In one of the most competitive college basketball conferences in America, a coach can't afford to have too many 'rebuilding years'. Recruiting is arguably the single most important part of being a collegiate coach in any sport, and certainly is at the top of the ladder in basketball. To be a dominant program and a legendary coach, you have to simply be reloading, not rebuilding.
Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans have mastered the art of reloading over the years, and programs like the Indiana Hoosiers and the Maryland Terrapins certainly aren't caught lacking talent very often. That is the case yet again in this 2016 recruiting class, where according to ESPN's Top 100, the Big Ten hauls in 14 of those heralded prospects.
Here's a quick summary of each of the schools commitments from this list of 100 incoming freshman.
Michigan State Spartans: Four Top 100 Commits
As was mentioned, Tom Izzo has simply reloaded again with 4 of the best incoming freshman in the world headed to East Lansing to suit up this coming year. Leading the way is the second best player coming out of the state of Michigan in the super small forward Miles Bridges. Out of Flint, Michigan, this 6'7" 225 pound wing is the third ranked small forward overall in the class, and second player in Michigan behind only the super recruit Josh Jackson, who was considering Michigan State before deciding on Kansas earlier this month.
This class also boasts Josh Langford for the Spartans, ESPN's 19th ranked recruit nationally as a 6'5", 215 pound shooting guard out of Alabama. Rounding out this loaded Spartans recruiting class is a 6'1" point guard from Detroit in Cassius Winston, the 31st overall recruit alongside Nick Ward, a 6'8" center from Ohio who comes in as the 39th ranked recruit nationally. Tom Izzo has done another brilliant job on the recruiting trail, and the Spartans certainly look to be an early powerhouse in both the Big Ten and national landscapes.
Maryland Terrapins: Two Top 100 Commits
Mark Turgeon has begun to build a really, really impressive program at Maryland with his own personal stamp on it. He's got a very talented group of players leaving, and the road to replacing them, while it is certainly tough, will hopefully be made a little easier with the recruiting class he has coming that way.
That class includes 2 ESPN Top 100 players, including a 6'5" shooting guard Kevin Huerter out of New York, ranked #49 overall while also featuring the #62 player in the country in a 5'11" point guard Anthony Cowan from within the state of Maryland. There's no doubt that replacing some of what Turgeon has lost from the ultra talented team they had this past year will be extremely difficult, but it's done one commitment at a time, and Turgeon is working to build right back to what they had talent wise.
Indiana Hoosiers: Two Top 100 Commits
There's never been any doubt in the minds of anyone that Tom Crean can recruit. He has shown time and time again he can bring some of the top players in America into Bloomington to wear the cream and crimson. This class is no different for the Hoosiers, featuring 2 top 100 players nationally. Looking to continue the rich backcourt history of the Hoosiers will be 6'4" shooting guard Curtis Jones out of the state of Virginia, the 40th ranked player nationally.
Accompanying him as far as top 100 commits go for the Hoosiers is 6'8" power forward De'Ron Davis from Colorado, hoping to sure up the front court depth for the Hoosiers to help them compete with teams that feel they can overpower the Hoosiers. Crean has another talented class, it'll be interesting to see what he can do with this group of talent.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: One Top 100 Commit
There's no doubt this past year was a disaster for Richard Pitino from start to finish. The good news for him and the program, however, is there seems to be nowhere to go but up. With the #32 ranked player nationally and the #1 player from the state of Minnesota heading there in 6'7" small forward Amir Coffey, there certainly seems to be little doubt that the Golden Gophers look to make a fairly decent improvement en route to being back to competing in the landscape of the Big Ten.
Ohio State Buckeyes: One Top 100 Commit
Following an up and down season and an offseason that so far as seemed to be a mass exodus out of Columbus, the Buckeyes have a top 100 recruit to fall back on for a future to Thad Matta's program. With the #66 ranked player on ESPN's Top 100 Derek Funderbunk headed there as a 6'9" power forward, the Buckeyes hope that he can make up for the loss of depth in the front court with the recent transfers.
Purdue Boilermakers: One Top 100 Commit
Following a season that held a constant theme of disappointing play from the backcourt, the Boilermakers add a top 100 player in the #88 ranked player in the country in 6'1" point guard Carsen Edwards from Texas. He hopes to add stability to a backcourt that features P.J. Thompson and the possibility of a Spike Albrecht addition as well. There's no doubt that a top point guard will be a welcome sight to Boiler fans.
Michigan Wolverines: One Top 100 Commit
The Michigan Wolverines are continuing their recent history of very good-great point guard play with the addition of the 48th ranked player in the class, Xavier Simpson for the rival state of Ohio. Following in the footsteps of guys like Trey Burke and later Walton Jr. will certainly be a tall task, but the Wolverines always seem to get the most out of their guards, so look for Simpson to thrive in Ann Arbor.
Iowa Hawkeyes: One Top 100 Commit
After a year that started so magically ended so bitterly, the Hawkeyes go back to the drawing board after losing a senior laden class. That reloading process will look to continue with the #38 ranked player in the class, Tyler Cook, a 6'9" power forward from Missouri. With a class full of great talent and even bigger heart, Fran McCaffrey has his work cut out for him, but certainly a top 40 prospect should make the road a little easier.
Penn State Nittany Lions: One Top 100 Commit
While the success in Happy Valley hasn't been incredible, the recruiting trail leading there has always been fairly good for Pat Chambers and company. This fall, they'll add the #42 ranked player nationally in 6'3" point guard Tony Carr from in state, coming from Philadelphia. With a hope to bring some of that big city toughness to the Nittany Lions and perhaps finally push them over the top of just being a team that upsets a good team once or twice a year to a legit conference competitor, Carr brings a lot of expectation to Happy Valley.