Back to the Future: The Big Ten's 2015 Class So Far

Illinois coach John Groce has gotten an early start on his 2015 class - David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois recently added the talented Aaron Jordan to their scholarship chart after the talented guard committed to the Fighting Illini. Where is the rest of the conference at i its 2015 recruiting efforts?

So far, we've reviewed the Big Ten's 2014 class and the stars of that group's chances to make the McDonald's All-American game, the premier high school all-star event. Just 11 of ESPN's top 60, a selection of the nation's top 2015 talents, have offered a verbal commitment to this point. That doesn't mean an early look can't tell us anything, however, The Big Ten has already claimed 2 commitments among ESPN's top 60 and is involved with a number of the 2015 class' top players.

The Commits

Ohio State and Illinois have already notched commitments from highly regarded players, but they're not the only programs that have already earned a 2015 verbal commitment. Let's take a look at all the juniors currently slated to join the Big Ten.

Ohio State

Name Position Height/Weight 247Sports Composite Ranking
A.J. Harris PG 5'9", 160 lbs 81
Mickey Mitchell SF 6'7", 210 lbs

19

Overview

Mickey Mitchell , an athletic and versatile wing scorer, was a huge and unexpected pickup for Ohio State. His brother recently committed to play for Urban Meyer on the gridiron, but it was thought that Mickey's recruitment would take a while to resolve itself. Then Mitchell suddenly committed. A.J. Harris is a true point guard who will probably play behind D'Angelo Russell in his first season.

Illinois

Name Position Height/Weight 247Sports Composite Ranking
Aaron Jordan
SG 6'4", 175 lbs 95
D.J. Williams SF 6'7", 202 lbs

36

Overview

John Groce's latest verbal commits aren't important solely because they're talented basketball players, they also represent the growing traction that Groce and his assistants are gaining in recruiting Chicago and Illinois in general. D.J. Williams in particular is a product of Simeon, the same Chicago program that produced Jabari Parker. If Illinois can continue to draw top players out of Simeon, Illinois fans will be very happy with John Groce. Williams and Jordan will both add shooting to a squad that could use it.

Michigan State

Name Position Height/Weight 247Sports Composite Ranking
Deyonta Davis
PF 6'9", 210 lbs 163

Overview

Deyonta is capable of becoming a contributor in the Big Ten, but it's worth noting that he isn't the caliber of recruit that Michigan State attracts. Since bring the supremely talented Gary Harris to East Lansing in the 2012 class, Michigan State has failed to attract another 5-star prospect or McDonald's All-American. Though Harris is likely to leave as an underclassman after this season, Branden Dawson may stay. After that though, Michigan State will be hard pressed to turn up a top talent to help continue the Spartans' run as one of the conferences' top teams.

Nebraska

Name Position Height/Weight 247Sports Composite Ranking
Keanu Pinder
PF 6'8", 195 lbs NA

Overview

Tim Miles is establishing something of a pipeline to Australia's top prospects. While he may have preferred to land the talents of 5-star Ben Simmons, Keanu Pinder indicates that Nebraska could become a popular landing spot for Oz natives like Tai Webster.

Penn State

Name Position Height/Weight 247Sports Composite Ranking
Mike Watkins
PF 6'8", 210 lbs 131

Overview

Mike Watkins probably won't set the world on fire upon his arrival at Penn State, but he is another sign that Pat Chambers is starting to increase the talent level at Penn State. By the time Watkins arrives at Happy Valley both D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier will be long gone, so he may play right away whether he is ready or not.

Rutgers

Name Position Height/Weight 247Sports Composite Ranking
Leroy Butts
SF 6'7", 180 lbs 122
Austin Burnette
SF 6'6", 205 lbs

NA

Overview

Initially, Leroy Butts is unlikely to compete for anything more significant than the Big Ten's all-name team. And Basil Smotherman pretty much has the top spot locked up as long as he's in West Lafayette, so Butts may not make as big a splash there as you'd think.

The Top Targets Around the Conference

Last week we took a look at which of the Big Ten's 2014 commits were most likely to make the McDonald's All-American game. The picture in 2015 is murkier still as these players are even further from the final roster cuts than the 2014 class, who will learn their ultimate fate as it relates to the all-star game on February 14th, this is intended to be a look at some Big Ten targets that may end up in the 2015 McDonald's All-American game.

Stephen Zimmerman, C, 247 Sports Composite Ranking: 2

Big Ten Suitors: Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: Arizona 79%

Zimmerman, the top rated big man in his class, is thought to be leaning towards staying on the west coast after he moves on from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas.

Diamond Stone, C, 247 Sports Composite Ranking: 6

Big Ten Suitors: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: Marquette 60%

The Milwaukee standout may not travel very far to attend college. Marquette is a factor but don't count out the Badgers here, who must look more appealing after a hot start to the season and the development of Frank Kaminsky.

Cheick Diallo, PF, 247 Sports Composite Ranking: 7

Big Ten Suitors: Minnesota, Ohio State

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: St. John's 80%

Diallo hasn't taken much time to take unofficial visits even so it is tough to get much of a read on his recruitment. Expect Diallo's recruitment to heat up once his season ends.

Carlton Bragg, PF, 247 Sports Composite Ranking: 9

Big Ten Suitors: Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: Kentucky 58%

John Calipari is a tough coach to overcome, but Matta and Groce have a real chance to best the Wildcats coach in landing the Ohio player. Ohio State has home court advantage while Groce quickly built a strong rapport with Bragg. Either team would love to add a talent of Bragg's magnitude, and both are solidly in the picture as of now.

Elijah Thomas, PF, 247 Sports Composite Rankings: 10

Big Ten Suitors: Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: Southern Methodist 30%

Elijah Thomas could go nearly anywhere in the country to play basketball, but may land close to home with the SMU Mustangs. Thomas has attended several games on unofficial visits and has visited SMU again recently. Minnesota, though, has also received multiple unofficial visits from Thomas.

Charles Matthews, SG, 247 Sports Composite Rankings: 11

Big Ten Suitors: Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: Kentucky 93%

Pundits generally believe that Matthews favors Kentucky, though his most recent unofficial visits where to Illinois and Michigan State, who Matthews has visited twice now.

Luke Kennard, SG, 247 Sports Composite Rankings: 15

Big Ten Suitors: Michigan, Ohio State

247 Sports Crystal Ball Prediction: Kentucky 79%

Kennard is an explosive athlete with a great touch. He has a real affinity for the Kentucky Wildcats but Thad Matta has managed to bend his ear thus far.

Conclusion

The Big Ten's 2015 class is off to a good start as of this writing, thanks to Illinois and Ohio State, and the Big Ten is involved with a number of elite prospects, so many in fact that I elected to focus on the absolute best of the 5-star prospects Big Ten programs are in the mix for. With so much time remaining in the recruitment of most of these players, the fact that no Big Ten program is currently viewed as a favorite for any of these players isn't cause for concern. Seeing the Big Ten involved with so many top 10 and top 20 prospects is undoubtedly a good sign.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join BT Powerhouse

You must be a member of BT Powerhouse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BT Powerhouse. You should read them.

Join BT Powerhouse

You must be a member of BT Powerhouse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BT Powerhouse. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker