2021/2022 Big East Redshirts
The Big East has an abundance of talented players, but what about tomorrow’s unheralded heroes? Below are the confirmed, and suspected, freshmen redshirts for Big East schools in 2021/2022.
6’5 Pierce Thomas: HAS NOT PLAYED.
247 Composite Ranking: 218th, 3 Star.
The local Brownsburg product has not appeared for the Bulldogs through their first seven games. While it appears that Thomas is dealing with a “nagging injury” head coach LaVall Jordan has already suggested redshirting the 6’5 wing. Aside from fifth year senior Bo Hodges being sidelined with a knee injury, the perimeter depth chart is not in shambles. Another long-term injury to the wing core could change things for Thomas, but I’d expect him to sit out the 2021/2022 season. After all, Butler does have fifteen, yes, fifteen, scholarship players on their roster this year.
6’3 Corey Floyd Jr: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 93rd, 4 Star.
Floyd, who reclassed from 2022 to 2021 during the summer, found himself as the odd man out of the guard rotation for UConn this season. The athletic combo guard will take the 2021/2022 season to gear up for next year where he will most likely find himself in the thick of things.
6’8 Mason Miller: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 74th, 4 Star.
The son of NBA Finals legend Mike Miller will fit seamless into head coach Greg McDermott’s offense as a stretch forward. Personally, this was the most surprising redshirt initially, but it makes sense. McDermott brought in forwards KeyShawn Feazell (McNeese State) and Ryan Hawkins (Northwest Missouri State/DII) by way of the transfer portal over the offseason, making Miller being thrown into the fire unnecessary. Miller has the most to gain out of the other confirmed/projected redshirts as an entire season spent in a D1 strength and conditioning program will make his transition to Big East-caliber competition less rocky.
DePaul Blue Demons
There has been no indication of head coach Tony Stubblefield redshirting the lone freshman on his roster, but 6’3 Ahamad Bynum has not played yet due to NCAA eligibility clearance issues. Depending on how long this process drags out will determine if it’s best to have Bynum sit out the rest of the season. With that said, the Top 100 scoring guard from the famed Simeon High School in Chicago would provide Stubblefield with something that is badly needed as of now; depth. 6’0 Oregon transfer was ruled eligible as of 11/25/2021, but 6'7 Kansas transfer Tyon Grant-Foster (medical) and 6'6 Iowa State transfer Javan Johnson (ineligible until winter semester) are out of commission for the time being. This depth issue has resulted in a seven scholarship player rotation for the Blue Demons in the last three games, making Bynum’s eligibility process all the more daunting.
The 2021 Big East Tournament Champions have played all five of their freshmen through the first three games. The sophomore duo of 6'6 Kobe Clark and 6'6 Collin Holloway are currently out with injuries, resulting in the freshmen being relied upon more out of the gate. Regardless of how the rotation changes once the two sophomores return to action, expect the 2021 freshmen class to be an integral part of the Hoyas’ success this season. Hoya Saxa!
Marquette Golden Eagles
6’9 Keeyan Itejere: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 204th, 3 Star.
Itejere originally committed to Texas while Shaka Smart was still at the helm. Similar to his fellow classmates, 6'5 Emarion Ellis and 6'7 David Joplin, the 6'9 slender forward followed Smart to Milwaukee. Itejere is a bouncy, athletic forward who projected to be a lob/put-back threat from day one. With 6'10 Kur Kuath not having any eligibility beyond 2021/2022, Itejere will have a shot to crack the rotation next season as a redshirt freshman.
6’10 Rafael Castro: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 133rd, 3 Star.
Castro found himself behind 6'10 All-American frontrunner (*cackles*) Nate Watson, and 6'8 bully-ball-big Ed Croswell in the 5-man depth chart. Redshirting the 6'10 big is a no-brainer considering the logjam, and gives Castro an opportunity to learn from the experienced upperclassmen before being thrusted into the rotation, most likely out of necessity, in 2022/2023. The New Jersey native definitely brings more defense than offense to the table at this time, but it’s not difficult to see Castro turning into a productive Big East center under the right tutelage.
6’8 Legend Geeter: HAS NOT PLAYED.
247 Composite Ranking: 272nd, 3 Star.
Of the unconfirmed redshirts, I personally feel confident that Geeter will sit-out this season. Geeter missed “the bulk of the summer” due to an injury which makes it difficult to envision him playing his way into the rotation as games are being played. A not-so-but-sort-of similar situation happened with Jyare Davis last season; Davis missed time due to a concussion and did not appear in a single game for the Friars before entering the transfer portal in the offseason. Aside from having arguably the best name in the pool of Big East players, the 6'8 forward has been praised for his defense capabilities so far in his young collegiate career. Similar to Castro’s situation, Geeter might find himself having a good opportunity for playing time in 2022/2023 as the only other forward projected to still be on the roster is 6'7 Justin Minaya, and that’s if Minaya opts to utilize his additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
Seton Hall Pirates
6’5 Brandon Weston: HAS NOT PLAYED.
247 Composite Ranking: 83rd, 4 Star.
It’s worth mentioning that Weston is still recovering from ACL surgery that occurred last winter. Recovery timetables vary depending on which hack is giving out diagnoses, but the recent groin injury to 6'6 fifth year senior Myles Cale might lead head coach Kevin Willard to play the freshman if Weston is cleared sooner rather than later. In the event that Weston’s recovery window lasts longer than Cale’s, well, you can just ignore everything I’ve said up until this point. The Brooklyn native is a smooth, athletic wing who can be a shooting threat. Aside from the recovery timeline dilemma that Weston is faced with, the Pirates have an abundance of players who occupy the wing depth chart currently, even with Cale out. I would bet the moneyline that Weston redshirts.
6’1 Ryan Conway: HAS NOT PLAYED.
247 Composite Ranking: 159th, 3 Star.
There really hasn’t been any public update regarding Conway’s playing status, yet he remains ready for minutes on the Seton Hall sidelines, dressed in the typical gameday attire. By no means am I trying to get too traditional with this statement, but head coach Kevin Willard only has three “true” guards on the roster; Conway being one of them. Most of the players who I view as “wings” also share ballhandling duties, so “true” guard depth is nothing to be overly concerned about. With that said, a long-term injury to 6'0 sixth (!) year senior Bryce Aiken and 6'2 fifth year senior Jamir Harris may result in Conway’s number being called this season.
St. John’s Red Storm
6’8 Drissa Traore: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 290th, 3 Star.
I will admit that Traore does not have a ton of film on Al Gore’s internet. However, it’s clear that head coach Mike Anderson is starting to shape this St. John’s roster to mirror his frenetic play style in year three at the helm, so I would generally just default to Anderson’s eye for talent. The 6'8 New York native, who played with fellow Red Storm freshman Rafael Pinzon at Long Island Lutheran, is known for being a prototypical blue-collar forward; rebounds at a high-level, strong work ethic, and provides instant energy. On paper, the entire frontcourt could return in 2022/2023, but the transfer portal might have something to say about that in the spring. The pathway for minutes next season for Traore will be tough, but expect the high-motor forward to make it an entertaining competition.
6’3 Angelo Brizzi: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 162nd, 3 Star.
Head coach Jay Wright did publicly state that the plan is to redshirt Brizzi this season, but emphasized the possibility of pulling the redshirt if a long-term injury strikes the guard rotation. After losing senior lead guard Collin Gillespie to a torn MCL near the end of last season, it’s best to expect the worst when it comes to a thin positional group/rotation. We can debate all day if pulling Brizzi’s redshirt would be worth it, but I think that this year’s roster is better equipped to handle a shortened guard rotation than last year’s. Back to Brizzi, the three-star lead guard won’t “wow” anyone in this age of highlight videos, but the Virginia native is a hardnosed player who can knockdown shots. Sitting out this season with a guy like fifth year senior Gillespie showing Brizzi the ropes in practice is an ideal situation for all parties involved.
6’7 Elijah Tucker: CONFIRMED REDSHIRT.
247 Composite Ranking: 128th, 3 Star.
It was reported that Tucker had a non-COVID related illness that robbed him of a full summer workout routine. Considering Xavier also boasts an impressive crop of forwards this season, it makes complete sense why Tucker would redshirt. The 6'7 Georgia native is an athletic forward who brings defensive versatility to the table for head coach Travis Steele. Expect Tucker to make his presence felt in 2022/2023.