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Weekly College Basketball Recruiting Beat (9-18-11) – The Big Least?

Just a week ago in this space, we speculated on what seemed to be a pending hailstorm of college sports realignment. At that time, it appeared that Texas may have been the sticking point program that was waiting to be unstuck, but in a world of 24/7 sports journalism and “sources” to everything, the ACC slipped deep into the heart of the Big East, and snagged two traditional powerhouse college basketball programs, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Time flies quickly in the world of big boy college sports, where big money always wins out over the best interests of student-athletes these days. Bloated and geographically non-sensical conference memberships may be of benefit to revenue sports, but often make little sense for the average golf, cross country or swimming teams.

For a week’s time, it appeared that the Big 12 was on the chopping block for elimination, and now the future of the Big East seems highly-questionable as well. As always, football drives this ship, and the football members of the Big East aren’t exactly awe inspiring, which was true even before Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolted. With only seven football playing members expected for next season, it is unknown if Big East football will be viable in the future.

Where this leaves the remaining solid two sport programs in the Big East is a huge question right, as is the future of TCU, which is set to join the Big East, or what remains of it, on the gridiron and basketball court next season. For the time being, Rutgers and UConn seem to be obvious fits to expand the ACC ranks to 16 at some point in the future. The other Big East schools, and the Big 12 schools outside of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas, seem to be headed for a college sports purgatory as it stands now.

For now, the ACC is a treacherous and exciting group of teams on the hardwood. The traditional Atlantic seaboard powerhouses get an immediate infusion of tough and physical contenders in the Panthers and Orange, and the reach of the conference extends from upstate New York to Miami, Florida. The mainstream college basketball fan can’t wait to see regular match-ups between Syracuse and North Carolina, or Pittsburgh and Duke, and that’s not even counting what could happen if Connecticut joins the fray.

Change is definite in college sports, and the landscape appears to be transition right in front of fans’ eyes. One quote that describes the colleges involved in this pursuit of money and power was found in today’s Star-Ledger, as Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano said,“It is musical chairs and you better make sure you have a chair when the music stops.”

Ironic and unfortunate all at the same time, the apparent disintegration of the Big East coincides with the death of its founder Dave Gavitt, which coincides with what appears to be the beginning, but not the end, of the demise of a great conference in college basketball.

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Quick Notes
  • It would be hard to amass a collection of high-major head coaches more distinguished than the crew that assembled at the open gym at Simeon (IL)  earlier in the week. The elite programs vying for star wing forward Jabari Parker came en masse, with Duke’s coaching staff turning heads by arriving in a limousine. Simeon already has 2012 forward Steve Taylor committed to Marquette, and 2013 guard Kendrick Nunn committed to Texas A&M, but Parker receives top billing everywhere he goes. Parker hasn’t given any indications of who he’s favoring at this point, giving hope to the 30 or more reported coaches in attendance at the open gym. Either way, it certainly seemed like a Chi-Town sight to be seen.
  • The #3 player in the class of 2012, 6′-8″ Kyle Anderson is scheduled to be making his commitment on Tuesday. Rumblings indicate that UCLA and Seton Hall may have risen to the top of the list, but it’s not known who his favorite may be. After tripping to Florida over the weekend, Anderson will host Seton Hall head man Kevin Willard at his home on Monday. Also, it was reported that 60 fans from Seton Hall caught Anderson in a fall league game. On Tuesday, his collegiate intentions should be announced. At this point, anything other than the Bruins or the Pirates should be a surprise for Anderson’s services. From there, the respective coaching staff that receives a commitment from Anderson will get to decide what position he is the best fit at in college.
  • A press release from St. John’s this week indicated that three star incoming recruits, Amir Garrett, Jakarr Sampson and Norvel Pelle did not meet requirements for initial eligiblity. This leaves the Red Storm with only eight players as the season tips off, and it remains to be seen if any if any of the three will become eligible to play in the second half of the season. Less important, but still of note, is the NCAA ruling that forward Braeden Anderson is a partial qualifier, which means according to Big 12 rules that he cannot receive a scholarship from Kansas. It’s unclear what Anderson does from here.
  • Wichita State dipped into the JUCO ranks for two commits, one prospect from the 2012 and 2013 classes. The Shockers nabbed Earl Watson, a 6′-7″ forward for 2013, while Cleanthony Early, the NJCAA D3 Player of the Year, committed for 2012. The Shockers have two other 2012 prospects committed, and point guard Fred Van Vleet is expected to be a dandy in the class, meaning the Shockers are well positioned for the future.
  • Vermont added two solid commits this week. Athletic wing forward Brendan Kilpatrick of Malvern Prep (PA) and Ethan O’ Day of Northfield Mt. Hermon (MA) both made the call to head north to the play for the Catamounts next season, and both have the potential to be early contributors in the America East conference.
  • John Stovall of ESPN tweeted on Sunday night that 6′-8″ power forward Devon Scott is no longer committed to Cincinnati. The Northland (OH) prospect was the Bearcats’ sole pledged to date in the 2012 class. There hasn’t been a reason or further information out on the split, just yet.
Commitment Tracker
  • Khaliq Spicer – Kent State
  • Jimmy Hall – Hofstra
  • Zabius Henderson, Erik McCree – Murray State
  • Christian White – Monmouth
  • Aaron Bodager – North Florida
  • Grant Ellis, DaShawn Gomez (JC) – Iona
  • Jared Brandon – Cal State Fullerton
  • Charles Cook, Andre Nation – James Madison
  • Isaiah Ivey – Gardner-Webb
  • Jakari Bush – Florida A&M
  • Kenrick Ray – Quinniapiac
  • Dajuan Graf – Florida Gulf Coast
  • McDarion Abron – Alcorn State
  • Chad Donley (JC) – Liberty
  • Trey Guidry – San Diego
  • Holt Harmon – Cornell
  • Taurean Waller-Prince – Long Island
  • Tim Johnson (JC) – Idaho
  • Zac Grossenbacher – Wofford
  • Ray Dorsey – Texas State
  • Demetrius Moore (JC) – Louisiana Tech
  • Khalil Alford – Rider
  • Chris Daniel, Rasham Suarez, Cleon Roberts – Georgia Southern
  • Stephan Hawkins – Robert Morris
  • Aishon White (JC) – Eastern Kentucky
  • Keilan Blanks – Lamar
  • Larry Wideman – Furman
  • Paul Bayt – Manhattan
  • Sean Harris (JC) – Utah State
  • Anthony Beane – Illinois State
  • Ryan Weber – Youngstown State
  • Marshall Guilmette – East Carolina
  • Casey Kasperbauer – South Dakota
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About K.J. Hassenstab

K.J. Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and He founded in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's, and, 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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