An early look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten

  • 04/20/2015 9:57 am in

With the spring signing period underway and several key NBA Draft decisions out of the way (and a few still to go), it’s time for our first look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten for the 2015-2016 season.

Illinois (19-14, 7th place tie, NIT first round)

· Arriving: Aaron Jordan, Darius Paul, D.J. Williams (247Composite top 100), Jalen Coleman (247Composite top 100), Mike Thorne (Graduate transfer from Charlotte)

· Departing: Aaron Cosby (transfer), Ahmad Starks (graduation), Austin Colbert (transfer), Nnanna Egwu (graduation), Rayvonte Rice (graduation)

Notes: Illinois should be positioned for a move up in the Big Ten standings with a very solid recruiting class plus the addition of Thorne, one of the most coveted graduate transfers this spring.

Indiana (20-14, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Arriving: Juwan Morgan, O.G. Anunoby, Thomas Bryant (247Composite top 100)

· Departing: Max Hoetzel (transfer), Stanford Robinson (transfer)

Notes: There are a few things still to shake out in Bloomington as Yogi Ferrell will announce his intentions for his senior season on April 25. As of now, the Hoosiers are still oversigned by one and if Ferrell stays, someone else will have to go.

Iowa (22-12, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament round of 32)

· Arriving: Ahmad Wagner, Andrew Fleming, Brandon Hutton, Christian Williams, Isaiah Moss

· Departing: Aaron White (graduation), Gabriel Olaseni (graduation), Josh Oglesby (graduation), Trey Dickerson (transfer)

Notes: The Hawkeyes welcome an unheralded recruiting class and must replace their best player in White and their most productive big man in Olaseni. Luckily for Fran McCaffery, four starters return, led by Jarrod Uthoff.

Maryland (28-7, 2nd place, NCAA tournament round of 32)

· Arriving: Diamond Stone (247Composite top 100), Jaylen Brantley, Robert Carter (Georgia Tech transfer)

· Departing: Dez Wells (graduation), Evan Smotrycz (graduation), Jon Graham (graduation), Richaud Pack (graduation), Varum Ram (graduation)

Notes: The loss of Dez Wells hurts, but the Terps return mostly everybody else of note and also add one of the nation’s premier big men in Diamond Stone. Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter is also a significant addition. And Maryland may not be done yet as Drexel transfer Damion Lee is considering the Terps.

Michigan State (27-12, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament Final Four)

· Arriving: Caleb Swanigan (247Composite top 100), Deyonta Davis (247Composite top 100), Eron Harris (West Virginia transfer), Kyle Ahrens, Matthew McQuaid (247Composite top 100)

· Departing: Branden Dawson (graduation), Travis Trice (graduation)

Notes: Another Final Four run is not out of the question as Tom Izzo adds a pair of McDonald’s All-American big men in Davis and Swanigan and also adds Eron Harris, who sat out last season after transferring from West Virginia.

Michigan (16-16, 9th place)

· Arriving: Duncan Robinson (Williams College transfer), Moritz Wagner

· Departing: None

Notes: As the Wolverines await word on the NBA decision of Caris LeVert, they’re also involved in the recruitment of former VCU recruit Kenny Williams. Michigan is also recruiting elite prospect Jaylen Brown. Max Bielfeldt may also leave Ann Arbor and play his final season elsewhere as a grad transfer, but nothing has been officially announced.

Minnesota (18-15, 10th place tie)

· Arriving: Dupree McBrayer, Jarvis Johnson, Jonathan Nwankwo, Kevin Dorsey (247Composite top 100)

· Departing: Andre Hollins (graduation), Deandre Mathieu (graduation), Elliott Eliason (graduation), Maurice Walker (graduation)

Notes: After a NIT title in 2014, Minnesota was expected to take a step forward last season. That didn’t happen and next season may be an even bigger challenge as the Gophers lose their two best players and add just one top 100 recruit.

Nebraska (13-18, 12th place)

· Arriving: Andrew White (Kansas transfer), Barkari Evelyn, Ed Morrow, Glynn Watson (247Composite top 100), Jack McVeigh, Michael Jacobson

· Departing: David Rivers (graduation), Tarin Smith (transfer), Leslee Smith (graduation), Moses Abraham (graduation), Terran Petteway (early entry), Walter Pitchford (early entry)

Notes: Nebraska is losing everyone of note, with the exception of Shavon Shields. Kansas transfer Andrew White also becomes eligible after sitting out last season. Watson is a very capable point guard prospect that should help right away, but the Huskers may be in for another tough season given all of the departures.

Northwestern (15-17, 10th place tie)

· Arriving: Aaron Falzon, Dererk Pardon, Joey van Zegeren (Graduate transfer from Virginia Tech), Jordan Ash

· Departing: Dave Sobolewski (graduation), Jeremiah Kreisberg (graduation), Jershon Cobb (graduation), Johnnie Vassar (transfer)

Notes: There should be optimism in Evanston as Chris Collins enters his third season. The Wildcats return all of their important pieces, add a solid grad transfer in van Zegeran and also welcome Falzon, a forward and Ash, who should be a capable backup for Bryant McIntosh.

Ohio State (24-11, 5th place, NCAA tournament round of 32)

· Arriving: A.J. Harris (247Composite top 100), Austin Grandstaff (247Composite top 100), Daniel Giddens (247Composite top 100), JaQuan Lyle (247Composite top 100), Mickey Mitchell

· Departing: Amir Williams (graduation), Anthony Lee (graduation), Sam Thompson (graduation), Shannon Scott (graduation), Trey McDonald (graduation)

Notes: D’Angelo Russell is expected to declare for the NBA draft, but has yet to make his intentions official. The losses of Scott and Thompson hurt, but Thad Matta brings in a very good recruiting class. The Buckeyes will be young, but there’s enough talent assembled to win.

Penn State (18-16, 13th place)

· Arriving: Josh Reaves (247Composite top 100), Mike Watkins (247Composite top 100), Deividas Zemgulis

· Departing: D.J. Newbill (graduation), Ross Travis (graduation), John Johnson (graduation)

Notes: The Nittany Lions lose Newbill, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, to graduation, but add a pair of top 100 recruits in Reaves, a shooting guard and Watkins, a power forward.

Purdue (21-13, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Arriving: Grant Weatherford, Ryan Cline

· Departing: Bryson Scott (transfer), Jon Octeus (graduation)

Notes: A.J. Hammons is returning for his senior season, which means that Matt Painter is going to once again have a pair of 7-footers available in the paint. The Boilermakers are still being mentioned with graduate transfer point guards as the need to replace Octeus is a legitimate one.

Rutgers (10-22, 14th place)

· Arriving: Corey Sanders (247Composite top 100), Jonathan Laurent, Justin Goode, Kejuan Johnson

· Departing: Junior Etou (transfer), Kadeem Jack (graduation), Kerwin Okoro (transfer), Malick Kone (graduation), Myles Mack (graduation)

Notes: Eddie Jordan has his hands full in Piscataway as building Rutgers into a winning program is a major uphill battle. The Scarlet Knights lose several key contributors and will be relying on unproven youth to win in one of the nation’s premier conferences.

Wisconsin (36-4, Big Ten champion, NCAA tournament runner-up)

· Arriving: Alex Illikainen, Brevin Pritzl (247Composite top 100), Charlie Thomas, Khalil Iverson

· Departing: Duje Dujan (graduation), Frank Kaminsky (graduation), Josh Gasser (graduation), Sam Dekker (early entry), Traevon Jackson (graduation)

Notes: The national runner-up Badgers lose the national player of the year, a likely lottery pick and savvy veteran in Gasser, but return Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, of the Big Ten’s best duos. Bo Ryan also returns, which means the Badgers will once again be a factor in the conference standings.

Filed to:


    Plus they always have at least one guy that played only a minor role the year before that all of sudden becomes a solid and consistent contributor the following year.


    They will, IMHO, fall into the, ” gonna win some they weren’t supposed to win and gonna lose some they were supposed to win” category. The only question will be how many of each happens. Think they are probably the hardest team to predict for next year as they could finish right in the middle, end up more towards the bottom or contend for the one of the top spots.


    Agree that we don’t have to have TB be are best player on the floor, but I think he has to be noticeably more than our 4th or 5 th best player. Gonna beat that drum again ; starting and playing another true big alongside of TB is the best and most likely way to maximize how much of an impact he can make.


    Exactly ! No one player makes a team jump 200 spots on defense by himself. We will need for EVERYONE to show marked improvement on defense. IMHO Crean should tell them that defense will be a much bigger factor in who gets minutes next year than it has been in the past.


    Everything that you said is correct in opinion as well, but…..Crean is going to have to start and play two true bigs at almost all times for that to not be a problem again next year. Playing TW at the 4 along with three guards is only going to create the same problem only maybe a little less of it. Glass should tell him that the first time that he attempts to use the change defenses in the middle of a possession, he is officially on the hot seat. lol


    It appears that you are assuming that he will go with a more traditional 2 guard lineup. If he does I’d agree with your analysis, but if he goes with the 3 guard lineup again, and I think there is a very good chance he will try to, I think it greatly reduces how effective we will be able to be defensively.


    Never thought I’d have to say that our coach needs to watch PU tape and study how they play D, but I think he needs to watch any and every tape he can when it comes to watching a team that played good solid D. Coaching overall team defense may very well be Crean’s biggest liability as a head coach. Prove me wrong Tom….PLEASE.


    Couldn’t agree more. I think a lot of people are putting way too much into how much just putting TB on the floor is going to change things. Will it help, yea and if it doesn’t Crean should be fired just for that, is that by itself the magic bullet for our beyond terrible D last year, NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.


    I’ll put it this way, IMHO there are more than one or two that are counting on his very presence on the floor to be able to make more of a difference than they should before the season ever starts, and for the 2,947th time Crean needs to start and play another true big along with TB to maximize his contribution, especially defensively, and I’ll believe that he won’t start 3 true guards when it doesn’t happen.


    And I think I can say with some form of certainty that our defense pretty much HAS to better. lol


    I’d say that there’s a pretty good chance that, it’ll be like this past season, MD finishes above MSU in the final conference standings, but I’d also say that there’s a pretty good chance that they go farther than MD in the big dance.


    After as many problems as they had the second half of the season it was up to him to at least try something different instead of continuing to roll with the same thing that was allowing other teams to shred our defense, like, oh I don’t know, maybe at least “trying” a lineup that gave us two true bigs on the floor at the same time. He wouldn’t even try it to see if it would work or not. Refusing to even try that was a big drawback to me when it came to whether or not he had my total backing. If he had at least gave it a legitimate try and it didn’t work out then I have a whole lot different outlook, but not even trying it ? In regards to that particular aspect I see that as a failure on his part, a big failure.


    Because we finished tied for 7th instead of finishing 10th does not make what I would refer to as a successful season. Outside of something like Crean inherited when he got here, IU should never be in the position to even be “picked” to finish 10th in the conference.

  • IU track Alumni

    Yea can agree with you that. Crean has a lot to learn and has to stop being so stubborn in his ways. Its really hard to believe he is giving a scholarship to a 7 footer and not using him at all. I’m right there with you on that for sure!

  • IU track Alumni

    I expect more too! I don’t think it was a successful season but I also don’t look at it as a failure either.


    Exactly what I was thinking. Reminds me of a local high school coach that had been at the same school for several years, was a perennial .500 coach who could rarely if ever beat any of the other top local teams or win his conference. All of the other coaches went on about how good of a coach he was and how hard the teams he coached were to prepare for (wink wink). Translation: we don’t want him going anywhere cause there’s a very good chance that someone a whole lot harder to beat than him could take his place and as long as he’s there we can pretty much count on that game being a W.


    If he wants more than just a few more wins next year than this past season he’ll play the lineup that you suggest and that I agree with.

  • IU track Alumni

    Hahaha alright alright alright I get the point fellas!

  • IU track Alumni

    Now if we can just get Crean on board with that!!! The “Mini Twin Towers” lol

  • calbert40

    I think he is certainly capable of that type of performance, but I am just trying to be realistic with my expectations. If Yogi returns, which I believe he will, Yogi will be the team leader and odds on favorite to be our best player. Then you have to look at JBJ and Troy as strong candidates to be #2 and #3.

    Let’s say this, if Bryant is one of our top 3 players next season, we are going to be really good!

  • PBzeer

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that. If he played any type of a 5 position lineup, I’d expect Hartman or Holt at the 4, not Hanner. If Yogi stays though, I see no reason he’d switch from the 3 guard lineup.

  • TomJameson

    I understand your point, Mike, about a few that are over optimistic. I think Bryant WILL make a difference, but not a savior by himself. Not sure how anybody can gauge how much of a difference he will make, so to me, how much of a difference is a moot point for now.

    As far as his lineup is concerned, nobody really knows that either. Assuming Yogi returns, I would be happy with a lineup of Yogi, JBJ, Troy, and Bryant. For the 5th player insert a favorite like Holt, Hartman, OG, DD, or somebody else (I like Hart for that spot). My point here is that there will be plenty of optional lineups.

    Crean basically said that defense is going to be a focus with more pressing involved. So I can see the lineup changing quite a bit since we really do go quite deep. Can’t wait to see it unfold. For sure not going to try to predict too much at this point as far as lineups.