"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Midwestern preps choose Big East over Big State in increasing numbers

Milwaukee area prep standout Jerry Smith has given Rick Pitino and Louisville a verbal commitment over Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Tennessee

The announcement of the one-time Marquette recruiting target provides a continuation of the trend of some of the best players in the Midwest choosing to take their game to the Big East rather than the big-state-U in their home locale.

When recruits of the caliber of Smith choose a Big East school (even if its an MU rival) over an in-state Big Ten school, it reiterates the value of MU's Big East affiliation:

"It was a very difficult decision for our family to choose Louisville over Wisconsin. But Jerry wanted to go play in the Big East."

Smith Sr. said the family spent hours pondering the decision but it ultimately came down to the Big East.

Quality midwestern preps in healthy numbers are choosing Big East programs over their Big Eleven counterparts. Smith and Wes Matthews out of Wisconsin to UL and Marquette respectively. Luke Zellar to ND and Dominic James to Marquette out of Indiana. Eric Devendorf to Syracuse and Wilson Chandler to DePaul--both out of Michigan. Jerel McNeal out of Illinois to Marquette. Just to name a few.

Welcome to the league, Mr. Smith. And thanks for the endorsement of the Big East.

1 comment:

Gene Frenkle said...

I think this definitely speaks to the value and popularity of the Big East, while also showing the Big Ten has lost a little regarding hoops. It usually runs in cycles, though. Still, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues.

As far as MU is concerned, their joining the Big East was most likely the difference maker in their luring of top incoming recruits. But, there is HUGE pressure on the current crop of recruits to play well. If they don't play well, it could have devastating effects on MU's future in the Big East. They can't afford to be the patsies of the league. And, if ANY of the big three recruits from this season transfer, I think you'll see all the benefit-of-the-doubt be removed from Crean's ability to teach and keep players.

I'm a huge MU fan and alumni, but that's the facts. Crean's legacy rides is in the hands of Matthews, McNeal and James.