The 2009 early signing period concluded and the Big East hauled in a number of highly ranked recruits. All rankings are from Scout.com
1. Villanova Wildcats
Who they signed: Maalik Wayns No. 4 PG, No. 26 Overall
Mouphtauo Yarou No. 10 PF, No. 28 Overall
Isaiah Armwood No. 12 PF, No. 31 Overall
Analysis: Jay Wright landed a star-studded class for 2009. Traditionally known as a guard school, ‘Nova will be a force in the Big East thanks in large part to Armwood and Yarou. They add size to a team loaded with quality guards and throw in one of the top floor generals in the country. They are still in the mix for top-15 player Dominic Cheek, who is going to sign in the spring. Even without Cheek, this class is the cream of the crop in the Big East and is also a top-five class nationally.
2. Marquette Golden Eagles
Who they signed: Junior Cadougan No. 5 PG, No. 50 Overall
Jeronne Maymon No. 26 PF, No. 75 Overall
Erik Williams No. 21 SF, No. 95 Overall
Dwight Buycks NR
Brett Roseboro NR
Analysis: Buzz Williams hauled in a gem of a class in his first year at the helm in Milwaukee. He almost had to in order to stay competitive in the Big East. He is losing the trio of Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews. Cadougan should start immediately and Buycks plays a similar style to McNeal. Maymon and Williams provide length on the wing and Roseboro is a developing lefty. Marquette is still looking at local prospect Jamil Wilson. He is a versatile player who has a huge upside.
3. Connecticut Huskies
Who they signed: Alex Oriakhi No. 4 C, No. 14 Overall
Jamaal Coombs No. 17 SF, No. 81 Overall
Analysis: With Jeff Adrian graduating and Hasheem Thabeet likely to enter the NBA draft, a bruising post player was a need for the Huskies and they got their man, Alex Oriakhi. He is going to be a force in the Big East much like Adrian is. Coombs adds size and length on the wing and should contribute right away. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Connecticut go after another center in the spring if Thabeet leaves.
4. Louisville Cardinals
Who they signed: Rakeem Buckles No. 17 PF, No. 48 Overall
Peyton Siva No. 7 PG, No. 54 Overall
Stephan Van Treese NR
Mike Marra NR
Analysis: The Cardinals landed another top class this year after hauling in Scout’s fourth ranked class last year. Buckles is an extremely athletic four man who has some perimeter skills. Siva is capable of scoring in bunches. Van Treese will provide some size and strength down low and Marra is an excellent shooter. This is a really solid and well-balanced class. With Terrance Williams leaving, Louisville will be looking for someone to pick up the scoring, perhaps one of the freshman.
5. Georgetown Hoyas
Who they signed: Hollis Thompson No. 7 SF, No. 34 Overall
DaShonte Riley No. 9 C, No. 57 Overall
Analysis: Georgetown has two really, really, solid players in this class. This class may be underrated due to the fact they signed two players. Thompson oozes with potential, but has some work to do on his perimeter shot. Riley is another long-term prospect that could contribute down the road. Georgetown had the luxury of not needing impact players right away and the players they got could be stars down the road.
6. Pittsburgh Panthers
Who they signed: Dante Taylor, #5 PF, #17 Overall
Lamar Patterson #19 SF, #93 Overall
J.J. Richardson NR
Talib Zanna, NR
Analysis: Pittsburgh is expected to lose some size this year and Jamie Dixon did an excellent job of addressing that problem. Taylor is an absolute beast in the paint and other Big East teams are not looking forward to seeing him paired alongside DaJuan Blair. Patterson is a solid wing player who is in the mold of past Pitt players due to his toughness. Richardson and Zanna are long-term prospects at this point. Pittsburgh is still in the mix for highly rated guard Dominic Cheek.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers
Who they signed: Dalton Pepper #30 SG
Dan Jennings #23 C
Deniz Kilicli NR
Analysis: West Virginia signed arguably the biggest unknown in the class. Deniz Kilicli, who hails from Turkey, is attending Mountain State Academy in West Virginia. He had many high major schools lining up for his services this fall. That being said, not many talent evaluators have had a chance to see him but the early word is that he is a big time player. Pepper is an undervalued wing that should fit in nicely in the Mountaineers offense. Jennings adds toughness and a mean streak in the paint.
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Who they signed: Tom Knight #35 C
Mike Broghammer NR
Jack Cooley #24 C
Joey Brooks NR
Analysis: Mike Brey seems to be preparing himself for the loss of Luke Harandgody. Cooley fits that same mold. He is tough in the paint and is physically ready to battle in the Big East. Broghammer and Knight are both tough in the paint, but neither play above the rim. Brooks is a combo guard who has size (6’5”) to be disruptive defensively.
9. Providence Friars
Who they signed: James Still #34 C
Kyle Wright NR
Kadeem Batts NR
Duke Mondy NR
Johnnie Lacy #12 PG
Analysis: Providence is losing four key players from the 08-09 team, including three starters. They had big shoes to fill and it will be interesting to see how Keno Davis can mold a new group together. Still is a lanky post player that has a high ceiling. Batts is known for his back to the basket game. Mondy is a well-rounded scorer that can shoot, as well as score by going to the rim. Wright, a lengthy wing, will provide experience in this class. Lacy is a big time scorer that can really fill it up from anywhere on the court.
10. Syracuse Orange
Who they signed: Brandon Triche NR
Analysis: Syracuse didn’t need much for the 2009 class and they landed some good, but not spectacular players. The only concern for the Orange is if ultra-talented point guard Johnny Flynn decides to go pro. Triche is a combo guard who can fill in at the point or the shooting guard. James Southerland is an athletic wing that had to prep this year due to academics. He is expected to sign in the spring
11. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Who they signed: Dane Miller NR
Austin Johnson NR
Analysis: Rutgers landed a McDonalds All-American last year, as well as a top-50 big man. This year their signees are not as highly regarded. Miller, who some believe to be undervalued, is an athletic wing who can get to the rim and hit open jumpers. Johnson should be a nice compliment to Echenique in the paint. Rutgers also has an outside shot at shooting guard Dominic Cheek.
12. Saint John's Red Storm
Who they signed: Omari Lawrence #22 SG
Dwight Hardy NR
Analysis: Norm Roberts is on the hot seat and needed to land a quality class. Omari Lawrence is a local talent who will be able to step in and score right away. Hardy, a junior college transfer, comes from a good program and a great coach. He should provide another backcourt option for the Red Storm. The big fish is still out there, though, as Lance Stephenson will sign in the spring. He may end up going to Europe, but if St. John’s could land him, it could resurrect the program
13. South Florida Bulls
Who they signed: Jordan Dumars NR
Shaun Noriega NR
Analysis: South Florida has taken in a couple of high major transfers the past few seasons (Mike Mercer and Augustus Gilchrist). With this class they were looking for role players to surround the big names. Jordan Dumars, the son of ex-NBA player Joe, is a skilled wing that can play inside and out. Noriega is a pure shooter from deep who shoots best of the catch. They are also in the top three for power forward Keith Clanton.
14. DePaul Blue Demons
Who they signed: Tony Freeland NR
Mike Stovall NR
Analysis: DePaul has a couple of rising stars on their roster, Mac Koshwal and Dar Tucker. Jerry Wainwright will need these guys to really step up in order to keep his job. Stovall and Freeland should provide some depth, but you would think that with all of the talent in Illinois, Wainwright has underachieved big time in recruiting. Freeland is an undersized post that finds ways to get it done. Stovall is a JUCO transfer that has size to play both shooting guard and small forward.
15. Cincinnati Bearcats
Who they signed: Sean Kilpatrick, NR
Analysis: With only one scholarship senior on the roster, Mick Cronin did not have much to work with. Kilpatrick is a solid, but not spectacular player. With the nice class that the Bearcats landed last year, not much was expected for this year. The Bearcats are one of the up and coming teams in the big east.
16. Seton Hall Pirates
Who they signed: No one
Analysis: What the heck is Bobby Gonzalez thinking? He has four open scholarships and zero players signed. His experiment of landing transfers and trying to get them eligible immediately failed. If he wants to keep a job for long he is going to have to recruit better, a whole lot better. I just heard word on Wednesday night that they have received a commitment from Cliff Dixon, a 6’9” post player from Hutchinson Community College.
Best Player: Alex Oriakhi-Connecticut
Best Shooter: Mike Marra-Louisville
Best Passer: Maalik Wayns-Villanova
Best Rebounder: Dante Taylor-Pittsburgh
Best Shot-Blocker: Alex Oriakhi-Connecticut
Top Floor General: Junior Cadougan-Marquette
Biggest Sleeper: James Still-Providence
Best Junior College Player: Dwight Buycks-Marquette
Most Athletic: Rakeem Buckles-Louisville
Most NBA Potential: Hollis Thompson-Georgetown
Top Defender: Alex Oriakhi-Connecticut
Best Mid Range Shooter: Dalton Pepper-West Virginia
Best Low Block Scorer: Mouphtauo Yarou-Villanova