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 evaluate the Big Ten's 2014 recruiting. This will be part 2 of 4 evaluating the classes (read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here):
7. Maryland and Rutgers are the newcomers to the conference. Do you think they can recruit at a level to compete in the Big Ten?
Thomas Beindit - Maryland is already recruiting at an elite level. In fact, the only teams that really held with them in 2014 recruiting were Ohio State and Indiana. That's pretty good company. Whether the Terps actually do anything with that talent is unknown, but they certainly have the pieces to compete. Rutgers is still a trainwreck right now and until they start turning things around, I'm not sure they can really recruit with the big boys in the conference. Still though, teams like Nebraska have improved without elite recruiting so there is hope.
Drew Hamm - Maryland: yes. Rutgers: not yet. They will get there though. As the B1G's Team of New York, I expect the Knights to be able to recruit NYC with all those B1G bucks soon, and that will greatly improve their team.
Scott Manning - Maryland should be able to easily recruit well enough to contend in the B1G. Just look at their 2014 class. They have a strong history of basketball and come from ACC where they competed well against the Duke's and the UNC's of the world. Rutgers on the other hand is likely going to struggle in a big way. The good news for schools like Penn State and Northwestern is a new team may find a home at the bottom of the B1G standings annually.
Jason Dorow - Maryland definitely can recruit with the best of ‘em. They have the second best class in the B1G for 2014, and they are coming from the ACC, formerly the best conference in college basketball. The Terps have a strong history and some sweet uniforms to make the pitch to recruits. Rutgers will have some trouble out the gate. By no means do they have a historic program, nor has the team been particularly good of recent. The Scarlet Knights are well below .500 this season, and the Mike Rice scandal still looms in recent past. Rutgers could be stuck at the bottom of the Big Ten for a long time.
Chris Kay- Maryland can easily compete with the rest of the B1G in recruiting. They're in their own region competing for recruits in ACC country. I'm not sure how recruits will look at that, but it's hard to ignore a B1G school in that region consider they have no one else. Maryland is also a storied program with a nice tradition. They should be fine while I'm not sure about Rutgers. Scandal plus a program that's not exactly high regarded by any means is going to make it tough on them. They'll have to start winning before becoming a recruiting threat.
Jeremy Michael Haynes - Yes and no. When it comes to Maryland, yes. The Terrapins have a proud history, won a national championship in 2002(to my eternal despair), and have an elite class lined up in 2014. There is no doubt that Maryland can bring in enough talent to compete, which they should prove right away in their inaugural season - Maryland should finish in the top 7 of the new B1G and make the tournament with room to spare. As for Rutgers, no. Just no. Not anytime soon, anyway. Rutgers has lined up one of the worst classes in the league and doesn't have much recent success to boast of to change the tide. That didn't stop Seton Hall from landing a great class this year, and Rutgers could strike gold with a local prospect too, but I don't think they have the facilities or administrative support to recruit at a high level year-in and year-out.
Aaron Yorke - Well Maryland can, as evidenced by the high ranking of its 2014 class. Plus, it's not as though there are other Big Ten teams that are recruiting the heck out of the Washington D.C. area. Rutgers, on the other hand, will have to prove that it has what it takes to compete in the Big Ten. Head coach Eddie Jordan will need to step up his recruiting game in the greater New York area in order to avoid being stuck in the bottom of the standings like RU so often was during the Big East era. If he can't, the Knights will be stuck battling Penn State for three-star Philly players that the big powers didn't want.
8. Evaluate your favorite Big Ten team's recruiting class for 2014.
Thomas Beindit - Michigan's recruiting class for 2014 is an interesting one. It's not as loaded as the team's 2012 or 2013 recruiting classes, but that does not necessarily mean it's a bad class. One thing that has helped Michigan maintain success recently has been those 3* recruits that stick around for a few years. It's allowed them to avoid those massive drops because not everybody is bolting to the NBA every year. Kameron Chatman deserves the most attention largely because he is likely the only guy prepared to make an immediate impact. He is a great athlete that could fill a role much like Glenn Robinson III. Ricky Doyle has been getting more and more attention and could be a really good frontcourt player if he gets a little time to develop. D.J. Wilson is a redshirt lock unless a bunch of guys go to the NBA. He has the skills, but is just a little too small and a little too rough on defense to demand significant minutes immediately. Finally, Austin Hatch is going to redshirt, but everybody knows his story. It's amazing that he is even playing basketball after his injury resulting from an airplane crash.
Drew Hamm - Wisconsin has one player coming in for 2014, 6'7.5" SF Ethan Happ out of Rockford, IL. Because I'm convinced Bo Ryan is some sort of recruiting wizard, I'm certain the lightly recruited, but talented, Happ will be a star by the time he is a junior. Missing out on Kevon Looney sucked, but wasn't unexpected at all. At least he went west and didn't sign with Milwaukee's best basketball team (burned, the Bucks).
Scott Manning - Indiana has James Blackmon Jr, Robert Johnson, and Max Hoetzel coming in next year, and I absolutely love the class. It may not be the most talented to ever come in at Indiana, but it fills a desperate need. The one major downside is no big man and if Noah Vonleh leaves, it won't matter much that the Hoosiers once again have shooters. Big men win championships and that is all the Hoosier faithful are concerned with.
Jason Dorow - I already did a little evaluation of Northwestern, so let's take a look at Minnesota. Rich Pitino was put in a tough spot recruiting-wise when he took over at the U of M. Minnesota's high school class of 2014 is the best class the state has ever seen. It includes three players in the top 25 of the ESPN 100 in Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn, and Reid Travis. Pitino was left with just a matter of months to convince these guys to play for him. They are all going elsewhere. Pitino put together a decent class. He got another junior college transfer, Carlos Morris, which he's proven can provide instant help (Deandre Mathieu). When Mathieu and Dre Hollins graduate in a few years, three-star recruit Nate Mason should take the reigns at point guard. The Gopher's one other commit, Josh Martin, fills a big need at power forward, but he's only a two-star recruit. It's unlikely either of the incoming freshman make an immediate impact, but they are good long-term projects for Pitino to develop.
Jeremy Michael Haynes - I think Indiana did a great job with their latest class, though landing Goodluck Obokonoh would've made it a home run. Indiana needed shooting and they got it, with James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, and Max Hoetzel to help spread the floor starting next season. What they didn't get was a big man to develop behind Noah Vonleh, who may not stick around for a second season in Bloomington to begin with. If Vonleh returns Indiana should have everything they need to make a deep run in March. If not, they'll have an easier time reaching the NCAAs than they did this year but their ceiling won't be much higher.
Aaron Yorke - I always want Penn State to recruit more frontcourt players, but it appears they actually have some depth there (for now) with Donovon Jack and Jordan Dickerson. So while I'm not overwhelmed with point guard Shep Garner and shooting guard Isaiah Washington, it's true that Penn State needs some backcourt prospects with Tim Frazier finally graduating and D.J. Newbill a year away. Garner is particularly important because he could be asked to step in and play right away on a team that is lacking a pure point guard beyond Frazier.