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Big East Notebook

November 28, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

With the season openers behind us I decided to take a close look at some Big East rosters and come up with a few players worth your watching this winter. None of them are mentioned for preseason honors but all of them should emerge as key players in the league this year.

Taliek Brown is a proven commodity for UConn but he still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Hopefully, this could be the year that all changes. The talented junior leader has started 64 of 66 games for the Huskies. The former member of the NYC “trinity” of point guards that included Omar Cook (formerly St. John’s ) and Andre Barrett (Seton Hall) is the key for Coach Calhoun’s crew as it seeks to gain national prominence.

A player on a mission this year could very well be Notre Dame’s fifth-year senior Dan Miller. The former McDonald’s All-American left Maryland after three years – missing last years national championship glory. He has apparently landed on his feet in South Bend. Early on, the results are good. This New Jersey native has helped the Irish to a 3-0 start while putting up 16 ppg and grabbing 9 boards. Most importantly to him, he’s playing major minutes and fits well into Coach Mike Brey’s scheme.

One of the Big East’s leading pro prospects, or projects, if you will, may be Craig Forth (Syracuse). Okay, now he will not be another Bill Walton but at 7-0 and 255 pounds, this hard working sophomore has, as they say, the ” NBA body”. He passes well, makes free throws and is a willing pupil of Coach Jim Boeheim, who has sent his share of big men onto the professional scene. With the attention on the Orange’s frosh phenom Carmelo Anthony and others, this young man will have time to develop his game.

Andre Sweet (Seton Hall) has a pretty fair pedigree. An All-City player at Rice HS in NYC, he was recruited by Duke and played seven games in Durham before transferring closer to home. This year he figures as sixth man for the Pirates but looks to prosper under the tutelage of Coach Louis Orr. He’s an inside-out player and still has three years eligibility remaining.

All in the Family
First year head coach John Beilein has a major rebuilding job ahead of him at West Virginia this season. He does, however, have a close family member around to help him. His son Patrick Beilein is a 6-4 frosh who was destined tothe bench but now due to all the chaos in Morgantown finds himself in the playing rotation. In his first two games he has averaged 7.5 ppg and has made a few key buckets from behind the arc.

Knight’s Near-Miss
Rutgers almost pulled off one of the year’s early upsets when they let North Carolina escape with a second round win in the preseason NIT. They led most of the way but some poor shot selection cost them a chance at early season glory. The Scarlet Knights are definitely a “Live by the sword, Die by the sword” type of ballclub. It is my contention that they will be involved in some classic shootouts this year and will most likely spring their share of upsets in conference play.

Pitt’s New Pad
It’s been a storybook season for Pitt this year. Oops! I forgot it’s only November. They have a brand new gym, the $96 million Peterson Events Center and are ranked No. 5 in the early polls. The building is sold out for the year. It should be an exciting season for the Panthers but also a dangerous one. They are now the hunted and no longer the hunters. It should be interesting to see if they can live up to all the hype.


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