With the season fast approaching and anticipation for the "new" Big East mounting, I thought it might be a good time to point out what I believe to be a good sign for the conference moving forward.
The success of college basketball programs (with few exceptions) is very much determined by the level of talent that coaches are able to bring to campus. Over the course of his career at Villanova, Jay Wright has demonstrated an ability to draw high level talent to the main line, leading to his reputation as a good recruiter (over the summer he made ESPN's list of the best-recruiting head coaches in college basketball) and the continued success of the program.
Jay's success on the recruiting trail does not seem to be taking a hit with the formation of the new league as, despite the glaring lack of a commitment from a big man, next year's incoming class once again looks strong. So, we know where Villanova stands in terms of convincing high level recruits to come play in the "new" Big East but what about the other nine teams? If the new conference is to realize its hopes of competing with the biggest and best, surely the ability to draw in talent is crucial. Well, that is where the good news lies.
The early signing period is fast approaching (November 13-20) and, as a result, the recruiting picture for the class of 2014 is becoming ever clearer and, as of today, it can be said that the Big East is convincingly holding its own. According to the 247 Composite Rankings, the conference has a total of 22* commitments from the top 150 players in the country (and 15* of the top 100). For the sake of comparison, I've checked out the other conferences and their numbers for the top 150 are as follows: SEC (23), ACC (21), B1G (18), Pac-12 (14), Big 12 (7).
Also, according to the 247 Team Rankings there are five Big East schools currently in the top 25 and Villanova is ranked 27.
All that being said, there are still 24 players of the top 150 who have not committed. Included in those 24 are 8 of the top 15 players in the country, none of whom will be joining the Big East unless Cliff Alexander decides to shock the world and choose to stay home in Chicago at DePaul.
When it all shakes out, the new conference will most likely trail the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten in terms of the number of commits ranked in the top 150 but not by much. Considering the Big East has fewer teams than each of those conferences, I think the numbers are very impressive and a good sign as the conference moves into the future.
For anyone who is curious, here is a breakdown of each team's commitments for the class of 2014 (using 247 Composite Rankings):
Kelan Martin (4 stars, 113 national)
Tyler Wideman (3 stars, 255 national)
Leon Gilmore (3 stars, 125 national)
Ronnie Harrell (3 stars, 222 national)
Jon Davis (3 stars, 251 national)
Isaac Copeland (4 stars, 39 national)
Paul White (4 stars, 63 national)
L.J. Peak (4 stars, 70 national)
Tre Campbell (4 stars, 105 national)
Ahmed Hill (4 stars, 62 national)
Sandy Cohen (4 stars, 79 national)
Malek Harris (4 stars, 92 national)
Marial Shayok (3 stars, 138 national)
Paschal Chukwu (4 stars, 61 national)
Jalen Lindsey (4 stars, 67 national)
Ben Bentil (4 stars, 94 national)
Isaiah Whitehead (5 stars, 15 national)
Angel Delgado (4 stars, 44 national)
Khadeen Carrington (3 stars, 146 national)
Ismael Sonogo (3 stars, 275 national)
Phil Booth (4 stars, 77 national)
Mikal Bridges (4 stars, 82 national)
Trevon Bluiett (4 stars, 45 national)
Makinde London (4 stars, 74 national)
J.P. Macura (4 stars, 112 national)
Edmond Sumner (4 stars, 114 national)
Sean O'Mara (3 stars, 182 national)