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3/31 Big Ten Morning Power Bar: Brian Bowen

The Big Ten season may be over, but the first week of the offseason saw plenty of recruiting action.

High School Basketball: 40th Annual McDonald's All-American Games Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Just as quickly as the Big Ten season concluded, the offseason recruiting battle has amplified. As teams lose players and gain scholarships due to transfers, and commits flip after coaches are canned, the war is waging. With so many 2017 and 2018 recruits still up for grabs, anything can happen.

Let’s take a look at some of the top recruiting headlines this week.

-Maryland Makes the Cut With Two Elite 2018 Guards.

After landing freshmen Anthony Cowen, Justin Jackson and Kevin Huerter, as well as a strong 2017 class, Maryland has done a great job continuing to flex their recruiting prowess.

On Sunday, top 50 shooting guard Prentiss Hubb announced his final six schools. Joining Kansas, Virginia, Villanova, Notre Dame and Syracuse were the Maryland Terrapins.

Heralding from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., Hubb couples elite athleticism with a tremendous ability to attack the rim. Though slightly undersized at 6’2”, his ability to get into the paint and distribute fits nicely with the elite outside shooting the Terrapins possess.

Joining Hubb in including Maryland in his final list is 5-star point guard Immanuel Quickley. The Terrapins are set to compete with the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Miami, Virginia and Providence. Ranked as the top point guard in the 2018 class, as well as the 12th ranked prospect overall, acquiring Quickley’s services would go a long way towards filling the large gap left by Melo Trimble.

-Michigan State Eyes Two Uncommitted 2017 Guards.

The ever-growing national love affair with Edwardsville guard Mark Smith continues. Already swarmed with Big Ten suitors, Smith grabbed yet another as Michigan State extended a scholarship offer on Tuesday.

The 4-star, Illinois Mr. Basketball winner is an impressive talent. Smith has seen a meteoric rise through the ranks, leading to his recent exposure to the luring Calipari siren call. According to 247Sports, though, Michigan State has the upper hand with Smith. Their crystal ball predictions have the guard signing with the Spartans.

Michigan State already has a commitment from McDonalds All-American Jaren Jackson Jr., but they may soon have one from La Lumiere School teammate Brian Bowen. Bowen, a McDonalds All-American himself, has yet to sign a letter of intent. The 5-star forward lists Michigan State, Arizona, Texas, Creighton and N.C. State as his final five schools.

According to Duke commit Gary Trent Jr., though, Bowen has already decided. Trent Jr., a McDonalds All-American teammate of Bowen’s, seems convinced he will be a Spartan next season. With Bowen being a Saginaw, MI native and cousin to former Michigan State star Jason Richardson, the prediction seems sound.

-Indiana’s Archie Miller and His Quest for Recruit Recovery.

In his first week as Indiana head coach, Archie Miller has hit the ground running. Following Tom Crean’s firing, two Indiana recruits have requested their release from the university. Miller, though, would not be deterred.

Al Durham Jr. and Clifton Moore have both already been contacted by the new Indiana coach. Considering Miller’s recruiting track record at Dayton, he certainly possesses the ability to sway the incoming freshman back to Bloomington.

As for IU’s third commit, Justin Smith, his status remains in limbo. From what we have seen from Miller so far, though, his phone should be ringing soon enough.

-Penn State Offers JUCO Sharpshooter.

After losing three players to transfer, Penn State is currently poised to enter the 2017-18 season missing some depth. While their departures have hurt the Nittany Lions’ bench, as well as their overall shooting ability from the arc, it has afforded the program three scholarship openings.

On Thursday, Penn State took their first step in filling that void by offering a scholarship to JUCO Sophomore Ty Lazenby. Recently named the NJCAA’s Region II Player of the Year, Lazenby showcases elite range from the three-point line.

After losing a chunk of their production from deep, particularly by the transfers or Payton Banks and Isaiah Washington, signing Lazenby would be enormous for the program. As head coach Patrick Chambers enters what is likely his last shot in Happy Valley, he will need it.

-2017 Jordan Brand Classic to Feature Several Big Ten Commits.

The 2017 Jordan Brand Classic Regional team rosters were released this Friday, and several future Big Ten players will take the court at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Minnesota will be the most represented, as their incoming backcourt will both participate in the contest. The Red Team will feature ESPN Top 100-point guard Isiah Washington. The 4-star prospect out of St. Raymond High School in Bronx, NY is the 18th ranked point guard in the 2017 class.

Joining him on the Blue Team is Jamir Harris. The 3-star prospect out of The Patrick School in Edison, NJ is the 51st ranked shooting guard in the 2017 class.

The Blue Team will also feature Indiana 3-star power forward Clifton Moore. Moore has requested a release from the Hoosiers, however head coach Archie Miller has reached out in an attempt to retain the incoming freshman’s services.

Northwestern will also showcase a recruit in the Jordan Brand Classic, as 4-star small forward Anthony Gaines will play for the Red Team. Gaines, the 37th ranked small forward in the 2017 class, heralds from New Hampton School in Kingston, NY.

-Nebraska Offers Two Point Guards.

On the heels of losing Ed Morrow, Jeriah Horne, and Nick Fuller to transfer, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have extended scholarship offers to two point guards.

Nebraska joined a large list of offers for JUCO combo guard Chris Darrington on Sunday. The Cornhuskers will compete with Tennessee, Seton Hall, and Memphis, among others. Darrington averaged 21 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists for Vincennes University this past season.

Along with Darrington, Nebraska offered a scholarship to 3-star point guard Tyler Maye. Though not ranked, the 2017 class point guard also has offers from Charlotte and Kansas State, among others.

-Lorenzo Romar’s Firing Opens the Door for Blake Harris

The Washington Huskies were set to open 2017-18 play with 4-star point guard Blake Harris on their roster. Following head coach Lorenzo Romar’s firing, though, the door reopened for Harris’ services. Michigan State and Rutgers jumped on the opportunity.

For Rutgers and head coach Steve Pikiell, signing the Chapel Hill, NC product would be program changing. The fact the Scarlett Knights are even making a run at the guard symbolizes a culture shift that should resonate for years to come. This Wednesday Pikiell visited the point guard.

The Michigan State Spartans and Tom Izzo have also thrown their hat in the ring for the point guard. The Spartans joined Rutgers on Wednesday in visiting Harris. Per 247Sports’ crystal ball predictions, they have the upper hand.

All said, Harris’ list is down to four, with N.C. State and Missouri joining Rutgers and Michigan State. Ranked as the 29th best point guard nationally, Harris averaged 25 points and 9.9 assists per game this past season at Word of God Christian Academy.


Check back next week for more Big Ten recruiting headlines.