Is Austin Freeman the Best Player in the Big East?

Rush the Court recently ranked the top 20 players in the Big East and determined that our very own Austin Freeman is indeed the cream of the crop.  The blog states:

1) Austin Freeman, Georgetown - I had a difficult time ranking the top six in this list before ultimately settling on Freeman at the top spot for a handful of reasons, notably perimeter shooting, efficiency and basketball IQ. He had the least question marks and negatives to his game than any of the other candidates. Freeman emerged as a sharpshooting weapon in Big East play for an up-and-down Hoyas team. Some may credit his career high three point percentage on defenses keying on Greg Monroe, but 44% is still a fantastic total even shooting alone in an open gym. Freeman utilizes his strong frame to fight around screens for open looks and possesses a picture perfect shooting stroke. One has to be intelligent on the basketball court if you want to play for John Thompson III; Freeman limits his turnovers and ranked near the top of the Big East in both offensive rating and efficient FG%. Where Freeman can improve during his senior year is using that frame to be more aggressive to the rim. Shooting under 100 free throws on the season isn't going to suffice with the Hoyas lean frontcourt depth. Having an entire summer to deal and manage with his diabetes- a possible factor for his fading down the stretch last season- will certainly help to a degree.

I can't really disagree with this assessment, although I am always wary of too much hype going into the season.  Austin has the ability to take over the game, as seen by his remarkable 28 points in the second half against Connecticut, and brings a calm and level-headed demeanor to the court, similar to (dare I say) Jonathan Wallace.

(More after the Jump)

Also receiving recognition were Chris Wright (#9) and Jason Clark (#16).  Georgetown is the only team to have two players in the Top Ten and one of two teams with three ranked players.

9) Chris Wright, Georgetown - Wright and fellow Hoya Austin Freeman will form one of the best 1-2 backcourt punches in the nation next season. Fairly inconsistent for most of his junior season, Wright really turned on the jets in March, scoring in double figures every game and probably would have garnered Big East Tournament MVP honors had Da'Sean Butler not gone all Superman again. He was also the only one seemingly interested in preventing Georgetown from being embarrassed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Wright has a strong body and is a sneaky good athlete. His jumper has been just average throughout his Hoya career, but the solid mechanics gives evaluators hope it can drastically improve as a senior. Wright excels defensively, providing JTIII with max effort on every possession and is a reliable free throw shooter, an imperative strength for a point guard. The Hoyas won't have much in the way of backcourt depth after Wright, Freeman and Jason Clark unless freshman Markel Starks makes an impact right away, so 35-37 MPG may be in the cards again for Wright.

16) Jason Clark, Georgetown - When Freeman, Wright and Clark were all performing at a high level last season, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable. Just ask Villanova, Duke or Syracuse. Clark had a fantastic sophomore season as the third option in the Georgetown perimeter attack, and with all three players back for another campaign, Clark should continue to get open looks from deep. Clark averaged just over double figures in points, grabbed nearly four boards per game and shot an efficient 48/76/42 from the floor. His virtuoso performance was a 6-7 3pt display in a big home win over Villanova. Defense and versatility are two more strong points for Clark, the quiet assassin on a Georgetown team that could contend at the top of the Big East.

While some might argue that these rankings are too guard-heavy, I think the rankings accurately reflect how the Big East will function this year.  It will be the year of the guard in the Big East, as eight centers/forwards were selected in the 2010 NBA Draft.  There are also no returning All-Big East First Team players, so plenty of room for a dark horse (ahem Julian Vaughn?) to emerge.

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