We all know who is going to be pretty good this college basketball season as the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, along with a slew of others will be in contention to cut down the nets in Phoenix in April. However, that success primarily comes back to the recruiting trail where, if you have the goods on the floor, chances are that winning a good number of games is in your favor.
Now that there is less than two months until the early signing period, we will begin to look ahead and take a brief snapshot at some of the top conferences across the nation. This time around, the Big East Conference gets the spotlight. While the league saw some of its top programs leave a few years back, it quickly regrouped and has flourished with the thanks to its basketball-centric calling within the college athletics world.
The ten team league has been a conference lead by the likes of Villanova, Xavier, and Butler since its transformation a few years ago and the 2017 recruiting class rankings shows just the same. All three programs have put together a solid group early on as each have accumulated at least one member from the 2017 HoopSeen Top-125. Thanks to the work that each staff has done thus far, each program can also be found within the 2017 HoopSeen Top-25 Class Rankings.
The classes at Villanova and Xavier are so strong that they currently hold a top-10 class early on as Xavier has the slight edge over Jay Wright’s squad. The bunch from Cincinnati has yet to grab a commitment from a big man but the talent in store from off of the wings of the floor is second to none. Naji Marshall, a top-50 wing from the Washington, DC region, is the headliner to the class. The slashing senior is joined by sharpshooters Jared Ridder and Elias Harden.
This is not to say that Xavier and Villanova have created great separation between themselves and the rest of their peers from the Big East Conference. Butler has a very solid trio in tow bolstered by top-125 forward Kyle Young, Marquette has a super sturdy frontcourt group supported by the talents of top-100 forward Jamal Cain, and Creighton has already snagged two, top-100 guards in TyShon Alexander and Mitchell Ballock.
What is most impressive is what the other recalibrating programs have done thus far. Ed Cooley and his crew at Providence have solidified the frontcourt for years to come thanks to the commitments of Nate Watson and Dajour Dickens, while St. John’s and Seton Hall each made a nice snag early on with Zach Brown and Myles Cale respectively.
Georgetown is the only program that has yet to nab a commitment but that should change before the signing period occurs in November. Leading up to it, could Xavier hold off the likes of Villanova, Butler, and Marquette for the top spot?
Well, Villanova has a decent chance at overtaking Chris Mack’s bunch where they are one of the top candidates for the services of Lonnie Walker, a top-25 guard from the region. Butler isn’t too far off as they are the finalists for top-100 guards Wabisse Bede and Christian David, while Marquette will host top-125 big man Xavier Tillman this weekend and are also in a nice spot for Hasahn French and Jordan Nwora.
That all being said, we think that Butler has the best shot at passing Xavier for the top spot within the Big East class rankings upon the completion of the early signing period. Chances are good for Bede or David to land in Indy, though we do believe that Xavier picks up a commitment from the likes of Kris Wilkes, Paul Scruggs, or Sterling Manley, thus cementing the Musketeers case as a top-10 recruiting class and still the best group of seniors in hand for a Big East program come mid-November.
TOP CLASS TODAY: XAVIER
CHANCES OF FINISHING FIRST: 50%
TOP PREDICTED CLASS FOLLOWING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD: XAVIER
TOP CONFERENCE COMMIT: JERMAINE SAMUELS – RANKING: 31
PROJECTED TOP FIVE
1 – XAVIER
2 – BUTLER
3 – VILLANOVA
4 – CREIGHTON
5 – MARQUETTE