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BECB Roundtable: Ranking the Big East by How Easy, Hard Recruiting is for Each Program

How easy/hard is it for each program in the Big East to recruit? We voted and ranked each Big East program accordingly.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The final exam break is here and there are no games to preview or recap at the moment. Our BECB staff decided this might be a good time to take a poll and figure out how each Big East program ranks in terms of ease of recruiting. The criteria for each person's vote was undoubtedly different. Some took the perspective of how easy it should be to recruit to a particular program, while others relied more on tangible results. We had a total of 12 voters in this poll. Let's dive right into the ranking -- 1 being easiest and 10 being hardest to recruit -- and hear from some of our voters.

1. Villanova Wildcats (112 points)

Robert O’Neill: Who else was going to be number one? Georgetown might have been an easier school than Villanova in the past, but since Jay Wright took over, Villanova’s dominated recruiting. Wright does a great job bringing in a nice mix of in­state talent (which is vast due to Philadelphia) and also top recruits from out of state as well.

2. Georgetown Hoyas (104 points)

Chris Novak: Georgetown has been reeling in big­time talent for quite a while. They’ve wrangled a great crop of youngsters in the past two years and their 2016 class is coming together nicely as well.

Selling Georgetown as the premier team in the BIG EAST perhaps the most successful of the clubs that remain in the conference historically, as well as a habit of getting big men to the NBA seems like it continuously works out for the Hoyas. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that they’re one of the easiest places to recruit in the conference.

3. Xavier Musketeers (76 points)

Robert O’Neill: Between Ohio State being as far down as we’ve seen in the while, and Xavier’s emergence the past few seasons, the Musketeers were a lock for top 3 on this list. Chris Mack continues to make it look much easier than it actually is for a small Jesuit school in a big city to land recruits, which translates to on­court success, which translates back to recruiting success. It’s a cycle that Mack has played to perfection ever since he took over from Sean Miller.

4. St. John's Red Storm (73 points)

Pierce Roberson: The Johnnies are situated in the basketball capital of the East Coast, giving them an edge over most Big East teams. Being in the Big Apple doesn’t always lead to pulling top recruits, but it always keeps St. John’s in the conversation on decision day.

5. Butler Bulldogs (70 points)

Pierce Roberson: Indiana is a hotbed for basketball recruits, with their focus on fundamentals and Hoosiers and whatnot. But while Indiana Univ. might grab the marquee names, Butler consistently finds under­the­radar talent that thrive in Indianapolis.

6. Marquette Golden Eagles (67 points)

Mike Hopkins: Marquette doesn’t sit in a notorious hotbed of talented recruits like St. John’s, but the Golden Eagles athletic department has put their money where their mouth is by giving their coaches a large recruiting budget, including access to a private plane to take on ad hoc recruiting trips. Steve Wojciechowski has hauled in some excellent recruiting classes in his first two seasons taking the helm from Buzz Williams, but it remains to be seen how long the former Duke guard and longtime Coach K assistant remains on the bench at the Bradley Center.

7. Providence Friars (48 points)

Mike Hopkins: Providence has traditionally been a tough place to recruit, due largely to the fact that it’s a small, predominantly white Catholic school in Rhode Island. Beyond the campus life issues the Friars had some of the worst facilities in the Big East. Coaches going back to Pitino, Barnes and Gillen complained about the rundown facilities that Providence had. So, this 7th place ranking doesn’t come as a massive surprise.

Providence should climb up the ladder a bit after a big announcement on December 15th that they will break ground on a $37.5MM facility to be named the Ruane Friar Development Center. This will put Ed Cooley on par, and even ahead of, his compatriots in the Big East. Cooley has had success in his 4+ season recruiting at Providence, bringing in McDonald’s All­American Kris Dunn and other top 100 recruits like Ricky Ledo and Brandon Austin. The issue has been that many of them have not played at all or very little before departing the Providence campus.

8. Seton Hall Pirates (47 points)

Chris Novak: With the mass of talent that has entered the state of New Jersey in the past few years or so, it hasn’t gotten much easier for Seton Hall to reel in great recruits whilst competing against various schools from the Mid­Atlantic and, well, pretty much everywhere else (Read: Karl­Anthony Towns, Piscataway native, went to Kentucky).

That said, The Hall has been prospering lately in New York and pulled in a few good recruits in New Jersey lately too. Talent in Jersey should only continue to get better as time goes on and, perhaps if Seton Hall strings together some successful seasons, it might get easier for them. For now, after about a decade or so as an afterthought in the BIG EAST, it’s a tough trek up for them.

9. DePaul Blue Demons (29 points)

Robert O’Neill: There are two lines of thinking with DePaul. Hypothetically, being close to Chicago, a basketball hotspot, and the new arena finally coming to fruition, it should be easy to recruit at DePaul.

Then reality sets in. The Blue Demons haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2004 and currently play 15 miles off campus. It remains to be seen if Dave Leitao will be able to turn the ship around.

10. Creighton Bluejays (27 points)

Alex Sindelar: In what is perceived to be the Middle of Nowhere, USA, the Creighton Bluejays aren’t necessarily inclined to recruit 5­star prospects. They are a skill­based recruiting mechanism, picking up kids who do one thing r​eally well.​Remember Ethan Wragge? Not a highly touted recruit by any means, but he could shoot threes better than anyone. Doug McDermott? Not the fastest player on the court but man, he could score. Kyle Korver, Booker Woodfox, Jimmy Motz and Dane Watts encompass this as well. On occasion the Bluejays will recruit a guy who was looked over by major programs and polish them into superstars ­ Anthony Tolliver, Benoit Benjamin, Rodney Buford encompass this rather well.

The mantra that Creighton has applied to themselves ­ L​et it Fly​­ is privy to their recruiting regimen. With top notch facilities and a phenomenal fanbase, Creighton’s ability to recruit the best skill players has an incredibly high ceiling. They’ve done so much in the past 5 years to install themselves within the national conversation in college basketball that it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine the program significantly moving up this list in a decade or so.

Basketball in Nebraska has its ups and downs in the high school programs. On occasion you’ll see incredible talent pop up within the state; Akoy Agau, Justin Patton and Khyri Thomas are leading the current wave of highly talented players hailing from the Cornhusker state, while Josh Jones, Antoine Young and Josh Dotzler belonged to the previous wave. It ebbs and flows with the level of competition at the high school level in the state, but be sure that recruiting hoop stars in Nebraska and Iowa is just as important as recruiting in Illinois and New York.