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Big East Notebook

January 2, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Notebook

by Kevin Reilly

Fountain of Youth

Much of the early success of the Big East conference can be attributed to an abundance of talent in its freshman class. Obviously, Carmelo Anthony was the big name in the recruiting wars last year. He has not disappointed Syracuse fans.

All this kid has done is pour in 25 ppg with defenses hanging all over him. The Orange are pushing their way to a Top 25 ranking and it should be interesting to see how this phenom does against the upper echelon teams like Pitt and UConn.

The Villanova quartet of Allen Ray, Randy Foye, Jason Fraser and Derrick Sumpter has experienced some growing pains but the sky remains the limit for this crew. They all are getting major minutes and as the conference schedule unfolds Jay Wright’s bunch will be a dangerous foe.

Elijah Ingram has been a bright spot for an enigmatic St. John’s squad. He has been scoring 14 ppg and shooting nearly 50% from the floor. When right, he and Marcus Hatten may form the league’s top backcourt.

California native, Craig Smith is a space eater at 6-7 and 250. He has helped the Boston College Eagles with his physical presence in the paint and a nice finishing touch.

Denham Brown has quietly emerged for UConn, starting all his teams contests. The 6-5 Canadian once scored 111 points in a high school game.

Despite the shadow of his ballyhooed teammate, Gerry McNamara has stepped in without missing a beat for Jim Boeheim’s Orangemen. This kid has ice water in his veins. He can score from deep and looks to dish off equally as well.

Notre Dame’s big start has been a team effort but highly-touted Torin Francis has come up big averaging nearly a double-double. He has help from fellow frosh Jordan Cornette who is averaging 3 blocks per contest including a double figure effort.

Donnie McGrath has had his hands full inheriting the point guard slot at Providence. He has racked up 33 minutes per outing and is one of the conference’s leading playmakers dishing off for five assists each night.

Seton Hall has been up and down in the early goings but has seen some promising play from Kelly Whitney. Undersized at 6-7, he is doing a nice job inside scoring in double digits while making more than half of his shots.

Kevin Pittsnoogle has been a pleasant addition for West Virginia. The 6-10 newcomer has helped get the Mountaineers out of the gate quickly. He has a nice touch for his size and early on was shooting above 60% in all three shooting categories.

Other frosh to watch include Carl Krauser (Pitt), Brandon Bowman (Georgetown) and Robert Hite (Miami)

More on these three in the weeks to come.


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