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Big East stars stick around

There it was, on page 139 of the Big East Media Guide, in black and white. The obvious reason why the Big East Conference is so strong this season. Take a look at the all-rookie teams in 2005-06 and 2006-07. These are the guys who are juniors and seniors right now.

How many already left for the NBA? One.

How many are still playing in the Big East? Twenty of a possible 22.

“I think that’s one of the big reasons why we are so good and why I think we have a chance to really do damage in the tournament,” said outgoing Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, who will retire later this summer.

All 11 players on the 2006-07 team — the current juniors in the league — still excel in the Big East. They are Deonta Vaughn, Jerome Dyson, Hasheem Thabeet, DaJuan Summers, Edgar Sosa, Luke Harangody, Tory Jackson, Eugene Harvey, Paul Harris, Scottie Reynolds and Da’Sean Butler.

Of the 11-man all-rookie team from 2005-06, nine of them are still playing in the Big East, including Sam Young, Jeff Adrien, Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Eric Devendorf.

The only ones who left from the 2005-06 team are DePaul’s Wilson Chandler, who declared after his sophomore season, and Devan Downey, who transferred from Cincinnati after Bob Huggins left.

And it’s not that the juniors and seniors stuck around because they can’t cut it at the next level. Nine of the top 35 players in the 2009 mock draft on NBAdraft.net hail from the Big East.

The Big East may be down a bit in coming seasons. One player from last year’s all-rookie team, Donte Green of Syracuse, is already gone to the NBA. Some others from that team will surely follow before next season – Jonny Flynn or DeJuan Blair?

And what are the chances that all six of this year’s rookie stars — Yancy Gates, Kemba Walker, Greg Monroe, Samardo Samuels, Mike Rosario and Devin Ebanks — are still playing in the Big East in 2010-11?

Not likely.

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