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: Resident Hoosier expert
Jeremy Haynes: Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue
Robert O'Neill: Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin
Andy Patterson: Illinois, Northwestern and Ohio State
Kevin Piotrowski: Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers
Did any notable moves made this week affect your schools, either positively or negatively?
Scott - Indiana landed 2014 three star forward Emmitt Holt on Thursday. Holt fills the last scholarship available in both 2014 and 2015 on paper. He adds some much needed size as he currently stands at 6'7" with a 7'3" wingspan. Look for Holt to get playing time immediately at both the 4 and 5 spots. I do not believe he will start for the Hoosiers at all this season, but I do believe he will be seeing some significant minutes come February and March. He is a high energy player who finished 4th in the Nike EYBL in blocked shots and is also known as an excellent rebounder. He will never blow you away on the offensive end, but should do a lot of the little things the Hoosiers need down low this season.
Jeremy - Neither Michigan nor Michigan State added a recruit this week but there was a decision that came down that will affect Michigan State's recruiting over the coming years. Bry Forbes, a transfer that joined Michigan State earlier this summer, has had his transfer requirement waived and will now be eligible to begin exhausting his remaining two seasons of eligibility right away rather than sitting out this season. With that decision in the books, Michigan State now has a much clearer outlook in regards to their scholarship numbers and can now more reliably reach out to prospects well down the line.
Kevin - News was relatively light on the recruiting front for Penn State, Maryland, and Rutgers. However, other dominoes are always falling to affect teams across the conference. The decommitment of OSU verbal Mickey Mitchell means the Buckeyes could go even harder after Esa Ahmad, a high Maryland target slated to officially visit soon. Another unfortunate piece of news for the Terps: Kansas transfer Andrew White III, who visited Maryland a few weeks back, has decided to join Nebraska.
Robert - Minnesota had the busiest week of my teams, landing three-star shooting guard Dupree McBrayer, adding to an already solid 2015 class consisting of four-star point guard Kevin Dorsey. If they can land four-star power forward Alex Illikainen, the Gophers should have a Top 15 class for 2015.
Andy - I wouldn't necessarily call it a move the school made rather than a move made by a recruit, but four star PF Mickey Mitchell decommitting is the top news of the week. Ohio State currently has a top 5 recruiting class, but that status takes a big hit with Mitchell's deciding not to attend. Now Ohio State must double their efforts to secure another PF for the 2015 class. With that said, if they are able to reel in a top talent like Carlton Bragg, the sting from Mitchells decommitment would disappear very quickly.
Nick - After a relatively quiet summer, the Cornhuskers had a wild Monday. Former Kansas Jayhawk Andrew White III announced he would be transferring to Nebraska. Shortly after, Class of 2017 shooting guard Aguek Arop verbally pledged to Nebraska, becoming the youngest player to ever commit to NU. While the Huskers still only have one combined recruit from the Classes of 2015-2016, head coach Tim Miles has to be pleased with these developments.
The recruiting world never stops. So, with that in mind, which of your schools have made the biggest inroads with Class of 2016 recruits thus far?
Scott - 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). There should be a number of scholarships open in 2016 for Indiana - even more than are on paper now - so the Hoosiers could put together one of the best classes in Coach Crean's tenure in 2016 if they can find a way to land a few of the players above to go along with guys like Eron Gordon who seem likely to commit to Indiana, but are rated a little lower currently.
Jeremy - Izzo is and always has been a very strong recruiter, but the 2016 class could be a very special one for John Beilein. Belein has his fingerprints all over 247 Sports' top 25 for 2016. He's involved with area studs like SF Jayson Tatum (#2) and SG Josh Jackson (#1) as well as major national prospects like Dennis Smith (#6), Derryck Thornton (#11), and Tyus Battle (#14). Michigan has already hosted most of these players on unofficial visits.
Kevin - The easy answer here is the Big Ten team with the highest 2016 247Sports class ranking - Penn State. The Joe Hampton commitment opened the door for the class, so look for Penn State to continue working on Hampton's teammates
Robert - The easy answer for me is Iowa, because they're one of the only Big Ten teams to land a player in the class of 2016. However, Wisconsin has shown interest in four-star power forward Nick Rakocevic (#61), hosting him on two unofficial visits and also offering him in March.
Nick - Nebraska has six scholarships open for 2016. They currently have seven offers out, with little interest in return from any of their targets. Miles needs to capitalize on the Cornhuskers' recent emergence into a viable basketball school before it all falls apart.
Which Class of 2016 player has emerged as a key target for your school(s)?
Scott - Indiana is involved with so many of the Top 25 players as seen above - it is hard to pin one down as a key target. I think it will be very important for Coach Crean to land a top big man in this class, so you could say C Thon Maker is the key. If Indiana fails to land him though, De'Ron Davis might be the next big man in line. At this point, it seems like the Hoosiers would be more likely to land Davis given Maker is also be recruited heavily by the other heavy hitters such as Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, etc.
Jeremy - Michigan State's top target is Jayson Tatum, a rangy hyper-athletic wing that could be a tremendous slasher and scorer for Tom Izzo. Michigan, for their part, are a bit less focused. Their top positional need appears to be point guard and they're after a lot of top targets there. Dennis Smith (#6), Derryck Thorton (#11) are the top two available point guards on the board according to 247 Sports and Michigan is heavily involved with both prospects. Eron Gordon (#40) is a possibility, but many believe another Big Ten program may have an edge over the Wolverines in his recruitment. Quentin Goodin (#97) is also an option, but Michigan does not seem to be after Goodin as heavily as the aforementioned prospects.
Kevin - Maryland has taken a keen interest in Anthony Cowan, a local point guard out of the DC area, as well as one of his teammates, Jamir Moultrie. The Terps are in great shape for Cowan, and could be one of the next Big Ten teams to land a commit.
Andy - John Groce runs an offense that needs a lot of great shooters. By the time the 2016-2017 season rolls around, Illinois will be in need of another great shooter. For that reason, Jayson Tatum out of Saint Louis Missouri with be a key target for Illinois. Tatum is a tall wing that can play both the 3 and 4 positions. He is not only a great shooter, he is able to attack the basket almost at will. Groce loves versatility which makes Tatum an even more attractive recruit.
Robert - For Wisconsin it has to be the aforementioned Rakocevic. For Iowa it would be four-star point guard Cassius Winston (#35), though it appears he'll be sticking in his home state of Michigan. For the Gophers, it has to be shooting guard Amir Coffey. The Hopkins, MN native has received an offer and has had four unofficial visits with Minnesota.
Nick - Miles doesn't seem to be actively pursuing any one player with maximum effort. Indiana point guard Eron Gordon, Virginia small forward Josh Hall and Massachusetts big man Jordy Tshimanga all hold offers from Nebraska, but their eyes are all currently set on higher profile schools. It will be interesting to see what kind of effort Miles makes in the coming months regarding the 2016 class.
How would you rate the current recruiting efforts by the Big Ten in regards to other conferences?
Scott - The B1G has been the best basketball conference by far these past two seasons. Previous to that, it was hard for the conference to make a better argument than the ACC for wanting to play in the most prestigious conference and games. However, given the success of the last two seasons - I think the B1G is really starting to see some increased looks from guys that typically would be looking at the ACC only. While 2015 has been slow for some schools like Indiana and Michigan - Ohio State appears to be bringing in an incredible class in the early stages and even Penn State has looked good on the recruiting trail.
Jeremy - Right now, the Big Ten is on a bit of a downswing as far as recruiting goes. Despite having been the nation's top conference, the last few years have yielded fewer 5-star commitments than the SEC or the ACC. 2015 looks like it'll be a repeat of that now-familiar refrain once the top prospects start to pull the trigger. But 2016 could be a very different story. Big Ten programs have made major inroads with players throughout the top ten from Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum to Thon Maker, Dennis Smith, Malik Monk, and more. If the Big Ten can close some of those prospects the conference has a chance to wrap up their best recruiting class as a whole in several seasons.
Kevin - The Big Ten has been doing great on the trail lately, both abroad and locally. Ohio State has been able to land top talent from all over the country, and Tom Izzo has continued finding great talent locally with Deyonta Davis, whose profile has skyrocketed over recent months. I also really like what John Groce has been doing, especially locking down Chicago (Simeon) wing DJ Williams. With Illinois down in the past few years, various schools have taken top recruits from the talented Chicago area, but Illinois has the potential to lock it back down.
Andy - I would say that the top conference currently for 2015 recruiting, is a tie between the SEC and ACC. They both have 9 commitments out of the ESPN top 100 for 2015 and they each have three 5 star commitments. The Pac 12 would be in the third right now with one less commitment but an equal number of 5 star recruits thanks to Arizona. The Big Ten is next in line with 8 commits but zero 5 star commitments drop them down the rankings. The good news is that the Big Ten will move up the rankings very quickly once a number of highly touted recruits start making their final decisions. There are a number of 5 star players considering Big Ten schools, and some of the mwill most almost certainly choose to play basketball in the Big Ten.
Robert - The Big Ten currently has five teams in the top 20 in 247Sports' 2015 team recruiting rankings, which is good for second most behind the Pac-12 which has six. I think Big Ten coaches are doing exactly what they need to do in terms of recruiting, and I also think schools like Minnesota and Illinois look great for hiring Richard Pitino and John Groce, both were great recruiters at their previous jobs, and Minnesota and Illinois both had problems in the past landing big-time recruits from the midwest.
Nick - Penn State and Minnesota are landing four-star recruits, and both currently rank in the Top 21 of 247Sports 2015 team rankings. If teams that normally find themselves on the lower tier of Big Ten basketball can continue bringing in top tier name recruits, the Big Ten might find itself with one of the deepest basketball conferences of all-time. Michigan State, Illinois and Ohio State all sit within the top 15 as well, making the B1G the most well-represented conference in the NCAA. What Arizona has done is nothing short of amazing, and Kentucky will always reel in a couple five-star recruits each season, but as a whole, the B1G and Pac-12 are the top recruiting conferences in the nation right now.
What should we be looking for in the coming week with your school(s)?
Scott - It should be a pretty quiet week on the Indiana front. Shake Milton, Juwan Morgan, and O.G. Anunoby will all visit officially next month and could potentially reach decisions next month as well after those visits are complete. The Hoosiers have no scholarships available in 2015, but I would expect at least one of these players to commit and sign in the early signing period. Look for Coach Crean to continue to evaluate the 2016 class as well as that is going to be a very important class to get right given the current make-up of the Hoosier roster. I believe there could be a lot of scholarships open that year (much more than are currently on paper).
Jeremy - I expect things to be radio silent in the state of Michigan this week, but Purdue has been active in offering prospects in the 2016 class and beyond and may continue to do so. Typically Purdue offers such players on unofficial visits and during camps, but you never know.
Kevin - Don't expect many shockers from the eastern front of the B1G, as we're still waiting to get into official visits. Maryland has the most to look forward too, though, with Esa Ahmad's official coming up on the 29th.
Andy - Illinois will either finally get their top point guard, or they will have to start looking for plan B options. Over the next two weekends, Illinois will play host to Jalen Brunson and Juwan Evans. While Brunson is higher rated, either point guard would be a game changing addition to the Illinois roster. Not only would Illinois finally have an elite point guard, in addition, a commitment would certainly help bring in other top recruits. The next three weeks for Illinois will make or break their chances of moving into the top tier of the Big Ten.
Robert - Things should be quiet on the Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa front. No visits are scheduled for them this week, but of course if anything breaks you'll be able to read all about it at BTPowerhouse.com
Nebraska - Nothing exceptionally exciting is scheduled for Nebraska this week, although that was the same case last week and they ended up reeling in an excellent 2017 prospect and a fantastic Kansas transfer. Miles may have some other magic left up his sleeve this week, but there are some other things currently lined up down the road. Class of 2015 PF Ed Morrow has a visit scheduled for September 19th and Class of 2016 SF Isaiah Roby is reportedly interested in a trip to Lincoln.