Excitement, upsets, and under appreciation are all things that seem to happen withing the Big East conference of the NCAA men’s basketball program. How- ever, if there was one thing these teams are not used to, it is one and done basketball players.
When looking at the Big East conference, it is incredibly rare to find a one and done, especially compared to other conferences and how often players leave for the NBA after just one season. It al- ways appears to be Big east teams being relied upon by veterans that come back for their sophomore, junior, and even sometimes senior campaigns.
Just because the Big East Conference doesn’t typically recruit one and done players, does not mean they don’t have one and done talent. Since Carmelo Anthony left Syracuse for the NBA back in 2003, We have seen many talented players come and go before and after realigned back in 2013. Many talented players such as Henry Ellenson from Marquette in 2016 and Lance Stephenson from Cincinnati in 2010 decided to leave the Big East scene after one year to pursue a professional career.
Having a freshman sensation on your team is no guarantee of a NCAA tournament berth. This was the case with LSU during Ben Simmons’ one season in 2016. A school’s intense recruitment and reliance on one superstar player can leave the rest of the team with glaring holes.
In recent memory schools like Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UCLA and North Carolina have been known to hold on to top players for a year and then let them go so they can pursue a professional career in the NBA. However, that is not always the case. Nick Richards, who was a top 20 recruit in the class of 2017, decided to sign with Kentucky in hopes to leave after one year. Unfortunately, that was not going to happen when he played his first season of col- lege basketball for the Wildcats. Nick Richards barely played his freshman campaign and it looked like he wasn’t going to get draft- ed. Instead of complaining and whining, he took NBA scouts ad- vice and stayed longer in school, developed into a better player who listened to his coaches and peers and with that advice will probably make him become a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
This goes to show that it does not matter whether you play for a SEC school or a Big East school, the talent is everywhere and it can be the equal to or better than these top college basketball conferences.