After delaying our shift into offseason coverage for as long as humanly possible (shoutout to Villanova!), the BECB Twitter Mailbag has made its glorious return.
In case you weren't around last year, here's how this works. Throughout the week, we'll have tweets such as this one, asking for mailbag questions.
By the way, we're bringing the Offseason Twitter Mailbag back. It'll be up Friday, so get your questions in!— Big East Coast Bias (@becb_sbn) April 25, 2016
All you have to do is respond to the tweet with your question, and then Rob and Chris will tackle it. It's similar to the Monday Takeaway, but there's no Google Hangout.
Without further ado, let's get to the questions!
@becb_sbn I’ll toss a question in the mailbag: Any thoughts/opinions on whatever the hell is going on with Wally Ellenson/Marquette?— Anonymous Eagle (@AnonymousEagle) April 25, 2016
Robert O'Neill: What a question to start off with. I have a few thoughts on the Wally Ellenson situation. Firstly, obviously I wish Wally the best in whatever he decides to do. It sounds like that'll be continuing his track and field career. Secondly, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Was Wally brought to Marquette to try and lure his brother Henry? Maybe. That's not unheard of in recruiting. Is it a crappy thing for Steve Wojciechowski to, apparently, dump Wally after Henry left? Maybe. It's not the worst thing a coach has ever done in this sport, though. Not by a mile.
One thing I like about sports is that you have a winner and a loser. Seldom do we run into gray areas that we'll run into in other aspects of life. This is one of those times where this is absolutely a gray area and your opinions could greatly differ from mine.
Christopher Novak: Have to basically echo the sentiments of my co-manager here. It's a crappy situation with a lack of grey areas. I just hope some kind of resolution occurs and, eventually, the bad blood dissipates.
@becb_sbn thoughts on deflategate?— Russell Steinberg (@Russ_Steinberg) April 25, 2016
Robert O'Neill: Absolutely not.
Christopher Novak: Brady should go to prison imo he's the wurst
@becb_sbn Way-too-early top three teams in Big East for 16-17?— Marquette Nation (@mubbnation) April 25, 2016
Robert O'Neill: Alright. Gonna get the easy one out of the way first. Villanova is #1. I think Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins come back, plus they have Jalen Brunson coming back, plus Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter coming in, plus Eric Paschall transferring in... you get the point. The rest of the nation's powers (Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Arizona) should all be better next year, but I wouldn't count out the reigning defending national champion on being better as well.
From there... it's a crapshoot. If Isaiah Whitehead returns to Seton Hall, I'd feel comfortable putting them there. If not, probably Xavier. I know they lost Jalen Reynolds, but I think Edmond Sumner is going to play at an incredibly high level this year and Trevon Bluiett will continue to develop.
Number three can be any number of teams, but I think I'm going to take a dark horse and go with the Creighton Bluejays. Losing Geoff Groselle will hurt them a bit, but when you remember that Marcus Foster is coming in this year, plus Mo Watson will be back... Creighton might have the best backcourt in the conference. That makes up for the loss of Groselle down low, considering they'll have guys like Cole Huff and Justin Patton, both of whom should be serviceable big men.
Christopher: Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall. Easy pickens. I think even without Whitehead the Pirates should still be talented enough to push for the No. 3 spot.
@becb_sbn biggest player loss and recruiting/transfer gain for each team?— Joe Perin (@djpthethird) April 25, 2016
Robert O'Neill: For each team, huh? Alright. I'm going to just power through these.
Butler's biggest loss is Roosevelt Jones. You could pick Kellen Dunham, too. But I think Rose did more for the Bulldogs last year than Dunham. I think their biggest gain is probably Joey Brunk, but they have a nice recruiting class in general that they can do a lot with.
Creighton's biggest loss, literally, is Geoff Groselle. Their biggest gain is Marcus Foster. I don't think you can argue either of those.
DePaul's biggest loss is probably Myke Henry. Henry averaged 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in his two seasons at DePaul and sometimes managed to be the only player who could hit shots consistently. Their biggest gain is probably Brandon Cyrus. I like how he's going to fit with Eli Cain and Billy Garrett.
Georgetown's biggest loss has to be DSR. He's a top 10 scorer in program history and had unmatched leadership. I'm going to go with a cop-out and pick Bradley Hayes being granted a fifth year as the biggest gain. It technically counts. Hayes burst onto the scene in nonconference play last year, and Georgetown could benefit greatly from a similar season from him.
Marquette's biggest loss goes without saying, but the program did a really good job preparing for it. They knew Henry Ellenson was probably only going to stay for one year, so they recruited solid players like Haanif Cheatham alongside him, while bringing in Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, and Katin Reinhardt this season. I think there's a case to be made for Marquette having the best offseason of any Big East team.
Providence, like Marquette, goes without saying. They have to try to replace Kris Dunn, and it's going to be almost impossible. I feel better about the Friars than I did a few days ago since they brought in Alpha Diallo, but I'll feel even better about them if Ben Bentil decides to return for his junior season.
Seton Hall is the one team I can't answer right now, because both parts of the question are tied up. Their biggest loss would be if Isaiah Whitehead went to the NBA, and biggest gain would be if Jersey City's Taurean Thompson decides to stay local and join the Pirates.
St. John's biggest loss is... pass. Their biggest gain? Marcus LoVett, Bashir Ahmed, Richard Freudenberg, and Shamorie Ponds. Chris Mullin has built a nice foundation to go off of for the next couple years.
Villanova's biggest loss is Ryan Arcidiacono or Daniel Ochefu depending on your feelings. Luckily for Jay Wright's bunch, they have five-star forward Omari Spellman coming in, along with four-star center Dylan Painter. They're also returning the majority of their national championship team.
Xavier's biggest loss becomes Jalen Reynolds with his decision to stay in the NBA Draft. I think the Musketeers will still be fine next year, but Reynolds did a lot for them. Quentin Goodin will be a nice piece in that backcourt, though.
Christopher Novak: For Butler, I'll say Kethan Savage for the gain and biggest loss is probably Roosevelt Jones. I could coin flip between him and Dunham though.
Creighton, the big gain is obviously Marcus Foster. For loss, I'll say Groselle.
DePaul, I think Myke Henry's a pretty substanial loss. As far as gains go I'm gonna go with Devin Gage who should be a nice backcourt piece.
For Georgetown the biggest loss is DSR by a mile. As far as gains go lemme go with Jagan Mosley. Like his game.
Marquette: Easy, Henry Ellenson. Always tough to replace a one-and-done lottery prospect. Markus Howard seems like a solid choice for best addition but he, Sam Hauser or Brendan Bailey are good options. I'll go with Howard though to help boost what's already a pretty good backcourt.
Providence is very easy too. Kris Dunn's production will be very, very hard to replicate. I'll go with Alpha Diallo as their biggest gain as that was a big cou for Ed Cooley to pick him up late in the period.
Seton Hall could be Isaiah Whitehead if he does decide to go pro. No one really even comes close. As far as gains, right now it's only Myles Powell as he's the lone man in the 2016 class.
St. John's' biggest loss? I'll go with Amar Alibegovic as I thought he was a pretty solid player for them in a dismal year last season. As far as gains... who do you pick? So many options so little time. Might just have to go with them all. Very excited to see Year 2 of the Mullin Era.
Villanova's biggest loss is probably Arcidiacono with Ochefu trailing close behind. Gain is Omari Spellman.
Xavier... intrigues me, and I suppose I'll say it's Jalen Reynolds. If Bluiett departs though I'm gonna side with him. Their biggest gain will either be Eddie Ekiyor or Quentin Goodin, and for now I'll give the Canadian big man Ekiyor the edge given the impact of Reynolds and Farr departing.
@becb_sbn projections for BEWBB next fall? Any interesting recruiting there?— Tom Otero (@lockebyproxy) April 28, 2016
Robert O'Neill: As a Chicagoan, my projection is DePaul. It's tough not to be, really. Doug Bruno has been doing what he's done for nearly 30 years, they haven't missed the NCAA tournament since 2002, and with UConn entering a "reset year", the rest of the nation should look to strike. DePaul has just as good of a chance as anybody.
As far as recruiting, there's not much going on. A quick glance shows the Big East has only grabbed one five star player in each of the last two classes. Butler landed Brittany Ward last year, while Villanova will be bringing in Kelly Jekot this year.
Christopher Novak: What he said. DePaul is the strongest program in the conference at the moment.
@becb_sbn who makes the NCAAs next year?— chris thurlow (@redsoxed) April 28, 2016
Robert O'Neill: I think my "sure things" right now are: Villanova, Seton Hall (if Whitehead comes back), Xavier, Creighton. With Marquette and Butler on my bubble right now. On April 29, 2016.
Christopher Novak: Creighton, Seton Hall, Villanova, Xavier, with Butler, Marquette, and if everything goes right, St. John's playing it close.