For the past few years the Big East Conference has been an incredibly tough place to compete. This year more so, because the depth of this conference is unbelievable. Currently the Big East has 7 teams in the top 15, which is absolutely ridiculous. Marquette is also another top 25 team. With all of these great teams, who are the standout players? Lets take a look at some names you will be hearing come March.
Luke Harangody- This Notre Dame junior had a breakout sophmore campaign last year, leading the Big East in scoring(20.5) and rebounding(10.5). He was named first team All American this preseason and so far has improved his numbers to 23 ppg and 12 rebounds a game. Harangody, who is 6'8, is extremely athletic and does a little bit of everything. His determination and hard work ethic separates him from others and is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Hasheem Thabeet- This 7'3 monster clogs up the paint at UConn. Thabeet is averaging 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. He greatly improved his game this year, last year he averaged 10 ppg and 7 rebounds. Thabeet is extremely strong and one of the best defensive players in the nation. Look for him to lead UConn deep into the tournament this year and possibly head for the NBA after this year.
Sam Young- The 6'6 forward for Pittsburgh is averaging 20 ppg and 5 rebounds. The senior is clearly the best player on his team and has them ranked #3 in the nation. Pittsburgh has a very solid team and he is the catalyst. Last year, Young was named First Team All- Big East and most improved player in the Big East. One of the most athletic players in the nation. As the season progresses, look for his NBA stock to rise.
Samardo Samuels- Only a freshmen, this forward is the leading scorer for Louisville. Samuels was highly recruited out of St. Benedicts Prep in New Jersey and is proving to be living up to all the hype. His 17 ppg this season is something that Louisville hopes to ride deep into the Tourney. Remember this guys name, because he will be a star someday.
Along with the Big East standouts comes role players that will sneak up on you. Keep a lookout for these guys.
Jerel McNeal- Marquette
Kyle McAlarney- Notre Dame
Jeremy Hazell- Seton Hall
Eric Devendorf- Syracuse
Scottie Reynolds- Villanova
There are a ton of other players who can make both of these list. These are just a couple that stand out to me. The Big East is clearly the best conference in the nation this year and I feel they could possibly get 10 teams into the big dance. Not because they have more teams than any other conference, but because they have incredible depth and anyone can beat anyone on any given night. Keep some of these names in the back of your mind and look out for them in the weeks and months to come.