In a college basketball landscape that features prolific one-and-done freshman stars year in and year out, the Big East continues to thrive on player development and veteran success. The last one- and-done to attend a Big East School was Henry Ellenson of Marquette in 2015-16. Ellen- son was drafted 18th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft to the Detroit Pistons. He is the only player to truly be one- and-done in the Big East since the conference’s realignment in the 2014-15 season.
Chris Mack, the former Xavier coach, who is now at Louisville once told The Washington Post, “Player development has certainly been a hallmark of this conference… Just being able to make a guy better, own his skills and still think team-first, I think, has been a trademark of our league and something that, at least in our program, we’re really proud of.”
In regard to the Big East’s ability to develop players, it should be recognized that many of these players who stayed until their junior or senior years have thus become household names in the NBA. Josh Hart, a Villanova alum currently averages 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the New Orleans Pelicans. Doug McDermott, a Creighton alum, is in his eighth NBA season and is averaging 10.4 points per game for the Indiana Pacers. Also, another Villanova alum, Eric Paschall, is playing exceptionally well in his rookie season, averaging 13.5 points per game for the injury-stricken Golden State Warriors. Who will be the next?
This brings us to the 2019-20 college basketball season. You do not have to be a die-hard fan to have heard about the shocking parity that has taken over the college basketball season. Five teams who have been ranked number one in the AP Poll this season have lost, most of them coming from upset victories by smaller teams. The Baylor Bears of the Big 12 are currently the number one team in the country and hold a record of 20-1.
This topic grows even larger in scale when looking at the wild Big East landscape.
In a SportingNews article, Villanova coach Jay Wright said, “This is an extremely unique year…I don’t even know who’s in 10th place right now, but I can guarantee whoever is in 10th probably has a great chance to be an NCAA Tournament team based on how they’ve done this year.”
Myles Powell. Markus Howard. Collin Gillespie. Kamar Baldwin. Naji Marshall. If you are a Big East basketball fan, then it is almost certain that you know these household names. The one commonality between all these star players is that they are all upperclassmen at their respective schools and have made great strides year after year to improve. Out of the top then scorers in the Big East this season, there are only two underclassmen, Mac McClung of Georgetown and Marcus Zegarowski. The leading scorers, Markus Howard of Marquette and Myles Powell of Serton Hall are also preseason All-Americans and front-runners for National Player of the Year.
Daniel and Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.