Five Big Ten impact newcomers for 2016-2017

  • 07/20/2016 10:33 am in

The Big Ten will have several teams that are retooling next season. The conference lost four of its top five players to graduation in Denzel Valentine, Yogi Ferrell, Jarrod Uthoff and A.J. Hammons. However, reinforcements are on the way for several programs. 

In no particular order, here’s a look at five newcomers we expect to make an impact next season in the Big Ten:

· Miles Bridges, Michigan State: The jewel of Tom Izzo’s 2016 recruiting class, Bridges was a must-have recruit for Michigan State. A native of Flint, Bridges spent his final three high school seasons at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. He had his pick of any school in the country, including Kentucky, which recruited him diligently. But ultimately, Izzo and the Michigan State staff won out in the battle for Bridges.

So what does Bridges bring to East Lansing? Given what the Spartans lost – Valentine, Bryn Forbes, Deyonta Davis and Matt Costello – he might be the best player on Michigan State’s roster right away. The 6-foot-6 forward plays with an incredible motor and finishes above the rim with ease. He’s also a very active rebounder, which should translate well in Michigan State’s system. The No. 10 recruit nationally in the final RSCI rankings for 2016, Bridges enters the season as a frontrunner for Big Ten freshman of the year.

· Josh Langford, Michigan State: Not far behind Bridges in the recruiting rankings is Langford, the No. 20 recruit in the final RSCI rankings for 2016. He joined Bridges on the 2016 McDonald’s All-American team. The duo are the 13th and 14th players who have earned that honor to play for Izzo at Michigan State.

A 6-foot-5 combo guard, Langford is a very good ball handler. He’s also an elite shooter. Without Valentine and Forbes around to fill it up for the perimeter, Langford will be a go-to option for Michigan State immediately. Perhaps the most impressive trait in Langford’s offensive game is that he can score not only from distance and at the rim, but he can also operate in the midrange.

· Amir Coffey, Minnesota: Let’s be clear: Minnesota will have little impact on the Big Ten race next season. But that’s part of what earns Coffey a spot on this list. His opportunity to make an impact will be significant. The Golden Gophers return a solid contingency of guards and wing players, but none of them have the potential of Coffey, the No. 40 player in the final RSCI rankings for 2016.

At 6-foot-7, the versatile wing led his high school team, Hopkins, to a class 4A title as a senior on his way to being named Mr. Basketball in Minnesota. He was also named a Jordan Brand All-Star. In a critical season for Richard Pitino, he’ll need to sell the future to keep his job (and the few supporters he has left in the fanbase). As a result, Coffey should be featured prominently.

· Kevin Huerter, Maryland: Huerter is another top 55 recruit coming into the Big Ten and his presence on the list is due to the combination of his talent and opportunity in College Park. The 6-foot-6 shooter from New York is a member of the USA U18 men’s team currently participating in the FIBA Americas U18 championships in Chile. Mark Turgeon is an assistant for the team, but Huerter’s inclusion on the roster wasn’t a favor to Turgeon. Huerter’s play in the training camp for the U18 team already has NBA scouts keeping close tabs on him.

Maryland is going to look much different next season without Diamond Stone, Jake Layman, Robert Carter and Rasheed Sulaimon. But the return of Melo Trimble should allow Huerter to flourish as a shooter. Teams won’t be able to help off of Trimble and Huerter will benefit as a result. And there will be plenty of shots available with the graduation of Sulaimon and Layman.

· Josh Newkirk, Indiana: The lone transfer on our list, Newkirk has been drawing favorable reviews this offeason from the IU coaching staff and teammates. He returned from microfracture surgery earlier this year and is expected to compete for a starting job in Bloomington. After a disappointing sophomore season at Pittsburgh, Newkirk opted to transfer to Indiana and the system he’ll operate in under Tom Crean should be a much better fit for his style of play.

A speedy point guard, Newkirk is capable of thriving in the open court and shouldn’t have a problem finding shooters on the perimeter. His perimeter shooting is a question mark, but his defense and experience will earn him minutes on a team that should be right in the thick of the Big Ten race.

(Photo credit: McDonald’s All-American game/Brian Spurlock)

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  • Outoftheloop

    Factually wrong! Noah started 56 games for Portland last season as they made a good run in the play-offs!

  • Outoftheloop

    IU did that, sort of, Jurkin, Hanner, et al.

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong kid. The math class hang up is McFly’s coming out of JUCO.

  • Outoftheloop

    Correct.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    That is crazy AJ Guyton from IL, Thomas Bryant NY, Isaiah Thomas Chicago I can go on each of those guys are proud Hoosier! I’ll take all of those guys again. I would love kids from Indiana but making the program better and getting the 6th banner is more important?

  • TennesseeHoosier

    By that logic Izzo should have past on Bridges, how is he going to guard OG,DD, Morgan at 6’6″?

  • Ole Man

    We didn’t have that conversation–had to be someone else.
    Next, you’re prone to exaggeration and hyperbole with no facts to back up your statements. Perfect example is the “Yogi and Jordy” line above.

    Lastly, you made a personal attack. Reveals so much about you and how your mind operates.
    Keep your circus and its freak show out of my back yard.

  • Ole Man

    You don’t get to call your own mic drop.
    This isn’t one.
    Muggsy played in a different era.
    A short, 4 star against a much taller (half a foot) five star.
    I’ll take the tall guy every day in this matchup.
    Hope that mic dropping didn’t hit you in the foot.

  • Ole Man

    Arch, sometimes you make great posts.
    However, this isn’t one of them.
    Just because someone is being recruited doesn’t mean squat.
    Langford is a half foot taller, a five star versus a four star, and using your analogical tactics, just as quick.
    Langford could shoot over him at will. Take him to the hole at will. Shut him down on D.
    CTC has offered him a scholarship and he hasn’t won a national championship. See how worthless that bit of info from you is?
    You’re always more than willing for IU to “settle”.
    Many of us are long past that stage.
    We want another banner at IU.

  • Ole Man

    Try to keep on subject. We’re talking guards.
    That position is played differently from forward.

  • Ole Man

    I watched Spud play a few times.
    Nothing special.
    In his career, he only averaged a steal a game.

  • Ole Man

    He’s actually one of the “Best of the rest” in a very, very thin class of PGs.
    So I don’t care one way or another since IU will have a minimum of six guards and possibly seven on scholarship if no one else signs.
    Seven or eight guards out of 13 is a BIT MUCH.
    Plus, JN will be a Senior. RJ will be a Senior. Cujo and Durham will be Sophs.

  • sarge

    You are an idiot. Stop criticizing great high school recruits based solely on physique.

  • TomJameson

    Oh, I’d like to get the more of the top talent from in-state as well, but I think that it’s becoming harder and harder to do. I just don’t know what more CTC and the coaching staff can do to make that happen.

    I truly believe that we just have to get back to being an elite team again. I think we’re getting there, but just not quite there yet. Winning = better recruits.

  • sarge

    He is on the same subject, physical size. His point is just as relevant. Size is actually more relevant for forwards and centers than guards according to Pomeroy. Or are analytics not factual enough for you? Try practicing what you preach with some facts to back up what you say. And please don’t make up your own like you did for JBJ in an attempt to diminish what he means to our team. I tend to believe expert analysis instead of your incompetence .

  • sarge

    So you don’t put much stock in the recruiting rankings because you don’t think Waters can ball at his height, yet you reference recruiting rankings by stars. Muggsy played in a different era, Spud Webb was “nothing special.” Napoleon complex?

  • sarge

    He played 12 seasons in the NBA. Quite a career for someone who is nothing special.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    since you’re stating facts, let’s take a look at his stats…
    3.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.3 blk, 15.1 mpg.

    so he barely played more than a quarter per game, didn’t average anywhere near double figures in pts or rebs, but yeah he was instrumental in their playoff success. c’mon man!

  • sarge

    I love me some Indiana recruits! I feel like they are all polished products for college. You are right though, some of the best come from outside the state! I would gladly take another Thomas, OG, JM or RJ! Banner 6 is the only thing that really matters.

  • Kyl470

    If JBJ goes pro you’d have JN, RJ, Cujo, Devonte Green, and Gelon as your returning guards plus Durham as an incoming freshman. Adding another guard would give IU 7 guards leaving spots for 6 forward / center which isn’t out of the question for the system that CTC likes to play. Waters is a top 100 player so one would think he would likely be better than Gelon, Green, and Durham since they were not top 100.

    Now I’m aware that scouts get ranking wrong sometimes like Vic, OG not being top 100 and guys like HMP being in the top 100.

  • Bill Graham

    I’m not dismissing Grant, on the contrary I’ve been one of his biggest supporters. I had a very intense debate with Baby Cakes on this. I basically made the point that I’ll take a 6-5 shooter and you can’t put too much stock into rankings (Steph Curry was ranked 300). Just because I’d rather have a more athletic wing doesn’t mean I’m dismissing Grant.

  • Bill Graham

    Ya but its like Sandra said, impactful recruits are different.

  • Arch Puddington

    “Just because someone is being recruited doesn’t mean squat.”

    Com on, Ole Man, it isn’t even me you are arguing with at this point. You are now arguing with the most accomplished coaches and talent evaluators in the nation. Essentially what you are saying here is that you know better than Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in the history of the sport. I’ll let that thought stand on its own.

    As for banners, this is not a competition about who loves IU the most or who wants to win the most. I have been rooting for the Hoosiers almost as long as you have, and they mean almost as much to me as they do to you. (I remember your elegiac account of how you came to root for them, and while I count IU basketball among the nice pleasures in my life, my story does not compare). Saying that you want a banner more than me does nothing to support your position, it’s just an attempt to shout me down. We have had our differences, but I would have thought we were beyond such things by now.

  • sarge

    I’ll take 3 more titles as opposed to 1 more final four.

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah so it’s a minor delay that his scholarship allows. And it’s none of my business what’s going on with him.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i truly hate to defend ole man, but i gotta say the mugsys and spuds of the world are few and far between. why do we remember those guys so well? not because of their production, but because they’re the exception to the rule. and of course because spud could dunk it

  • sarge

    The reason I remember them was for their abilities. Muggsy was so quick and Spud was an incredible leaper. They are an exception, because height helps in a game that is defined by measurements. But the player’s measurements don’t define their game. By the same token, we don’t remember the tallest players for their production either. Which proves that height isn’t everything. If it was only people 7’+ would play the game. There are advantages and disadvantages to size. Muggsy played 15 seasons and Spud played 12 in the NBA. They obviously had advantages on taller players or they wouldn’t have lasted this long. Muggsy still holds the all time records for Charlotte in minutes played, assists and steals.

  • ForeverIU

    I don’t know what the stats are, but I would think most states lose their top recruits to teams in other states, unless by staying instate a recruit is playing for a top notch coach (which CTC isn’t) or has other non-basketball reasons (proximity to family, state loyalty, etc. etc.). Otherwise, all other things being equal, my guess is most kids want to change scenery when they go to college.

  • SilentBob

    Urban Meyer adds like 23 new recruits a year, and even the best of them are guaranteed to be there at least 3 years. Not to mention the vast assortment of other high differences between the sports.

  • John D Murphy

    Duke isn’t a North Carolina school just as Notre Dame isn’t an Indiana school. There is a difference. Kansas doesn’t produce many good prospects. I actually agree with your point but these are poor examples.

  • jimmygoiu

    Cheaney was a top 50 player, and Evans was top100. Both were 4 stars. GG is nowhere near these 2 in talent or potential. I wish him well, but will be very surprised to see him as a 15 minute per game rotation player.

  • Bill Graham

    A couple points: I noted that Indiana produces more elite prospects than most states… However, when you think of basketball tradition what states are greater than Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina? And Duke is an elite school in North Carolina I don’t understand your point about how their not a North Carolina school…Are you suggesting since they aren’t the state’s namesake that means they are excused to dismiss in state recruits?

  • millzy32

    I was speaking on recent history only. IU history is much better than Arizona that’s for sure.

  • millzy32

    He has a point. Duke is a private school that recruits nationally and always has.

  • millzy32

    If Indiana is a talent rich state for basketball and we can’t keep the Indiana talent in state then what is the point of being Indiana? It’s Indiana really doesn’t mean much if we can’t keep even our own home grown kids in state. If we were replacing them with just as high or higher ranked out of state kids then we’d be on par with the likes of Duke or Kentucky or Kansas but we aren’t so we should be able to use the fact that we are Indiana to our advantage with in state recruits.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    Well….

  • SilentBob

    Smartphones and premium HD television is quickly wipping out whatever remains there were of in state loyality amongst top recruits. And that’s not really a bad thing. I love rooting for homegrown talents as much as the next guy, but when looking for the best person to represent you, that should matter little. Same when a recruit is considering what destination is the best for him. Victor isn’t from here, but he is now cemented into the community, and making it stronger.

    Yea if we miss on Wilkes, and only land Justin Smith at wing I’ll be pretty upset. But if we land MJ Walker, and miss on Wilkes then I’m perfectly happy. And honestly, I don’t see anyone of us wanting to trade Thomas Bryant for Caleb Swangian anytime soon.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I don’t understand your argument. What are you agreeing with me about? Or is it what are you disagreeing with me about?

  • SilentBob

    No, bringing in quality recruits needs to be the priority period. You way overestimate the pull in state loyality has on kids, and I also think your way overestimating the amount of high quality talent coming out of this state. I’m not saying I want a four star level recruit from New York over a five star level recruit from Indiana. But when there is high quality talent all over, that in reality you have about equal pull with, I find it silly to put a significant amount of more time into the in state kids.

    At the end of the day, no amount of phone calls are gonna change a kids heart. The program will sell itself, and you have to make do with the customers that gives you. And honestly we haven’t missed out on much, and we probably won’t. Honestly just Gary Harris, for his sophomore year, and Trey Lyles were the only real talent drop offs. We missed on Robinson but we already had a high level wing committed in state, he just happened to bust, and out of state Troy did what he could the next year to make up for that. We got the best point guard from the state in the past five years which I’m sure affected other in state point guard interests levels. Same with Cody and big men. And anyone who wants to sign up for a dou of Caleb Swanigan and Joey Brunk over De’Ron Davis and Thonas Bryant should probably just go a head and become Boiler fans.

  • b_side

    Isn’t Langford a shooting guard?

  • Ole Man

    Making a statement that I prefer the taller player and this is why isn’t criticizing “based on physique.”

    Stop with the name calling.
    You only make yourself look worse.
    Seems you have an anger issue when someone has an alternate opinion.
    However, your circus isn’t allowed to stop in my town.

  • Ole Man

    You have issues.
    Take them elsewhere.
    Tired of your diatribe directed at me.
    Tired of you trolling every comment I make.
    Take your anger issues elsewhere.

  • Ole Man

    Never said any of those things, Arch.
    Never pretended to know more than those coaches.
    You have an unverifiable opinion.
    I have an unverifiable opinion.
    Nothing you posted proves anything.

    I took your remarks as putting you among those willing to settle at this point.
    We have a lot of those on this board.

    I did not mean to imply that you want a banner any less than I do. If it read that way, my apologies.

    It will be 20 seasons at the end of this one without a banner (and we’re not favorites). Nine seasons under CTC.

    Yes, I saw 3 for IU in my lifetime.
    More than most have had the privilege.

    I also remember UNC (detest them now) winning two triple OT games), one against Wilt The Stilt to win the title in ’56.
    I remember Wooden winning with tall teams, slow teams, short teams, etal.

    I remember Chicago Loyola beating powerhouse Cincinnati in ’63.
    Texas Western breaking down segregation by beating Rupp and Kentucky in ’66.

    Certainly doesn’t make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination.
    Perhaps give me credit for maybe knowing a little bit about what it takes for a championship team to come together…..at least “knowing as an avid, outside observer”.

  • Ole Man

    He’s a combo.
    I can just see Izzo now running him at PG sometimes to drive the other teams crazy.
    Tum Tum might be on the bench a lot this year!

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    That’s true enough, but again, he was playing against much taller guys and held his own……….I admired his tenacity……however, he should have never been the slam dunk winner over Dominique!

  • Ole Man

    True all that you wrote.
    Had to admire him for carving out a career.

  • b_side

    Izzo has Tum Tum and a top 35 point guard in 6’2 Cassius Winston this year. I think you’re overstating the issue of small guards.

  • Brian Perry

    It’s a wonder with all the basketball commitments, travel ball, summer leagues, etc. that more players aren’t behind. At least he’s not being given a pass.

  • John D Murphy

    Duke hasn’t placed an emphasis on recruiting more heavily in NC for a very long. Probably since Durham HS’s starting 5 all went to Duke in the 50’s. Even compared to Wake Forest (which is comprised much more of in state students). Duke’s students and alum aren’t weighted heavily to NC residents (as Notre Dame) and recruiting in state just isn’t important to them. You just wouldn’t find the same kind of comments on a fan board about protecting the borders or making sure they grab the local talent as you would for a school more closely associated with the state. Even UK, who recruits as nationally as anyone, has pressure to land in state players (if they meet the standard). Sorry, I didn’t explain my point very well the first time.