutgers would do better by staying in the Big East. His second post "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", touches two topics I have written about over here, Scottie Reynolds and the NBA (Carino labels "The Good") and several recent coaching changes -- long time FDU head coach Tom Green's unexpected (and late) termination ("the Bad") and Tim Floyd's unexpected (but not shocking) resignation as the NCAA closes in on some alleged violations in the USC basketball program ("the Ugly").

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