There’s still plenty to sort out with Big Ten rosters for the 2020-21 season.
The deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft won’t come until early August, which means several players still have a chance to shift the balance of power in the league.
The remaining key NBA decisions include: Marcus Carr (Minnesota), Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Aaron Henry (Michigan State), Xavier Tillman (Michigan State), Luka Garza (Iowa) and Isaiah Livers (Michigan).
There are also several players who will need a waiver to play next season, including Nojel Eastern (Michigan), Chaundee Brown (Michigan), Both Gach (Minnesota), Jairus Hamilton (Maryland), Liam Robbins (Minnesota), Kobe King (Nebraska), Trey McGowens (Nebraska), Jimmy Sotos (Ohio State) and Sam Sessoms (Penn State).
For the purposes of version one of our power rankings, we’re operating on the assumption that each of the players listed above will play in the league next season.
* – Currently declared for NBA draft
** – Would need a waiver to play next season
Projected Roster: Ryan Greer, Miller Kopp, Pete Nance, Anthony Gaines, Ryan Young, Robbie Beran, Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Ty Berry, Matt Nicholson
Notes: Chris Collins has done little to improve Northwestern’s roster and will be relying on Kopp and Buie to carry the majority of the scoring load next season. This roster lacks depth and the talent to escape the league cellar.
Projected Roster: Thorir Thorbjarnarson, Akol Arop, Shamiel Stevenson, Derrick Walker, Yvan Ouedraogo, Dalano Banton, Kobe King**, Trey McGowens**, Kobe Webster, Teddy Allen, Lat Mayen, Trevor Lakes**, Eduardo Andre
Notes: The Huskers have undergone a significant offseason transformation with several transfers in and out. If McGowens and King are eligible next season, Nebraska should be slightly improved in Fred Hoiberg’s second season.
Projected Roster: Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, Darryl Morsell, Donta Scott, Chol Marial, Jairus Hamilton**, Marcus Dockery, Aquan Smart, Galin Smith
Notes: Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith are gone and Mark Turgeon could be coaching for his job this winter. The Terps have a few solid pieces, but lack the playmakers and shooting necessary to be considered an NCAA tournament team entering the season.
11. Penn State
Projected Roster: Myles Dread, Izaiah Brockington, Myreon Jones, John Harrar, Jamari Wheeler, Trent Buttrick, Seth Lundy, Patrick Kelly, Sam Sessoms**, Dallion Johnson, DJ Gordon, Valdir Manuel, Caleb Dorsey
Notes: The graduation of Lamar Stevens leaves Pat Chambers with a major void to fill. Given his status as one of the program’s all-time greats, it’s unlikely Penn State will be able to successfully navigate the loss.
Projected Roster: Eric Curry, Gabe Kalscheur, Jarvis Omersa, Tre’ Williams, Sam Freeman, Isaiah Ihnen, Marcus Carr*, Brandon Johnson, Liam Robbins**, Jamal Mashburn Jr., Martice Mitchell, Both Gach**
Notes: Carr’s decision is obviously a key, but all indications point to his likely return. The Gophers also have two key waiver situations with Robbins, who could help fill a void in the post and Gach, who transferred from Utah after averaging close to 11 points last season.
Projected Roster: Aaron Wheeler, Eric Hunter, Trevion Williams, Emmanuel Dowuona, Sasha Stefanovic, Brandon Newman, Mason Gillis, Isaiah Thompson, Jaden Ivey, Ethan Morton, Zach Edey
Notes: The Boilermakers have a solid nucleus returning in Hunter, Williams and Stefanovic, but need key newcomers like Newman and Ivey to make an impact from day one. This team’s X-Factor could be Wheeler, who showed potential as a freshman, but underwhelmed last season as a sophomore.
Projected Roster: Trent Frazier, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Da’Monte Williams, Austin Hutcherson, Jermaine Hamlin, Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, Jacob Grandison, Kofi Cockburn*, Andre Curbelo, Adam Miller, Coleman Hawkins
Notes: This projection is highly dependent on Cockburn returning to Champaign. He can control games in the paint as a defensive presence. Illinois will miss Ayo Dosumu, but should have solid guard play with Frazier and the additions of Curbelo and Miller, a pair of top 50 guards.
7. Ohio State
Projected Roster: Musa Jallow, Duane Washington Jr., Justin Ahrens, Kyle Young, EJ Liddell, Ibrahima Diallo, Justice Seuing, CJ Walker, Jimmy Sotos**, Seth Towns, Abel Porter, Eugene Brown III, Zed Key
Notes: The loss of the Wesson brothers looms large for Chris Holtmann, who will be relying on complementary players to step into larger roles. Ohio State’s depth at guard took a hit when Luther Muhammed (Arizona State) and DJ Carton (Marquette) opted to transfer.
Projected Roster: Al Durham Jr., Joey Brunk, Race Thompson, Jerome Hunter, Rob Phinisee, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Armaan Franklin, Anthony Leal, Trey Galloway, Jordan Geronimo, Khristian Lander
Notes: The Hoosiers have the talent to finish higher, but shooting remains a major concern. IU also lost its best defender in Justin Smith, but returns a frontcourt anchored by Jackson-Davis. The sophomore could be an All-Big Ten first team player.
Projected Roster: Geo Baker, Myles Johnson, Mamadou Doucoure, Montez Mathis, Ron Harper Jr., Caleb McConnell, Jacob Young, Paul Mulcahy, Cliff Omoruyi, Mawot Mag, Dean Reiber, Oskar Palmquist
Notes: Rutgers will return four starters from a team that won 20 games and finished in the top 30 of the KenPom ratings. Nabbing Omoruyi, a top 50 recruit nationally, was a major win for Steve Pikiell and his staff.
Projected Roster: Austin Davis, Adrien Nunez, Brandon Johns, Eli Brooks, Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers*, Mike Smith, Zeb Jackson, Hunter Dickinson, Terrance Williams, Jace Howard, Nojel Eastern**, Chaundee Brown**
Notes: The Wolverines have several key decisions pending that could drastically alter their outlook. Eastern and Brown both need waivers granted to play next season and Livers still has to make a decision on if he’ll return to Ann Arbor. There is, however, legit talent on this roster with Wagner, Brooks and the Big Ten’s top incoming recruiting class according to 247Sports.
3. Michigan State
Projected Roster: Foster Loyer, Gabe Brown, Thomas Kithier, Marcus Bingham Jr., Malik Hall, Rocket Watts, Julius Marble, Joey Hauser, Xavier Tillman*, Aaron Henry*, Mady Sissoko, AJ Hoggard
Notes: The guess here is that Watts will be Michigan State’s primary ball handler following the graduation of Cassius Winston. Tillman and Henry still have decisions to make and the former seems like the more serious candidate to make an NBA leap at this point.
Projected Roster: Jordan Bohannon, Joe Wieskamp, Jack Nunge, CJ Fredrick, Connor McCaffery, Pat McCaffery, Joe Toussaint, Luka Garza*, Ahron Ulis, Tony Perkins, Josh Ogundele, Keegan Murray, Kris Murray
Notes: Garza seems likely to return to school if he’s not given a guarantee he’ll be drafted in a favorable spot. Given his meager NBA draft stock, the expectation is that he’ll be back in Iowa City and could be viewed as the preseason national player of the year. Iowa will be one of the nation’s best offensive teams, but will it play any defense?
Projected Roster: D’Mitrik Trice, Micah Potter, Aleem Ford, Brad Davison, Nate Reuvers, Trevor Anderson, Joe Hedstrom, Tyler Wahl, Ben Carlson, Johnny Davis, Lorne Bowman, Steven Crowl, Jordan Davis
Notes: Wisconsin is the safest bet to win the league after claiming a share of the title last season. All five starters return and Greg Gard will have the benefit of having Potter for the entire season.
Filed to: Big Ten Power Rankings