After breaking down the top recruiting classes in the Atlantic 10 last week, this week we’ll turn our attention to the BIG EAST, again considering both the high school and transfer ranks to assess incoming classes.
Post-Markus Howard era begins with BIG EAST’s best recruiting class
The Golden Eagles scored in the early signing period by securing their frontline of the future in Dawson Garcia (6-9, Prior Lake-MN) and Justin Lewis (6-7, Baltimore Poly-MD). Garcia is a big, and ultra-versatile, lefty forward while Lewis has inside out skill of his own but is more rugged inside and an excellent rebounder.
Osasere Ighodaro (6-9, Desert Vista-AZ) may not have the same immediate impact but also chose Marquette over a series of other high-majors and has a sizable upside.
In the backcourt, the major question all year long was who would replace Markus Howard. Steve Wojciechowski and his staff went all in on RJ Davis, before losing to UNC in the final round, and was also deeply involved with Canadian native Karim Mane, who will now explore the NBA Draft.
The spring transfer of DJ Carton was even better news than they might have hoped for though. One of the top point guards in the national class of 2019, Carton has three-years of eligibility remaining and a presumably good waiver case coming from Ohio State.
Hurley keeps adding talent
On the heels of a 2019 recruiting class that included three ESPN 100 ranked prospects, Dan Hurley and the Huskies are continuing to rebuild the type of roster that lives up to the UConn tradition.
Andre Jackson (6-6, Albany Academy-NY) is a big wing and one of the best athletes in the national class, who is a potential lockdown defender and underrated passer to match. Javonte Brown-Ferguson is a four-star product who is young for his grade but loaded with long-term potential.
Meanwhile the addition of Rhode Island transfer Tyrese Martin, who originally pledged to Hurley in the A10, provides another physical and athletic wing who will be capable of making an immediate impact once he is eligible.
Steele rebuilds backcourt with 2020 class
Travis Steele’s second full recruiting class at Xavier has solidified his future backcourt with four pledges, three from the high school ranks, and two out of the ESPN 100.
Dwon Odom (6-2, St. Francis-GA) is a big power guard with an attacking downhill style while C.J. Wilcher (6-4, Roselle Catholic-NJ) provides an ideal complement as one of the best shot-makers in the class from behind the arc. Colby Jones (6-6, Mountain Brook-AL) is a versatile wing with good positional size and a well-rounded game.
They even added some extra security to the backcourt with Gardner-Webb transfer Nate Johnson, who averaged 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this year while being a total menace on the defensive end with 1.7 steals.
Hoyas handle adversity while building class
Things were looking bleak for Georgetown heading into the early signing period as off-the-court controversy led to both transfers and de-commitments.
That turned around in a hurry though, with now four pledges out of the high school ranks and an immediately eligible transfer from Arkansas, Jalen Harris, who may have been pedestrian for the Razorbacks but will nonetheless offer some much-needed veteran leadership.
ESPN 100 Jamari Sibley gives them a bouncy face-up big man while Tyler Beard (6-1, Whitney Young-IL) is a quick, playmaking guard. Dante Harris (5-10, Lakeway Christian-TN) adds another young guard to the mix while Kobe Clark (6-4, Vashon-MO) is a three-star prospect on the wing.
Small, but poignant, class headed to Creighton.
Greg McDermott’s class may not be big, but it is exactly what he was looking for. Ryan Kalkbrenner (6-11, Trinity Catholic-MO) provides a skinny, late-blooming big man with a wealth of upside to tap into in the coming years while Duke transfer Alex O’Connell is ideally suited to bomb away from behind the three-point line in the Bluejays’ system.
Friars hoping Goodine’s homecoming is a successful one
Ed Cooley and his staff went in big on several prominent national recruits and while they didn’t land any of those initial early targets, they nonetheless saved par with a solid contingency plan.
Alyn Breed (6-3, IMG Academy-FL) a long and well-rounded two-guard was their first pledge while Jyare Davis (6-6, Sanford-DE), who was once a celebrated national recruit before being derailed by injury, came at mid-year.
LaSalle transfer Ed Croswell gives them a bruising big and rugged rebounder who fits their prototype while Syracuse transfer Brycen Goodine is a former top-100 national prospect with undeniable talent who should flourish given a bigger opportunity in his own backyard.
Athleticism & local ties are priorities for Johnnies
Depth and athleticism are requisites to play at Mike Anderson’s desired tempo and he’s upgraded both with his current class.
Vince Cole (6-6, USC Salkehatchie) and Isaih Moore (6-9, Pearl River CC) give him a pair of prospects out of the junior college ranks who will be relied upon for immediate minutes.
GW transfer Arnaldo Toro provides a high-volume rebounder up front who is immediately eligible.
The Johnnies have developed local inroads with a pair of backcourt teammates in Posh Alexander (5-11, Our Saviour Lutheran) and Dylan Wusu (6-3, Our Saviour Lutheran). Alexander is an attacking athlete who fits the style of play perfectly while Wusu is a power guard with a solid skill-set and great set of intangibles.
All eyes on Aiken
Harvard transfer Bryce Aiken is one of the league’s best transfers, never mind immediately eligible transfers, but he’s going to have to shoulder a heavy burden next year for the Pirates as they lose Myles Powell, Quincy McKnight, and Anthony Nelson from their backcourt.
Two incoming freshmen will also likely need to be able to offer immediate minutes as Dimingus Stevens (6-5, Woodrow Wilson-DC) and Jahari Long (6-3, Episcopal-TX) will be necessary ingredients to the depth of the backcourt.
Bulldogs building with depth
LaVall Jordan’s club was the most pleasant surprise in the Big East this year and they’re following a similar blue-collar blueprint to build their 2020 recruiting class.
They have five prospects out of the high school ranks, led by four-star point guard Myles Tate (6-0, Dorman-SC). Chuck Harris (6-2, Gonzaga-DC) is a combo-guard with a gritty two-way game while Scooby Johnson (6-6, Benton Harbor-MI) and Jakobe Coles (Guyer-TX) provide two versatile forwards. Myles Wilmoth (6-9, St. Andrew’s-RI) is a long-term stock with length, mobility, athleticism, and some budding skill up front.
South Carolina grad transfer Jair Bolden will help bridge the gap until the freshmen are ready to take on bigger roles.
Late extension allows Leitao to land transfers
While DePaul got off to a fast start, losses started to mount at the onset of league play, which fueled the fires of speculation regarding Dave Leitao’s job status, and made winter recruitment especially difficult.
With those whispers now silenced following an off-season extension, the Blue Demons have been able to add a pair of transfers in Courvoisier McCauley, a volume scorer out of the D2 ranks, and DJ Williams, an immediately eligible grad transfer from George Washington. Kobe Elvis (6-2, Bill Crothers-CAN), is a wiry playmaking guard from north of the border.
Wildcats sit this one out as vast majority of rotation returns
With essentially their entire rotation returning, depending on whether or not Saddiq Bey opts to stay in the draft, Villanova just didn’t have much space on next year’s roster. Given the year-long head-start though they’ve already gotten off to an early start in 2021 with a commitment from Nnanna Njoku (6-9, Sanford-DE).
What’s good Nova Nation?! \V/ 💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/nyXl9jPWCe
— Nnanna (@_nnanna21) April 19, 2020