I just finished reading through Rush The Court's Top 20 BIG EAST players for the coming season, and to say the least, I've got a few thoughts. First off let me say that Rush The Court is a phenomenal college hoops blog. I read it daily during the season and check it at least a couple of times a week during the off-season.
And Zach Hayes is a great writer, whose opinion I respect after reading his work before. But I've got some problems with this list. I don't know if Zach considers himself a BEAST expert, or if he has allegiances in the conference. But what I do know is this list made me do a double-take more than once.
So as a self-proclaimed Villanova-guru and BEAST-expert, I'm going to tackle a few things that made me raise my eyebrows, as well as the Villanova selections. See you after The Jump...
I bet you were all expecting me to trash Austin Freeman as the pick for the best in the conference? Guess again. While it makes me physically ill to say it, I can't really disagree. The conference lost just about everybody who you could have even considered to be in the running for league MVP last year. So really, it's up for grabs. And Freeman was incredible against us last year (vomit forthcoming). So while I don't like it, I certainly find it hard to argue against as we head into a new era of BIG EAST hoops.
Villanova's own Corey Fisher falls in at #2. Again, absolutely no problem here. He's seasonsed, the spotlight is now his alone, and he's shone the ability to dominate a game. He's in store for a breakout year and barring injury should be in the running for League MVP.
Tim Abromaitis at #5. TIM ABROMAITIS?! TOP 5?! Yeah, I know you'll say he averaged over 16 a game. I don't care. I watched him against Villanova. He stands outside and jacks treys. And now he doesn't have Luke Harangody or Tory Jackson to rely on. He's going to be a no-show this year. As will the entire Notre Dame team. Mark my words.
I think Maalik Wayns made this list on potential, and I certainly don't have a problem with it. He's overflowing with it. How will he and Fisher co-exist though? Tough to say, since both are true point guards in every sense of the word. If both guys can put up 12-15 points per game and 4-7 assists per game, that means we're humming. I'm excited for that backcourt.
Antonio Pena mildly surprised me. Not because he doesn't have talent. He's oozing it. Just that sometimes he utilizes it, and sometimes he doesn't. He's in the dog house, then he's out of it. I expected to see Mouphtaou Yarou ahead of him to be honest, because Mouph looks ready to dominate this year. But hey, it's last go-round for 'Tone. I love the guy. I want him and Yarou to be David Robinson and Tim Duncan this year. I WILL NOT BE LET DOWN!
Fab Melo coming in anywhere on this list was a huge surprise to me. I make it a rule of mine to never include freshman on these lists. Why? Because we have no idea how they are going to handle it. Look at Greg Monroe. He was timid his first year. Look at Lance Stephenson, who some said was going to win MVP. I don't think anyone was that impressed. Maybe Melo changes the trend, who knows. But I think it's foolish to put freshman on 'best player in the conference' lists.
That's it. Rant over. Let's hear your thoughts on the list as a whole, as well as on where the 'Nova guys are ranked...