Each week, we'll be doing a Monday morning wrap-up of major goings-on that occurred during the preceding week in the world of Big Ten recruiting. Our staff will be breaking down some of the key moves and highlighting certain targets their respective schools are going after.
Make sure to check back in every Monday to start your new week with a recruiting recap and a brief glimpse into the future.
Jeremy Haynes: Michigan, Michigan State.
Scott Manning: Indiana, Nebraska, Purdue.
Andy Patterson: Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State.
Kevin Piotrowski: Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers.
Nick Moyle: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin. (Currently filling in.)
After this past week, which of your schools are trending up and which are trending down, recruiting-wise?
Kevin (PSU/MD/RU): I think you still have to look at Penn State as trending up, in the wake of junior PF Joe Hampton's commitment. To have such an early start on their 2016 class is sure to be an advantage for PSU going forward. Chambers is also targeting a couple of Hampton's AAU teammates, Alani Moore and AJ Wilson, and both have been offered.
Scott (IU/PU/NEB): Purdue seems to be trending up the most right now with Indiana closely following them. The Boilermakers received a commitment from 2015 PG Grant Weatherford this week and also made the final list of 5 star 2015 G Jalen Brunson. It has been a while since Purdue was involved with a 5 star player. Indiana made a lot of offers this week, but that has been a trend lately. No one has bit yet in the coming classes, but the Hoosiers still seem to be moving in a positive direction.
Jeremy (MSU/UM): Michigan and Michigan State were polar opposites this week. Michigan took a small step forward with two commitments, while Michigan State recently lost out on a player who reclassified, had a solid bench player transfer out of their program, and hasn't filled that scholarship quite yet. That may take care of itself as soon as next week if 2014 Ray Kasongo takes Kenny Kaminski's vacated spot, which is a definite possibility.
Andy (UofI/OST/NW): Illinois seems to have a lot of momentum with a number of highly ranked recruits announcing plans for official visits. Jalen Brunson, Jawun Evans, Jimmy Whitt, Elijah Thomas and Shake Milton all set up official visits for the coming months. Illinois has never had that many highly ranked recruits on campus for official visits in a single season. Ohio State currently has the 3rd ranked recruiting class, so while I can't say they were trending up this week, it is hard to say they are trending down with that type of class already in hand.. Northwestern would probably be the school I would say is trending down because they haven't made any offers or had any movement towards getting recruits on campus.
Nick (UI/UW/UofM): With Wisconsin and Minnesota standing pat, Iowa has to be considered the big winner this week. Fran McCaffery received a commitment from 6-7 small forward Ahmad Wagner. The Ohio product is unranked in the 247Sports composite, but is rated as a 3-Star prospect by Rivals. Wagner is a menace in the restricted area that will bring tremendous energy on the boards for the Hawkeyes. His offensive game is largely underdeveloped, but his mid-range is better than he's given credit for and he has a ton of room to grow. Wagner joins Brandon Hutton and Andrew Fleming in McCaffery's 2015 class, with two scholarships still available.
Which moves made this past week will have an interesting impact going forward?
Kevin: A few days ago I probably would have put Maryland in the "trending down" category due to the Trayvon Reed fallout, but an interesting development from the Terps have changed that. Rumors surfaced this past week that they'll be adding Croatian forward Ivan Bender in December, though no reports have officially confirmed this news.
Scott: Indiana offered 2015 SF Ogugua Anunoby. He was hurt for a good portion of his high school season and has really turned it on at the end of the AAU season. Major offers have started to roll in which lends credibility to the fact that he is a high major prospect. He looks to be just as athletic as former Hoosier great Victor Oladipo which has to give Indiana fans chills.
At the very beginning of the week, Purdue received a commitment from 2015 PG Grant Weatherford. He was recruited more from a football standpoint and therefore will bring a toughness to the Boilermaker program that they haven't had since Chris Kramer graduated. Will he be an immediate impact player? Probably not. However, I do see him as a key part of the program for his other three years in West Lafayette.
Jeremy: Kenny Kaminski's dismissal was a shocker. Kaminski didn't have a great freshman season, sure, but he was a consistent feature off the bench for the Spartans and that role would have grown this year. Apparently Kaminski's dismissal was for reasons unrelated to basketball - it's tough to see how Izzo would've felt he could spare a guy with Kaminski's size on the 2014-15 roster he was looking at before Kenny's departure - which makes a lot more sense. That means Kaminsky made a mistake that Michigan State just couldn't deal with, which looks to be an unfortunate thing for both parties. That puts them in a tough spot for this upcoming season. This late in the year, many teams are already on team building events like foreign trips and are deep into individual practices. Michigan State has a chance to add some size on the upcoming season's roster if they can lure Ray Kasongo away from Indiana and Kansas, but their work will certainly be cut out for them there.
Andy: If you look at the Illinois' schedule for official visits there seems to be a clear ranking of potential point guard prospects. Brunson visits first followed by Evan, Whitt and MIlton. Since Whitt and Milton are both combo guards it makes sense that Illinois would try to secure the commitment of a true point before going after their services. The interesting dates are between Brunson and Evans. It seems to that Illinois is clearly putting Brunson ahead of Evans even though most think that Illinois has a better chance with Evans. It could simple be the fact the Brunson set up his visit first, but you would think that most coaches try to strategically schedule visits to allow for second (Evans?) and third (Whitt?) options.
Nick: With two small forwards and a shooting guard signed in his 2015 class, adding a big to compliment the incoming wings should become a major priority for McCaffery in the coming months. Evan Boudreax has become a high-priority target for the Hawkeyes. The 6-7, 225 lbs., power forward will head to Iowa City on October 10 for an official visit. It is generally assumed that Boudreax will sign with the Hawkeyes.
Who are some key targets your respective schools are pursuing most fervently?
Kevin: 2015 point guard Isaiah Briscoe, undoubtedly the highest-rated prospect on Rutgers' recruiting board, announced this week that he'll be waiting a while to commit. The in-state star put the Scarlet Knights in his top five and plans to attend a few games this fall. However, St. John's is the trending pick here, picking up a flurry of Crystal Ball predictions in the past week. Regardless, it appears that there's still a long way to go in Briscoe's recruitment, and Rutgers is firmly in the race.
Jeremy: Michigan State has been hard after local hypertalented 2015 point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson recently announced that the Spartans have landed among his five finalists and will receive an official visit from the talented guard on September 19-21. Tom Izzo has to be especially interested in reeling Brunson in now that the point guard has announced his top five - Illinois and Purdue also made the list and will receive official visits. Seeing Brunson face off against his team in an Illini or Boilermaker get up would probably burn quite a bit more than losing out on Montaque Gill-Caesar.
Andy: Just like MIchigian State mentioned above by Jeremey, Illinois has been going very hard after Jalen Brunson. Illinois' number one need going into 2015 will be the point guard position. John Groce not only need to replace Tracy Abrams, but also finally secure a replacement that can run the point like DJ Cooper did for Ohio University when Groce took them to the Sweet 16. Getting Brunson to commit would be the first major recruiting victory for Groce against perennial top programs.
Nick: Minnesota is amongst a cluster of schools clamoring for the services of Jonathan Nwankwo, a 6-10 power forward out of the Bronx, NYC, rated as the No. 50 PF in the nation. He has an official visit to Minnesota scheduled for September 4. Nwankwo, alongside Kevin Dorsey, would make for an exciting pair of 2015 recruits for Richard Pitino to groom.
Over in Madison, Bo Ryan and Wisconsin have been quiet on the recruiting front. Ryan currently hosted 2016 PF Nick Rakocevic, with the lithe junior reportedly enjoying the trip and the atmosphere. Wisconsin will be making hard push for Rakocevic in the coming months.
Moves and trends to watch for in the coming week.
Kevin: On Saturday, Maryland received a visit from Kansas transfer Andrew White III. White, who has also visited Notre Dame and Nebraska, plans to decide in the near future, and I wouldn't be surprised if that meant a decision this week. White would have 2 years of eligibility after sitting for a year.
Scott: The news to watch on the Indiana front this week is around 2015 SF Ogugua Anunoby. He visited the Hoosier program and received an offer last weekend and is believed to now have Indiana at the top of his list. He also wants to make a decision before September. All of this could lead to a potential commitment this week.
Jeremy: Both Michigan and Michigan State recently hosted, and offered, 5* 2016 guard Josh Langford on unofficial visits over the weekend. This upcoming week will be less busy than the last few weeks. Michigan State is preparing to host Jalen Brunson in September while Michigan will look forward to hosting a big target of their own in September in PJ Dozier if Seth Dugan doesn't swing through this week.
Andy: Ohio State and Illinois will be mostly quiet until football season starts and they get recruits on campus for official visits. Northwestern has more momentum to make up, and you should see them start to make some more offers to try and get recruits on campus for official visits.
Nick: Wisconsin has just one commitment for 2015, with five scholarships still available. Obviously, luring on of the top-ranked players in the nation in Diamond Stone to Madison would be a massive recruiting coup for Ryan, but the ongoing struggle for his services from every major program in the nation may lead the Wisconsin native elsewhere. Look for Ryan to ramp up his heated pursuit of another highly-touted big man prospect, and fellow Wisconsin PF; Henry Ellenson. The battle for these two Top-10 talents should be intriguing to watch unfold over the next several weeks.