We continue our "New Guys" week by spotlighting some key newcomers in the Big East for next season.
We chose eight players – an "Elite Eight," as it were – who, for various reasons, need to make an immediate impact in their first season with their new team. These are not the best eight players signed by league schools; instead, they are guys who should receive ample opportunity to make a splash.
Each of these eight (two are four-year transfers, one is a junior college transfer and the other five are freshmen) will play important minutes right away, either as key starters or vital role players. We have listed them in reverse order of their expected impact.
We'll continue our "New Guys” week with a look at the Big Ten's key newcomers on Thursday.
[Mike Huguenin: Elite eight ACC newcomers for 2012-13 college hoops season]
8. Louisville SF Luke Hancock
6-6/200, Jr.; transfer from George Mason, preceded by Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy
Hancock should be a solid veteran addition to a loaded Louisville roster. Hancock is a heady player who doesn't necessarily do anything great but does everything well, especially pass. He has 3-point range but probably is most effective in a sort of point forward role. He can be an effective perimeter defender but can be overpowered by bigger forwards in the paint.
7. Georgetown SG D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera
6-3/210, Fr.; four-star prospect from Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy
Georgetown lost its top three scorers and looks starved for a guard who can put the ball in the basket. Smith-Rivera is a physical backcourt player with good range. But he's also savvy enough to use his strength to get into the lane and finish. He's a solid ballhandler and should be a nice fit in coach John Thompson III's deliberate offense.
6. Syracuse C DaJuan Coleman
6-8/280, Fr.; four-star prospect from DeWitt (N.Y.) Jamesville-DeWitt
Talent-wise, Coleman should be able to make an immediate impact for a Hoyas team that lost starting C Fab Melo (but also has numerous big guys coming back). Coleman is massive and knows how to use his bulk and strength to carve out space on both ends of the court. He's an effective low-post scorer and an excellent rebounder; he had 12 in the McDonald's All-American Game and started some fast breaks with crisp outlet passes. Still, staying in shape is going to be key for Coleman.
5. Villanova PG Ryan Arcidiacono
6-4/180, Fr.; four-star prospect from Langhorne (Pa.) Neshaminy
Villanova lost its top two guards, so there is ample playing time available for Arcidiacono, who is a good ballhandler with a nice outside stroke. He has good size for a point guard and understands how to use that size to get into the lane and create. While he lacks elite quickness, he has a solid all-around game and can be expected to provide a needed backcourt boost for Villanova. (The pronunciation of his name? Archie-dee-a-con-o.)
[Mike Huguenin: All-Freshman team boasts plenty of firepower]
4. Pittsburgh C Steven Adams
6-10/210, Fr.; five-star prospect from Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep
Adams, a native of New Zealand, is one of the most highly decorated freshmen in Pitt history, and the Panthers desperately need him to make an immediate impact. Pitt lost its best frontcourt player, Nasir Robinson, who was the team's leading rebounder and third-leading scorer. Adams is the No. 5 overall player in the recruiting class; while he needs to pack on a few pounds, he is an athletic big man who can score and is a solid rebounder. How he adapts to playing with Pitt freshman PG James Robinson could determine if the Panthers return to the NCAA tourney after missing out on the fun this past season.
3. St. John's F Orlando Sanchez
6-9/205, Jr.; four-star prospect from Monroe College (N.Y.), preceded by Nagua (Dominican Republic) Colegio Nueva Luz
St. John's wasn't an overly big team to begin with, and Moe Harkless' decision to turn pro after his freshman season made the Red Storm even smaller. Enter Sanchez, who decided to attend St. John's late last month. He, holdover God'sgift Achiuwa and incoming freshman JaKarr Sampson should be the Red Storm's main big men next season. Sanchez isn't a big scorer, but he is a solid rebounder and defender who runs the court well for a big man. Sanchez also should provide some leadership to a still-young Red Storm roster.
2. Providence SG Ricardo Ledo
6-5/185, Fr.; South Kent (Conn.) South Kent School
Ledo is part of a highly touted Friars recruiting class. Ledo is a big-time scorer; he has excellent range and has advanced offensive skills off the dribble for an incoming freshman. Holdover G Vincent Council will team nicely with Ledo and fellow five-star freshman Kris Dunn to form what should be one of the most prolific backcourts in the nation.
1. Marquette G Trent Lockett
6-5/210, Sr.; transfer from Arizona State, preceded by Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins
Marquette lost G Darius Johnson-Odom, the team's leading scorer, so Lockett should be able to step right in and make a big impact. Lockett graduated at Arizona State and thus has immediate eligibility with the Golden Eagles. He was the best player on a bad Arizona State team and shot the ball well (49.8 percent from the field, including 41.2 percent from 3-point range) on a team that had few other legit offensive options. He also led Arizona State in rebounds (5.8 per game) and played good defense, as well. His decision to attend Marquette gives coach Buzz Williams a solid veteran backcourt (Lockett, Junior Cadougan, Vander Blue and Todd Mayo).
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