Fall Recruiting Preview - Big East (Pt. I)

Connecticut and Louisville have top classes with signing day a month away

Oct. 6, 2007

By Van Coleman

CSTV.com & Hoopmasters.com


Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
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We are just beginning the stretch run to the fall signing period (Nov. 14 - Nov. 21), and the colleges are getting ready to kick off practice next week.


The past couple weeks have been very busy with campus visits and a number of national level commitments. But rather than cover individual commitment I'd like to look at who's doing well in conference recruiting and who some of the surprise schools are as we move toward the November signing date.


Up first is the Big East where Louisville and Connecticut have jumped out to the early lead in recruiting, while Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Georgetown have strong starts in the fall recruiting wars.




But with this being the nation's biggest of the power conferences, we'll break it the preview up into two parts and, in fairness, start with the top eight finishers in the conference regular season standings last year.


With that in mind here's an early look at the Big East:


Georgetown (Recruiting Log) has commitments that add quality depth inside from No. 57 rated 6-foot-10 post man Henry Sims from Baltimore, Md. St. Joseph's and No. 65 rated 6-foot-9 power forward Chris Braswell who is prepping at Chatham, Va. Hargrave. Add to that duo 6-foot-3 shooting guard Jason Clark of Arlington, Va. Bishop O'Connell and the Hoyas have a good start to a rated class. Look for them to add one more inside talent.


The Hoyas' top inside target is No. 2 overall 6-foot-10 Greg Monroe, who is scheduled to visit the Georgetown campus for Midnight Madness Oct. 13.  They are one of the schools that No. 11 overall 7-foot-2 John Riek-Suas is considering, as well as 6-foot-10 Gus Gilchrist of Temple Hills, Md. Progressive Christian and 6-foot-8 290-pound Reggie Johnson from Winston-Salem, N.C. Prep.


Louisville (Recruiting Log) has one of the nation's top five prospects in the fold, in our No.4 rated Samardo Samuels from Newark, N.J. St. Benedict's. The 6-foot-9, 245-pounder has tools to be a short-timer for the Cardinals, but he's a program changer as well.  He's joined by 6-foot-3 wing scorer Melquan Bolding from Fitchburg, Mass. Notre Dame Prep. Look for them to add at least two more, with wing help the first priority.


The Cardinals are in the hunt for another top five talent. No. 3 overall 6-foot-4 Tyreke Evans from Aston, Pa. American Christian is good friends with Samardo Samuels. He lists Louisville, Villanova, Memphis and Connecticut as his leaders. 


They will host 6-foot-7 Jared Swopshire from Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academy the weekend of Oct. 20. They have shown interest in 6-foot-8 Murphy Holloway from Irmo, S.C. Dutch Fork.  They also like 6-foot-5 shooter Kyle Kuric from Evansville, Ind. Reitz Memorial, who they have reportedly offered. 


As far as size they are among a number of schools No. 39 overall 6-foot-11 J'Mison Morgan is looking at for his fifth visit and have taken looks at 6-foot-8 Dan Jennings from Mouth of Wilson, Va. Oak Hill Academy and 6-foot-9 Brandon Moore from New Orleans, La. Holy Cross.


Pittsburgh (Recruiting Log) has had a solid start with three Top 200 signees headed by 6-foot-6 Top 100 talent Nasir Robinson, our No. 73 talent, from Chester, Pa.  Two athletic backcourt talents 6-foot-2 Ashton Gibbs from West Orange, N.J. Seton Hall Prep and 6-foot point Travon Woodall will form a nucleus for future Panther backcourt success.  They would like to add some size this fall.


Currently the Panthers are involved with 6-foot-8 powerman Dan Jennings from Mouth of Wilson Va. Oak Hill, along with 6-foot-10 Chatham, Va. Hargrave post Roscoe Davis. 


Davis has interest from Kansas, Memphis, Ohio State, West Virginia, N.C. State, Maryland as well a the Panthers.  They are among schools who've contacted Temple Hills, Md. Progressive Christian 6-foot-10 post Gus Gilchrist and have a more than casual interest in 6-foot-9 Orion Outerbridge of New Hampton, N.H. School.


Notre Dame (Recruiting Log) doesn't have any commitments at this time, but are expecting on Midnight Madness to host No. 16 rated Tyler Zeller, the 7-foot post prospect from Washington, Ind. He has been their primary target this fall, but they are in a battle with North Carolina, Indiana and Purdue for his signature. If they miss on Zeller, look for the Fighting Irish to look at the prep school ranks this winter to add inside help. But, since they only have one scholarship to give at this point, they will be very picky and could let it ride until next year.


Syracuse (Recruiting Log) has received two early commitments so far coming from two quality wing talents in No. 54 rated senior 6-foot-7 Kris Joseph from Washington, D.C. Archbishop Carroll and 6-foot-7 James Southerland from Fitchburg, Mass. Notre Dame Prep.  They could sign one more wing or forward prospect.


The Orangemen are considered one of the favorites for No. 45 rated Mookie Jones, and the wing from Peekskill, N.Y. will visit them for Midnight Madness.  Currently he is the focus of their fall recruiting.  If they miss on him, they will then evaluate what direction they want to go in the spring.


Marquette (Recruiting Log) has one early commitment from athletic 6-foot-4 swing man Nick Williams from Mobile, Ala. Leflore, who has all the tools to make an impact for the Golden Eagles as a freshman.  Look for him to jump into the Top 100 in our next rankings.  They are looking to sign a point and a big man this fall, but they won't turn down a special player.


As far as that special player goes, the Golden Eagles hosted No. 45 rated Mookie Jones last week, while for Midnight Madness they will have in No. 21 rated 6-foot-4 point man Iman Shumpert. 


This weekend, the Golden Eagles host 6-foot-2 Tyshawn Taylor from Jersey City, N.J. St. Anthony's.  Joining Shumpert next week is 6-foot-7 Jared Swopshire of Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academy. 


The Golden Eagles are also looking at a number of other big men, headed by a visitor last week in 6-foot-10 Frank Ben-Eze of Arlington, Va. Bishop O'Connell, 6-foot-10 Maurice Sutton from Largo, Md., and 6-foot-11 Garrett Stutz from North Kansas City, Missouri.  Stutz will visit Oct. 27.


West Virginia (Recruiting Log) has a summer commitment from 6-foot-2 tough guy Darryl "Truck" Bryant from Bronx, NY St. Raymond's.  He fits the tough, hard-nosed mold that Bob Huggins loves to go to war with. 


The Mountaineers are looking to add a big man and more perimeter help this fall.


On the perimeter, the top target is 6-foot-7 Kevin Jones from Mount Vernon, N.Y., who will visit Morgantown before the November signing date. 


They also like 6-foot-5 David Diakite from Fort Washington, Md. National Christian, as well as a couple point guards in 5-foot-10 prep schooler Damier Pitts from Chatham, Va. Hargrave and 5-foot-11 Eric Evans from Detroit, Mich. Northwestern. 


But, it's in the post that they could end up with a difference maker as they expect a visit this fall from No. 19 rated 6-foot-10 Terrence Jennings, who is prepping at Fitchburg, Mass. Notre Dame Prep.  He's also looking at Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Connecticut. 


They also are looking at 6-foot-10 Frank Ben-Eze and 6-foot-10 Steve Goins to add depth on the blocks.


DePaul (Recruiting Log) has already added three commitments this fall.  Two come inside and are headed by 6-foot-11 European big man Luka Mirkovic from Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro Mega Ishrana School.  He played for the Serbian 18-Under squad last summer. 


He's joined by 6-foot-9 shotblocker Devin Hill from New Canaan, Conn. St. Luke's, forming immediate depth upfront for the Blue Demons.  In the backcourt is 6-foot-2 Jeremiah Kelly, who is prepping at Aston, Pa. American Christian this winter and will compete as a freshman for considerable playing time.


The Blue Demons have one of their top targets on campus this weekend in No. 45 rated 6-foot-6 Mookie Jones from Peekskill, N.Y., who is in the middle of his five visits. 


Also, upfront they are looking at two quality big men with one being 6-foot-10 Teeng Akol from Centerreach, NY Our Savior New American.  He has looks coming from West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Houston at this point.  The other is 6-foot-11 local Chicago product Steve Goins from Chicago Curie High.  He has interest from the Blue Demons, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia, West Virginia, Valparaiso, Illinois-Chicago, and Chicago Loyola.