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Local Big East Preview

With basketball season less than a month away,we thought that we would take a look at the local Big East squads:

RUTGERS-The Scarlet Knights,off of a surprisingly good 15-17 record under first year head coach Mike Rice, return stars Gilvydas Biruta and Dane Miller and shooter Mike Poole. They also bring in a talented freshman class anchored by St. Anthony’s point guard and Jerome Seagears from Baltimore. The Knights will mss the scoring of Jonathan Mitchell, now playing in Europe, but for the first time in years have much depth and athleticism. They play a challenging schedule which includes LSU and Florida at the RAC and Miami on the road.  Prediction: NIT.

SETON HALL- They return pg Jerome Theodore and forward Herb Pope, but lose leading scorer Jeremy Hazell from last year’s disappointing squad. Second year head coach Kevin Willard brings in some talented but untested frosh who will have to contribute.    Prediction: No postseason.

ST. JOHN’S- The surprise of the Big East regular season last year under new head coach Steve Lavin. The veteran coach and former UCLA mentor had 10 seniors on his squad and they finally performed as a unit. He lost all of them, along with a frosh transfer and he returns exactly 3.0 of scoring. Lavin brought in a Top 10 nationally recruiting class, but 5 of them will not be eligible until second semester.The star of that class is 6-8 Maurice Harkless. He also has one of the most challenging out of Conference schedules in the country. Lavin is a good coach and Gene Keady, former Purdue coach is an excellent bench assistant, but the team will struggle, especially early on. Prediction: No postseason.

Richard Kent :