This season I will be writing a weekly college basketball column entitled Big East Bias, which will cover everything I deem important in the world of Big East basketball. I sincerely hope that those of you who frequent the b/r college basketball pages enjoy this column, and I welcome any comments you have.
As we ease into the middle of November, there is not a lot of actual college basketball news to discuss...just the calm before the preseason tournament storm and the countless predictions and polls!
Although it would be nice to hurry up and play ball (no offense Duke v. Georgia Southern), the Bias thought it would be a good opportunity to take one last shot at a preseason prediction. This week, we’ll take a look at BIG EAST SOPHOMORES who are ready to BREAK OUT.
Last year’s Big East All-Rookie Team was strong! A number of future pros debuted on this list.
2007-08 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team
Mac Koshwal, DePaul, Dar Tucker, DePaul, Austin Freeman, Georgetown, DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, Corey Chandler, Rutgers, Justin Burrell, St. John’s, Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, Dominique Jones, USF, Jonny Flynn, Syracuse, Donte’ Greene, Syracuse, Corey Fisher, Villanova.
It would be way too “captain obvious” to say that one of the players on last year’s list is going to have a breakout sophomore season...if you made the all-rookie team, you’ve already arrived at the college level.
After analyzing the projected lineups for this year’s Big East squads, I see two incredibly talented sophomores who are guaranteed to break out!
Corey Stokes, Villanova
Corey Stokes started last season in a peculiar spot: He was on the bench behind Reggie Redding. More so than any other Villanova freshman, Stokes’ growth as a college player was hampered by Jay Wright’s constant juggling of his lineup. Stokes was clearly a player who needed to be on the court during his freshman adjustment period.
Once Stokes finally moved into the lineup last year, he was outstanding. If you witnessed Corey’s performance down the stretch, you can understand why he will be a breakout soph.
Stokes averaged 12 ppg over his last 12 games, including a 20-point explosion in Nova’s win over Sienna in the NCAA tournament. During that stretch, it felt like Stokes was putting up a new career high each time on the court. Stokes has one of the sweetest strokes in the country, and he is a legitimate pro prospect.
Chris Wright, Georgetown
Talk about an incredible opportunity! After playing in only 16 games last season, point guard Chris Wright steps into the shoes of Hoya Hero Jonathan Wallace. Many analysts assume that Georgetown will struggle to replace Wallace’s three point shooting and leadership, but don’t sell Chris Wright short...he could quickly be better.
If you recall, Wright won the high school McDonald’s All-American three-point contest. There is no doubt that he can chuck it!
Last season in limited action, Wright’s shot from downtown looked great! In his first game back after missing the entire regular season, Wright contributed nicely to the Hoyas' record-breaking three-point performance in the Big East tourney. In the NCAA tourney, Wright shot 70 percent from three.
Most Georgetown fans will tell you that if Chris Wright had been healthy all of last season, another Final Four appearance would have been possible. This kid has the pedigree of a leader and a year of observation under his belt. Look for Wright to get plenty of ink as the season progresses.