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: 2015-2016 Big Ten preview