December 4, 2009

Syracuse wins Big East recruiting battle

MORE: Conference recruiting breakdown | VOTE: Big East's top class? | 1. ACC | 2. SEC

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Syracuse (5)
2. Marquette (13)
3. Georgetown
4. Notre Dame
5. Pittsburgh
6. Providence
7. Connecticut
8. Villanova
9. West Virginia
10. DePaul
11. Cincinnati
12. Seton Hall
13. South Florida
14. Louisville
15. St. John's
16. Rutgers
Best by category
Best perimeter scorer: Vander Blue, Marquette
Best low post scorer: Fabricio de Melo, Syracuse
Best passer: Eric Atkins, Notre Dame
Best shooter: Noah Cottrill, West Virginia
Best rebounder: Jayvaughn Pinkston, Villanova
Best shot blocker: Baye Moussa Keita, Syracuse
Best defender: Vander Blue, Marquette
Most versatile: Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Best basketball IQ: Eric Atkins
Best pro prospect: Fabricio de Melo
Best speed: Reggie Smith, Marquette
Best motor: Gerard Coleman, Providence
Impact player: Vander Blue, Marquette
Biggest sleeper: J.J. Moore, Pittsburgh
Best at each position (top overall player in bold)
PG: Vander Blue, Marquette
SG: Dion Waiters, Syracuse
SF: Jamail Jones, Marquette
PF: Nate Lubick, Georgetown
C: Fabricio de Melo, Syracuse
Inside the Numbers
2- Teams ranked in the top 25
21- Rivals150 prospects coming to the Big East
2- Five-star prospects coming to the Big East
12- Four-star prospects coming to the Big East
7- Three-star ranked prospects coming to the Big East
18- Non-ranked prospects coming to the Big East
5- Recruits from Maryland and also New Jersey coming to the Big East, the most of any states
18- Number of states represented by Big East recruits
The Big East placed two teams in the national rankings. The top team in the conference, Syracuse, sits at No. 5 nationally with a four-man class led by the impressive inside/outside duo of Fabricio de Melo and Dion Waiters. Marquette, which is No. 2 in the conference and No. 13 nationally, brings in a strong perimeter class highlighted by five-star prospect Vander Blue. The other 14 teams in the conference combined for 10 four-star recruits.

Best recruiting battle

As with most five-star prospects, the recruitment of the two Big East five-star recruits Fabricio de Melo and Vander Blue had an intensity to it. Syracuse and Louisville were the first two schools to recruit de Melo after he came to the United States from Brazil. Many thought Louisville was in the driver's seat to land him. Other schools jumped in, the Florida schools made a charge, but in the end the skilled big man opted for the colder climate of Syracuse.

Blue, who is from Madison, Wis., was committed to the Badgers. Then there was a falling out. Schools as diverse as Arizona and Tennessee made a run for the talented combo guard. Blue looked around, but he didn't look to far away as he settled on nearby Marquette.

Recent addition

Villanova exited the early signing period No. 8 in the Big East team recruiting rankings. The recent addition of Jayvaughn Pinkston, however, catapulted the Wildcats all the way to No. 3 in the Big East rankings.

Pinkston appeared to be destined to wear Tennessee orange. But when fellow New Yorker and power forward Tobias Harris chose the Vols at the end of the signing period, Pinkston postponed his decision and then opted for Villanova.

Guard power

Of the 21 ranked prospects headed to the Big East, 15 are perimeter players. Of those 15 perimeter players, eight are point guards. No other conference in the country is loading up with as many ranked point guards as the Big East.

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