10 Big East newcomers to watch for
We're in the midst of the doldrums of the college basketball calendar, as most hoops fans are paying attention to the NBA Playoffs.
And rightfully so. However, it's never too early to start forecasting what next year's college basketball teams might look like. With so much turnaround each year thanks to transfers, diaper dandies and the NBA Draft, this week, we'll take a look at the power conferences in college basketball and break down some of the best newcomers in each league.
To kick off, here are the top 10 transfers and incoming freshmen to enter the Big East this year. To clarify, not every single player will be eligible to play this year because of transfer rules, but they are still important to monitor moving forward. Does your team have a chance to make that crucial pep towards greatness?
Find out right here.
10) F Justin Patton – Freshman – Creighton
Patton was a huge get for Greg McDermott and the Blue Jays. Even since the Doug McDermott days, Creighton hasn't had athleticism quite like Patton's. The 4-star leaper should start right away for the Jays, and according to Rivals, he's the 45th best player in the Class of 2015.
9) F Durand Johnson – Senior – St. John's (Transferred from Pittsburgh)
Johnson has one year of eligibility left after tearing his ACL in 2013-14, when he missed the final 20 games of Pitt's season. The forward averaged 8.8 points per game in his last season as a Panther, and could start immediately for the Johnnies.
On his decision to join Chris Mullin and the Red Storm, Johnson told the New York Post, “Just being around the coaching staff and the guys, it was a genuine fit,” Johnson said. “Talking with Coach Mullin, everything just felt good. I felt like this is the place for me. In New York, why not be a part of something special? I can help this program take off.”
8) F Darien Williams – Sophomore – St. John's (JUCO transfer)
Like Johnson, Williams has the potential to start right away for Chris Mullin and company. Williams seems to be a mismatch for opposing defenses; combining size, athleticism and outside shooting. Rumble In The Garden says of Williams:
"Originally from California, Williams played his first JUCO season at Iowa Western Community College, averaging 16 points per game and seven rebounds, shooting 41% from outside the arc. he took 29% of his shots from beyond the arc, so he's not strictly a deep shooter' and he shot 55% inside the arc and drew foul shots at a rate of 44% (free throws taken divided by field goals taken), a solid number."
7) G Kethan Savage – Senior – Butler (Transferred from George Washington)
Savage will have to sit out next season, but once Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham graduate, he will be an integral part of Chris Holtmann's backcourt. He has rare athleticism that Bulldog fans haven't seen in years. Don't believe it? Check out this highlight reel dunk.
6) G Haniif Cheatham – Freshman – Marquette
Chatham provides depth to Coach Wojo's class over at Marquette, and with Matt Carlino gone, he has a chance to start right away in the Golden Eagles backcourt. Cheatham is a 4-star shooting guard out of Florida that has the ability to stretch the defense and put the ball on the deck.
5) C Jessie Govan – Freshman – Georgetown
Hoya fans that were used to seeing Joshua Smith are in for a surprise when they watch Govan take his place. At 260 pounds, he's obviously bigger than your average center, but he's a bit more graceful than Smith was. Govan will likely be a day one starter for Georgetown. A scouting report on Rivals says about him, "A big and methodical post player, Govan is making big strides in his game as he approaches his senior season. He has toned up his frame, become more aggressive and improved his quickness. Govan gets and holds position, has good touch and is a very good positional rebounder."
4) G/F Eric Paschall – Sophomore – Villanova (Transferred from Fordham)
Paschall is the reigning Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year, and he averaged 15.9 points per game as a freshman for Fordham. Paschall has a similar game to former 'Nova guard Dylan Ennis – he can create, slash and shoot it from deep.
Unfortunately for Jay Wright, Paschall will not be eligible to play until to 2016-17 due to NCAA transfer rules.
3) G Marcus Foster – Junior – Creighton (Transferred from Kansas State)
Like Paschall, Foster will have to sit out a year after sitting out a year due to transfer rules. The Omaha World Herald had this to say of Foster's transfer:
"After spurning Creighton as a high school senior, guard Marcus Foster on Sunday told coach Greg McDermott that he was ready to become a Bluejay. In spite of the sometimes troubled relationship with his coach, Foster still wound up leading or tying for the team lead in seven statistical categories as a sophomore. He averaged 12.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 34.7 percent from 3-point range last season."
2) G Jalen Brunson – Freshman – Villanova
With Darrun Hilliard gone and Dylan Ennis transferring, it would seem like Villanova would be hurting at the guard spot next season.
Brunson has other ideas. A top 20 recruit and a McDonalds All-American, see what has Villanova fans so excited for next season.
1) Henry Ellenson – Freshman – Marquette
Ellenson is Wojo's first signature recruit and Marquette, and he looks to be a great one. He's a top five recruit according to ESPN, and the all-around stud chose Marquette over Kentucky and Michigan State. After a rough season in Milwaukee, Golden Eagles have plenty to be jazzed for in 2015-16.
Photo credit: Orlin Wagner/AP