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2015 Early Signing Period Breakdown: Big East

  • Best Player: Omari Spellman, Villanova
  • Best Potential: Omari Spellman, Villanova
  • Best Scorer:  Shamorie Ponds, St. John
  • Best Shooter: Myles Powell, Seton Hall
  • Best Rebounder: Eddie Ediyor, Xavier
  • Best Passer: Jagan Mosley, Georgetown
  • Best Defender: Jagan Mosley, Georgetown
  • Best Glue Guy: Tyrique Jones, Xavier
  • Best Athlete: Tyrique Jones, Xavier

1. Villanova Wildcats

Omari Spellman | 6′-8″ | PF | St. Thomas More (CT)
Dylan Painter | 6′-10″ | C | Hershey (PA)

Omari Spellman (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
Omari Spellman (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Head coach Jay Wright and his staff have established a track record of pulling in one or more blue chip players each recruiting cycle, and have nabbed a potential star in Omari Spellman for 2016. He is a beefy interior player with a better than advertised skill level. Spellman needs to develop his conditioning to withstand the rigors of the Big East, but is without question the top big man entering the league. He has a solid potential partner in the paint in Dylan Painter. As an in-state post, Painter has flashed signs of being a good starter at center in the Big East, but will likely take a backseat to Spellman, at least initially. Villanova reportedly was Painter’s dream school, so he should be happy to spending some time finding his role the Wildcats’ plans.

2. Xavier Musketeers

Quentin Goodin | 6′-3″ | PG | Taylor County (KY)
Tyrique Jones | 6′-7″ | PF | Vermont Academy (VT)
Eddie Ekiyor | 6′-8″ | PF | Canada

With the potential to be a terrific point guard in the Big East, the Musketeers made a very strong pickup when they plucked Quentin Goodin out of Kentucky. A tall, savvy player who can dish the rock and get to the bucket when needed, Goodin can be a standout down the road for Xavier. On the interior, Tyrique Jones also has the frame and athleticism to be a great addition. He has the size and bullish game to hold down the power forward slot at Xavier for at least a few seasons, as he is regarded as a standout rebounder. In terms of rebounding, Eddie Ekiyor also rates as a significant addition to Xavier’s frontcourt. Ekiyor was set to enroll at Xavier at the break in the semester, giving him a jump start on D-1 basketball. Ekiyor also gained some merit as a top 100 prospect nationally.

3. Marquette Golden Eagles

Sam Hauser | 6′-6″ | SF | Stevens Point (WI)
Brendan Bailey | 6′-8″ | PF | American Fork (UT)

Brendan Bailey (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
Brendan Bailey (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

In his first recruiting class at Marquette, Steve Wojciehowski served noticed he would defend the borders of Wisconsin by staving off blue blood programs to land McDonald’s All-American Henry Ellenson. While not quite to the scale of Ellenson, Marquette scored another top 100 in-state prospect in versatile and skilled wing Sam Hauser. He has the skill and the size to plug in quite nicely on the wing, where Golden Eagles’ fans will hope he lives up to Wojciehowski’s depiction of his shooting prowess as being one of the best in the country. Marquette will have to be patient regarding the other player in the class, Brendan Bailey. A one-time Arizona State pledge, Bailey is set to take a two year church mission prior to matriculating. As a high school player, Bailey has shown himself to be a versatile shooter with strong basketball IQ and skill.

4. Butler Bulldogs

Howard Washington | 6′-2″ | PG | Montverde Academy (FL)
Kamar Baldwin | 6′-2″ | PG | Apalachee (GA)
Henry Baddley | 6′-4″ | SF | St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH)
Joey Brunk | 6′-10″ | C | Southport (IN)

Butler brings in a significant quartet of players to continue battling in the Big East with. The most touted of the group is center Joey Brunk, a consensus top 100 prospect. Brunk plays in one of Indianapolis’ top high school programs. A skilled interior prospect, Brunk’s skill-level and basketball IQ have drawn notice among national scouts. Howard Washington is another player the Bulldogs can expect to see on the hardwood. He has been a part of a high school national championship team, and has good size for his position. Washington has a talented classmate who will battle him for time early, Kamar Baldwin. A savvy scorer at the high school level, Baldwin has put up major points against the competition in Georgia. Henry Baddley completes the class for Butler. He is an athletic wing who drew praise from head coach Chris Holtmann as a lockdown defender experienced by playing on good teams.

5. St. John’s Red Storm

Shamorie Ponds | 6′-1″ | PG | Thomas Jefferson (NY)

Shamorie Ponds (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
Shamorie Ponds (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

There will be an uphill battle for new head coach Chris Mullin at St. John’s, but it’s also clear the battle starts with defending his backyard on the recruiting trail and pulling in local talent. The Red Storm did just that when they landed New York City guard Shamorie Ponds, who is on the short list of the top prospects in the Big Apple in the 2016 class. Ponds can score from the lead guard slot and can also be looked at to put in time off the ball, depending on Mullin’s preference.

6. DePaul Blue Demons

Devin Gage | 6′-2″ | PG | Curie (IL)
Brandon Cyrus | 6′-4″ | SG | La Lumiere (IN)
Al Eichelberger | 6′-7″ | PF | La Lumiere (IN)

Head coach Dave Leitao has an unenviable task in building a DePaul program which has been moribund in recent memory. Three newcomers comprise Leitao’s first class towards that effort, and there is some talent present to build from. La Lumiere has been one of the top high school basketball programs over the last several years and the Blue Demons did not hesitate to pluck two players from the program, one with Canadian roots, and the other from Michigan. Athletic wing Brandon Cyrus  brings scoring pop and a D-1 ready frame to Chicago, and is a safe bet to be an immediate competitor for time.  His teammate, Al Eichelberger is a physical presence in the frontcourt with a 7′-2″ wingspan. Eichelberger is a pick-and-pop forward according to Leitao and has been a winner at the high school level. The Blue Demons also stayed close to home to land point guard Devin Gage. With solid size, strength and athleticism, Gage can come in and create opportunities for teammates and not being behind the curve too much physically. DePaul needs to pluck talent from Chicago, and Gage is a good start to doing just that.

7. Georgetown Hoyas

Jagan Mosley | 6′-3″ | PG | St. Anthony (NJ)

In somewhat of a whirlwind recruitment, point guard Jagan Mosley eschewed local high-major programs to go with a traditional powerhouse in Georgetown. That decision may be fitting, as Mosley already plays in one of the nation’s premier high school programs at St. Anthony. Having played for coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony, Mosley has experienced a system that emphasizes savvy play and defensive integrity, which is not unlike what he’ll need to know at Georgetown. Mosley is a pass-first lead guard and also a committed perimeter defender.

8. Seton Hall Pirates

Myles Powell | 6′-2″ | SG | South Kent School (CT)

Shooting is always at a premium in college basketball, and the Pirates believe they have inked one of the best shooters in at least the Northeast in Myles Powell. The Pirates have a promising cast of young talent, but not a pure shooter like Powell on the roster presently. He’ll fill that role and be part of a still young Pirates team trying to get over the hump into the NCAA tournament.

9. Creighton Blue Jays

Davion Mintz | 6′-4″ | PG | North Mecklenburg (NC)

Creighton increased their geographic footprint when they joined the Big East, and landing a prospect from North Carolina illustrates the program’s reach. Davion Mintz is a passer with great size for the lead guard slot. He should figure prominently into the Blue Jays’ plans for the future as they had to beat out a handful of other high-major programs to land his services.

10. Providence Friars

Maliek White | 6′-1″ | PG | George Wythe (VA)

The post-Kris Dunn era for Providence at point guard will be a brave new world, and the Friars secured a commitment from Maliek White to help with the adjustment in the backcourt. White drew solid reviews on the grassroots circuit for his tenacity and basketball IQ from the lead guard slot. Assuming the expectation level is to let White be himself and not replace Dunn, he’ll be a fine player in time.

About K.J. Hassenstab

K.J. Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and Hoopniks.com. He founded Hoopniks.com in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's HighSchoolHoop.com, and NBCSports.com, along with other publications in the past. Hassenstab has covered grassroots, high school and basketball recruiting for over a decade. Follow on Twitter, @Hoopniks.

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