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.
Nick Moyle: Recruiting Editor (Temporarily handling Nebraska coverage)
Scott Manning: Indiana
Robert O'Neill: Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin
Andy Patterson: Illinois, Northwestern and Ohio State
Kevin Piotrowski: Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers
[Note: Andy Patterson was unfortunately unable to contribute this week, he'll be back with updates and analysis on the Illini, NW and OSU next week.]
Which of your teams benefited most from the 247Sports Class Rankings update?
Scott - Given that Indiana seems to be involved at this point with a good portion of the top 20 players - I would say they have probably benefited the most of the entire B1G. The Hoosiers have been making inroads with SF Jayson Tatum (#2), SG Malik Monk (#5), and C Thon Maker (#3). In addition, there have been strong ties with PF T.J. Leaf, (#16) PF De'Ron Davis (#23), and SG V.J. King (#15). All of this is not even taking into account local star, SG Eron Gordon, who is the youngest brother of former Hoosiers Eric and Evan and is expected to be more on the level of Eric as compared to Evan. While Indiana is struggling a bit in 2015 - the 2016 class looks to be shaping up very well right now.
Robert - It's an especially tough question. As Scott said, Indiana's really been the only Big Ten team to get involved with the 2016 class so far, at least in regards to the top 20. So at this juncture I really can't answer the question.
Kevin - Neither the 2015 nor the 2016 updates did many favors for Maryland, Penn State, or Rutgers. In fact, Terps fans might even be disappointed to see Anthony Cowan, a main 2016 PG target, ranked barely within the top 150. Penn State fans, though, can take solace in all of their (numerous) 4-star 2015 and 2016 commitments have held steady near the top 100.
Jeremy - Michigan State commit Deyonta Davis rose in the 247Sports Composite and earned a fifth in the latest rankings. Some players that Michigan is recruiting also rose on the boards, but it feels premature classing that as a win for Michigan. Tom Izzo scooped Deyonta Davis when he was a relatively unknown borderline 4-star recruit and that scouting looks to have paid off in spades.
Nick - Neither 2015 nor 2016 appear particularly promising for Nebrasketball. Tim Miles' 2015 class consists of No. 222 Michael Jacobson and unranked Keanu Pinder, neither of whom were prominent risers in the latest update. The Huskers have yet to reel in a recruit for 2016, and there aren't any targets that truly stand out as being heavily in favor of attending Nebraska. Even Rutgers has some prominent leads on top 100 players. Out of the fourteen Big Ten schools, Nebraska may have actually fared the worst in the newest class rank updates.
With regards to the 2015 Big Ten class rankings, what would you deem as the biggest surprise?
Scott - A couple things are surprising, but I would say the biggest surprise is the rise of Penn State. The Nittany Lions have already landed two four star players in PF Mike Watkins and SG Josh Reaves which is not normal to say the least. Could Penn State finally be making in-roads in recruiting the east coast, which is loaded with basketball talent? If they can keep having this success, Penn State has the ability to become a bigger program within the B1G. I think the fan base has always been there, but just hasn't had anything to get excited about for years now. Another surprise worth mentioning is the last two B1G Champions - Michigan and Indiana not having a single commitment between them at this point in 2015. A lot of that is driven by the current rosters, but is still very surprising.
Robert - I think two big things stood out. First is the fact that Wisconsin, coming off a Final Four appearance, has only one commit so far. Obviously by this point people have learned, I hope, that star level doesn't mean much when it comes to Bo Ryan. He's constantly churning three star players into great assets. The other big surprise I had was Illinois being ranked second in the Big Ten. I knew when John Groce was hired that he would be able to recruit Chicago and the surrounding areas much better than Bruce Weber did (Chris Collins also can). I just wasn't sure it would happen this quick. Had Illinois been able to land Cliff Alexander, they would have been my favorite in the Big Ten this season.
Jeremy - I'm going to go with Iowa's recruiting class. This time in 2012 I thought that Iowa was on the rise as a recruiting power in the Big Ten after they kept Adam Woodbury away from the North Carolina Tarheels and brought in local talent Mike Gesell. They had a brand new practice facility. Their arena was being renovated. They played a fast, fun style of basketball and you could see momentum building within their program as they steadily won more and more games. Last season, that building process culminated in a return to the NCAA tournament. But their recruiting hasn't followed suit. Winning more games and upgrading their facilities hasn't helped Iowa to land more 4-star talent, or win more recruiting battles against blue blood programs.
Kevin - Penn State has certainly been making itself easy to talk about lately. Their position at 4th in the B1G and 13th nationally is astonishing. But could Ohio State's class thus far also be deemed surprising? Sure, there's nothing surprising about Ohio State being atop the Big Ten, or even being third in the country, but that doesn't mean you can't marvel at what they've done so far for 2015. In pulling two Top 100 wings out of texas and another Top 50 big man from Georgia, Thad Matta has strengthened the Big Ten's recruiting profile as a whole.
Nick - The fact that Penn State is recruiting at such a high level on the hardwood is obviously surprising to everyone, as the Nittany Lions have never even sniffed a top 10 basketball class. Even more unbelievable, Pat Chambers still has one more scholarship to fill and has drawn the interest of Levan Alston (No. 36 SG, No. 112 Composite). The Keystone State is currently waging a Civil War over Alston, with Temple, Penn and Penn State all fighting for his services. If Chambers can land Alston, the Nittany Lions will have a top 10 class overall and likely the second best class in the Big Ten behind only Ohio State. On a side nide, I'm still having a difficult believing everything I just wrote is true.
Of the top 100 players still remaining on the 2015 board, which prospect do you believe your team has the best chance of landing?
Scott - For Indiana, I think it is probably a tie between G Shake Milton (#79) and PF Juwan Morgan (#85). Along with G/F O.G. Anunoby, who is not in the Top 100 - these two players seem to be the main focus of the Hoosier coaching staff right now in 2015. If Indiana takes a 2014 commit this week, it will have zero scholarships remaining for 2015 - but I fully expect three players to be taken in this class. Milton and Morgan play together in AAU and would be a good fit in Bloomington.
Robert - Although a lot of schools are in on him, I think C Diamond Stone (#6) from Milwaukee will stay in state and play for Bo Ryan and the Badgers. Earlier this month I would have said Wisconsin would be in on F Henry Ellenson (#9) also, but it's seeming like he's leaning heavily towards Marquette.
Jeremy - Michigan State is strongly favored to land both Caleb Swanigan (#15) and Jalen Brunson (#17). Michigan is also a player in Brunson's recruitment and will receive an official visit, but their East Lansing rivals are thought to be the favorite.
Kevin - Call me an optimist, but I think Rutgers has a real shot with the nation's top point guard, Isaiah Briscoe. Arizona may have been the top threat for Briscoe until the Cats pulled another top guard in Allonzo Trier. Briscoe seems willing to look in-state and will be looking at Rutgers more this season. Rutgers is also in good standing with Florida point guard Corey Sanders, whose recruitment has been somewhat quiet since decommitting from UCF last fall. Elsewhere, Maryland is still in it for Ohio PF Esa Ahmad. Ahmad comes from Buckeye country but could defer to Maryland depending on how other dominoes fall in OSU's 2015 class.
Nick - Nebraska is making a strong push for Illinois point guard Glynn Watson (No. 11 PG, No. 71 Composite). Watson will be taking a visit to campus on August 29, followed by a trip to Creighton the next weekend. The Bluejays' are currently leading the race to land Watson, but his wooing is far from complete. Maryland also made Watson's "final five" cut and he has not yet stated a definite date for his announcement. Aside from Watson, look for Miles to continue his aggressive pursuit of Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) PF Ed Morrow (No. 27 PF, No. 125 Composite).
What kind of impact do you believe conference newcomers Rutgers and Maryland have had or will have on Big Ten recruiting?
Scott - I believe Maryland can have a significant effect on B1G recruiting. Schools like Indiana have been trying to hit the east coast very hard over the last few seasons (see Victor Oladipo, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, and Robert Johnson just to name a few). Maryland now offers recruits the chance to play in the B1G and stay on the east coast. The question for Maryland though is will these recruits have interest in the B1G or will they now bypass Maryland for another ACC school? From a Rutgers perspective - I don't see any impact in recruiting at this time. They just do not have a powerful story to tell when it comes to hoops and I would be surprised if recruits started considering Rutgers just because they are now in the B1G.
Robert - I agree with Scott in that Maryland brings Big Ten basketball to the east coast, so Maryland can get in the game on that front. I don't, however, think Maryland or Rutgers would have the ability to convince kids from Illinois, Indiana, or Michigan to come out there and play. For the most part, those kids either stay in state. If they want to head east, they'll go to Duke or UNC.
Kevin - When you look at Rutgers and Maryland joining the Big Ten, you can draw a lot of parallels to the recent CFB conference shuffle, specifically Texas A&M's move to the SEC. You see newcomers who weren't top dogs in their previous conferences, but can give recruits from talent-rich areas the chance to play in the best conference in the country. A&M has proven that this can be a successful pitch. However, you have to remember that the Aggies stormed into the SEC with an 11-2 season, a win over Alabama, and a Heisman winner to silence the skeptics. I think the recruiting impact for Rutgers and Maryland could be phenomenal, but only if the newcomers show they can win in the Big Ten. Maryland and Rutgers likely need to get to the NCAA tournament and NIT (respectively) to show that their stock is trending up in the B1G before they reap significant benefits.
Jeremy - Personally, I don't think the impact will be huge for the programs that preceded Maryland and Rutgers. As has been mentioned several Big Ten programs - Illinois, Iowa, and Illinois among them - have had a consistent presence in east coast recruiting over the last few years. If the Big Ten Network gains a lot of traction there that may increase somewhat, but those programs have been trending well there for a while and you can't lock down an area with that much talent. Maryland may pull a few kids out of the Midwest but for the most part their bread is going to be buttered in the same area. Rutgers, to their credit, is an excellent academic program but nothing is going to help their recruiting outside of winning at this point.
Nick - Conference realignment is going to have an undeniable impact on future recruits, the extent of which will not be made tangible for some years to come. However, I believe adding Rutgers and Maryland to the Big Ten might make B1G basketball a more viable option for young kid from the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) area, a noted basketball hotbed. All it takes is one or two major dominoes from New York City or Philly to fall and turn the midwest into a hoops destination for highly touted East Coast recruits. It may not have an immediate large-scale impact, but it will absolutely be a positive going forward. [I also expect the Big Ten to expand to 16 teams within the next five or so years, opening up even more untapped recruiting areas.]
Did any of your teams have any notable moves, announcements, visits, commitments, etc, last past?
Scott - It has been one of the craziest weeks that I can remember on the Indiana recruiting front. First, it was announced that former Oregon signee PF Ray Kasongo, who didn't qualify academically at Oregon was interested in Kansas, Michigan State, LSU, and Indiana. Then all the sudden Kansas and Michigan State were out. About mid-week, it was announced that SF Emmitt Holt was also going to visit Indiana in the upcoming week and would be a member of the 2014 class. The Hoosiers only have one spot open, so a lot of people starting wondering if someone was being removed from the current team. On Saturday, it first came out that Kasongo didn't qualify at LSU either and it was only down to Indiana. However, late Saturday night - the inevitable happened - Kasongo was deemed ineligible at Indiana as well. Based on this news, Holt has now moved up his visit to today (Monday) and looks to be the player the Hoosiers will add to the 2014 class at this point. Stay tuned to BTPowerhouse in the upcoming week for further updates on this fast moving news in Bloomington.
Robert - Iowa got a jump start on the class of 2016 by offering four-star PG Cassius Winston (#35). Also in Iowa news, 2016 five-star PF TJ Leaf (#16) listed the Hawkeyes in his top 10. As for Minnesota and Wisconsin, they remained mostly stagnant all week
Jeremy - Jalen Brunson set his visit schedule last week, and Michigan State is anxiously preparing to host the promising guard. Michigan is currently on a foreign tour in Italy and won their first game on Sunday over Perugia Select 99-60.
Kevin - Rutgers has continued their search for point guards by offering 2016 in-state star Temple Gibbs. Meanwhile, both Rutgers and Maryland looking for potential transfers. Rutgers has earned interest from Southern Miss transfer Aaron Brown, while Maryland continues to wait for a decision from Andrew White III.
Nick - The Nebrasketball front was largely quiet. Miles did offer a scholarship to 6-foot-9, 300 pound JuCo center Brandon Walters. I can't profess to know much about Walters, but his gargantuan dimensions do call to mind former Dallas Cowboys legend Ed "Too Tall" Jones, for what that's worth. Walters averaged 14.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game at Walters State last season, while shooting 66 percent from the field. Tennessee has also shown interest but has not yet offered the monolithic big man a scholarship.