It’s early (okay, way too early) to have any true sense of what teams might emerge in 2013-14, but that doesn’t stop national publications from coming out with top 25 lists for next season. How freshmen might integrate themselves, transfers transition to their new teams, or which players will make the leap next year won’t be determined for quite a while, but early top 25 rankings and All American lists sustain college basketball junkies a month after the season has ended.
What’s become clear is that few national writers expect much of the Big East next season.
Nearly all top 25 rankings include Marquette. After Buzz Williams’s group tied for the regular season title last year, despite losing two of the Big East’s best in Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, few would question what Williams can do while returning a majority of his core (the early departure of leading scorer Vander Blue hurts, but is offset by a terrific recruiting class and solid core of vets) next year.
Beyond Marquette, there’s little love for the new Big East.
Georgetown, St. John’s and Butler are viewed as borderline top 25 teams, and then there’s Creighton who find themselves in some, but certainly not all, rankings for 2013-14.
What Creighton does have is a returning All American who decided to come back for what could be a historic senior season.
With Georgetown’s Otto Porter gone to the NBA, Providence’s Bryce Cotton is the only returning 1st Team All Big East player next season, but this newest iteration of the Big East’s star power, from either a team or individual perspective, will come in the form of Doug McDermott.
The wildly-efficient McDermott was the nation’s second leading scorer a season ago, one so proficient that he’s been named 1st Team AP All American in each of the past two seasons. As ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan points out, if McDermott earns a third nod he’ll be just the sixth player in the past 40 years to do so. The others? Patrick Ewing, Wayman Tisdale, Ralph Sampson, David Thompson and Bill Walton.
McDermott’s story is an interesting one. He was high school teammates with Harrison Barnes, then ranked the #1 recruit in the country, at Ames High School in Iowa and he’d committed to Northern Iowa before de-committing after his father left his post as an assistant at Iowa State to take over at Creighton.
Three years later he holds a variety of records, breaking the Missouri Valley Conference mark for points by a freshman, while ranking in the top three in scoring nationally as both a sophomore and junior – seasons in which Creighton combined to win 57 games.
The Big East may not have any teams in the preseason top 10 next fall, but in McDermott the league has the most decorated player returning to college basketball next season.