2011-2012 Big Ten Preview: Five impact freshmen

With the start of the fall semester underway and less than six weeks until the official start of practice, it’s time to begin looking ahead to the 2011-2012 season. We continue our Big Ten preview with a look at the five freshmen, listed in no particular order, who could make the biggest impact next season.

Branden Dawson, Michigan State, Forward – The Gary, Indiana native’s hunger for rebounds — 18.6 per game as a senior at Lew Wallace — should help earn him immediate minutes in Tom Izzo’s system. At just 6-foot-6, Dawson (pictured) uses a combination of strength, instinct and pure will to dominate the offensive glass. His perimeter game is still developing, but the McDonald’s All-American is at his best when given the freedom to slash to the basket and get out on the fastbreak. Dawson might not begin the season in the starting lineup, but it’s tough to imagine him not finishing games in East Lansing.

Trey Burke, Michigan, Guard – If not for Darius Morris’ questionable decision to enter the 2011 NBA Draft, Burke probably wouldn’t be on this list. But the departure of Morris leaves at hole at point guard in Ann Arbor and the likely recipient of those minutes is Burke. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Ohio Mr. Basketball is a score-first point guard that originally committed to Penn State, but ultimately opted for the Wolverines last August. Michigan returns plenty of skilled backcourt experience with Tim Hardaway Jr., Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, but a quick acclimation to the college game by Burke will be pivotal to another top five finish in the Big Ten.

Mycheal Henry, Illinois, Forward – The graduation of four seniors and Jereme Richmond’s abrupt departure for the NBA Draft will open immediate minutes for seven newcomers in Urbana-Champaign. While transfer Sam Maniscalco might be the most important newcomer for the Figthing Illini, Henry looks like the freshman most ready to contribute. The 6-foot-6 wing went from virtual unknown prior to his junior season at Chicago Orr all the way into the top 40 of the final Rivals 150 for 2011. His mid-range game is still suspect, but Henry’s length, explosiveness and ability to get into the lane will make him a tough matchup from day one.

Cody Zeller, Indiana, Forward – The Hoosiers lack of a reliable post presence over the last three seasons will be over with Zeller’s arrival. Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, who won three state championships at Washington High School, should help inject excitement and a winning attitude into a program that’s struggled over the past three seasons. Like Dawson, Zeller is an excellent rebounder and has one of the more well-rounded skill sets of any incoming freshmen in the country. He’s already added 10 pounds to his frame since arriving in Bloomington in mid-June and looks poised to make a major impact in Bloomington.

Shannon Scott, Ohio State, Guard – Thad Matta’s penchant for small rotations makes picking one Buckeye from the Big Ten’s top recruiting class a tall order, but Scott seems like the safest bet of five freshmen. Sophomore Aaron Craft will command a majority of the point guard minutes, but Scott, the 2011 Mr. Basketball in Georgia and a McDonald’s All-American, is too good to count out of the rotation. His jump shot is still developing from beyond the 3-point line, but his mid-range game and ball handling are college ready. Scott’s ability to make sound decisions and facilitate for teammates should ultimately make him one of the best guard’s in the conference.

  • Anonymous

    IMO, Branden Dawson will get plenty of minutes and have a noticeable impact, not the kind of impact I expect CZ will have for us, but few players would and there is a lot more room on our team to make a big impact . Not that anyone really needed to have it pointed out but I think he will get enough minutes to remind all of us how important it was for CTC to land an instate recruit like CZ. and what could happen if a wing of Harris’ caliber is added to CZ’s presence next year.  If we are able somehow to land Harris, next year should be kinda like having something like Dawson’s impact, or more, two years in a row and THEN adding in the other ’12 recruits impact in on top of that.

    Now, having said all that I look for someone out of the ’12 class to separate himself from the rest of his incoming class and have a Dawson or Zeller like impact. Watching and waiting to see which one that will be just adds to anticipation of their arrival.

  • Anonymous

    IMO, Branden Dawson will get plenty of minutes and have a noticeable impact, not the kind of impact I expect CZ will have for us, but few players would and there is a lot more room on our team to make a big impact . Not that anyone really needed to have it pointed out but I think he will get enough minutes to remind all of us how important it was for CTC to land an instate recruit like CZ. and what could happen if a wing of Harris’ caliber is added to CZ’s presence next year.  If we are able somehow to land Harris, next year should be kinda like having something like Dawson’s impact, or more, two years in a row and THEN adding in the other ’12 recruits impact in on top of that.

    Now, having said all that I look for someone out of the ’12 class to separate himself from the rest of his incoming class and have a Dawson or Zeller like impact. Watching and waiting to see which one that will be just adds to anticipation of their arrival.

  • Anonymous

    Zeller has already added 10 lbs?

    This is fantastic news.

  • Anonymous

    Zeller has already added 10 lbs?

    This is fantastic news.

  • Anonymous

    Zeller has already added 10 lbs?

    This is fantastic news.

  • eph521

    My guess is that he took part in the famous late night Bloomington tradition… A burrito as “big as his head” at La Bamba’s. One of the tastiest ways to put on 10 lbs. in a hurry.

  • Anonymous

    LaBambas is no longer in Btown. But Qdoba stays open 24 hours on the weekend. He was probably there.

  • Anonymous

    LaBambas is no longer in Btown. But Qdoba stays open 24 hours on the weekend. He was probably there.

  • IUBluebird

    I’m sorry to be the one to inform you eph521, but La Bamba’s hasn’t been on Kirkwood in about 5 years…

  • Anonymous

    Beilein continues to impress me with his “under the radar” recruiting.  I bet they impress on the upside this year. 

    That said, out of this group, I think that CZ has the biggest impact to any team for a whole host of reasons. 

    Great CZ put 10lbs on!  He can probably add 5 more before the season starts.

    I thought Dawson was bigger that 6’6″.  Hopefully Devin Davis can turn into a similar player than given thier somewhat analogous bodies, positions and play.

    Harris needs to come to IU.

  • Anonymous

    Beilein continues to impress me with his “under the radar” recruiting.  I bet they impress on the upside this year. 

    That said, out of this group, I think that CZ has the biggest impact to any team for a whole host of reasons. 

    Great CZ put 10lbs on!  He can probably add 5 more before the season starts.

    I thought Dawson was bigger that 6’6″.  Hopefully Devin Davis can turn into a similar player than given thier somewhat analogous bodies, positions and play.

    Harris needs to come to IU.

  • Anonymous

    Beilein continues to impress me with his “under the radar” recruiting.  I bet they impress on the upside this year. 

    That said, out of this group, I think that CZ has the biggest impact to any team for a whole host of reasons. 

    Great CZ put 10lbs on!  He can probably add 5 more before the season starts.

    I thought Dawson was bigger that 6’6″.  Hopefully Devin Davis can turn into a similar player than given thier somewhat analogous bodies, positions and play.

    Harris needs to come to IU.

  • 888

    I agree mike. I think Dawsons gonna make us sorry we couldnt get him. Hes gonna be a very good pro and college player. Cody could be Mr. Everything in a year or so.

  • 888

    I agree mike. I think Dawsons gonna make us sorry we couldnt get him. Hes gonna be a very good pro and college player. Cody could be Mr. Everything in a year or so.

  • Anonymous

    There’s one in Muncie—ate there when we went to visit my daughter at Ball State.  It’s not very good, by the way.

  • Anonymous

    There’s one in Muncie—ate there when we went to visit my daughter at Ball State.  It’s not very good, by the way.

  • Anonymous

    Very good college player, I’ll agree.  If he doesn’t develop an outside game there’s no hope for him in the NBA as a 6’6″ PF.  Corliss Williamson was an inch taller and a whole lot stronger and he had to become a wing defender.

  • Anonymous

    Very good college player, I’ll agree.  If he doesn’t develop an outside game there’s no hope for him in the NBA as a 6’6″ PF.  Corliss Williamson was an inch taller and a whole lot stronger and he had to become a wing defender.

  • Anonymous

    If IU is to reach its potential this season Remy Abell’s name will be added to this list in the post-season assessment.  He may not be the #1 PG but he’s going to have to log successful minutes for this team to do as well as it can.  He has size that Hulls doesn’t and speed that Jones doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    If IU is to reach its potential this season Remy Abell’s name will be added to this list in the post-season assessment.  He may not be the #1 PG but he’s going to have to log successful minutes for this team to do as well as it can.  He has size that Hulls doesn’t and speed that Jones doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    If IU is to reach its potential this season Remy Abell’s name will be added to this list in the post-season assessment.  He may not be the #1 PG but he’s going to have to log successful minutes for this team to do as well as it can.  He has size that Hulls doesn’t and speed that Jones doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    If IU is to reach its potential this season Remy Abell’s name will be added to this list in the post-season assessment.  He may not be the #1 PG but he’s going to have to log successful minutes for this team to do as well as it can.  He has size that Hulls doesn’t and speed that Jones doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    If IU is to reach its potential this season Remy Abell’s name will be added to this list in the post-season assessment.  He may not be the #1 PG but he’s going to have to log successful minutes for this team to do as well as it can.  He has size that Hulls doesn’t and speed that Jones doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    If IU is to reach its potential this season Remy Abell’s name will be added to this list in the post-season assessment.  He may not be the #1 PG but he’s going to have to log successful minutes for this team to do as well as it can.  He has size that Hulls doesn’t and speed that Jones doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    I think that you are right on the money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tayloralanherman Taylor Herman

    Actually, they literally just bulldozed it down last week.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tayloralanherman Taylor Herman

    Actually, they literally just bulldozed it down last week.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    The Darko Taco truck has done more than fill the void left by LaBambas.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    The Darko Taco truck has done more than fill the void left by LaBambas.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    He walked past me in front of SPEA today. His size is not exaggerated, he looked like a tall running back.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    He walked past me in front of SPEA today. His size is not exaggerated, he looked like a tall running back.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    He walked past me in front of SPEA today. His size is not exaggerated, he looked like a tall running back.

  • Anonymous

    It is great to hear that Zeller has already added 10 pounds to his frame.  He’s going to need to be strong in conference play.  I think he will be up to the challenge from the get-go.

  • Coach D

    Shannon Scott is one of the best natural point guard’s to come out of high school in years.  He is college ready.  He is  player that will make everyone on the court better b/c he is far from selfish.  Oh, and he already plays great defense.

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