Big East Basketball: Power Ranking the Top 25 Players
No longer will the likes of Syracuse, Louisville, UConn and Pitt be atop the Big East standings at season's end. In this conference realignment era, Marquette, Villanova, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Providence, St. John's and DePaul join Butler, Xavier and Creighton to form a new Big East Conference.
The rankings of these players are based on a Big East mock draft I participated in this past Sunday evening, along with others. Your roster contains two guards, two forwards, a center and a utility, one of which must be a freshman.
There are three fantasy statistics players are based on: points, rebounds and blocks combined and assists and steals combined. So, while a player's fantasy value may not be the same as their overall value as a player and to their team, this should offer a unique look at the players the Big East has to offer in 2013-14.
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1. Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
2. D'Angelo Harrison, G, St. John's
3. Bryce Cotton, G, Providence
4. Cleveland Melvin, F, DePaul
5. Davante Gardner, C, Marquette
Picked Too High: Harrison
Picked Too Low: Gardner
Harrison is a streaky scorer who could get St. John's back on the right half of the conference standings and back in the Big Dance for Steve Lavin. Gardner is the best player on the conference's best team. Though he may even come off the bench for a fourth straight season, he is an incredibly efficient scorer and free-throw shooter, while moving better than his frame may suggest.
McDermott is the conference's best player and one of the top in the country. He finds so many ways to create scoring in his father's offense for the Bluejays. Cotton and Melvin have both been steady forces on losing teams, though both Friar and Blue Demon programs are on the rise.
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6. Brandon Young, G, DePaul
7. Gene Teague, C, Seton Hall
8. Fuquan Edwin, G-F, Seton Hall
9. Semaj Christon, G, Xavier
10. Ryan Arcidiacono, G, Villanova
Picked Too High: Young
Picked Too Low: Christon
Like Melvin, mentioned in the previous slide, Young has been part of a losing culture at DePaul that they hope to change as seniors. Christon is a future NBA guard who showed signs of promise as a freshman last season. This season could be his last in Cincinnati if all goes to plan.
Teague and Edwin will be joined by 4-star point guard Jaren Sina, who originally committed to Northwestern before Bill Carmody's firing there. Arcidiacono averaged roughly 12 points, two rebounds and three assists as a true freshman last year.
11. Rysheed Jordan, G, St. John's
12. Kadeem Batts, F, Providence
13. Duane Wilson, G, Marquette
14. Jakarr Sampson, F, St. John's
15. Chris Obekpa, C, St. John's
Picked Too High: St. John's
Picked Too Low: Batts
Three Red Storm players make this slide in Jordan, Sampson and Obekpa, all of whom play different positions. Jordan is a 5-star recruit and instant impact player. Sampson is coming off a 15.0 PPG season, while Obekpa averaged four points and six rebounds last season.
Batts went from a role player his first two years at Providence to a star, averaging 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior. He and Cotton could get Providence to March Madness. Wilson will compete with Derrick Wilson (no relation) as Buzz Williams' starting point guard. Duane is a more dynamic scorer, while Derrick is a steady ball-handler and defender.
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16. LaDontae Henton, F, Providence
17. Greg Whittington, F, Georgetown
18. JayVaughn Pinkston, F, Villanova
19. Jamil Wilson, F, Marquette
20. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, G, Georgetown
Picked Too High: Whittington
Picked Too Low: Henton
Whittington was primed for a big season following Otto Porter Jr.'s NBA departure, that was until a torn ACL will likely keep him out the entire 2013-14 season. Henton is another underrated Friar player who averaged 13.0 points and 8.3 boards a year ago next to Batts.
After some early trouble in his career, Pinkston seems to be back on Jay Wright's good side in Philly. Wilson is a forward who can slash, but is also Marquette's best deep threat. Smith-Rivera will see a big increase in his shooting and scoring numbers in the Princeton offense and life without Porter Jr.
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21. Dom Pointer, F, St. John's
22. Kellen Dunham, G, Butler
23. Grant Gibbs, G, Creighton
24. JaJuan Johnson, G, Marquette
25. Khyle Marshall, F, Butler
Picked Too High: Pointer
Picked Too Low: Dunham
Pointer averaged over six points and five rebounds in 2012-13, but should see similar numbers this season. He may have the Big East's best name as his first name is listed as Sir'Dominic on the team website. Dunham will be the number one offensive option for the Bulldogs in what could be a down year. Andrew Smith and Rotnei Clarke graduated, while Roosevelt Jones is out all season injured. How will the 'Dawgs adjust without Brad Stevens running the show?
Gibbs was granted (no pun intended) a sixth year this past offseason, a huge lift for Creighton as they surround McDermott with another outside weapon. Johnson will fight for minutes at shooting guard for Marquette with Todd Mayo. Johnson should see a majority of the minutes there by conference play. Marshall has averaged 9.7 points and 4.4 rebounds during his sophomore/junior seasons in 21.5 minutes. With an increased workload in minutes, expect Marshall's numbers to jump as he is full of potential.