Francisco Farabello, Creighton Bluejays, Big East basketball

10 Big East basketball teams will be chasing Connecticut, as the conference reloads for what should be an exciting 2023-24 season.

Butler Bulldogs

Pierre Brooks

Butler’s team will be made up of mostly transfers, with Jalen Thomas being the top returning player. Brooks is one of six transfers making Butler their new home, including former St. John’s guard Posh Alexander.

The 6-foot-6 Brooks spent two seasons at Michigan State, playing very sparingly in year one, before carving out a solid role last year. However, the move to Butler should create even more playing time. For the Bulldogs to be successful, they’ll need transfers to step up, and it seems like the perfect opportunity for Brooks to do that.

Creighton Bluejays

Francisco Farabello

I was admittedly disappointed in Farabello’s first season with Creighton. The former TCU guard saw career lows in minutes, points, rebounds, and assists per game. Part of that is how Doug McDermott runs his team, but it’s also what playing on such a talented team will do.

Now that Ryan Nembhard is gone, it opens up some more playing time in the backcourt. Farabello will be entering his fifth season in college basketball, so his veteran experience should pay off in a role like that. It’s sort of like a now-or-never situation.

DePaul Blue Demons

Zion Cruz

Can the former 4-star recruit turn on the jets in year two? Cruz was a minimal role player as a freshman but could be in line for a big sophomore jump. DePaul is set to lose most of its core from a year ago, so Cruz could see a much bigger role.

He showed promise in the Blue Demons’ second-to-last game of the season, going for 10 points in a loss to Marquette. More games like that and Cruz could be one of the most improved players in Big East basketball next season.

Georgetown Hoyas

Supreme Cook

Ed Cooley tends to get the most out of his players, and that’s especially true with his big men. Could Supreme Cook be next? The Fairfield transfer might need to add some weight to put up the same numbers in the Big East, but he’s got the skills.

Cook averaged 13.1 PPG and 8.5 RPG with the Stags last season. It’s going to be a brand new Georgetown team that features some skilled players like Jayden Epps and Ismael Massoud, but Cook could really tie everything together.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Chase Ross

I’d love to see Chase Ross get going and become a key role player in his sophomore season. The track record is there – Ross had plenty of games where he played 20+ minutes a game and showed a lot of scoring potential. The freshman had a few 10-point outings and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in a conference tournament win over St. John’s.

Marquette has a lot of pieces returning, but Ross’s development could be crucial in keeping the Golden Eagles at the top of the Big East.

Providence Friars

Corey Floyd Jr.

Floyd, a former 4-star recruit who redshirted in his first year at UConn, transferred to Providence for last season. He averaged under 3 PPG but might be in for a much bigger role in 2023-24. Along with a new head coach in Kim English, usually comes a much different roster makeup.

PC is set to lose a few key members out of their backcourt, including Jared Bynum and Noah Locke. A lot of time will open up for someone like Floyd to step up and get valuable minutes either off the bench or in the starting lineup.

St. John’s Red Storm

Nahiem Alleyne

The UConn transfer is staying in Big East basketball, which should make for a couple of very interesting matchups between the Red Storm and defending champion Huskies. Alleyne was a fairly crucial part of UConn’s title run, scoring 7.2 PPG in the six March Madness wins – nearly more than his season average. However, his numbers took a dip – actually some career lows – on such a talented Connecticut team.

While Rick Pitino won’t just insert Alleyne into a starting role without some competition, I get the feeling he made this move to join a winning team, but also get more playing time. Alleyne’s got the experience and it could pay off in Queens.

Seton Hall Pirates

Kadary Richmond

It’s about time Kadary Richmond takes over and reaches his full potential. The 6-foot-4 guard has an incredible ability to drive to the cup and finish. He’s a top playmaker in Big East basketball but doesn’t always show it from game to game.

SHU lost quite a bit in the offseason and despite adding a few solid transfers, will need Richmond to take control. Year two of Shaheen Holloway in South Orange may come with angst if the Pirates can’t improve their win total (17) from a year ago and Richmond will be a big key in getting to 20 wins.

UConn Huskies

Donovan Clingan

Can the Huskies go back-to-back? It hasn’t been done since Florida in 2006 & ’07, but the talent is there where you can’t write it off from happening. Tristen Newton, Alex Karaban, and incoming 5-star freshman Stephon Castle figure to be major pieces in the Huskies’ pursuit of title number six.

And then there’s Donovan Clingan. The center was outstanding off the bench as a freshman, but will now take on a much larger role, replacing Adama Sanogo as UConn’s starting big man. How will Clingan adjust to his new role? He only played about 13.1 MPG, and will probably see that double to somewhere between 25-30 MPG. We saw Zach Edey – a talented player with a similar body type and role change excel in the same type of situation. But Clingan is a different person. If he can be the dominant player most people expect he can be, the Huskies will be a force in Big East basketball again.

Villanova Wildcats

Justin Moore

Moore came back from his torn Achilles quite well last season, pretty much equaling his averages and improving his efficiency from the year before. He enters his final year of eligibility on a Wildcats team that looks much better on paper. But how will Moore fully respond?

I expect him to come out and be in play for Big East Player of the Year. Moore is an elite scorer and playmaker and now has a year under Kyle Neptune’s system under his belt. He’s already a star in Big East basketball, but the ceiling still seems even higher.

Xavier Musketeers

Jerome Hunter

When Zach Freemantle went down last season, Jerome Hunter was called upon to step up. He did pretty much what was asked of him and more. The 7.8 PPG scorer posted 10 against Marquette in the Big East Tournament, 24 against Kennesaw State in the NCAA Tournament, and 14 against Pitt in the second round.

The confidence Hunter should have gotten from his role in Xavier’s March Madness run should help him in year three with the Musketeers. Xavier is a contender in the Big East, and Hunter can be an even bigger part of their success this year.

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