Graduation season is upon us. Seniors like James Bell, Tony Chennault, and Doug McDermott are saying adios to their undergraduate days and a new batch of freshmen are entering the Big East Conference.
Let's take off our Villanova shades for a few minutes - here is a quick introduction to incoming freshman (and junior college transfers) who will be new to the Big East. The conference may not be held in as high esteem as it was a handful of years ago, but the 10 programs are still bringing top talent.
Looking at the top talent, here is a combined list of the ranked players across the recruiting services.
|SG||5*||Isaiah Whitehead||Abraham Lincoln HS (Brooklyn, NY)||6'4"||195||Seton Hall||14||14||16|
|PF||4*||Isaac Copeland||Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH)||6'8"||200||Georgetown||38||16||23|
|SF||4*||Trevon Bluiett||Park Tudor School (Indianapolis, IN)||6'5"||185||Xavier||31||46||34|
|PF||4*||Paul White||Whitney Young Magnet HS (Chicago, IL)||6'8"||210||Georgetown||60||34||50|
|PF||4*||Angel Delgado||St. Patrick's School (Newark, NJ)||6'8"||220||Seton Hall||48||48||53|
|C||4*||Paschal Chukwu||Fairfield College Preparatory (Fairfield, CT)||7'1"||235||Providence||64||61||61|
|SG||4*||L.J. Peak||Gaffney Senior HS (SC)||6'4"||190||Georgetown||62||31||68|
|SF||4*||Jalen Lindsey||Huntington Prep (WV)||6'7"||185||Providence||84||84||69|
|PF||4*||Makinde London||Montverde Academy (FL)||6'9"||205||Xavier||83|
|SF||4*||Ronnie Harrell||East HS (Denver, CO)||6'6"||170||Creighton||73||71||84|
|SG||4*||Phil Booth||Mount Saint Joseph HS (Baltimore, MD)||6'4"||180||Villanova||70||92||85|
|PF||4*||Ben Bentil||St. Andrew's School (Middletown, DE)||6'8"||215||Providence||86||89|
|SF||4*||Mikal Bridges||Great Valley HS (Malvern, PA)||6'6"||185||Villanova||92||82||95|
|SG||4*||Sandy Cohen||Seymour HS (WI)||6'5"||175||Marquette||87||83||97|
|SG||4*||J.P. Macura||Lakeville North HS (MN)||6'5"||170||Xavier||98||105|
|PG||3*||Larry Austin||Lanphier HS (Springfield, IL)||6'1"||165||Xavier||117|
|PG||4*||Tre Campbell||St. Johns College HS (Washington, DC)||6'2"||170||Georgetown||88||126|
|SG||3*||Khadeen Carrington||Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, NY)||6'1"||175||Seton Hall||127|
|PF||3*||Leon Gilmore||Manvel HS (TX)||6'7"||190||Creighton||134|
|C||3*||Sean O'Mara||Benet Academy (Lisle, IL)||6'8"||220||Xavier||138|
|PF||3*||Kelan Martin||Ballard HS (Louisville, KY)||6'6"||210||Butler||139|
|SG||4*||Edmond Sumner||Detroit Country Day School (Beverly Hills, MI)||6'2"||155||Xavier||96||78|
Here is a consolidated list of team and player rankings sourced from the various recruiting sites.
|PF||4*||Isaac Copeland||Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH)||6'8"||200|
|PF||4*||Paul White||Whitney Young Magnet HS (Chicago, IL)||6'8"||210|
|SG||4*||L.J. Peak||Gaffney Senior HS (SC)||6'4"||190|
|PG||4*||Tre Campbell||St. Johns College HS (Washington, DC)||6'2"||170|
|PF||3*||Trey Mourning||Ransom Everglades School (Coconut Grove, FL)||6'9"||215|
Read about Georgetown Recruiting on Casual Hoya.
Issac Copeland a versatile forward full of upside. He continued to climb the rankings throughout his high school career. His combination of athleticism, skill and basketball acumen will give him a chance to develop into a star for the Hoyas, and he won't be the only incoming freshman to make an immediate impact. Paul White is a skilled and cerebral forward who will be well-utilized within the team's Princeton-style offense. L.J. Peak is a scoring swingman who brings elements of power and athleticism to the lineup. Three-star point guard Tre Campbell rounds out the class and solidifies Georgetown's backcourt depth.
|SG||5*||Isaiah Whitehead||Abraham Lincoln HS (Brooklyn, NY)||6'4"||195|
|PF||4*||Angel Delgado||St. Patrick's School (Newark, NJ)||6'8"||220|
|PF||3*||Desi Rodriguez||Abraham Lincoln HS (Brooklyn, NY)||6'6"||205|
|SG||3*||Khadeen Carrington||Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, NY)||6'1"||175|
|SF||2*||Ismael Sanogo||East Side HS (Newark, NJ)||6'6"||185|
Kevin Willard needed to make a splash with his 2014 recruiting class and he did, signing five prospects from the local tri-state area, including a pair of ESPN 100 players and a McDonald's All American in Isaiah Whitehead. The 6-foot-4 guard is the top prospect to come out of New York City this year and one of the most dangerous scoring guards in the class. He'll have the green light from day one in the Big East. Angel Delgado should be an equally impactful newcomer and one of the top rebounding freshmen in the country. Whitehead's teammate from Lincoln High School, Desi Rodriguez, is a 6-5 point-forward type in the mold of a poor man's Anthony Mason. Khadeen Carrington is a scoring 2-guard and Ismael Sanogo is a potential defensive stopper on the wing.
|SF||4*||Trevon Bluiett||Park Tudor School (Indianapolis, IN)||6'5"||185|
|SG||4*||Edmond Sumner||Detroit Country Day School (Beverly Hills, MI)||6'2"||155|
|SG||4*||J.P. Macura||Lakeville North HS (MN)||6'5"||170|
|PF||4*||Makinde London||Montverde Academy (FL)||6'9"||205|
|PG||3*||Larry Austin||Lanphier HS (Springfield, IL)||6'1"||165|
|C||3*||Sean O'Mara||Benet Academy (Lisle, IL)||6'8"||220|
The Musketeers are coming off their first season in the Big East, but this is only their latest in a long line of high-major-caliber recruiting classes. Chris Mack has his very own version of the Fab Five coming to Xavier, beginning with Trevon Bluiett, a 6-5 forward who could be one of the Big East's top scoring freshmen next season. Fellow ESPN 100 prospect Edmond Sumner is a big, 6-3 lead guard with a world of upside, and 6-5 sniper J.P. Macura rounds out the backcourt trio. Makinde London is another player with a high ceiling, as the 6-9 4-man has a long and athletic build with a soft touch from long range. At 6-9, Sean O'Mara is a wide-bodied center who rounds out the class.
|C||4*||Paschal Chukwu||Fairfield College Preparatory (Fairfield, CT)||7'1"||235|
|SF||4*||Jalen Lindsey||Huntington Prep (WV)||6'7"||185|
|PF||4*||Ben Bentil||St. Andrew's School (Middletown, DE)||6'8"||215|
|PG||3*||Kyron Cartwright||Compton HS (CA)||5'11"||165|
Ed Cooley has recruited perhaps the Big East's best incoming frontcourt, led by ESPN 100 center Paschal Chukwu. The 7-1 big man is going to be a work in progress offensively for a season or two, but he'll be an immediate game-changer on the defensive end next season. Fellow ESPN 100 prospect Jalen Lindsey is an athletic and versatile combo forward, and Ben Bentil provides a nice complement with his powerful body, ability to rebound in high volume and some inside-out offensive tools. Former Loyola Marymount pledge Kyron Cartwright gives the Friars a left-handed ball handler in the backcourt, but don't be surprised if Cooley pulls out one more 11th-hour commitment in the backcourt before everything is said and done.
|SG||4*||Phil Booth||Mount Saint Joseph HS (Baltimore, MD)||6'4"||180|
|SF||4*||Mikal Bridges||Great Valley HS (Malvern, PA)||6'6"||185|
Jay Wright's grade likely deserves a curve, as he filled both of his available scholarships with ESPN 100 prospects while continuing to solidify Villanova's recent dominance in the Mid-Atlantic region. Phil Booth fits the program's prototype as a playmaking combo guard who is capable of playing on or off the ball, and 6-7 swingman Mikal Bridges is a late bloomer who is only just beginning to realize his true talent. Bridges will benefit from Villanova's daily emphasis on skill development as he continues to develop and polish his offensive tools. He has a chance to become one of the program's premier defenders.
|SF||4*||Ronnie Harrell||East HS (Denver, CO)||6'6"||170|
|PF||3*||Leon Gilmore||Manvel HS (TX)||6'7"||190|
The post-Doug McDermott era has begun at Creighton, and head coach Greg McDermott has a pair of big and versatile wings coming in to help ease the transition. Small forward Ronnie Harrell is a 6-7, late-blooming ESPN 100 prospect with a big-time shooting stroke. He'll make immediate contributions next season, and then have a chance to develop into a Kyle Korver-type star for the Bluejays down the road. Leon Gilmore is a nice complement as a powerful, 6-7 lefty with a bulldozer-style driving game. His strong body and ability to produce in the paint will also allow him to slide over to the power forward position in smaller lineups. Creighton also has former Boston University point guard Maurice Watson transferring in. He will have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2015-16.
|PF||3*||Jackson Davis||Lafayette HS (KY)||6'8"||215|
|PF||3*||Kelan Martin||Ballard HS (Louisville, KY)||6'6"||210|
|C||3*||Tyler Wideman||Lake Central HS (Saint John, IN)||6'7"||260|
Brandon Miller's incoming class might not win any recruiting awards, but what it will likely do is solidify the program's frontcourt for the next four years. While there isn't anybody bigger than 6-8. there are three unique frontcourt players, all of whom are difficult matchups in their own right. Tyler Wideman is a wide-bodied, 6-7 big man with deceptive athleticism and good interior tools, and 6-6 Kelan Martin is a highly versatile scorer who can go inside and out with strength, toughness and some skill. Jackson Davis is a 6-8 athletic and active combo forward who can play multiple positions and fill a lot of holes. He has a chance to develop into one of the team's better defenders.
|SF||NR||Darrick Wood||Hutchinson (KS)||6'5"||x|
|PG||NR||Aaron Simpson||Lincoln Land (Springfield, IL)||5'11"||x|
|PF||NR||Rashaun Stimage||Daytona Beach (FL)||6'7"||x|
|PF||3*||Raymond Doby||Christian Brothers College HS (St. Louis, MO)||6'6"||180|
The Blue Demons need to win and win right now, so Oliver Purnell elected to swing big with highly talented high school prospects in the greater Chicago area while going the junior college route to land some potential immediate-impact talent. He ended up pulling three commitments out of the juco ranks, which should collaboratively help to spark the team on the perimeter with size and length to match their experience. Rashaun Stimage is a big and athletic 6-7 wing, and Darrick Wood is a 6-5 shot-maker at the 2-guard spot. Aaron Simpson is a smaller lead guard. Ray Doby is the lone signee out of the high school ranks. He's an undersized but athletic power forward with a low center of gravity.
|C||3*||Adonis DeLaRosa||Christ the King High School (Middle Village, NY)||6'10"||270|
Steve Lavin has proven himself to be one of the best spring recruiters in the country in each of the past two seasons. This year, however, has not yet proven to be quite as successful. While Lavin was successful in convincing Chris Obekpa to return to the program after the rising junior initially asked for his release, that took time away from the recruiting trail and prevented him from making the type of 11th-hour scores we saw in both the 2012 and 2013 classes. Adonis DeLaRosa is a wide-bodied big man who provides an immediate presence in the paint, but will need to continue to improve his conditioning. Keith Thomas is a versatile 6-7 forward out of the local junior college ranks.
|SG||4*||Sandy Cohen||Seymour HS (WI)||6'5"||175|
Steve Wojciechowski's first task upon arriving at Marquette was to recruit the team's returning players, which wasn't necessarily an easy task coming off both an underachieving season and the unexpected departure of former head coach Buzz Williams. While Wojciechowski succeeded in securing the return of a talented core, three of the four players who had signed with Marquette during the early signing period asked for, and received, their releases, with Ahmed Hill and Satchel Pierce both electing to follow Williams to Virginia Tech. That leaves this class incomplete. The lone holdover, ESPN 100 small forward Sandy Cohen, is still an important addition as a playmaking wing with good size on the perimeter. With multiple scholarships still left to use, Wojo is negotiating between three positions -- recruiting the little talent left available in the 2014 class, holding on to spots for potential transfers and starting early on the 2015 class.