First off thank you to @NewBigEastConf for taking to the time to answer our questions. He is a Big East writer who follows the recruiting of every school in the newest conference, so we decided to go ahead and ask him a couple questions to help familiarize the Butler community with the rest of the conference’s incoming questions. Here are his answers:
Who would you say are the top two or three freshmen classes coming into the Big East this season? What sets them apart?
The two best recruiting classes in the Big East for the upcoming season are without question Marquette’s and Villanova’s. Most regard Marquette’s incoming class as a Top 10 class throughout all of college basketball. Marquette has 3 very good recruits in JuJuan Johnson, Deonte Burton, and Duane Wilson. In fact, many believe all three of the aforementioned players will see considerable minutes this year. John Dawson and Jameel McKay are two serviceable incoming freshmen who round out the top class in the Big East.
Jay Wright has two excellent players coming to the Main Line this year in Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart. Jenkins is a thick yet short Power Forward from Maryland and Hart a Small Forward who declined offers from two Big Ten schools. Darryl Reynolds rounds out Villanova’s incoming freshmen class. There are plenty of other schools in the Big East who have some very talented players heading to their respective campuses this Fall but what separates these two schools from everyone else is their classes are comprised of at least two potential great players.
If you had to pick a couple front runners for Freshman of the Year, who would they be?
Rysheed Jordan of St. John’s and Deonte Burton of Marquette. Jordan is an amazingly athletic talent. Jordan is a 6’5” PG who plays well above the rim, can go to both his right and his left with freakish athleticism and will be a force for St. John’s. He will be the Freshman of the Year in the Big East. Deonte Burton is my pick for Freshmen of the Year runner up but it is quite possible he won’t even be the most productive freshman on his own team. I can’t say enough about how strong of a class Marquette has coming in.
Which teams are going to be most reliant on their freshmen to come in and play well right away?
There are a few teams that will have freshmen playing right away. Freshmen will receive considerable playing time at Marquette, St. John’s, DePaul, Providence and Seton Hall. Jaren Sina is a strong PG for Seton Hall who should be a lot of fun to watch over the next four years. He was a Butler target who originally elected to play at Northwestern but changed his mind upon Tom Carmody’s dismissal.
Who are some underrated freshmen that have a chance at breaking out in Big East play?
The player who has biggest the chance to fly under the radar as an incoming freshman and have a solid campaign is Nolan Berry of Butler. Berry was a highly touted-skilled big man who fell off the chatter that matters table after breaking both his arms in 2012. He comes from an NBA family and his technique shows it. Playing time at the PF and C positions will go first to Marshall and Woods but look for Berry to make a name for himself early.
What about Butler? How do you see its freshman class coming in and making an impact this season?
And that brings us to Butler. Berry will play and Rene Castro will be given every opportunity to succeed at PG for the Bulldogs. Andrew Chrabascz is the type of player Bulldog fans have come to love over the last 20 years but he will need to grow into his position and place on the team. Although not the most coveted recruit in basketball this year Elijah Brown has a chance to shine in a Butler uniform. He played his high school ball for an absolutely loaded Mater Dei squad where it would be easy to get lost in the never-ending pool of talent. If he learns to control his trigger happy wrist and play within the system he could be a gem. Butler’s class as a whole is one of the best the Bulldogs have ever seen but in terms of where it falls in its inaugural season in the Big East I would say it is unfortunately closer to the fourth quartile than it is to the first.