Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sifting Through Big East Thoughts

Team Primed For Resurgence: Cincinnati Bearcats

We all know the NCAA jumped into investigator mode this summer, dissecting every aspect of fabulous freshman Lance Stephenson’s amateur status. The biggest concern is that Stephenson's online reality TV show, violated the longer than the Larchmont Lake NCAA handbook.

But signs point to the kid they call Born Ready being ready come November.

“We’re waiting,” as Bearcats coach Mick Cronin told SNY.TV’s Adam Zagoria, a hoops blogging behemoth who operates the ultra-popular, constantly updated

“He’s cleared academically so we’re just waiting on the amateur thing. He’s not the only one going through it, so a lot of the elite players are going through it. We’ll see. Hopefully it’s done before the first game, I know that.”

Stephenson, a high-volume, versatile scorer and flashy, efficient passer who led Lincoln High (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to an unprecedented four consecutive PSAL titles.

Born Ready is capable of a one-and-done campaign, scoring buckets by the bunches alongside proven scorer and reliable ratchet man Deonta Vaughn.

The ‘Cats also return the services of Yancy Gates, a burgeoning big who shoots the rock at a high percentage. Gates is active on the boards and made his presence known as a freshman last season.

Expect Stephenson to front run for Big East Rookie of the Year honors (he was projected as such by the conference). He underwent a senior year in which every aspect of his recruitment was analyzed, dissected, magnified, and thrown back at him by New York's media circus. None of it seemed to bother Stephenson, who's now laughing his way to the season, ducking the long arm of the NCAA.

Other newcomers offer immediate contributions, as well. There’s been steady anticipation for the arrival of redshirt freshman Cashmere Wright, a 6-0 guard.

An offense operator, Cash will dole out dimes like the campus nurse doles out free rubbers.

And don’t forget about incoming scorer Sean Kilpatrick, a high-flying freshman who starred at Notre Dame Prep (MA), the traditional basketball breeding house.

Albeit young, the Bearcats can certainly right the ship while concurrently re-writing the script with this potent lineup.

Will South Florida shed the tag of laughing stock?

With the addition of Jarrid Famous, a hotly pursued 6-foot-11 center out of Westchester Community (Valhalla, N.Y.) who chose USF over Arizona and Seton Hall, it would certainly appear so.

Famous averaged a sublime 25 points and 15 rebounds, tearing up the JUCO circuit while taking the soul of opposing bigs that posed no threat to him or the Westcoes.

The inside-outside tandem of scoring machine Dominique Jones (the best player you've never heard of) and Famous could create chaos. Factor in 6-foot-10 Augustus Gilchrist and USF is no laughing matter, nomore.


I was entertaining thoughts about giving the title of "Player With The Heaviest Burden" but that'd be far too unpredictable and immeasurable.

Candidates, however, include the aforementioned Jones of South Florida, Lazar Heyward of Marquette, and perhaps Jermaine Dixon. All three of these players have a great deal of weight on their shoulders on their respective teams.