The “new” Big East will look to improve on their inaugural season after the conference realignment that took place last year. After only sending 4 teams to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, with 0 of those teams advancing to the Sweet 16 round, and only 2 advancing past the 1st rd, the Big East looks to have a much more successful year.
Now with the disappointing season behind them, lets take a look ahead to the 2014-2015 Big East Conference by first looking at the main changes that took place in the offseason:
1. The Big East Recruiting Class: Georgetown and Seton Hall lead the conference with #11 & #12 recruiting classes (247 Sports). Freshman SG Isiah Whitehead, of Seton Hall, is the standout of the Big East class, with his top 10 national player ranking from the class of 2014.
Other notable freshman: SF Isaac Copeland (GTWN), PF Angel Delgado (SH) and SF Trevon Bluiett (XU).
Xavier and Providence finish out the top 25 at #20 & #21. St. Johns holding down the bottom tier of the conference with a #100 ranked recruiting class.
2. Notable Transfers: A total of 8 players transferred into the Big East, with 18 (no joke) transferring out. Butler leads the way with 6 players transferring.
Notable Arrivals: Matt Carlino from BYU to Marquette, Luke Fisher from Indiana to Marquette (not eligible until December), Ricky Kreklow from Cal to Creighton, and Myke Henry from Illinois to DePaul.
Notable Departures: Justin Martin from XU to SMU, Elijah Brown from Butler to NM, and Jameel McKay from Marquette to Iowa State.
3. Notable Graduates: Doug McDermont (CREI): National Player of the Year. Ranks 5th all-time on the NCAA scoring list. 1st Rd pick by the Nuggets, then traded to the Bulls.
James Bell (VILL) Their leading scorer. Won’t be too big of a loss for the Wildcats though, as they do return the rest of their starting lineup, and bring along 2 top 100 recruits.
Semaj Christon (XU), Avg. 17 PPG as a sophomore. 1st-Team all Big East in 2014. 2nd rd pick of the Miami Heat, then later traded to OKC.
Bryce Cotton (Providence). 2014 Big East Tournament MVP. He went undrafted.
Markel Starks (GTWN): Avg 17 PPG as a senior.
Jakarr Sampson (SJU): An athletic freak who avg. 13 PPG & 6 RPG as a soph. He went undrafted.
4. Coaching News: Only 1 head coaching change in the Big East with Buzz Williams leaving for Virginia Tech in a surprising move. Many thought their would be 2 changes when Xavier’s Chris Mack had reportedly received offers from Cal and Wake Forest, but Mack shot down those rumors by signing an extension with Xavier through 2020.
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