Big East Breakdown: Harrison Says It’s a ‘Failure’ if Johnnies Don’t Make NCAAs; Willard Hopes Whitehead is One-and-Done; Coaches Expect 5-6 Teams in Big Dance Annually

St. . John's vs VillanovaNEW YORK —  St. John’s was picked third in the Big East Preseason poll behind Villanova and Georgetown, and make no mistake: The pressure is on the Johnnies to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

“If we don’t make the NCAA Tournament, it’s going to be a complete failure of the year. Hands down,” senior guard D’Angelo Harrison, a First-Team All-Big East pick, told Wednesday at Media Day.

The Johnnies had a chance to make the NCAAs last year despite starting the season 0-5 in the Big East, but lost to eventual Big East Tournament champion Providence in the first round of the Big East and then fell to Robert Morris in the opening round of the NIT.

This year the Johnnies have no excuses. To read more of this story, click here

Elijah Thomas Bolsters Banner Class for Texas A&M

Elijah Thomas ended his recruitment on Tuesday by picking Texas A&M where he will team up with his friend Admon Gilder, who was at Thomas’s announcement along with fellow A&M pledges D.J. Hogg and Tyler Davis.

The 6-foot-9 Thomas out of Lancaster (TX) also considered SMU, Oklahoma State, LSU and Illinois.

“He is really good friends with Admon, they have always wanted to play together,” one coach at a school recruiting Thomas told

“Then you’ve got Texas A&M and my bruh just committed there,” Thomas told USA Today in his recent blog. “If I went there that would make 4 of the top 5 in the state committed there. They were the first to offer me a scholarship when I was in the eighth grade and I’m close with the team and the coaches. So I know it would be a good look.” To read more of this story, click here

Antonio Blakeney to Visit Kentucky, LSU; May Decide Late

Antonio Blakeney has upcoming visits set for Kentucky and LSU and may wait until the spring to announce, he told Evan Daniels

The 6-foot-4 Louisville decommit out of Sarasota (FL) Oak Ridge will visit Kentucky the weekend of Nov. 1 and LSU the following weekend. He’s also considering Missouri, North Carolina and N.C. State.

“What sticks out the most [about Kentucky] is how coach Cal is for his players and he really wants his players to do well and make it to the next level,” Blakeney told Scout.

“Most every player wants to make it the next level and when you have a coach pushing you to do that it really benefits you.” To read more of this story, click here

Big Pressure on the Big East; Preseason Poll & First-Team Picks

With the college basketball season about to begin, there is Big Pressure on the Big East.

The conference went 2-4 in the NCAA Tournament last year and didn’t get a single team into the second weekend of the Big Dance.

Many of the conference’s traditional heavyweights are now long gone, too.

In the 15 years from 1999-2013, Big East teams won five NCAA championships, including three by UConn and one apiece from Syracuse and Louisville. Those latter two programs now reside in the ACC.

UConn, which won its fourth title since 1999 last year as a member of the American, is also an ex-Big East member. To read more of this story, click here

Recruiting Roundup: Briscoe Visits St. John’s Practice, Will Trim to 3; Diamond Stone to Visit Wisconsin and UConn; Ivan Rabb to Host Carolina; Tevin Mack Nearing Decision

BriscoeMSG3Isaiah Briscoe visited St. John’s practice Tuesday at Madison Square Garden and plans to  cut his list to three schools on Saturday before making his final decision.

The visit to St. John’s was first reported by NJ Advance Media and confirmed to by a source. (The picture is courtesy @gionysports.)

Briscoe said by text and Twitter that he will cut to three on Saturday.

“We’re just talking as a family right now and just trying to do this thing,” George Briscoe said. “There will only be three schools and then that’s going to be a wrap.

“That will be the plan, to get three and then decide.”

The 6-foot-3 Roselle (N.J.) Catholic point guard is coming off a successful visit to St. John’s and has also tripped to UConn, Kentucky, Missouri and Seton Hall. His father said they had yet to cut the list down. To read more of this story, click here

Briscoe, Diallo, Sampson Enjoy St. John’s Visit

Briscoe SJUIsaiah Briscoe, Cheick Diallo and Brandon Sampson all enjoyed their visits to St. John’s this weekend and the Johnnies are positioned well with the trio.

“I had a great visit to St. John’s,” the 6-foot-3 Briscoe told “The coaching staff and I have a good connection and they understand what I’m looking for in a college and a program. Of course, I also like that it’s close to home and I love the city.”

“The St. John’s visit went well,” a source close to the 6-foot-9 Diallo told “The kid enjoyed the moment.”

The 6-4 Sampson called the visit “good.” To read more of this story, click here

Jabari Parker Says Kentucky’s Platoon System Can Work, but Wants Duke to Win NCAA Title; Calls NCAA ‘Corrupt’ for Not Paying Athletes

JabariNEW YORK — Make no mistake, Jabari Parker wants his friend Jahlil Okafor and his former Duke teammates to win the NCAA championship this season, but the Bucks rookie thinks John Calipari’s platoon system at Kentucky will work.

Calipari has said he plans to play as many as 10-12 players 20 minutes each in order to “feed” all of his guys and help them reach the NBA.

“Some of them [at Kentucky] will want to play more because they were All-Americans in high school, the best players on their team, so obviously they’re going to [want to] play more but I think it’s going to work,” Parker said Monday at shootaround before the Bucks played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

“It worked out for them last year with all that talent.” To read more of this story, click here

Malik Newman Calls Kentucky Trip ‘Crazy,’ Can Envision Playing With Other Recruits

Malik NewmanBy JACK LeGWIN

The Big Blue Madness experience at Kentucky is like nothing else, and it impressed one of the best in the nation, Malik Newman.

“It was great,” the 6-foot-4 Newman told Sunday evening. “I had a really great time up there.”

Ranked No. 3 in the nation in the Class of 2015 by 247 Sports, Newman said that the fans made the visit special.

“It was really great because I didn’t realize how much Kentucky loved basketball,” Newman said. “It was good because I could go and see it for myself.” To read more of this story, click here

LaGerald Vick to SMU, Will Reclass to 2016


LaGerald Vick has committed to SMU. Reggie Rankin was first to report.

Ranked in the Top 150 in the nation by multiple outlets, Vick also announced that he will reclassify to the class of 2016.

At 6-foot-5, Vick has a knack for putting the ball in the hoop at a high rate, which he showed consistently for Team Thad over the summer.

Last year, Vick helped to lead Douglass (TN) to a 22-5 record.  To read more of this story, click here