With the spring signing period underway and several key NBA Draft decisions out of the way, it’s time for our first look at who’s coming and going in the Big Ten for the 2014-2015 season.
Illinois (20-15, 8th place tie, NIT second round)
· Arriving: Aaron Cosby (Seton Hall), Ahmad Starks (Oregon State), Darius Paul (Western Michigan), LeRon Black (247Composite Top 100), Michael Finke
· Departing: Jon Ekey (graduation), Joseph Bertrand (graduation)
Notes: The Illini will return all five starters and also add a top 100 recruit in Black and three transfers who are capable of making an impact. If you’re looking for a sleeper team next season in the Big Ten, Illinois may fit the bill.
Indiana (17-15, 8th place tie)
· Arriving: James Blackmon Jr. (247Composite Top 100), Max Hoetzel, Robert Johnson (247Composite Top 100)
· Departing: Austin Etherington (transfer), Evan Gordon (graduation), Jeff Howard (graduation) Jeremy Hollowell (transfer), Noah Vonleh (NBA), Will Sheehey (graduation)
Notes: The Hoosiers were hit by a midseason transfer (Luke Fischer) and then had Etherington and Hollowell leave after the season. Throw in the early departure of Vonleh, a likely lottery pick and IU still has three open scholarships. Blackmon Jr.’s arrival means that IU has a McDonald’s All-American for four straight years.
Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.
· James Blackmon Jr. tops the list of incoming Big Ten freshmen according to Tom Dienhart of BTN.com.
· Indiana signee Robert Johnson lived up to his billing and was named the All-Metro player of the year in Richmond.
· The Hoosiers have expressed interest in Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson along with Washington, San Diego State, Arizona, Iowa State, New Mexico and others.
· Indiana is mentioned with Canadian class of 2014 big man Link Kabadyundi according to Hoops Hype Canada.
· The official IU Athletics YouTube account has highlights of Will Sheehey’s play in the 2014 Reese’s All-Star Game.
· Austin Etherington is scheduled to visit Butler, Missouri State and potentially New Mexico.
· Class of 2014 Morgan Park (Ill.) forward Josh Cunningham will take his fifth and final official visit this weekend.
· Dan Hanner of RealGM is out with his way-too-early projections for the 2014-2015 season.
· Despite multiple reports otherwise, the father of Michigan guard Nik Stauskas maintains that his son is undecided on the NBA.
· The Washington Post evaluates Maryland’s roster for next season following three transfers that were announced this week.
· Penn State freshman guard Graham Woodward has decided to leave the Nittany Lions program.
Longtime college basketball coach and former Indiana radio color analyst Royce Waltman died Monday evening at the age of 72, following a lengthy battle with illnesses according to the Indiana State basketball Twitter account.
Waltman was an assistant coach at Indiana from 1982 to 1987 and went on to be the head coach at several Indiana universities. He coached DePauw from 1988 to 1992, Indianapolis from 1993 to 1997, Indiana State from 1998 to 2007 and Indianapolis once more in the 2007-2008 season before retiring.
Waltman also played college basketball at Pittsburgh for the 1960-61 season before finishing his career at Slippery Rock.
After his retirement, in 2010, Waltman joined the IU men’s basketball radio team and began broadcasting men’s basketball games with Don Fischer.
He did so until this past December, when he had to step aside due to recurring health issues related to a previous battle with bladder cancer.
“Royce was one of these coaches that endeared himself to everybody, even those who he got angry with now and then,” Fischer said in a statement. “Everybody that knew him respected him and liked him. He was a terrific basketball coach but he was much more than that to everyone he knew. The time we spent with him on our broadcasts were absolutely special.”
With his decision to enter the NBA Draft now in the rearview mirror, the question of whether Noah Vonleh will be back in Bloomington next season has been answered. What hasn’t been answered, and won’t be officially until Thursday, June 26, is which franchise will select Vonleh in the 2014 NBA Draft.
In our latest edition of draft watch, we take a detailed look at where Vonleh’s stock stands following his lone season in Bloomington:
ESPN: (7) Draft Express: (7) NBADraft.net: (6) Sports Illustrated: (8)
· Analysis: Since our last update before the Big Ten tournament, Vonleh moved up a spot in ESPN’s rankings, down a spot in NBADraft.net rankings and down two spots in the SI rankings.
We won’t have a good idea on which teams could potentially target Vonleh until after the NBA Draft lottery, which takes place on May 20. Right now, however, he’s a consensus top eight pick if you go by the four major mock drafts we’ve been tracking for most of the season. Those projections are consistent with the feedback Vonleh says he got from NBA.
“I heard I’ll be somewhere in the lottery, but that’s unknown,” Vonleh said on Thursday. “I’ve got to go into workouts and showcase my skills and hopefully end up where I want to be.”
Check out 17 photos of James Blackmon Jr. from his time this week in Chicago for the 2014 McDonald’s All-American game in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. The 2014 McDonald’s All-American game airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
All photos courtesy of Brian Spurlock for the McDonald’s All-American game.
McDonald’s All-American week is off to a very good start for Marion guard James Blackmon Jr.
The 6-foot-3 Indiana-bound senior won the McDonald’s All-American 3-point shootout on Monday night at the University of Chicago’s Gerald Ratner Athletic Center.
Blackmon Jr. scored 23 points in the event to beat Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis (20), Duke’s Grayson Allen (14) and undecided Myles Turner (10).
Here’s video of Blackmon Jr’s performance:
The future Hoosier then beat Tennessee signee Alex Middleton in the boys’ vs. girls’ 3-point shootout, 20-19.
The McDonald’s All American Game will air live Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Cunningham sets decision date
Class of 2014 Morgan Park (Ill.) forward Josh Cunningham, rated 107th nationally in the 247Composite, will announce his college decision on Wednesday, Apr. 9.
Indiana was among the Big Ten leaders with four academic all-conference selections, the league announced on Wednesday. Here’s the full release from IU Athletics:
The Big Ten Conference on Wednesday recognized four members of the Indiana University men’s basketball team on its 2013-14 Academic All-Conference team. Senior Jeff Howard, senior Taylor Wayer, sophomore Jonny Marlin and sophomore Peter Jurkin were honored. Since 2010, IU has been represented 27 times, which is tied with Northwestern for the most in the league during that span.
The list of honored student-athletes features 34 men’s basketball players from the 12 member schools. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.