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December 4, 2009
Syracuse wins Big East recruiting battle
MORE: Conference recruiting breakdown | VOTE: Big East's top class? | 1. ACC | 2. SEC
The Big East placed two teams in the national rankings. The top team in the conference, Syracuse, sits at No. 5 nationally with a four-man class led by the impressive inside/outside duo of Fabricio de Melo and Dion Waiters. Marquette, which is No. 2 in the conference and No. 13 nationally, brings in a strong perimeter class highlighted by five-star prospect Vander Blue. The other 14 teams in the conference combined for 10 four-star recruits.
Best recruiting battle
As with most five-star prospects, the recruitment of the two Big East five-star recruits Fabricio de Melo and Vander Blue had an intensity to it. Syracuse and Louisville were the first two schools to recruit de Melo after he came to the United States from Brazil. Many thought Louisville was in the driver's seat to land him. Other schools jumped in, the Florida schools made a charge, but in the end the skilled big man opted for the colder climate of Syracuse.
Blue, who is from Madison, Wis., was committed to the Badgers. Then there was a falling out. Schools as diverse as Arizona and Tennessee made a run for the talented combo guard. Blue looked around, but he didn't look to far away as he settled on nearby Marquette.
Villanova exited the early signing period No. 8 in the Big East team recruiting rankings. The recent addition of Jayvaughn Pinkston, however, catapulted the Wildcats all the way to No. 3 in the Big East rankings.
Pinkston appeared to be destined to wear Tennessee orange. But when fellow New Yorker and power forward Tobias Harris chose the Vols at the end of the signing period, Pinkston postponed his decision and then opted for Villanova.
Of the 21 ranked prospects headed to the Big East, 15 are perimeter players. Of those 15 perimeter players, eight are point guards. No other conference in the country is loading up with as many ranked point guards as the Big East.