Top Ten Big East Transfers For '07-'08

This got buried pretty quickly on Saturday so I'm bumping it back to the top because I'm lazy/fixated on the Lions

It should be noted that the man who very likely would have topped this list - Mike Williams (Texas to Cincinnati) - is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

10. Montana Heirman, JR, G, South Florida

TRANSFERRED FROM: Kishwaukee College

Ranked 17th nationally in Division II junior college basketball in assists at 6.3 per game, and 15th in steals with 3.0 per game last season. Played at Bradley in 2004-05, seeing a total of eight minutes in seven games as a walk-on freshman. He'll spend his junior season at USF as a walk-on and doesn't figure to see much court time, in fact, the only reason he's on this list is because Williams' injury means that there are only ten eligible first-year transfers in the league.

Still, cool name.

9. Mobolaji Ajayi, JR, F, South Florida

TRANSFERRED FROM: Palm Beach Community College

A native of Nigeria, Mobolaji "BJ" Ajayi was a First Team All-Region VIII selection at PBCC where he posted eight double-doubles and was named the school's male student-athlete of the year. The 6-9, 225-pounder is advertised as a strong rebounder and solid defender who can score around the basket and knock down the occasional mid-range jumper. First-year head coach Stan Heath needs Ajayi to come and immediately contribute to a frontcourt that will be led by all-conference senior Kentrell Gransberry.

8. Augustine Okosun, JR, F/C, Seton Hall

TRANSFERRED FROM: Harcum Junior College

Okosun is a 6-foot-10, 240-pound native of Nigeria who has only been playing organized basketball for about three years. Though his talent is raw, he helped Harcum JC to a 30-3 record by averaging 6.5 rebounds and 5.7 ppg after playing the 2005-06 season at Georgetown College. The Hall returns just one frontcourt player, so Bobby Gonzalez is going to rely on Okosun and freshman Mike Davis to come in and contribute right away.

Okosun's backstory - as told by Adam Zagoria - is fascinating and frightening at the same time.

Okosun's journey from Nigeria to the United States has been fraught with twists and turns, at least in part because of his legal guardian, a controversial man named Joe Smith who once found diamonds in Liberia and Sierra Leone and gold in Mali and is now hoping to turn a profit on basketball potential.

If Okosun, or any of the other African players Smith has helped bring over to the U.S., ever makes it to the NBA - and that is a big if -- Smith hopes to get a major cut of the payday.

"I would like to get 20-25 percent (of the player's earnings)," Smith, 65, said. "It would be negotiable."

"(My family and I) talked about it two years ago," Okosun said in a lengthy phone interview from Harcum (Pa.) College, a junior college where he is averaging 5.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. "We have it in the back of our minds that he's going to get a percentage when we get to the NBA."

Scary, very scary.

7. Matija Poscic, JR, C, Depaul

TRANSFERRED FROM: Highland Community College

The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Croatian is probably the best post defender Jerry Wainwright has, and could push senior Wesley Green for the starting center position. Poscic averaged eight rebounds and just under ten points per game at Highland, where he also knocked down 17 three-pointers last season. Early reports are that Poscic has impressed Wainwright with his ability to run the floor and finish in transition so far in practice.

6. Cassin Diggs, JR, C, Pittsburgh

TRANSFERRED FROM: Cloud County Community College

Diggs, a massive 6-foot-10 270-pound center who struggled to meet NCAA requirements coming out of high school, is currently competing with freshmen Dejaun Blair and Gary McGhee to be the Panthers' starting center. Blair likely earned the early edge by scoring 17 points and hauling down 17 rebounds in a intrasquad scrimmage last Sunday, but Diggs held his own, racking up 13 and seven. He has the body and skill to dominate games, but he's been plagued by inconsistency throughout his career.

5. Adam Hrycaniuk, SR, C, Cincinnati

TRANSFERRED FROM: Trinity Community College

A native of Poland who was declared ineligible last season after the NCAA ruled that he had played in a Polish league that it considered to be professional, Hrycaniuk will likely begin his first and last season as a Bearcat as the team's starting center. He's never going to be a big scorer, but Mick Cronin raves about Hrycaniuk's work ethic and his ability to out-hustle his opponent. He provides a defensive upgrade in the post for UC, and allows perimeter shooting specialist Marcus Sikes to move back to his natural position at the four.

4. Kristof Ongenaet, JR, F, Syracuse

TRANSFERRED FROM: Cuesta Junior College

The fact that Ongenaet - who is originally from Ghent, Belgium - is the first JuCo transfer Jim Boeheim has taken in ten years has to say something about his game. As a sophomore at Cuesta, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward averaged 12 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while leading the Cougars to their first postseason birth since 1999. Boeheim hopes Ongenaet will be able to come in and contribute immediately for a Syracuse team that lost its entire starting frontcourt to graduation.

3. Aaron Holmes, FR, G, South Florida

TRANSFERRED FROM: Florida State

Holmes was a four-year starter at St. Petersburg Catholic High School where he scored over 2,700 points and was named All-Suncoast Player of the Year by the St. Petersburg Times an unprecedented three straight years. He turned down scholarship offers from NC State, Memphis, Alabama, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech - among others - to play at Florida State, but transferred to South Florida so he could be closer to home after just one semester. His 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame will add size and skill to the USF backcourt once he becomes eligible in December.

2. Maurice Acker, SO, G, Marquette

TRANSFERRED FROM: Ball State

Acker was named MAC Rookie of the Year after averaging 9.2 points, 4.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds as Ball State's starting point guard in 2005-06. He's only 5-foot-8, but is about as fast a guard as you'll find in the Big East (sans Providence's Weyinmi Efejuku who's on a completely different level from everyone in the conference when it comes to speed with the ball). Acker is more than capable of shouldering the load when Dominic James needs a breather, and could also allow James to slide over to the two if need be. You'll likely hear much more from him in two years once James has taken his game to the next level.



I would have gone with "Miniscule Mo," but whatever

1. Jeff Xavier, JR, G, Providence

TRANSFERRED FROM: Manhattan

Xavier is a pure scorer who averaged 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds as a sophomore at Manhattan in 2005-06. His coming out party, if you will (and I know you will), came when he scored 31 points in the Jaspers' first-round victory over Maryland in the '06 NIT. The addition of Xavier is even bigger for Tim Welsh now that two-year starting point guard Sharaud Curry is out until early December with a broken foot. Xavier figures to be a starter when the Friars head to San Juan on Nov. 16 for the Puerto Rico Tip Off.

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