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The Big Ten Will Be Defined By An Impressive Array of Bigs in 2015-16

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With an overwhelming amount of size and skill in the paint, the forwards and centers of next year's teams will truly put the Big in Big Ten.

Purdue's A.J. Hammons goes in for a block in the NCAA Tournament
Purdue's A.J. Hammons goes in for a block in the NCAA Tournament
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Though National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky is off to the NBA and the Big Ten's leading rebounder Branden Dawson is a likely draft pick as well, don't expect the Big Ten to be down on size next season. In fact, the upcoming season may be the "Year of the Big Man." From incoming freshman to returning stars, the paint could be awfully crowded across the Big Ten come November. Here's a look at some of the players most likely to make an immediate impact.

A.J. Hammons, Purdue

When I say it may be the "Year of the Big Man," I might just mean the year of Purdue's big men. Hammons will headline a rotation of what may be three of the nation's best bigs. With returning sophomore Isaac Haas at 7'1" and incoming freshman Caleb Swanigan at 6'8", saying that Purdue has size  is an understatement. A.J. Hammons will be the star on a team that could make it deep into the NCAA Tournament. With 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game his junior year, Hammons proved that he can battle with the best of the Big Ten. The real question next season is whether the rest of the Big Ten will be able to keep up with him.

Diamond Stone, Maryland

One of the nations best freshmen will be a major focal point on a team that's expected to wreak havoc next season. Stone looked to be leaning towards Wisconsin, but his commitment to Maryland gives the Terrapins a huge boost down low. At 6'10" and 250 lbs, Stone has the frame to physically compete with some of the best in the Big Ten. With help from returning forward Jake Layman, the Terps could really have their way in the post next season.

Thomas Bryant, Indiana

Freshman Thomas Bryant for Indiana will give the Hoosiers something they've lacked ever since the departure of Cody Zeller two seasons ago: size. At 6'10" and 225 lbs, Bryant will immediately be a true 5 for a Hoosiers team that rarely played anyone over the height of 6'7" last season. Bryant runs the floor well for a player of his size and is excellent on the boards and on defense. If Bryant can work to develop a mid-range game, he could be in conversation for Big Ten freshman of the year.

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

Though he decommitted from Michigan State just about a month ago, his second commitment kept him in the Big Ten, just a little bit South of East Lansing. The highly-touted Indiana product landed at Purdue, and at 6'8" and a massive 260 lb build, the freshman will more than likely have his way with forwards across the conference. Swanigan's interior game is nearly unmatched by any other incoming freshman, but he will need to be quick and will need to run the floor effectively to be truly successful for the Boilermakers.

Mike Thorne Jr, Illinois

The Charlotte graduate transfer may have been the hottest player on the market this past off season and Illinois' ability to grab him will be a huge boost to a depleted frontcourt. Thorne weighs in at 260 lbs and stands at 6'11". Unlike a number of young bigs in the conference, Thorne boasts experience as a fifth year player. His 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game should drastically help the Fighting Illlini in the post next season.

Ricky Doyle, Michigan

Ricky Doyle may be one of the most undervalued big men heading into next season. The sophomore will be a pivotal asset to a Michigan Wolverine team that should take a step up from last year. Though Doyle only averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, he certainly has the skill to assert himself down low. At 6'9" and 245 lbs, Doyle has the body and skill set to be the next Mitch McGary for Michigan.

Overall

These are just some of the big guys that will make a huge impact on the Big Ten conference next season. With size in the paint, there's no telling how far this conference can go come post season. In a day and age where the guard is becoming more and more crucial to both college and NBA basketball teams, the Big Ten wants to remind you that post players still exist, and they're ready to play.