West Virginia defeated Kentucky last night, 73-66 to advance to the Final Four. So why is a New York-based publication writing about the Mountaineers?Of the 15 players on West Virginia’s roster, 6 hail from the New York Metropolitan Area, including their entire starting lineup. Star guard Da’Sean Butler and forward Wellington Smith are from Northern New Jersey. Injured guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant, forwards Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones are all from New York City’s surrounding areas. The Mountaineers also have highly touted freshman forward, Dan Jennings(Staten Island) who should play a more prominent role next season. Given West Virginia success this season, how embarrassing is it for St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Rutgers to lose out on these local recruits?

For starters, all three teams finished in the mid-to-bottom in the Big East Conference for the past five seasons. These three schools combined for a 51-46 record overall, 20-34 in the Big East this season. Attendance wise, all three schools ranked in the bottom five within the conference.  St. John’s was the last team of the bunch to win the Big East Tournament(2000) and Seton Hall was the last outright regular season champion(1993). None of these teams feature a premiere coach(Rutgers is only school of the three to currently have a coach). St. John’s is used to having a winning tradition. They won championships in the mid-1980s and boasted impressive teams featuring Mark Jackson, Walter Berry Chris Mullin. They haven’t even been close to that prominence in over 20 years.

A good coach is what a program needs to turn the tide. St. John’s and Seton Hall need big-time coaches to come in and clean up the programs. These schools need to keep these 5-star recruits in-state. Bringing in a Billy Donovan, Ben Howland, etc. could totally alter the basketball landscape in the NY Metropolitan area.

Until one of these programs brings in a big-time coach, we will continue to watch the mass exodus from New York/New Jersey to Duke, West Virginia, Villanova, etc. You have to give West Virginia coach, Bob Huggins a lot of credit. The guy is a great recruiter and an even better coach.  Until the NY Metro area gets their own “Huggy Bear” at the helm, continue to say “SEE-YA” to our best high school players.

Who Should These Teams Focus Their Attention On?

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Photo Credit: westvirginia.scout.com