Big East Media day is always a special day for basketball fans around the world. It means that basketball is just around the corner.
This year is different, though. It feels different because of what we know the Big East will become after Syracuse and Pittsburgh jump to the ACC. Let's enjoy it while it's still around.
Kevin Jones and the West Virginia Mountaineers look to improve on their seventh-place Big East finish from 2010-11.
Jones will be a major factor for the Mountaineers' success this season.
He was second on the team in points (13) and first on the team in rebounds (seven). In the past two seasons, Jones has proved that he can be relied upon for production.
West Virginia will need another solid season out of Jones if they want to compete for the top-spot in the conference.
Syracuse University will put out another strong club in 2011-12. Forward Kris Joseph will be the anchor in the frontcourt for the Orange.
Joseph scored 14 points, two assists and five rebounds last season.
The Orange have another great opportunity to win the Big East Conference this season. They finished third in the conference at 27-8, 12-6 in the conference last year.
Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis is one of the best shooters in the nation. Abromaitis averaged 15 points, two assists and six rebounds per game in 2011-12.
He shot 43 percent from long distance (78-182) last season. At 6’8”Abromaitis is one of the toughest players to defend in the Big East Conference. He has the ability to shoot over people with a high rate of conversion.
Abromaitis will sit out the first four games of the season because of something that happened in 2008 when he played in two exhibition games as a sophomore. NCAA rules only allow freshman to do that.
Nevertheless, Abromaitis won’t miss a meaningful game this season. He will come back just in time for a trip to Missouri on November 21.
Darius Johnson-Odom recorded 16 points, two assists and three rebounds in 2010-11 with the Marquette Golden Eagles.
He played a major role in leading Marquette to the Sweet 16. Johnson-Odom is a tough, hard-nosed competitor that is all about winning. His style of play gels perfectly with Head Coach Buzz Williams.
Marquette will provide a tough test, as always, in 2011-12. Coaches will know that they better bring their A-game when they play the Golden Eagles.
University of Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb burst onto the national scene in the Big East Tournament. Providing a secondary scorer to Kemba Walker, Lamb made clutch plays in postseason play.
As a sophomore, Lamb looks to be the main weapon in the Connecticut offense this season. UConn, picked to win the Big East Conference with Syracuse, has many weapons in 2011-12 including freshman Andre Drummond.
Lamb scored 10 points and four rebounds per game in 2010-11.
If he can have another successful season, Lamb could really make a name for himself as being one of the best in the nation.
Ashton Gibbs didn't get as much love as he hoped when he put his name into the NBA Draft after the 2010-11 season. He ended up taking his name out of the draft. Pittsburgh Panthers fans can breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Without Gibbs, Jamie Dixon and the Panthers would struggle to score points consistently. He is their primary offensive weapon.
Now that he is back, Pittsburgh has a legitimate shot at competing for the Big East crown, just like every season. Gibbs, named the 2011-12 Big East Preseason Player of the Year, averaged 17 points, three assists and two rebounds per game in 2010-11.
It should be interesting to see if he has improved on some of his skills in the offseason. He has improved on his mid range game since coming in as a freshman, but still struggles to get to the rim.
If he wants to be a contributor in the NBA, Gibbs will need to showcase an ability to get to the basket.