October 5, 2012
By Kassan Bahhur
The college basketball season is just a couple months away. The Big East has long been known for its depth of teams, talented players and strong competition. With that in mind, let's take a look at which top ten Big East player will make some noise this season in college basketball.
1. Otto Porter – Georgetown 6-8 205 Small Forward
Otto Porter will be heading into his sophomore season at Georgetown as the starting small forward and ranked as one of the top ten players in the country. When watching Porter play it is obvious that he has work to do on his skill level, however his energy and balance allows him to be effective on the court. Porter is excellent at running the floor and finishing at the rim, with a 7-1 wingspan not to many people will stop him from finishing. At the next level he will need to develop a jump shot and better ball handling to play the small forward. Probably the closest to having All-Star potential at the NBA level in the Big East.
2. Michael Carter-Williams – Syracuse 6-5 176 Shooting Guard
Last season as a freshman, Carter-Williams was surrounded by upper classmen and could not get more than 10 minutes a game. Therefore his numbers were not as impressive as expected. This season Carter-Williams will have a bigger role on the Syracuse basketball team. He possesses the size, speed, ball handling ability, and quick jump shot with range to dominate the Big East. Carter-Williams has the ability to play minutes at point guard as well because of his ability to penetrate and dish. His long arms and athletic ability gives him the potential to be an above average defender.
3. Wayne Blackshear – Louisville 6-5 230 Small Forward/Shooting Guard
Coming into Louisville with a lot of potential it was disappointing when shoulder surgery took away most of his freshman year. However, he is ready to go this up coming season. Blackshear is a super athletic shooting guard with small forward skills. He is a big, strong shooting guard who can attack the rim with strength and is effective at taking jump shots off of the dribble. Blackshear is an intimidating defensive player. For him to succeed at the next level he must work on his ball handling, improve his range and add a consistent shot mechanics.
4. Gorgui Dieng – Louisville 6-11 245 Center
Dieng is big, long, runs fast, jumps high, finishes at hoop, and defends. With that said, why isn’t a player listed at 6-11 245 pounds and possessing a 7-4 wingspan ranked number 1 in the conference? Simply put: Dieng is very raw. He gained 50lbs since arriving at Louisville and is still trying to develop a viable post game. and His skill and basketball IQ is limited right now. Dieng will need to differentiate himself from other tall, athletic bigs with a more developed skillset. With added offensive skills Dieng can move into the top end of these rankings.
5. Steve Adams – Pittsburgh 7-0 240lbs Center
Adams has the defensive ability to be an effective NBA defender right now. His motor is relentless; he is big, strong, and can block shots coming from any angle. Adams is a very athletic big man with some developed offensive moves and a decent mid-range jump shot for a 7footer. Adams has not played against great talent and will need to prove himself against the best bigs in the Big East. If he passes all of the tests during his freshmen year, pencil Adams in as a top five draft pick.
6. Chane Behanan – Louisville 6-6 250lbs Power Forward
Behanan was a member of the All-Rookie team in the Big East. When you watch him play, you see his pure strength. He is big, strong, with great leaping ability, and is an athletic freak. He attacks the rim for rebounds, finishes well and contributes with many put backs. He can dominate the paint against anybody in the country. With a few dribbles Behanan can get to the hoop and score easily. The problem currently facing him is his size is not favorable to be an NBA power forward.
7. C.J. Fair – Syracuse 6-8 212lbs Forward
Fair is an athletic player that can get up and down the court and finish on oops or dunks. He has great leaping ability, and is a highlight film every game. Fair shot 50% from the field in his two years at Syracuse and averaged 5 rebounds a game. With his size and athletic ability he will be a SF prospect coming into his junior year. He needs to improve his jump shot (has nice form) and add range to his shot. His ball handling also needs a lot of work.
8. Ricardo Ledo – Providence 6-6 180lbs Shooting Guard
Because of academic issues, Ledo will not begin his college season in 2012-2013. Despite that, he has star written all over him. He is 6-6 with great athletic ability along with possessing a good NBA frame. His jump-shot is efficient and he has the ability to extend it beyond the NBA 3PT line. His ball-handling abilities are above-average, as he is able to efficiently break down his defender. Ledo is a menace on the defensive end. He needs to learn how to get his teammates involved and focus on becoming a productive team player. Ledo will be facing an uphill battle having to sit out a year but he has the ability to be a very good player down the road.
9. Mouphtaou Yarou - Villanova 6-10 255lbs Center/Power Forward
Yarou is what the Big East is know for: big men There is a history of big men from the Big East and they all are skilled defenders, can block shots, and bring a toughness to their team. Yarou fits that mold. He is, big, muscular, tough, athletic, and can be intimidating on the defensive end. Yarou can run and jump with most guards in the country and covers the hoop on both ends of the floor. You can see that every opponent is aware of Yarou’s where-abouts on the court because of his shot-blocking ability. Similar to most big men on this list, Yarou is raw with no mid-range jump shot or offensive moves in the post. Right now, Yarou would be a project that has the ability but needs work.
10. Cleveland Melvin – DePaul 6-8 205 Small Forward
The Big East Rookie of the year came into his sophomore year as a more polished player improving his scoring and rebounding, and becoming a double-double machine. Melvin is a lighting fast runner in transition; it is hard for opponents his size to keep up with him. His running and finishing at the rim is where is his offensive skills are exemplified. Melvin benefits from excellent point guard play, who get him the ball exactly where he likes it, either at or above rim and in transition. Melvin’s energy and effort is never a question, as he out works most players on the court. His inability to shoot and create his own shot could hinder his draft position. His defense is far more advanced than his offense, for a small forward. He excels at blocking shots and getting into passing lanes. With a 7foot wingspan and athletic ability, he creates a problem for the man he’s guarding. He has NBA athletic ability, a good wing-span, and defensive skills, however he lacks the offensive skill and basketball IQ to be a complete player at this point.