Tim Abromaitis suspended despite Mike Brey’s plea – BigEastCoastBias.com
Temple added to Big East mix – Philly.com
2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup
PG Eric Atkins, sophomore
SG Joey Brooks, junior
SF Scott Martin, senior
PF Tim Abromaitis, senior
C Jack Cooley, junior
Key reserves: Jerian Grant, sophomore; Alex Dragicevich, sophomore, Mike Broghammer, junior; Pat Connaughton, freshman
It seems that every season Notre Dame doesn’t seem to have the talent to compete in the Big East, but every season head coach Mike Brey puts a team out on the floor filled with experienced and well-rounded players.
Brey never relies on big recruiting classes, but rather transfers and players that will develop over four years.
The Fighting Irish still have senior forward Tim Abromaitis, who is returning after testing the NBA Draft. He is one of the top knockdown shooters in the Big East and will do the same this season.
The other starter is Scott Martin, who averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds a game as a junior in 2010-2011. Eric Atkins averaged 25 minutes a game and will be moved into the starting lineup this winter
Outside of those three, Notre Dame is inexperienced. Joey Brooks, Jack Cooley, and incoming freshman Pat Connaughton will need to step in and contribute right away.
This isn’t the same Notre Dame that won 14 Big East games a season ago, but if one team can exceed expectations its Mike Brey’s bunch.
Jeremy Lamb, UConn
Lamb is also my preseason Big East Player of the Year. He came on late last season and provided that extra scoring option alongside Kemba Walker, which was needed for the eventual national champions. Lamb is a top NBA prospect entering his sophomore campaign. He is a lanky 6-foot-5 with a deadly stroke and moves extremely well without the ball. Lamb can also able to create for himself by getting to the rim. With an incredible wingspan that stretches out over seven feet Lamb is also a good rebounder and underrated defender.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Joseph could have left for the NBA this summer and probably would have been a first-round pick. But he decided instead to return for his senior season in hopes of winning a national title. Last season Joseph was asked to fill the role of Wesley Johnson and he did a nice job once he began to play his own game. Joseph is a great athlete. He’s quick and is hard to stop once he penetrates the lane. He’s also versatile defender. Jump shot still needs work, but overall it seems Joseph improves each year.
Maalik Wayns, Villanova
Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher are both gone. Villanova’s offense this season will go through junior point guard Maalik Wayns. He’s the Wildcats top scoring threat and he’s a good one. He came on later in the season, averaging over 20 in Villanova’s last four Big East games. He is one of the quickest players in the Big East. Despite his 6-foot-1 stature, Wayns has no problem getting into the lane and scoring over bigger opponents. His shot needs to improve and Wayns needs to continue to cut down on the turnovers.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
Gibbs tested the waters of the NBA Draft this summer, but decided to return to Pitt. Good news for head coach Jamie Dixon, he retains one of the conference’s best three-point shooters. Gibbs knocked down a remarkable 49 percent of his threes last season. Gibbs has a pure stroke from deep. He can come off the dribble or catch and shoot. Gibbs is steady with the ball and rarely turns it over. With only two returning starters this season for the Panthers, Gibbs will have to step up his game, not just his scoring.
Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame
Like Gibbs, Abromaitis is another great shooter from deep. Abromaitis knocked down almost 43 percent of his three-point attempts last season. Although he known to stretch the defense with his shooting, the 6-foot-8 senior, is not a bad scoring threat inside. He uses an array of shot fakes and ball fakes to get his defender off balance and then beats them with mid-range jumper or finishes at the basket. Overall, he’s a complete player offensively.
Honorable mention: Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette; Peyton Siva, Louisville; Yancy Gates, Cincinnati; Kevin Jones, West Virginia