Earlier this week, ESPN announced that they locked their Class of 2016 basketball recruiting rankings. The incoming freshman class for this fall is wrapping up high school and finalizing plans as to when they'll arrive on campus this summer, so there's no point in doing any further evaluations on them.
How did Marquette's signed players do in the final version of the rankings? Pretty good, honestly. Wisconsin co-Player of the Year Sam Hauser checks in at #86, while Markus Howard, freshly inserted into the Class of 2016 rankings, shows up at #84. Brendan Bailey, who is signed as a member of this recruiting class but is already out on his two year Mormon mission, isn't in the top 100. He's a four star prospect according to ESPN, and he has a rating of 80, while 82 was the very bottom of the top 100.
All told, there are eight top 100 players who are signed to play for Big East schools in the fall. Villanova big man Omari Spellman leads the way at #18. He's followed up in the non-Marquette department by Shamorie Ponds (St. John's, #36), Myles Powell (Seton Hall, #81), Quentin Goodin (Xavier, #92), Tyrique Jones (Xavier, #94), and Alpha Diallo (Providence, #95).
Eight top 100 guys has the Big East ranked sixth out of all the conferences, with one fewer than the Big 12 and one more than the AAC. That might sound to you that the Big East is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to recruiting, and I don't blame you for thinking that. However, you have to remember that four of the five leagues in front of the Big East have 12, 14, or 15 members. When you calculate for recruits per school, it balances out to right around one top 100 per school in all of the top leagues. Is the Big East a little bit behind at 0.8? Maybe, but it's not like there's a big gap there. Fun Fact: Harvard - not the Ivy League, Harvard all by themselves - has four top 100 recruits.
That, and three more players signed up as well, is how Harvard ends up with the #10 recruiting class in the country according to ESPN. While Marquette doesn't have the best recruit in the class, or even one of the best three recruits, the Golden Eagles do have the best recruiting class. Marquette's group of three recruits ranks as the #18 class in the country, up 13 spots from the last time they updated the rankings. Obviously, MU's sudden jump up the list has everything to do with Howard reclassifying to 2016 as opposed to anything having to do with ESPN's views of Hauser or Bailey. Xavier has the #2 recruiting class in the league, coming in at #19. That is down one spot from last time, which of course means that the only thing stopping the Musketeers from being the best class is MU suddenly jumping the line in front of them. ESPN only lists classes out to the top 40, and Villanova's two man recruiting class for this coming fall is the only other Big East program that makes it in. The defending national champion Wildcats show up at #34.
You can go check out the full top 100 right here.