POTB 139: A potpourri of offseason topics

After a six-week hiatus, Podcast on the Brink is back with a new episode with host Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call. The show will be available weekly from now until the end of the season. You can access a full archive of episodes here.

In this edition of the show, Morris and Inside the Hall editor Alex Bozich catch up on a variety of topics from their time away from the podcast. Among the topics discussed:

Among the topics discussed:

· Assembly Hall renovations and where things stand
· Indiana’s favorable opening to league play
· The non-conference strength of schedule
· The difficult close to the Big Ten schedule
· A 2017 recruiting update, with a focus on Kris Wilkes
· Al Durham’s national ranking
· The rehab of James Blackmon Jr. and how big this season is for him
· Juwan Morgan’s “workout warrior” award
· How increased attention will affect OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant

And plenty more. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at jerod@assemblycall.com.

Listen in the audio player below, download the episode, subscribe via iTunes or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Recruiting roundup: Wilkes finalizes official visit schedule

Class of 2017 North Central forward Kris Wilkes now has dates set for all five of his official visits.

The five-star prospect announced a finalized schedule for official visits via his Twitter account on Monday afternoon. Here’s the schedule:

– Illinois (Sept. 9-11)
– UCLA (Sept. 22-24)
– Indiana (Sept. 30-Oct. 2)
– Xavier (Oct. 28-30)
– UConn (Nov. 4-6)

Wilkes is ranked the No. 17 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite. As a junior at North Central, he averaged 22.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Four-star point guard lists Indiana among finalists

Class of 2017 St. Benedict’s Preparatory School guard David Beatty trimmed his list from eight to five on Monday and Indiana made the cut.

Beatty, a 6-foot-3, 195 pound guard, is considering Georgetown, Indiana, La Salle, Maryland and UConn.

The three schools trimmed from Beatty’s list were UCLA, Virginia and Temple. He told SNY.tv last month that he plans to take an official visit to Bloomington this fall.

Beatty is ranked the No. 125 player nationally in the 247Composite and is considered a four-star prospect. He had a strong spring and summer with Philly Pride on the Under Armour Association circuit. In 12 UA Association circuit games, Beatty averaged 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Tucker trims to eight

Class of 2017 wing Jordan Tucker, who recently announced that he will transfer from Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) to Wheeler (Ga.) for his senior season, has a list of finalists.

The 6-foot-7 Tucker, who has already taken an unofficial visit to Indiana, is down to Arizona, Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, Syracuse, USC and Villanova. Duke has not offered a scholarship.

Tucker visited Bloomington back in the spring following the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League stop in Westfield.

A final look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten

With the start of the fall semester underway on several Big Ten campuses, it’s time for our final look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten for the 2016-2017 season. (Note: In most instances, only scholarship players are included.)

Illinois (15-19, 12th place tie)

· Returning: Malcolm Hill, Aaron Jordan, Tracy Abrams (granted medical hardship waiver), D.J. Williams, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black (suspended for six games), Jaylon Tate, Maverick Morgan, Michael Finke, Mike Thorne (granted medical hardship waiver), Alex Austin, Kipper Nichols (Tulane transfer becomes eligible)

· Arriving: Te’Jon Lucas

· Departing: Kendrick Nunn (dismissed), Khalid Lewis (graduation), Mike LaTulip (transfer)

Notes: John Groce has the piece in place to put a better team on the floor, but how much better? The loss of Nunn was significant, but hardship waivers for Abrams and Thorne will help with experience.

Indiana (27-8, Big Ten champion, NCAA Sweet Sixteen) 

· Returning: Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, OG Anunoby, Juwan Morgan, Collin Hartman, Josh Newkirk (Pittsburgh transfer becomes eligible), Tim Priller

· Arriving: De’Ron Davis (247Composite top 100), Curtis Jones (247Composite top 100), Devonte Green, Grant Gelon, Freddie McSwain

· Departing: Yogi Ferrell (graduation), Max Bielfeldt (graduation), Nick Zeisloft (graduation), Ryan Burton (graduation), Harrison Niego (transfer), Troy Williams (NBA early entry)

Notes: Indiana has its full roster on campus now after Davis and McSwain missed the summer finishing up academic requirements. This could be the deepest frontcourt rotation Tom Crean has ever in Bloomington.

Iowa (22-11, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament round of 32)

· Returning: Peter Jok, Ahmad Wagner, Nicolas Baer, Dom Uhl, Brady Ellingson, Christian Williams, Isaiah Moss, Dale Jones

· Arriving: Tyler Cook (247Composite top 100), Cordell Pemsl, Ryan Kriener, Jordan Bohannon, Maishe Dailey

· Departing: Brandon Hutton (transfer), Andrew Fleming (transfer), Jarrod Uthoff (graduation), Mike Gesell (graduation), Anthony Clemmons (graduation), Adam Woodbury (graduation)

Notes: Iowa lost a ton of experience from a group that looked like it might win the league in early February. Jok will be one of the Big Ten’s best players, but who will step up to replace the four starters that graduated?

Maryland (27-9, 3rd place tie, NCAA Sweet Sixteen)

· Returning: Melo Trimble, Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley, Jaylen Brantley, Michael Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd, Ivan Bender

· Arriving: Micah Thomas, Anthony Cowan (247Composite top 100), Kevin Huerter (247Composite top 100), L.G. Gill (graduate transfer from Duquesne), Justin Jackson (247Composite top 100), Joshua Tomaic

· Departing: Jake Layman (graduation), Varun Rum (graduation), Rasheed Sulaimon (graduation), Diamond Stone (NBA early entry), Robert Carter (NBA early entry)

Notes: The Terps added two recruits late in Jackson and Tomaic and with a favorable league schedule, could be a sleeper to contend for the Big Ten title.

Michigan (23-13, 8th place, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Returning: Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Mark Donnal, Duncan Robinson, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Moritz Wagner, D.J. Wilson

· Arriving: Xavier Simpson (247Composite top 100), Jon Teske, Ibi Watson, Austin Davis

· Departing: Caris LeVert (graduation), Aubrey Dawkins (transfer), Ricky Doyle (transfer), Spike Albrecht (transfer), Kameron Chatman (transfer)

Notes: Michigan lost four players to transfer, including Albrecht to Purdue. The good news for John Beilein is that he returns one of the league’s better perimeter units with Walton, Irvin, Robinson and Abdur-Rahkman.

Michigan State (29-6, 2nd place, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Returning: Eron Harris, Matt McQuaid, Gavin Schilling, Alvin Ellis, Lourawls Nairn, Kenny Goins, Kyle Ahrens

· Arriving: Miles Bridges (247Composite top 100), Cassius Winston (247Composite top 100), Josh Langford (247Composite top 100), Nick Ward (247Composite top 100), Ben Carter (graduate transfer from UNLV)

· Departing: Denzel Valentine (graduation), Bryn Forbes (graduation), Matt Costello (graduation), Colby Wollenman (graduation), Javon Bess (transfer), Marvin Clark Jr. (transfer), Deyonta Davis (NBA early entry)

Notes: The Spartans welcome the Big Ten’s best recruiting class and also have some experience on the roster with guys like Harris, Schilling and Carter, a grad transfer from UNLV.

Minnesota (8-23, 13th place)

· Returning: Nate Mason, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBryer, Ahmad Gilbert, Bakary Konate, Stephon Sharp, Gaston Diedhiou, Davonte Fitzgerald (Texas A&M transfer becomes eligible), Reggie Lynch (Illinois State transfer becomes eligible)

· Arriving: Amir Coffey (247Composite top 100), Eric Curry, Michael Hurt, Akeem Springs (graduate transfer from Milwaukee)

· Departing: Joey King (graduation), Kevin Dorsey (transfer), Carlos Morris (dismissed/graduation), Charles Buggs (transfer)

Notes: It appears that Lynch will play this season after some legal issues in the offseason and his addition, along with Coffey and Fitzgerald, should provide a much needed infusion of talent.

Nebraska (16-18, 11th place)

· Returning: Tai Webster, Glynn Watson, Jack McVeigh, Ed Morrow, Nick Fuller, Michael Jacobson, Anton Gill (Louisville transfer becomes eligible), Malcolm Laws

· Arriving: Isaiah Roby, Jeriah Horne, Jordy Tshimanga, James Palmer (Miami transfer, must sit out), Evan Taylor

· Departing: Shavon Shields (graduation), Jake Hammond (transfer), Johnny Trueblood (transfer), Benny Parker (graduation), Bakari Evelyn (transfer), Andrew White (transfer)

Notes: The Huskers lost White in June after it appeared he would return to Lincoln for his final season. He’ll play his senior season at Syracuse, which leaves Nebraska with a huge hole to fill on the perimeter.

Northwestern (20-12, 9th place)

· Returning: Bryant McIntosh, Nathan Taphorn, Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, Gavin Skelly, Jordan Ash, Sanjay Lumpkin, Aaron Falzon

· Arriving: Rapolas Ivanauskas, Barret Benson, Isiah Brown

· Departing: Alex Olah (graduation), Tre Demps (graduation), Joey Van Zegeren (graduation), Johnnie Vassar (transfer)

Notes: Northwestern loses Olah and Demps, but returns a solid nucleus that includes McIntosh and Law, who sat out last season with a shoulder injury.

Ohio State (21-14, 7th place, NIT second round)

· Returning: Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, JaQuan Lyle, Marc Loving, David Bell, Trevor Thompson

· Arriving: Derek Funderburk (247Composite top 100), Micah Potter, Andre Wesson, C.J. Jackson

· Departing: A.J. Harris (transfer), Daniel Giddens (transfer), Mickey Mitchell (transfer), Austin Grandstaff (transfer)

Notes: Ohio State had a ton of turnover as four of its five freshman transferred. However, the Buckeyes do return most of their core and if they can develop some depth, this group should improve on last season’s finish.

Penn State (16-16, 10th place)

· Returning: Shep Garner, Josh Reaves, Payton Banks, Isaiah Washington, Julian Moore, Deividas Zemgulis, Mike Watkins, Terrence Samuel (Connecticut transfer becomes eligible)

· Arriving: Tony Carr (247Composite top 100), Lamar Stevens (247Composite top 100), Nazeer Bostick, Joe Hampton, Satchel Pierce (Virginia Tech transfer, must sit out)

· Departing: Brandon Taylor (graduation), Donovan Jack (graduation), Devin Foster (graduation), Jordan Dickerson (graduation)

Notes: This should be the most talented group Pat Chambers has put on the court in State College with a pair of top 100 recruits arriving in Carr and Stevens to pair with Garner, one of the league’s better guards.

Purdue (26-9, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Returning: Isaac Haas, Vincent Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, Dakota Mathias, Ryan Cline, P.J. Thompson, Jacquil Taylor, Basil Smotherman

· Arriving: Carsen Edwards, Spike Albrecht (graduate transfer from Michigan)

· Departing: A.J. Hammons (graduation), Rapheal Davis (graduation), Grant Weatherford (transfer), Kendall Stephens (transfer), Johnny Hill (graduation)

Notes: Purdue will have one of the nation’s best frontcourts, but can they get reliable point guard play out of Thompson, Edwards and Albrecht? If so, the Boilermakers will be dangerous.

Rutgers (7-25, 14th place)

· Returning: Corey Sanders, Mike Williams, Deshawn Freeman, Jonathan Laurent, Ibrahima Diallo, Shaquille Dorson, Nigel Johnson (Kansas State transfer becomes eligible)

· Arriving: Issa Thiam, Matt Bullock, Candido Sa, Eugene Omoruyi

· Departing: Bishop Daniels (graduation), Jalen Hyde (graduation), Omari Grier (graduation), Greg Lewis (graduation), D.J. Foreman (transfer), Justin Goode (transfer)

Notes: Steve Pikiell has a long road to make Rutgers competitive, but the program is in better hands now than the sinking ship that was the Eddie Jordan era.

Wisconsin (22-13, 3rd place tie, NCAA Sweet Sixteen)

· Returning: Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, Ethan Happ, Zak Showalter, Vitto Brown, Brevin Pritzl, Charlie Thomas, Jordan Hill, Alex Illikainen, Khalil Iverson, Andy Van Vliet

· Arriving: Aleem Ford, D’Mitrik Trice

· Departing: Riley Dearring (transfer), Jordan Smith (graduation)

Notes: The Badgers return every notable player from a group that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season. With a full offseason under Greg Gard, Wisconsin may enter the season as the Big Ten favorite.

(Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

Indiana ranked preseason No. 12 by Athlon Sports

The Athlon Sports college basketball preview magazine hits newsstands on September 6 and as we mentioned earlier in the week, Indiana’s Thomas Bryant is featured on one of the regional covers.

We’ll have a more detailed post with some IU and Big Ten centric notes once the magazine is officially released, but Indiana is ranked No. 12 in the magazine’s preseason top 25.

Here’s what Athlon says about the Hoosiers:

Thomas Bryant’s return was a huge boon for the Hoosiers’ hopes to repeat as Big Ten champs. Veteran Yogi Ferrell is gone, but OG Anunoby is ready to become a star.

Other Big Ten teams in the preseason top 25 include Wisconsin (10), Michigan State (11) and Purdue (14).

A closer look at Indiana’s 2016-2017 Big Ten schedule

The Big Ten announced the 2016-2017 men’s basketball schedule on Thursday afternoon, which you can find in its entirety at this link.

The announcement means Indiana’s complete 2016-2017 schedule is now out with the exception of one exhibition game. We broke down the non-conference schedule last week, but here are some thoughts on IU’s 18-game league schedule:

· The early portion could allow for a strong start: Indiana’s Big Ten schedule isn’t as easy as it was out of the gate last season, but with five of its first seven league games at Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers could again start strong in league play.

Indiana’s first three Big Ten games are in Bloomington: Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois. The timing of the Louisville non-conference game means that the Hoosiers will open with the Huskers before two off days and then the meeting with the Cardinals in Indianapolis.

After the three straight home games, Indiana will alternate between the road and home with games at Maryland, at home against Rutgers, at Penn State and then at home against Michigan State. If the Hoosiers are going to repeat as Big Ten champion, protecting home court against Wisconsin and Michigan State will be important, particularly with no return trip to East Lansing.

· The final portion of the schedule looks … tricky: According to an Indiana spokesperson, the Hoosiers will be the first Big Ten team since Northwestern in 2009 to finish league play with four of their five league games on the road.

The final five games: at Minnesota, at Iowa, home against Northwestern, at Purdue and at Ohio State. Indiana went 6-3 in Big Ten road games last season and a repeat of that record will be hard to duplicate. If Indiana can emerge from that final stretch with a 3-2 mark, it would have to be viewed as a success.

· Weekend home games: It’s hard to beat the atmosphere of a weekend Big Ten game at Assembly Hall and fans will have five of those this season. (The Hoosiers also played five weekend Big Ten home games last season.)

In January, Indiana will host Illinois on a Saturday, Rutgers on a Saturday and Michigan State on a Saturday. And in February, there’s a Sunday home game with Michigan and a game with Northwestern that will fall on Saturday or Sunday.

The games with Michigan State and Michigan could be strong possibilities for national broadcasts on CBS.

· Most favorable three-game stretch: Go ahead and pencil in the start of the league schedule here with three straight home games against Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois.

· Toughest three-game stretch: Nothing really stands out, but the stretch of at Wisconsin and then home games against Purdue and Michigan will provide three straight difficult tests for the Hoosiers.

Big Ten announces 2016-2017 men’s basketball schedule

The Big Ten just announced the 2016-2017 conference schedule and you can view Indiana’s 18-game league schedule below, along with a release from IU regarding the matchups, below:

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana – The Big Ten Conference announced the dates and matchups for all conference games during the 2016-17 season today, and Indiana, the defending Big Ten champions, will begin defense of their title on Dec. 28 at home against Nebraska.

The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held in Washington D.C. for the first time. All 14 teams will advance to the tournament, with two first-round games slated for Wednesday, March 8. The No. 12 seed will face the No. 13 seed, while the No. 11 seed will take on the No. 14 seed. The top four teams will receive first and second round byes and advance to the quarterfinals on Friday, March 10.

Television designations for the Big Ten men’s basketball conference schedule and Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will be announced at a later date.

Indiana won the 2016 Big Ten title with at 15-3 record, the 22nd conference crown in school history and the 13th outright, both are tied for the most in Big Ten history. IU has won the Big Ten regular season title in two of the last four seasons.

(Note: Our schedule page has also been updated.)

2016-2017 Big Ten schedule

December 28
Nebraska at Indiana

January 3
Wisconsin at Indiana

January 7
Illinois at Indiana

January 10
Indiana at Maryland

January 15
Rutgers at Indiana

January 18
Indiana at Penn State

January 21
Michigan State at Indiana

January 26
Indiana at Michigan

January 29
Indiana at Northwestern

February 1
Penn State at Indiana

February 5
Indiana at Wisconsin

February 9
Purdue at Indiana

February 12
Michigan at Indiana

February 15
Indiana at Minnesota

February 21
Indiana at Iowa

February 25 or 26
Northwestern at Indiana

February 28
Indiana at Purdue

March 4
Indiana at Ohio State

Tip times and television designations will be announced at a later date.

Five-star Kris Wilkes sets date for official visit to Indiana

Class of 2017 North Central forward Kris Wilkes, one of Indiana’s top recruiting targets, has set a date for his official visit to Bloomington.

As reported by Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star and also shared on Twitter by Mike Peterson, coach of the Indy Hoosiers, Wilkes will be in Bloomington for a visit from September 30 through October 2.

Wilkes will also take official visits to Illinois on the weekend of September 9-11 and to UCLA on the weekend of September 23-25. Additionally, Wilkes will host Xavier for an in-home visit on September 13.

UConn is the other school that Wilkes is considering, but no visit date there has been announced.

There will be football games on campus during each of the three official visits that Wilkes has planned. Illinois hosts North Carolina on September 10, UCLA hosts Stanford on September 24 and Indiana hosts Michigan State on October 1.

Indiana has recruited Wilkes for more than three years and was the first school to offer him a scholarship.

He’s ranked the No. 17 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite. As a junior at North Central, Wilkes averaged 22.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Over the summer, the 6-foot-8 forward played with the Indy Hoosiers, an Under Armour sponsored grassroots program, in the UA Association finals in Atlanta. He also tried out for the USA Basketball U18 team, was a core Indiana Junior All-Star, attended Steph Curry’s camp in California and participated in the Under Armour All-America Camp in Charlotte.

Video: IU provides update on Assembly Hall renovations

On Wednesday, Inside IU Bloomington posted a video detailing the progress of the Assembly Hall renovations, which will be completed by the start of the 2016-17 season.

You can read more about the progress at this link, but we’ve shared a video update below:

Around the Hall: BTN TV schedule, Blackmon Jr., Anunoby’s dunk, more

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

The Big Ten Network announced its “most compelling” non-conference TV schedule and BTN.com has the details:

BTN today announced the most-compelling Big Ten men’s basketball non-conference television schedule in network history. The slate features six matchups of teams that appeared in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, including the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats at Purdue on Nov. 14 as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games and the 2014 national champion Connecticut Huskies at Ohio State on Dec. 10. The network’s schedule includes two Final Four teams from each of the last three seasons.

Premier matchups also include Oklahoma, fresh off a Final Four appearance, traveling to Madison to take on the Badgers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys visiting College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins on Dec. 3. In-state rivalry games will feature Creighton and Nebraska on Dec. 7 and Butler and Indiana in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Dec. 17. The State Farm Chicago Legends at the United Center will feature Dayton vs Northwestern and BYU vs. Illinois also on Dec. 17.

Chad Ford of ESPN Insider published Mock Draft 1.0 for 2017 on Tuesday with two IU players in the first round ($):

Anunoby was a breakout star in the NCAA Tournament, and with his size, athleticism and ability to shoot 3s, he fits the type of 3-and-D player that scouts covet these days.

If he breaks out again this year, I’m not sure he’ll still be around at No. 17.

Vigilant Sports caught up with Yogi Ferrell recently for a podcast interview:

Yogi Ferrell is ready to begin the next phase of his life, as a professional. After four seasons in Bloomington, the Park Tudor and Indiana University graduate will head to Brooklyn to prepare for training camp near the end of August, one month before camp opens.

Ferrell went through 16 pre-draft workouts but did not get drafted, although teams were interested in drafting and stashing him overseas. Instead, the 6-foot point guard elected to go the route of free agency.

The official IU Twitter account shared this video of OG Anunoby from a workout this week in Bloomington:

The ESPN.com college basketball staff looked at interesting alumni from each preseason top 25 team, including Indiana:

11. Indiana Hoosiers: Jamie Hyneman

The co-host of “Mythbusters” on the Discovery Channel has a degree in Russian language and linguistics from Indiana University. For 13 years, “Mythbusters” dazzled audiences by exploring myths from films and folklore, and it aired its final episode in May. A favorite topic? Perhaps the episode that focused on whether it was better to use an ax or firearm to protect yourself during a zombie apocalypse.

Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. is one of the nation’s best “microwave scorers,” according to NCAA.com:

With Yogi Ferrell’s departure, all eyes will be on Blackmon this season in Bloomington.

That’s likely fine with him. Despite other questions about his game, one thing is undeniable: Blackmon can put up a lot of points in a hurry. He missed 22 games due to injury last season, but when he did play, he scored at will – Blackmon averaged 15.8 points per game.

Blackmon is a fantastic shooter (46.3 percent from deep last season) and is capable of breaking defenders down off the dribble. He scored 33 points on just 15 shots last year against Alcorn State, and if the Hoosiers’ offense is ailing, Blackmon is the guy who can stop the bleeding.

Indiana updates 2016-17 roster with uniform numbers, heights, weights

Indiana released a new version of its roster this afternoon with updated heights and weights for new and returning players.

The most significant changes came for what appears to be a bulked up frontcourt. Thomas Bryant, who was listed at 245 pounds as a freshman, is now 255 pounds.

Sophomore Juwan Morgan is up 25 pounds from a season ago and is now listed at 230 pounds. He’s also now listed at 6-foot-8 after being listed at 6-foot-7 as a freshman. Sophomore OG Anunoby is now listed at 235 pounds after being listed at 215 as a freshman.

Junior Josh Newkirk is also up 10 pounds to 195 and James Blackmon Jr. is up five pounds to 200. Senior Collin Hartman also moved from 215 pounds to 220.

The updated roster also has uniform numbers, heights and weights for seven new players.

Freshman De’Ron Davis, who will wear No. 20, is listed at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds. Freshman Curtis Jones, who will wear No. 0, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds. Freshman Devonte Green, who will wear No. 11, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 186 pounds. And freshman Grant Gelon, who will wear No. 24, is listed at 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds.

Junior Freddie McSwain will wear No. 21 and is listed at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds.

Walk-ons Johnny Jager (No. 10) and Zach McRoberts (No. 15) are also on the updated roster.

You can view all of the roster updates over on our roster page.