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Big East Season Preview: Top 5 Centers

The Big East has been laden with terrific big men in the past. Who leads the charge in 2014?

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Just Missed the Cut

  • Andrew Chrabascz, Butler (Average: 6.83)
  • Carson Desrosiers, Providence (Average: 6.11)

5. Tommy Hamilton Jr., DePaul (Average: 5.74)

2013-14 Stats: 7.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG

DePaul's outlook once again might be skittish again in 2014, but Tommy Hamilton is one of the few bright spots on this Blue Demons squad. He was one of the best role players on the team last year, and the best defensive rebounder, accumulating a DR% of 17.6 percent. Side note: this was all being done as a freshman. With much more room to grow and get better, expect Hamilton to play at a high level again, unless the "sophomore slump" rears its ugly head.

4. Joshua Smith, Georgetown (Average: 3.37)

2013-14 Stats: 11.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG (in 13 games played)

We caught a glimpse of what Georgetown was getting out of big man Joshua Smith. Then, injury and eligibility issues came up, and Smith's season was done after just 13 games played. Going into 2014, it appears Smith is in much better physical shape, and is hungry to achieve what most thought were possible from him back when he was a UCLA Bruin. If the Hoyas are to be successful this year, expect Smith to be one of the big -- no pun intended -- reasons why.

3. Chris Obekpa, St. John's (Average: 3.21)

2013-14 Stats: 3.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG

St. John's big man Chris Obekpa is going to be heavily relied upon in a frontcourt that is thinning by the day. With Keith Thomas ruled ineligible, and Adonis Delarosa likely headed in that direction as well, Obeka's presence in the paint is going to be a necessity for Steve Lavin & Co. Last year, he did pretty well for himself. The 6-foot-9 Nigeria native had the 3rd highest Blk% in the nation at 15.7 percent, helping the Red Storm have the No. 1 Blk% in the entire country. Blocking shots doesn't necessarily correlate to being a great defender, but all things considered, Obekpa in the paint is a force to be reckoned with.

2. Daniel Ochefu, Villanova (Average: 2.53)

2013-14 Stats: 5.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG

One of the biggest reasons that Villanova is expected to do big things in 2014 is the fact that 80 percent of their starting lineup is set to return. That includes big man Daniel Ochefu, who will look to build off of a very good 2013-14 season. Ochefu averaged 21.7 minutes per game and was an efficient shooter at the cup, making 59.7 percent of his field goal attempts. On the defensive end, he was imposing, posting a Blk% of 7.7 percent, and was a great rebounder on both sides of the glass. Look for this junior beast to be fed once again this upcoming season.

1. Matt Stainbrook, Xavier (19) (Average: 1)

2013-14 Stats: 10.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG

The unanimous choice for best center in the Big East Conference is Matt Stainbrook, who was named as a Preseason First Team All-Big East team member at Big East Media Day on October 22. "The Stain Train," as he was aptly named by many, including play-by-play commentator Brian Anderson of CBS Sports, bullied his way to a terrific 2013 season. Coming into this year, he and fellow frontcourt member Jalen Reynolds will look to make a mockery of their opponents each time they get the ball. Stainborok has proven to be a good scorer and rebounder, and isn't too bad defensively either. Expect big things for the Bay Village, Ohio native this coming year.