2012-2013 Big Ten Preview: Five impact freshmen

  • 09/10/2012 12:02 pm in

With the start of the fall semester underway and less than five weeks until the official start of practice, it’s time to begin looking ahead to the 2012-2013 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.

Gary Harris, Michigan State, Guard — The frontcourt in East Lansing may regress following the departure of Draymond Green, but the backcourt will receive a significant boost with the arrival of Harris, the highest rated incoming Big Ten recruit according to the RSCI rankings. The Hamilton Southeastern product, who was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball last spring, has the physique to compete right away against the Big Ten’s most physical guards. He’s also stepping into a position that was vacated following the graduation of Brandon Wood, which should allow for major minutes right away. Tom Izzo is historically tough on freshmen, but he showed little hesitation in using Branden Dawson in a major role last season and the same should be true with Harris.

Adam Woodbury, Iowa, Center — While the Hawkeyes have two valuable pieces up front in Melsahn Basabe and Aaron White, they don’t have a true center. Enter Woodbury, a 7-foot-1 Iowa native who chose Fran McCaffery’s rebuilding project over several major programs, including North Carolina. Woodbury has a solid repertoire of moves around the basket, including a left-handed baby hook that can be difficult to block. There will certainly be an adjustment period for Woodbury once Big Ten play begins, but Iowa’s weak non-conference schedule should give him plenty of confidence early.

Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, Forward — John Beilein loves to play undersized guys at the four and that’s exactly where Robinson could be slotted in this winter. Following his commitment to Michigan, Robinson went from a borderline top 100 guy to a consensus top 25 player over the course of two years. At 6-foot-6, he can play and guard multiple positions and will be one of the most athletic players in the conference right away. While he’s not a great outside shooter, his midrange game has improved and with Trey Burke seeking him out in halfcourt sets, Robinson should have plenty of opportunities to score. Like Harris at Michigan State, Robinson is entering a situation at Michigan where minutes will be available following the graduation of Zack Novak and the transfer of Evan Smotrycz to Maryland.

Yogi Ferrell, Indiana, Guard — Tom Crean said on Thursday night that he “wouldn’t put in a Sharpie pen just yet,” but the Hoosiers will probably start a freshman this season. That freshman will likely be Ferrell, who arrives in Bloomington after leading Park Tudor to consecutive Class 2A state titles at Park Tudor in Indianapolis. The fact that Ferrell could supplant one of the starters who helped Indiana win two NCAA Tournament games last March speaks to the value he could have as the lead facilitator on a team expected to compete for a national championship. Ferrell can thrive as both a shoot-first or pass-first point guard, but he should wear the latter hat this season. Crean acknowledged in his IU Auditorium speech that Ferrell will need to adjust to playing man-to-man defense after playing almost exclusively zone in high school, but once he figures it out, he should quickly become one of the Big Ten’s best point guards.

Sam Dekker, Wisconsin, Forward — The departure of Jordan Taylor is a significant loss for the Badgers, but the arrival of Dekker could certainly help ease the blow despite the vast differences in their game. When Wisconsin needed a play over the last two seasons, Taylor was the guy who typically stepped up to make it. Dekker could instantly be thrust into that role and even thrive in it as a freshman. The 6-foot-8 forward is no stranger to making big plays as he led Sheboygan Lutheran to a Wisconsin Division 5 championship by scoring 40 points, including a game-winning 3-pointer with four seconds remaining. While Dekker won’t be able to account for many of the intangibles the more seasoned Taylor brought to the Badgers, his ability to score from everywhere is valuable on a team built mostly around role players.

More Big Ten preview content:

· Top non-conference games
· Top players: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25

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  • Taskmaster75

    Not a big fan of McGary in his freshman year?

  • Considered McGary and Woodbury for the final spot, but went with Woodbury. Could have gone either way with it.

    This is a deep crop of freshman entering the league, so it’s not a knock against McGary that he’s not listed. The list could have easily gone much deeper than five.

  • Wyatt35

    I agree, I feel like Woodbury will have more of an impact for his team despite McGary being a better player.

  • Kris

    In terms of freshmen, Yogi’s impact will be huge. Short of Cody Zeller, he’s our best recruit in years. Lest we forget, it was Yogi who said publicly that he wanted to play college ball with Cody Zeller. Now that time has come. Yogi and Cody are great friends and both are loaded with talent. Putting those two together will be the #1 impact in the B10 this year.

  • IURob1997

    I agree this is an extremely deep freshman crop… I think people are underestimating the the impact Hollowell will have this season for the Hoosiers

  • SCHoosier

    The comments on Yogi’s defense are fair and on target. He’s gonna have to develop a great man to man technique..cause his size is going to get him posted.

  • Pritch24

    I feel like Yogi fills the biggest need out of all of these five as a point guard for Indiana. His quickness is going to be great the next (hopefully) four years in Btown. In other news, I just received my acceptance letter to be a part of the apart of next fall’s class! So jacked. When can I start racking up some loyalty points?

  • Oldguyy

    By all those giant point guards in the Big Ten?!!

  • CreanFaithful

    I sense sarcasm, but not sure why. SCHosier makes a valid point. Look, we are all excited about Yogi and deservedly so. But let’s not act like other people are crazy for voicing concerns. Literally, every team outside of Michigan will start a taller, stronger and more experienced PG. Oh yeah, and that one exception is TREY BURKE. I’m not sure that anyone’s strategy will be to “post him” but size and experience certainly make a difference. I am reassured by some tweets of Crean talking about how Victor locks Yogi down in practice and that Yogi is learning to do the same. However, I will believe it when I see it. Anyone who speaks with confidence to the contrary is simply wearing their “homer glasses.”

  • Can’t even remember back to Indiana Elite days for Yogi and Cody. They did play together right.

  • Taskmaster75

    I was just curious about your opinion, it’s very difficult to say whose better or who will have a greater impact when you have ranked players this high in the conference. It’s going to be interesting to watch.

    All in all a very agreeable list.

  • jayrig5

    What I’ve seen of Dekker is very impressive. His skillset will be an interesting fit for Ryan’s offense.

  • Geoff_85

    What offense?

  • jayrig5


  • Evansville Hoosier

    Who is all that much taller? Keith Appling has maybe an inch or 2, craft has maybe an inch or 2, brust or gasser might be more, but who cares? Jordan Taylor graduated, the rest of the lead guards in the B1G are known for quickness, not strength or size. I think you’re trying to be too objective with Yogi; there’s no reason he can’t keep up with all those other guys on defense.

  • DarkSouth

    Woodbury could make a huge difference for Iowa. I’m really interested to see how Iowa looks, I think it will really help Basabe having Woodbury to draw attention inside.


    The offense that the UW team has been running ever since the end of last season. No one told them that the season had ended and they think that they are just doing a really good job of doing what Bo wants them to do and that the right shot will be forthcoming any time now.

  • Oldguyy

    Wrong. It’s simply not correct that every team will start a stronger, taller, and more experienced point guard than Ferrell. And we don’t need pompous pronouncements about “homer glasses”.

  • CreanFaithful

    Thanks for your feedback! Welcome to the internet.

  • CreanFaithful

    True. Which is why I said I’m unsure that posting him will be the strategy. However, like Alex mentioned in another thread, it will be the question mark heading into the season. Athleticism alone does not determine ones ability to mark a man. I’m not saying that Yogi won’t be able to, but simply that it’s a “wait and see” thing. ALL was too inclusive of a statement. But the guys you mentioned which are on Big10 contender teams will be taller, stronger and more experienced (with the exception of Burke who will only be stronger and more experienced — also probably 1st team all-Big10 selection).

  • Geoff_85

    Haha. I’m not at all in favor of reducing the shot clock in NCAA Men’s Basketball…until I watch wisconsin play.


    UW’s offense is the modern day version of the ole 4 corners offense that a few teams used to use to put people to sleep.
    Something tells me that if there wasn’t a shot clock that would be the offense that Bo would run.

    I can see him sitting in his office all by himself, late at night, watching old film clips of teams using it and muttering to himself, ” aahh those were the days, damn that shot clock “