Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Zach Menchini's Concrete Cindarellas: St. John's and Rutgers 2011 Recruits

It's never too early to look toward next year. As Syracuse basketball fans, we've been fortunate to have this year to look forward to for quite some time. Some programs haven't been so skilled, and their fans haven't been as fortunate. Two such programs are Rutgers and St. John's. These two schools have quite a few things in common. They both have new coaches (Mike Rice - Rutgers, Steve Lavin - St. John's), are located in the New York area, have awful campuses but awesome basketball arenas (The RAC* and MSG), and have low hopes for 2010 but 2011 recruiting classes in the top 15 nationally.

(*The RAC has great energy and is a tough place for opponents to play, due to very steep bleachers. Other than that, it sucks for a few reasons: no beer sold, in the middle of nowhere, no good public transportation.)

That's right. The NYC schools are going to shake up the balance of power in the Big East, and pretty soon. Yeah, its early. Yeah, a lot of players (inlcuding 3 of Rivals' top 10) haven't committed. The 2011 classes are starting to fall into place, and it's not just the usual suspects. Mike Rice has assembled a very good class, with four of the Rivals Top 150. ESPN and Rivals has this group as #12 nationally, ahead of perennial powers like Ohio State, Florida, Illinois and Pittsburgh. Rivals national rankings in parentheses.

RUTGERS
(33) Kadeem Jack: 6'8", 210, F, Rice High School, NYC.
From Scout:
"Late blooming insider could be a power forward or center depending on personnel. Like how he's explosive inside and can block shots. Runs well. Offense is elementary but he'll drop the occasional hook. High-major talent."

(119) Myles Mack: 5'11, 155, PG, St. Anthony, Jersey City, NJ
"The young man has always found a way to be one of the best players on the floor. His strength is his jump shot and he'll pull it from all over the court. Has improved his point guard game."

(99) Jerome Seagears: 6'2", 175, PG, Flora MacDonald Academy, Red Springs, NC
More of a true point guard and less of a scorer than Mack. Has the obvious size advantage. This could be an interesting battle before the 2011 season.

(139) Derrick Randle: 6'9", 220, C, South Kent High School, South Kent, CT
"Love how he takes care of business inside. Developing offensive game but a super rebounder who finishes strong. Could be a nice shot blocker in his area." I have no idea why he's listed on Seton Hall's recruiting page. Other sources confirm he's committed to Rutgers.

Steve Lavin has also made a splash in the tri-state area, with a pair of forwards in the top ten at their position. ESPN likes this class more than others, ranking them #14 nationally.

ST. JOHN'S
(44) Jakarr Sampson: 6'8", 200, F, St. Vincent - St. Mary's, Akron, OH
"Sampson is a very talented and versatile forward who excels on the break and off the dribble. He is a good rebounder and multiple position defender that reminds us of a young Scottie Pippen."

(45) Maurice Harkless: 6'7", 200, F, South Kent High School, South Kent, CT
"Harkless is an explosive athlete with great size and length for the wing positions. While he is already capable of dominating games because of his tremendous tools, he still has a lot to improve on before maximizing his potential, which is why he has such a high upside."

If the doormats of the Big East continue to put together talented classes like they have in 2011, it's going to be an interesting decade in the concrete jungle.

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