Every once in awhile, BTP bring its writers together for a roundtable to discuss some of the things going on in the conference. With college football's signing day upon us, it seemed like a good time to do an evaluation on the Big Ten's 2014 recruiting classes. This will be part 2 of 4 evaluating the classes (read Part 1 here and Part 2 here):
5. Who do you believe is the best fit for their respective team?
Thomas Beindit - James Blackmon, Jr. is going to be a tremendous fit for Indiana with his ability to shoot the ball, but I'm going with a pick that is a little more off the wall. Kameron Chatman for Michigan is probably the most overlooked recruit in the Big Ten for next season, but he has the ability to be another dynamic wing for Michigan. Who knows how Michigan's roster will shape up with some NBA decisions ahead, but Chatman could easily fill the small forward or stretch four role for the Wolverines. He is a great athlete and can shoot the ball. Look for him to make a solid impact regardless of some NBA decisions ahead.
Drew Hamm - Continuing the long line of Michigan State point guards that I hate, Lourawls Nairn Jr. should fit perfectly with the Spartans. He'll replace with Keith Appling and should command the Spartans attack for the next four years with deft passing and timely scoring like every MSU point guard for the last 1,000 years. Drew Neitzel can eat butt.
Scott Manning - I believe the best fit will be James Blackmon Jr. at Indiana. The current Hoosier team is desperate for a shooter and a go to scorer and they will get both of those in Blackmon Jr. His competition in high school has been a bit suspect, but that has been stepped up a little bit this year. Given that he turned down Kentucky to come to Indiana, he will be a hero to the fan base as well. I expect big things from Blackmon Jr. next year.
Jason Dorow - Northwestern is getting exactly what they need with Vic Law. Drew Crawford departs and in comes Law, an explosive small forward, ranked 66th in the ESPN 100. Law is the best recruit in Northwestern history, and he should definitely bring the energy to the program that Chris Collins has been looking for. Law also allows Collins to go back to the iso offense that he intended to run. Law can go one-on-one to score in the mid range or around the rim. He can rebound and likes to get out on the break. Law can throw down some nasty dunks, something Evanston has been missing for a while.
Jeremy Michael Haynes - I'm sure he won't figure in the race for Big Ten freshman of the year, and he may not make a huge impact in his first year, but Illinois' Leron Black is very much the sort of player Groce will be looking to stock his roster with going forward. Black is an undersized forward with great drive, competitiveness, and endurance, which is perfect to run the fast-paced, guard-oriented, up-and-down system that Groce eventually wants to implement in Champaign. Black's ability to rebound, run the floor, and defend larger players using his strength and agility makes him a perfect fit for Groce's fighting Illini once the pace picks up for them. Right now the Illini are one of the slowest teams in the league. That will start to change as Groce lands more guys like Leron.
Aaron Yorke - There are a lot of 2014 recruits who are great fits for their programs. D'Angelo Russell has the chance to provide a much-needed scoring boost to Ohio State, and James Blackmon Jr. will stretch the floor for Indiana. Beyond those two, though, I'm looking at Illinois's Leron Black and Northwestern's Vic Law as players who will fit their new teams like a pair of gloves. Black should get playing time right away for an Illini squad that isn't getting the scoring it needs from the frontcourt duo of Jon Ekey and Nnanna Egwu, while Law could step right in and fill the big shoes left by Drew Crawford when he finally graduates.
6. Which team needs their 2014 recruiting class the most?
Thomas Beindit - I'm going with Purdue here. Indiana, Ohio State, and Northwestern are great choices, but all of those teams at least have some pieces to work with this year. Purdue has struggled and a big part of it is because they have some guys who are underperforming. They need a talent boost and guys like Vincent Edwards are prepared to make a splash early. A lot of people are focusing on Isaac Haas as well, but Edwards is the guy to me that could make the biggest impact next season and truly get Purdue back to where they have been in the recent past.
Drew Hamm - Northwestern needs their 2014 recruiting class yesterday. They are a scrappy team that plays tough defense and can shock teams on a cold, Midwestern, winter night; but they do not have enough talent on their team to seriously compete in the conference. Victor Law and his three cohorts that arrive for 2014 will change all that. Coach Chris Collins is slowly trying to change the culture in Evanston, and if he gets another recruiting class like 2014, it won't take very long before the Wildcats are back to competing for that elusive NCAA tourney bid.
Scott Manning - I alluded to this above with my discussion of James Blackmon Jr, but the answer is Indiana. The Hoosiers are incredibly talented this year, but simply do not have the shooters to go to in the big moments. If Noah Vonleh returns, Indiana is going to be quite the force to be reckoned with given the class of Blackmon Jr, Robert Johnson, and Max Hoetzel - all of which are pure shooters. Blackmon and Johnson are believed to be the two top shooters in the entire country as far as this class is concerned.
Jason Dorow - No doubt that Northwestern needs their recruiting class the most. The 2013 season is turning out better than expected, but the ‘Cats are still probably the least talented team in the Big Ten. Incoming recruits Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh seem to have already secured their spots in the starting lineup next season. McIntosh can provide the ball-handling and security at the point that Dave Sobolewski has not been able to provide. Law has the talent to be a star right away. NU's other three commits should all see significant minutes next season too. Northwestern has been getting by with just seven or eight players this season. Johnnie Vassar, Scottie Lindsey, and Gavin Skelly will all compete for playing time and maybe even a starting role.
Jeremy Michael Haynes - They didn't bring in the best class in the conference, but Michigan State got the guys they needed to keep the ball rolling in East Lansing. Maybe Izzo would've preferred Tyus Jones or Tyler Ullis to Lourawls Nairn, but Lourawls is exactly the sort of lead the Spartans need to keep them in tune(forgive me). Unlike most other teams, Michigan State will be replacing a key cog - their starting point guard. For their sake, they'd better hope I'm right and Nairn is a great fit for them which I believe he will be.
Aaron Yorke - Purdue needs its signing class the most. Ever since E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson graduated, the Boilers have been in a downward spiral. A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson are both young impact players, but the team needs a better supporting cast to get back to contender status. If big man Isaac Haas and company don't have a major impact on the Purdue program, I'm not sure if head coach Matt Painter will be employed for much longer.