Top 10 Recruits of the Northeast Conference – The rich get richer

With many of the top NEC programs returning most of their talent, playing time will be scarce for a majority of the recruits coming in.  Nevertheless, we here at Big Apple Buckets painstakingly created our consensus list of the top 10 NEC recruits.  Ranking them wasn’t easy – information on most newcomers is limited at best and there are easily 20 players that could have an immediate impact on their team.

We apologize in advance if your favorite recruit missed the list.  This is the time of year when every fan-base believes their newcomers will push their team to great heights.  Just remember, all of those Youtube clips of your favorite team’s recruits are highlight videos.  Everyone looks good on those.  They edit out the bad plays for a reason.

(Cut to the confused Monmouth fan asking, “Wait, you mean to tell me Tyrone O’Garro won’t finish every play this year with an alley-oop jam??”)

Later this week, we’ll submit our NEC recruiting class rankings for all 12 teams.  For now though, we give you our 2012-13 Top 10 preseason newcomers of the NEC!

10) Ronnie Drinnon, PF, St. Francis (PA) – With Scott Eatherton heading to Northeastern, Drinnon will see significant minutes in a brutally thin Red Flash frontcourt.  There will be struggles early on, but Drinnon’s high basketball IQ and nose for the basketball should serve him well in his freshman season.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that Drinnon practiced with the team a semester early.

9) James Ford, SG, Quinnipiac – Ford does one thing that none of Quinnipiac’s other newcomers can do as well – shoot lights out from beyond the arc.  With the Bobcats’ need for a shooter to stretch the defense, Ford should occupy a niche role as he improves in other facets during his rookie season.

8) Eric Fanning, SG, Wagner – We have difficulty placing Fanning any higher on this list, due to Bashir Mason’s crowded backcourt.  Nevertheless, Fanning should have the opportunity in limited minutes to display a wide array of scoring abilities, which allowed him to score over 1,000 points at two different stops in high school.  His athleticism and length at 6-foot-4 should also help on the defensive end.

7) Tariq Carey, SG, Quinnipiac – Tom Moore made it a priority in the offseason to bolster his backcourt, and Carey may have been his best acquistion.  The moderately recruited combo guard has a chance to make up part of James Johnson’s production on both ends of the floor, given his ability to attack the basket, get to the charity stripe, and defend with tenacity.

6) Matthew Hunter, F, Central Connecticut – After two very productive seasons at junior college, Hunter persevered to earn a Division I scholarship after a difficult upbringing.  The “stat filler” – as Howie Dickenman likes to call him – should help Kyle Vinales make up 56% of the scoring CCSU lost due to last year’s graduating class.  After all, Hunter was offered by three DI schools for a reason.

5) Shivaughn Wiggins, PG, Mount St. Mary’s – Wiggins is the type of player Jamion Christian covets – a celebral athlete that makes excellent decisions with the basketball in transition and the half-court set.  This season, he’ll most likely share time with Josh Castellanos, but make no mistake, Wiggins is the player with more potential.

4) Vaughn Morgan, PF, Robert Morris – An athletic freak who reeks havoc in the paint, Morgan will contribute to a deep Robert Morris team that returns their top seven players in terms of efficiency.  Morgan should see the majority of Lawrence Bridge’s minutes if he can grasp the mental aspect of the game and let his athleticism shine.

3) D.J. Griggs, SG, LIU-Brooklyn – The Blackbirds lost a potential NEC star in Waller-Prince, but Griggs is certainly a nice consolation prize.  LIU has a thin bench, so the opportunity is there for the Texas native to grab the final spot of LIU’s backcourt rotation with Jason Brickman, C.J. Garner, and Brandon Thompson.  As a high schooler Griggs was a high-scorer, averaging 22.6 points per game and scoring 2,590 points, so he should provide a spark off the bench for the Blackbirds.

2) Karvel Anderson, SG, Robert Morris – A prolific, yet efficient scorer at every level he’s played at, Anderson should serve as a nice offensive weapon off Andy Toole’s bench.  His insertion into the Colonial’s rotation will take pressure off of Coron Williams – who struggles at times creating his own shot – and will give Robert Morris the reliable deep threat they dearly missed last season.

1) Dwaun Anderson, SG, Wagner – This was the easiest pick by far.  It’s not very often when Tom Izzo has recruited and signed a future NEC player.  Anderson’s athleticism will make him an impact player immediately, especially when he’s allowed to create in transition or off the dribble in half-court sets.  We’d be shocked if he wasn’t a finalist for NEC Rookie of the Year at season’s end.

Other newcomers we considered:
E.J. Reed, G, LIU-Brooklyn
De’Aires Tate, PF, Sacred Heart
Jalen Wesson Palm, PG, Monmouth
Aleksandar Isailovic, G, St. Francis (NY)
Sekou Harris, PG, Fairleigh Dickinson

11 thoughts on “Top 10 Recruits of the Northeast Conference – The rich get richer

  1. I wouldn’t say LIU has a “thin bench”, per say. I think their front court is one of the deepest in the NEC. Olasewere, Boyd and Kenny Onyechi would start for nearly all conference teams… most certainly the first two would. Throw in Booker Hucks, who would get 10-15 minutes at least in the rotations of most of these schools and then E.J. Reed, who had a phenomenal summer by all accounts. That’s 5 guys for the two frontcourt spots that new head coach Jack Perri can use.

    The wing spot is the only place on the floor where depth is lacking, as Brandon Thompson is really the only guy that is a third guard in the three-guard sets LIU uses.Troy Joseph, who has yet to play at LIU but is a 6-4/6-5 swingman who is similar to Kyle Johnson in that he’s a bigger guard, is an overlooked component. He’s really like a freshman this year, and could see some minutes backing up Thompson.

    Gerrell Martin can really shoot the ball (had 11 pts. against Penn State last year) and could be used as firepower off the bench this year. Then you have Brickman, Garner and the aforementioned Griggs. The Blackbirds have 7 guys with a ton of big-game experience back, including four starters. Plus two freshmen, one (Joseph) relative newcomer and another (Martin) who could be a three-point specialist. I’d say they go at the very least nine deep, maybe 10 depending on Martin/Joseph. And there could be a late addition that might help too. Not sure yet who that may be, but we shall see.

    I wouldn’t say they have a thin bench. In fact, I’d say just the opposite.


    1. I think the sentiment of the comment about the bench expressed here is that the third guard role definitely leaves a spot open for someone like DJ Griggs or EJ Reed to make an impact this season. I’m excited to see what Troy Joseph brings to the table, as Jack Perri spoke highly of him when we were talking about the upcoming season. LIU’s bench isn’t “thin”, but it is relatively “unproven” in the backcourt and should open up opportunities for the incoming players. I’m also interested to see what happens with Gerrell Martin’s development. He can definitely shoot.


    2. Ok, I have to stop you at Onyechi would start for nearly all conference teams. Of the 9 teams that can conceivably make the playoffs next season (I’m leaving out Bryant, SFPA, and FDU), I only see Onyechi clearly starting for 3 teams at most (CCSU, Mount St. Marys, Monmouth). Frankly, I don’t understand his hype. He’s a useful backup PF, but let’s not make him out to be a great player trapped behind a fantastic frontcourt. Barely cracking the NEC top 30 in rebound rate as a big doesn’t really cut it for me. Same goes for Hucks too.

      I agree, maybe I shouldn’t have used the term “thin” describing LIU’s bench, but the bench is certainly thin when I compare them to the other elite teams of the NEC. There aren’t many weaknesses for the Blackbirds, so I’m highlighting depth as one of their issues heading into 2012-13.

      I still like LIU to three-peat (I know, really going out on a limb), but they’re an injury or two away from being a team that’s 6-7 deep, at best.


      1. First of all, name a team that isn’t two injuries away from being 6-7 deep? Especially in the NEC? That’s kind of an absurd way to look at it. Even Robert Morris and Wagner have unproven talent at the 8-9-10 spots and they are probably considered the “deepest” two teams in the league.

        Also, I think your perception of Onyechi is a bit off. He started every game as a freshman and was named to the All-Rookie Team. His per-40 averages as a sophomore were 16.9 ppg and 9.6 rpg. Not to mention he has had a variety of nagging injuries (broken nose being one) over the last two years.

        Would he start for Robert Morris? Probably not. Quinnipiac or even St. Francis (NY)? Most likely not either. But in terms of effectiveness, he’s at LEAST on par with Folahan at Wagner. Just because he’s undersized doesn’t make him incapable.

        The other issue is LIU plays a different style than all other teams. Onyechi is a better player for their system than Montes is for SHU’s. So in my opinion its like comparing apples and oranges.


      2. I don’t care what Onenyi did as a freshman. His minutes and stats has regressed since then. You can blame injuries, Boyd/Olasewere, the system or whatever, but he still wouldn’t start for more than half of the NEC teams. And that Includes Sacred Heart, where Montes was a more efficient player, despite playing as an undersized ”4″ most of the last season. SHU had to play Montes out-of-position there because of their thin frontcourt depth.

        Anyway, my whole point was that if I had to name a weakness for LIU, it would be their bench. You can’t sit there and tell me that you’d rather have LIU’s 8-10 over Myers-Hawkins-Anderson (RMU), Burton-Parker-Fanning (Wagner) or Jackson-Ford-Shannon (QU), or even St. Francis’ group. It’s kind of absurd you’d argue that their bench is a strength, given how unproven it is. Lets see how Reed and Griggs do before annoiting them as reliable 7 and 8s for LIU.

        Seriously, I love the passion and thanks for the debate. I can’t wait to find out who is right come winter.


      3. I agree with you that if there was something to nitpick about LIU, it is their depth. We shall see how it develops this year. But at the end of the day we are arguing about 8-10. How often to guys #’s 8-10 win games? Especially in a low-major league.


  2. As far as the incoming NEC talent this year, 6-4 juco transfer Aleks Isailovic of St. Francis (NY) can probably shoot treys as well as any of the more-heralded newcomers. in Glenn Braica’s offense, he’ll certainly be given the green light.


    1. Yup. Trust me. He was heavily considered for this list because it just seems like he’ll be an excellent fit for the offense that St. Francis (NY) runs. It was tough leaving him off.


  3. See where Dwaun Anderson is now eligible from Game 1 for the Wagner Seahawks this year. They certainly look like they’re completely geared up to snatch the NEC crown from LIU, although they really don’t match up well with the Blackbirds’ frontcourt. It should be an interesting season. Coach Mason now really does not have an excuse for a slow start since he has Anderson in the fold from the start. The talent is all in place for Wagner. In a way, it’s a rough way to begin a head coaching career — following the Hurley legacy and with all of the sky-high expectations for this season. However, I’ll bet that there are a lot of Div I assistants out there who would swap positions with Mason in a NY minute.


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