Big East Basketball's Top 60 Players for the Upcoming Season
The Big East is slowly dwindling now that Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame have all decided to join the ACC. That won't be the case this coming year, as all three of those schools will still be a part of the league, although West Virginia has already jumped ship to the Big 12.
This list of 60 players comes from a mock draft that I observed between six members of a fantasy basketball league. For that particular league, each team starts two guards, two forwards, one center and one utility player, one of which must be a freshman. Each team also contains four bench players.
This list of 60 players comes verbatim based on when each member of the league chose each player, based on their fantasy value. While this might not directly correlate to the Big East's "best" players, it gives an idea of who the top overall players, as well as newcomers, may be this year.
60. Greg Whittington, F, Georgetown
59. Kadeem Jack, F, Rutgers
58. Amir Garrett, F, St. Johns
57. Dante Taylor, F, Pittsburgh
56. Jamil Wilson, F, Marquette
55. Gene Teague, C, Seton Hall
Wilson expects to step into a larger role this coming season for Marquette due to the losses of Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. Wilson found himself playing center much of last year due to injuries, but should see time at both forward positions this year.
Garrett averaged 7.4 points as a freshman for St. Johns, who had an extremely young roster. Mo Harkless left for the NBA, but the Red Storm should be improved this year. Garrett also pitches in the Cincinnati Reds farm system.
54. Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse
53. Vander Blue, G, Marquette
52. Aaron Crosby, G, Seton Hall
51. God's Gift Achiuwa, F, St. Johns
50. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, F, South Florida
49. Durrell McDonald, G, DePaul
Fitzpatrick averaged 8.0 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior for the defensively minded South Florida Bulls. Achiuwa had similar to numbers as Fitzpatrick, but needs to play more consistently than he did a year ago.
Grant is the younger brother of Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, although the two play different positions.
Blue has been an enigma during his first two seasons as a Golden Eagle, but like Wilson is expected to make big strides this year.
48. Eric Atkins, G, Notre Dame
47. Wally Judge, F, Rutgers
46. Kris Dunn, G, Providence
45. James Robinson, G, Pittsburgh
44. Chris Otule, C, Marquette
43. Wayne Blackshear, G, Louisville
Blackshear only played in 15 games during a freshman campaign that was plagued by injury. During those 15 games, Blackshear only played seven minutes on average, but is expected to have a breakout sophomore year after Louisville lost Kyle Kuric to graduation.
The 6'11" Otule only played in eight games last season, also due to injuries. While not much of a threat as a scorer, Otule is known for his shot-blocking ability. Marquette suddenly has a very deep frontcourt with Otule, Wilson and Davante Gardner.
42. DeAndre Daniels, F, Connecticut
41. Omar Calhoun, G, Connecticut
40. DaJuan Coleman, C, Syracuse
39. Russ Smith, G, Louisville
38. Lamar Patterson, G/F, Pittsburgh
37. Rakeem Christmas, F, Syracuse
Smith is an instant-offense player who averaged 11.5 points in only 21.5 minutes of action as a sophomore. If Smith can improve upon his 30 percent accuracy from long range, his scoring average could skyrocket. He should receive more playing time as a junior.
Christmas averaged 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds as a freshman while playing 11.5 minutes per game. The Orange used and will continue to use a deep bench, so it's too early to tell whether Christmas' numbers will improve.
36. Jaquon Parker, G, Cincinnati
35. Brandon Triche, G, Syracuse
34. Maurice Sutton, F/C, Villanova
33. Trey Zeigler, G, Pittsburgh
32. Christopher Obekpa, C, St. Johns
31. Dane Miller, F, Rutgers
Zeigler could be one of the best transfer pickups in the entire nation, as he comes to Pitt from Central Michigan. Zeigler averaged 15.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in his sophomore year.
Triche averaged a very solid 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a junior, but may need to up those numbers a bit for Syracuse to reach the same level of success as they did during the 2011-12 campaign. Triche will be asked to fill the void left by Kris Joseph's graduation and Dion Waiters' entry into the NBA Draft.
30. Brandon Young, G, DePaul
29. James Southerland, F, Syracuse
28. Trent Lockett, G, Marquette
27. Elijah Carter, G, Rutgers
26. Scott Martin, F, Notre Dame
25. Victor Rudd, F, South Florida
Lockett is another high profile transfer, coming to Marquette from Arizona State. As a junior at ASU, he averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting just a tad under 50 percent from the field.
Martin, a sixth-year senior, needs to help shoulder the load that Tim Abromaitis would have taken on had he also been granted a sixth year. Martin's scoring average has remained almost constant since his freshman year at Purdue in 2007-08.
24. Davante Gardner, C, Marquette
23. Jakarr Sampson, F, St. Johns
22. Jayvaughn Pinkston, F, Villanova
21. Anthony Collins, G, South Florida
20. C.J. Fair, F, Syracuse
19. Jerian Grant, G/F, Notre Dame
Gardner averaged 9.5 and 5.3 rebounds in 19.1 minutes as a sophomore coming off Buzz Williams' bench. Whether Gardner starts or continues his reserve role, expect his numbers to increase as long as he can play extended minutes.
Collins may be the best player on a team that prides itself in playing team basketball. Collins averaged 9.0 points, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals as a freshman. It should be noted that no USF player averaged double-figure scoring last season.
18. Sean Kilpatrick, G, Cincinnati
17. Ryan Boatright, G, Connecticut
16. Chane Behanan, F, Louisville
15. Bryce Cotton, G, Providence
14. Cashmere Wright, G, Cincinnati
13. Otto Porter, F, Georgetown
Boatright played in 25 games as a freshman, sitting a few due to eligibility issues. Boatright and Shabazz Napier will make up a very talented, yet small, UCONN backcourt. Expect Boatright to fill some of the scoring void that Jeremy Lamb left.
As a freshman, Porter averaged 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. The 6'8" Porter is a tough matchup that I personally am a fan of because he helped me win a fantasy league I was in—he was also the lone freshman on my roster.
12. Peyton Siva, G, Louisville
11. Travon Woodall, G, Pittsburgh
10. Shabazz Napier, G, Connecticut
9. Mouphtaou Yarou, F/C, Villanova
8. Fuquan Edwin, G/F, Seton Hall
7. Jack Cooley, F, Notre Dame
Siva is a stat-sheet stuffer who averaged 9.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.7 steals as a junior while also helping Louisville reach the Final Four. Siva does, however, need to improve his outside shooting.
When Woodall was out last January, Pittsburgh lost seven consecutive games, so it's no secret that he makes this team better with his on-court presence. Woodall averaged 11.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists last year as Ashton Gibbs' backcourt mate.
6. Steven Adams, F/C, Pittsburgh
5. D'Angelo Harrison, G, St. Johns
4. Cleveland Melvin, F, DePaul
3. LaDontae Henton, F, Providence
2. Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
1. Vincent Council, G, Providence
As a sophomore, the 6'11" Dieng averaged 9.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots. He also was able to stay on the court for nearly 33 minutes per game, which is an impressive number for someone his size.
Council rarely leaves the floor and is always creating something for the high-powered Providence offense. Council averaged 15.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. Council is just one of a few Friar players that put up such big-time stats.