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Big East Offseason Update

October 22, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Offseason News Update

by Stephen Murphy

Is the Champagne still bubbly? How can you top the ending to 2002? Congratulations to Jim Boeheim for having the perseverance to overcome those Championship Game woes. What a finish in New Orleans! Syracuse wasn’t too ‘Smart’ to let Keith get off a shot in 1987; aptitude had nothing to do with the Wildcat bashing they received from a former assistant in 1996. The Orangemen went into the Championship in New Orleans an underdog, and came away with a sentiment quite contrary to the aforementioned 2nd place finish years.

Rude Awakening

What was rumored to happen finally came to light, and played into the fruition of the ACC. After more than two months of speculation, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s plans to expand were set in motion on June 30, when Miami and Virginia Tech announced that they had accepted invitations to switch leagues. Their departure leaves the Big East with six football-playing schools after the 2003 season and puts the conference in a different scenario than previously expected.

Originally, the ACC was interested in adding Syracuse and Boston College, along with Miami. Instead, the league’s members opted to go with Virginia Tech, extending formal invitations to the Hokies and Hurricanes last week. ACC Commissioner John Swofford hid his desire of Boston College, and as this week unfolded It didn’t take long for the Atlantic Coast Conference to decide even was much better than odd.

Less than four months after the ACC added Miami and Virginia Tech to form an 11-team league, Boston College agreed Sunday to become the 12th member. The Eagles will likely begin play in the conference in 2006.

The gridiron seemed to be all the influence in depleting the Big East, as no guarantee of a football playoff game helped convince the ACC’s chancellors and presidents to move swiftly to add a 12th team. Boston College had until Nov. 1 to accept the ACC’s offer, but hopped on the wagon right away as if the opportunity might pass to quickly. Boston College and Syracuse were the Big East schools in the ACC’s original expansion plans along with Miami but were voted down in favor of adding the Hurricanes and Hokies. Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State voted against adding Boston College at the time.

The healing from a basketball standpoint will be felt quickly, as a clique of Catholic Universities can instill enough peaked interest. What will cause this to linger is the absurdity of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal said Sunday that Boston College would be named as a defendant in a suit That they were part of a continued conspiracy to weaken and destroy the Big East as a competitor for broadcast revenue and other rights. Soon enough this will remind us of Latrell Sprewell’s suit against the NBA in the P.J. Carlesimo debacle. Blumenthal will not be the savior pawn Mike Tranghese hopes for.

The prey now becomes the predator, as the Big East most likely will look to raid Conference USA. Louisville has been rumored to be interested in making the jump. Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, and Marquette could be invited by November.

I’ll have a Draft Please

The Big East had three first-round picks, one of three conferences (ACC, Big 12) to have at least three. Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony, chosen with the No. 3 pick overall in the first round, led four BIG EAST players chosen in the 2003 NBA Draft..

Georgetown’s Michael Sweetney, and B.C’s Troy Bell were also 1st round selections, James Jones of Miami was taken 49th overall as a 2nd round.

The Plan for Pan AM

Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor of Connecticut and Seton Hall’s Andre Barrett represented USA Basketball in the USA Men’s Pan American Games Team, making the Big East one of three Conferences to have multiple selections represent them.

Michigan State University’s Tom Izzo served as head coach for the 2003 USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Team. He was assisted by Quinn Snyder as he took a break from his academic fiascoes with Ricky Clemons (and his girlfriend) to Concentrate on Pan Am Ball.

Sign Here Please

The Big East dribbles into the upcoming season with a stellar recruiting offseason, here’s a look.

Boston College
Dan Coleman, F, 6-8, Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins
Devon Evertsen, F/G, 6-6, Phoenix, Ariz./Moon Valley
Steve Hailey, G, 5-11, Boston, Mass./Worcester Academy
Sean Marshall, F/G, 6-5, Rialto, Calif./Eisenhower

Josh Boone, F, 6-10, 225, Mt. Airy, Md./West Nottingham Academy
Ryan Thompson, F, Jr., 6-6, 215, Gold Coast, Australia/W. Nebraska JC
Charlie Villanueva, F, 6-10, 220, Brooklyn, N.Y./Blair Academy (N.J.)
Marcus Williams, G, 6-2, 180, Los Angeles, Calif./Oak Hill (Va.) Academy

Matthew Causey, G, 5-11, Liburn, Ga./Berkmar
Sead Dizdarevic, F, 6-8, 220, North Highland, Calif./North Highland
Rayshwan Reed, G, 6-1, 170, Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood Miami
Karron Clarke, F, 6-6, Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln
Guillermo Diaz, G, 6-3, Puerto Rico, Miami Christian Academy
Leonard Harden III, F/C, 6-9, Detroit, Mich./The Winchendon School (Mass.)
Anthony Harris, G, 6-2, 170, Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young
Anthony King, F/C, 6-9, 240, Durham, N.C./Southern Durham

Notre Dame
Russell Carter, G, 6-4, 190, Paulsboro, N.J./Paulsboro
Colin Falls, G, 6-4, 200, Park Ridge, Ill./Loyola Academy
Omari Israel, F, 6-8, 210, Rockville, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel

Aaron Gray, C, 7-0, 280, Emmaus, Pa./Emmaus
Dante Milligan, F, 6-8, 200, New York, N.Y./Trinity-Pawling
Chris Taft, F, 6-10, 230, Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian
Walter Waters, F, 6-10, 250, Detroit, Mich./Southeastern

Dwight Brewington, G, 6-5, 195, Lynn, Mass./Worcester Academy
Gerald Brown, G, 6-4, 185, Baltimore, Md./Hargrave Military Academy
Jeff Parmer, F, 6-7, 225, Niagara Falls, N.Y./Niagara Falls

Quincy Douby, G, 6-3, 175, Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Thomas More Prep (Conn.)
Byron Joynes, C, 6-9, 300, Baltimore, Md./Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
Abdullahi Kuso, C/F, 6-8, 220, Kaduna, Nigeria/Dodan Warriors Club Team
Marquis Webb, G, 6-4, 195, Paterson, N.J./Paterson Catholic

St. John’s
Lamont Hamilton, 6-9, F, Brooklyn, N.Y./North Bridgeton (Maine) Academy
Anthony Ighodaro, 6-6, G, Toronto, Ontario/Moerly Area CC (Mo.)
Tyler Jones, 6-9, F, Lakeland, Colo./Heritage Christian (Texas)

Seton Hall
Grant Billmeier, C, 6-11, Pennington, N.J./St. Patrick’s
Emmanuel Messy, F, 6-7, 225, Jersey City, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.)
Jamar Nutter, G, 6-2, Bloomfield, N.J./Seton Hall Prep

Louie McCroskey, G/F, 6-5, 187, Bronx, N.Y./St. Raymond
Demetrius Nichols, F, 6-7, 190, Barrington, R.I./St. Andrews
Terrence Roberts, F, 6-9, 215, Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony’s
Darryl Watkins, F/C, 6-11, 235, Paterson, N.J./Paterson Catholic

Mike Nardi, G, 6-0, Avenel, N.J./St. Patrick’s
Will Sheridan, F, 6-9, Bear, Del./Sanford School

Virginia Tech
Coleman Collins, F, 6-9, Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee
Zabian Dowdell, G, 6-2, Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee
Jamon Gordon, G, 6-2, Jacksonville, Fla./Andrew Jackson

West Virginia
Brad “B.J.” Byerson, F, 6-7, 220, Colonial Heights, Va./Thomas Dale
Tyler Ralph, G, 6-0, 165, Victor, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit
Frank Young, F/G, 6-5, 200, Tallahassee, Fla./Florida A&M HS
Jerrah Young, F, 6-7, 205, Chicago, Ill./St. Rita High

New Panther on the Prowl

Pittsburgh hopes a bullet can help them continue on their recent success, a former Washington Bullet. Jamie Dixon, an integral figure in the University of Pittsburgh basketball program’s tenure the last four seasons, was named the Panthers’ head coach on April 15 becoming the 14th Coach in the school’s history.

Dixon previously served as an assistant coach at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1991-92), Hawaii University (1992-1994 and 1998-1999), and Northern Arizona University (1994-1998). He received the Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Texas Christian University in 1987 and the Master of Science degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1992. Former Pitt basketball player Orlando Antigua was named director of basketball operations.

Dixon is known as a coach who evaluates talent, capitalizing on forward Chevon Troutman in high school, he was being recruited by Duquesne and Saint Joseph’s of the Atlantic 10 Conference. But Dixon never wavered from what he saw in Troutman. Now Chevon, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, might be the most important component of the team the Panthers return next season, one who will certainly cause havoc around the league.

Hokies get Greener

Viginia Tech Hired Seth Greenberg to a six-year contract and hoping to turn around the men’s basketball program after three consecutive losing seasons.

Greenberg, formerly at South Florida, takes over for Ricky Stokes, fired after a 45-70 record in four seasons. Stokes’ teams went 10-38 in three seasons in the Big East, each time finishing last in their division. The Hokies were 11-18 this season, including losses to Wofford of the Southern Conference and William & Mary of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Before We Go

Things get interesting when political influence gets involved (see Virginia bowing to the Governor of Virginia, allowing the Hokies to come aboard). There will be hard feelings for time to come, but off-season turmoil usually is supplanted by great season play. Rutgers University’s athletic director chastised Boston College as a traitor for leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference and said he wouldn’t schedule future games against the Eagles. Rutgers should worry about their upcoming schedule, possibly try to emulate the Huskies.

In an interview last week, athletic director Robert Mulcahy called the departures of Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech “nothing but an outright raid to destroy us. I really seriously question the Atlantic Coast Conference and its ethics,” he said. No one expects the bitterness of this separation to sizzle shortly; soon the Big East might accrue some powers not necessarily from the East.


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