ESPN’s Jeff Goodman: The Fab 50 for 2014-15

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman came out with “a detailed look ahead at the nation’s top programs and how they’re positioning themselves for the 2014-15 campaign … and beyond.” Providence didn’t make Goodman’s cut of top 50 teams (cue the conspiracy theorists) while teams like UTEP, Stephen F. Austin, Toledo and Louisiana Tech do make the cut ahead of the Friars. There are 3 Big East teams mentioned and it could be argued that PC will be better than #40 Xavier next season. Click here to see the full top 50 (ESPN Insider). Below are the 3 Big East teams:

9. Villanova Wildcats

Gone: James Bell, Tony Chennault

Returning: JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard, Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu, Josh Hart, Dylan Ennis, Kris Jenkins

Coming in: SF Mikal Bridges (ESPN No. 82), G Phil Booth (ESPN No. 92)

Key Riser: Josh Hart — He had a really nice season as a freshman, averaging 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. With Bell graduating, look for Hart’s role and production to increase.

Analysis: Jay Wright has his type of guys again, and the Wildcats exceeded all expectations. They won 29 games and earned a No. 2 seed before falling to eventual national champion UConn in the NCAA tourney. It won’t be easy to replace Bell, but ‘Nova still returns eight of its top nine scorers.

Summer Buzz: Wright already has a couple of verbal commitments for the Class of 2015: New Jersey power forward Tim Delaney and Delaware shooting guard Donte Divincenzo. The Wildcats are going hard after elite point guard Jalen Brunson and even though they have three more available scholarships, they may not use all of them in an effort to maintain team chemistry (everyone plays, everyone is happy).

40. Xavier Musketeers

Gone: Semaj Christon, Justin Martin, Isaiah Philmore

Returning: Matt Stainbrook, Dee Davis, Myles Davis, James Farr, Jalen Reynolds, Brandon Randolph

Coming in: SG Remy Abell (Indiana transfer), SF Trevon Bluiett (ESPN No. 46), PG Edmond Sumner (ESPN No. 78), PF Makinde London, SG J.P. Macura, CSean O’Mara

Key Riser: Jalen Reynolds — With Martin and Philmore gone, look for Reynolds, a talented and athletic forward, to become a starter and a major factor. He showed glimpses, but should show more.

Analysis: Chris Mack will certainly feel for the loss of Christon, who left early for the NBA draft. However, the Musketeers still return their big man, Stainbrook, along with key pieces and a highly regarded freshman class that’s led by Bluiett, a one-time UCLA commit. Look for Indiana transfer Abell to also make an impact.

Summer Buzz: The Musketeers have three scholarships for the Class of 2015. Mack and his staff will try to pick up a point guard, a versatile wing and an athletic big man. The targets are point guards Jalen Brunson and Justin Jenifer, wings K.J. Watson and Kyle Ahrens, and big men Esa Ahmad and Raymond Spalding.

48. Georgetown Hoyas

Gone: Markel Starks, Nate Lubick, Moses Ayegba, Stephen Domingo

Returning: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Joshua Smith, Jabril Trawick, Mikael Hopkins, Reggie Cameron, Aaron Bowen

Coming in: PF Isaac Copeland (ESPN No. 16), SF L.J. Peak (ESPN No. 31), PFPaul White (ESPN No. 34), PG Tre Campbell

Key Riser: Jabril Trawick — He had a solid season as a junior, averaging 9.1 points per game. However, look for him to become more of a focal point of the offense with Starks gone.

Analysis: The Hoyas struggled, finishing 8-10 in the new Big East, and will lose their point guard in Starks and also a veteran big man in Lubick, who started for much of his time at Georgetown. However, John Thompson III returns his leading scorer in Smith-Rivera, also brings back Trawick and hopes to have Smith, who was academically ineligble for the second half of the season, back in the fold. He’ll also bring in a talented recruiting class that features three players all ranked in the Top 35 nationally.

Summer Buzz: The Hoyas have a verbal from local power forward Marcus Derrickson, but still have three more scholarships in the class. They are trying for heralded big men Ivan Rabb and Diamond Stone, as well as Chance Comanche and wings Dwayne Bacon, Joshua Reaves and P.J. Dozier.

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