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7/8 Big Ten Morning Power Bar: Did Purdue Just Land the Next Caleb Swanigan?

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Trevion Williams causes Boilermaker déjà vu while Jerome Hunter’s Big Ten interest heats up.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, the BTPowerhouse Weekend Power Bar will detail what’s going on across the league on the recruiting trail.

So far, the Big Ten is dominating the recruiting landscape. Since June 19th, the conference has pulled in seven top 150 recruits. As the Big Ten continues to host official visits, as well as make prospect’s final cuts, that number is only going to get bigger.

Let’s take a look at this week’s recruiting headlines.

Purdue Lands 4-Star Center Trevion Williams

The Big Ten stretched its top 150 signing streak to three weeks on Thursday, as four-star center Trevion Williams announced his commitment to Purdue. The Boilermakers beat out stiff competition and strong interest from schools in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. In particular, the Xavier Musketeers made waves late, landing in Williams’ final two.

For Purdue, it seems Caleb Swanigan is still making an impact. Williams spoke reverently of the Big Ten Player of the Year, citing the Boilermakers treatment of Biggie as a defining factor in his ultimate commitment.

"Thinking long term which place would put me in the best position to put me in the position to reach my dream of the NBA I thought (Purdue) was the best fit," Williams told Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. "They really took care of Caleb Swanigan and throughout the recruiting process they compared me to him a lot. It feels good to know they believe in me like that to compare me to a guy who is in the NBA now."

The thought of another Swanigan patrolling the paint in West Lafayette should make Big Ten opponents shudder as much as Purdue fans cheer. But for Williams, a reason to celebrate hasn’t come easy.

Growing up in Chicago, Williams found himself surrounded by violence. Basketball became a refuge, keeping him out of trouble and focused on education. Unfortunately, the game couldn’t stop the bloodshed from seeping through.

“September 20, 2015, my mom’s brother (my uncle) passed away due to gun violence and I most definitely can admit that ever since, I’ve been messed up, mentally,” Williams said on Twitter. “My uncle was very important to me.”

The death of Williams’ uncle prompted a move to Michigan, where he would live with his other uncle. There, the importance of basketball took another form.

“Every time I step on the court, it’s for him because I know he’s watching, and I know he’s cheering me on from above.”

Now, Williams’ goals are different. Basketball isn’t an escape, rather, an area to work hard, persevere and dominate. He eyes are on the NBA and in Swanigan, his kindred spirit, he’s found a neatly laid path to achieve that dream.

In his announcement, Williams went on to say, “I remember being the fat kid who always had skill but could never show it because of the weight that I forced upon myself.” Sound familiar?

Jerome Hunter Officially Visits Michigan

Though Pete Nance was initially scheduled for an official visit to Michigan this past weekend, his commitment to Northwestern obviously made the point moot. Rather than let the spot go to waste, the Wolverines instead hosted another top target in Jerome Hunter.

Hunter, a four-star forward out of Columbus, OH, recently announced his final five schools. Of those five schools, three are Big Ten, including Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio State. The remaining two are Pitt and Xavier, rounding out a list that doesn’t leave the Midwest.

Hunter is a versatile, inside out scorer who has the tools to provide an immediate impact. While that’s a skillset any program could use, Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes are certainly pushing hard. After losing a litany of recruits, both from decommitment and deciding to sign elsewhere, Ohio State is hurting for some good news.

So far, that’s exactly what Hunter represents. According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, the 6-foot-7 wing is favored to stay in Columbus. But Michigan lurks close behind, and after a successful recruiting trip, only time will tell.

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Check back next week for more Big Ten recruiting headlines.