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Next Beasts of Big East: NYC’s Omar Calhoun Leaves Big Apple for UConn

The clock is ticking on Syracuse’s time left in the only home it’s ever known, but there still may be no more competitive recruiting battleground in college basketball than the Big East. SU has landed its own crown jewel – big man Dajuan Coleman – added prolific Jerami Grant and entertained a slew of prep stars at Midnight Madness. Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Pitt and UConn are continually pulling in top-tier recruits and McDonald’s All-Americans. Providence, West Virginia and St. John’s have had impressive commitments recently also. We here at The Fizz are always looking for better ways to keep you up to date on the recruiting news that is constantly popping around the Orange. So we present our latest series – a weekly look at the biggest battles across the basketball conference – The Next Beasts of the Big East.

  • Chane Behenan/ PF/ Bowling Green HS (Bowling Green, KY)
  • Signed with: Louisville
  • Height: 6’6″ Weight: 245

Slick Rick continues to reel in highly-touted recruits despite his pathetic realignment posturing. Behenan is big, bad, and lets defenders know when he’s in the paint. He’s Louisville’s crown jewel of recruits after Wayne Blackshear injured his shoulder in the Cardinals’ first exhibition and is out for the season. Benehan will pressure starters Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire for minutes right away.  He’s an Under Armour Top 100 recruit and ESPN 4-star, and surprisingly quick. Here’s a bit from a scouting report:

“Despite his size he is deceptively bouncy and has good feet. He is quite good at facing up his defender and blowing by him to get to the rim.”

Some have compared him to Paul Pierce, except bigger, and possibly faster. One thing’s for certain: combine a guy like Behenan with Louisville’s already dangerous shooting squad, and you get a Cardinals team that is a threat from all areas of the key.

  • Omar Calhoun/ SG/ Christ the King HS (Middle Village, NY)
  • Signed with: Connecticut
  • Height: 6’3″ Weight: 185

While no relation to the Huskies’ coach, Omar’s dad (Omar Calhoun Sr.) says his son was swayed to UConn because of Coach Jim Calhoun’s charisma:

“It was the passion that coach Calhoun demonstrated, an excitement that he brought to the table. It was the energy level that he spoke with and the determination that you saw in his eyes to win another championship. You felt like he was in it for the long haul.”

Omar is mostly a threat from the perimeter. The key with his play is that he has a point guard-like command of the court. He’ll take his time looking for an open man down low. Or, if none are available, his stone cold jumper is a force to be reckoned with. Calhoun had offers from all three Big East schools in the NYC metro (St. John’s, Rutgers, Seton Hall), but the Big Apple delivers again for the Huskies. A NYC guy by the name of Kemba Walker drove the Huskies to a championship. With Kemba gone to the NBA, look for Omar to play right off the bat. Judging from the on-court leadership he showed in high school, the Huskies hope he can make a seamless transition to college level hoops.

  • D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera/ SG/ Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA)
  • Verbal Comittment: Georgetown
  • Height: 6’3″ Weight: 210

He’s got a lot of names, and a lot of basketball smarts to match. Smith-Rivera is heralded by scouts for his basketball IQ. He’s big enough to attract fouls, and when he gets to the foul line, he’s pretty consistent.  Scout.com believes he may need to speed things up to be effective, though:

“The knock on Smith-Rivera has always been that he gets things done by being bigger and stronger, and lacks the athleticism and speed to be productive at the next level.”

The Hoyas have historically liked to turn games into bloodbaths, where fouls are huge factors. If Smith-Rivera can get to the line, and make use of a developing jump shot, he’s a well rounded prospect.

  • Ryan Arcidiacono/ PG/ Neshaminy HS (Langhorne, PA)
  • Verbal Commitment: Villanova
  • Height: 6’3″ Weight: 190

This 4-star PG floats between #4 and #7 in the country depending on where you go for ratings.  He’s smart on the hardwood, and his ability to hit 3’s makes him a potent scorer (and earns him the nickname “Arc”). Having committed to ‘Nova, he’ll now develop his strength and try to add a physical factor. SU may face an Arcidiacono who’s bigger and tougher than he is now. One of the best PG’s in the class.

  • Steven Adams/ PF/ Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, MA)
  • Verbal Commitment: Pitt
  • Height: 6′ 10″ Weight: 210

Adams began talking to Pitt two years ago, and gave them his word in 2010. Adams, a New Zealand native, had to spend at least 2 years as a student in a U.S. high school in order to be eligible for NCAA play, according to recruiting regulations. To take care of that, he is finishing up his second of two years at Notre Dame Prep in northern Mass. He’s the #2 PF in this year’s recruiting class, and Pitt may have landed a true star from across the pond. He’s physical, aggressive on the dribble, and has a big presence in the post.

While the conference has a shaky future, the prep battles will not slow down. Stick with The Fizz for the latest on recruiting news from around the league.

Posted: Jake Moskowitz

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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