Maryland recently added prized five-star center Diamond Stone to its 2015 class to go along with a highly rated junior college point guard Jaylen Brantley. With the return of both Jake Layman and Melo Trimble official, Maryland is expected to be the favorite to win the Big Ten next season.
But how much talent is the rest of the conference bringing in next year? A total of 10 Big Ten teams have their 2015 class ranked among the Top 50 in the 247sports.com class rankings, with Maryland as the sixth best recruiting class in the conference.
Here is a breaking down of the full class rankings, followed by a school-by-school look at what Big Ten teams are currently adding to their rosters next season:
- Ohio State (6th Overall)
- Illinois (10th Overall)
- Michigan State (13th Overall)
- Indiana (28th Overall)
- Nebraska (31st Overall)
- Maryland (35th Overall)
- Wisconsin (37th Overall)
- Penn State (38th Overall)
- Minnesota (40th Overall)
- Rutgers (42nd Overall)
- Northwestern (53rd Overall)
- Iowa (67th Overall)
- Purdue (72nd Overall)
- Michigan (93rd Overall)
Breaking Down the Classes
The Commits: Daniel Giddens, center, four star. Austin Grandstaff, shooting guard, four-star. A.J. Harris, point guard, four-star. Mickey Mitchell, small forward, four-star. Jaquan Lyle, shooting guard, four-star.
Thad Matta and his staff certainly put together a deep class that will make Ohio State a young, competitive team for the 2015-16 season. The Buckeyes will lose seven players by way of graduation, and D'Angelo Russell will almost certainly be a lottery pick this year. If Russell does leave, Ohio State will lost eight players, but replace them with a talented class. Although this class may lack a five-star commit, it makes up for that with five four-star prospects. This class will join promising young players from last season in Jae'Sean Tate, Marc Loving, among others. Giddens will step in and be the presumed starter from day one and should make an impact, as he is ranked as the seventh best center in his class.
The Commits: Jalen Coleman-Lands, point guard, five-star. D.J. Williams, small forward, four-star. Aaron Jordan, shooting guard, four-star. Darius Paul, power forward, three-star.
This is a great class, especially given the lack of success of the Illinois team from last season. The Fighting Illini are adding a five-star point guard to their team, along with two four-star prospects and a three-star prospect. The Illini went 19-14 overall, and 9-9 in conference play last season. They will lose five players to graduation, including their leading scorer from last season, Rayvonte Rice. This recruiting class will help the Illinois roster be a better team next season, but it will lack talent and depth in the front-court. With Coleman-Lands, Malcolm Hill, and Williams, this team will be good on the perimeter, but struggle to defend the paint. It will have just three players who are 6'8" or taller, and one of those players did not see playing time last season.
The Commits: Deyonta Davis, power forward, four-star. Matthew McQuaid, shooting guard, four-star. Kyle Ahrens, shooting guard, three-star.
After Tom Izzo's Michigan State team made another surprising run in the NCAA Tournament that ended in the Final Four. The team now loses key players Travis Trice and Branden Dawson. It does, however, return Denzel Valentine, Tum-Tum Nairn, Matt Costello and others. By adding the 13th best class in the nation to this group, the Spartans will once again be a force in the conference. Deyonta Davis seems like a player that will step in and replace Dawson's productivity almost right away. He was a McDonalds All-American and will be the best low post option for the Spartans in the 2015-16 season.
The Commits: Thomas Bryant, power forward, five-star. Juan Morgan, power forward, four-star. Ogugua Anunoby, small forward, three-star.
After landing Thomas Bryant, Indiana's class rank jumped 31 spots in the overall rankings. Clearly, Bryant is a talented player who will make an impact on Indiana's team next season. Indiana returns everybody on its roster, with the exception of anybody who transfers. Yogi Ferrell will presumably return for his last season in college. Indiana's roster was talented in shooting the ball last season, and could get to the rim with penetration. Bryant, Morgan and Anunoby will add front-court talent and size to the team. After the Hoosiers finished with a 20-14 record, and a 9-9 record in conference play, expect them to finish in the top five in the conference next season.
The Commits: Glynn Watson, point guard, four-star. Ed Morrow, power forward, four-star. Michael Jacobson, power forward, three star. Jack McVeigh, small forward, three-star.
Given its 13-18 overall record, Nebraska's fans should be encouraged by their incoming recruiting class. Watson will give the Cornhuskers a ball handler which will allow Terran Petteway to play off the ball. Morrow will help their front court play, and as a four-star prospect, should be expected to be a contributor on the roster. With added talent around Petteway, he will have other players to carry the load, and not feel obligated to launch bad shots during games. This class should certainly make Nebraska look better on paper, it's just a matter of fulfilling those expectations.
The Commits: Diamond Stone, center, five-star. Jaylen Brantley, point guard, three-star (junior college transfer).
Maryland's recruiting class was up in the air before the commitment of Diamond Stone. However, there is a lot more clarity now that Stone is committed to play for Mark Turgeon's team. Adding Stone to a team that already includes Melo Trimble, Jake Layman and Robert Carter Jr. (transfer), the Terps figure to have a chance to be an elite team next season. Brantley will provide depth behind Trimble, and be a part of a capable second unit for the Terps. With key players returning, a five-star recruit, and another ball handler, the Terps have been projected to be in the top five by many.
The Commits: Brevin Pritzl, shooting guard, four-star. Alex Illikainen, power forward, four-star. Charlie Thomas, power forward, three-star. Khalil Iverson, small forward, three-star.
Wisconsin loses a lot of production with players leaving this season, including Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. The Badgers will lose 52.1 points per game. Due to all of the departures, this recruiting class will be looked upon to to provide instant production. Of course, the class lost out on highly-coveted center, Diamond Stone, who committed to play for Maryland. After losing the National Championship game to Duke, Wisconsin will still have Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes as key contributors on next season's roster. Most other teams that lose this much production would be looked upon as a rebuilding team; however, I would never count out a Bo Ryan team because of his player development skills.
The Commits: Mike Watkins, power forward, four-star. Josh Reaves, shooting guard, four-star. Delvidas Zemgulis, small forward, three-star.
This is, again, a good recruiting class for a team that struggled this past season. The Nittany Lions lose their leading scorer, D.J. Newbill, who scored just more than 20 points per game. The Nittany Lions team will lose four other players to graduation. The players in this class will be looked at as players who will help to change the program for the better. Penn State should be expected to finish in the bottom half of the conference, but should improve.
The Commits: Kevin Dorsey, point guard, four-star. Dupree McBrayer, shooting guard, three-star. Jonathan Nwankwo, center, three-star. Jarvis Johnson, point guard, three-star.
This class includes capable players who will be expected to make contributions in their time at Minnesota. Dorsey, rated at the 17th best point guard, will be asked to run the show for Minnesota's team. The Golden Gophers will lose their top two scorers, Andre Hollins and Maurice Walker. The recruiting class will join the remaining players who played to an 18-15 record in the 2014-15 season.
The Commits: Corey Sanders, point guard, four-star. Kejuan Johnson, small forward, three-star. Justin Goode, shooting guard, three-star. Jonathan Laurent, small forward, three-star.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights lose only two players, due to graduation, from last season. Myles Mack, their leading scorer, is graduating, so Corey Sanders will likely be added to the lineup in his place. Head coach Eddie Jordan and his team will hope to be more competitive in their second season in the B1G conference. Their inaugural season in the B1G saw them when only two games against conference opponents.
The Commits: Aaron Falzon, power forward, four-star. Jordan Ash, point guard, three-star. Dererk Pardon, power forward, three-star.
Northwestern may have only won six conference games in the 2014-15 season, but they were competitive in many games that they lost. Also, they will be returning their top four leading scorers from this past season. This class will be expected to add talent and depth to the improving Northwestern Wildcats' roster.
The Commits: Brandon Hutton, small forward, four-star. Isaiah Moss, small forward, three-star. Ahmad Wagner, small forward, three-star. Andrew Fleming, shooting guard, three-star. Christian Williams, small forward, Not Ranked.
Iowa's incoming recruiting class certainly placed an emphasis on the wing positions. The Hawkeyes will lost five players to graduation, including Aaron White, their leading scorer. Returning forward, Jarrod Uthoff, will be expected to lead the team. This recruiting class will be one that will look to improve the team over time.
The Commits: Ryan Kline, shooting guard, three-star. Grant Weatherford, point guard, three-star.
After the Boilermakers earned a number four seed in the B1G tournament, and a nine seed in the NCAA tournament, they have only two commits thus far. They will return their two leading scorers from last season, and A.J. Hammons should be one of the more dominant big men in the conference. Adding these guards will help add help on the perimeter to go with their front court.
The Commits: Moritz Wagner, power forward, three-star.
This may seem odd that Michigan only has one commit at this point in the recruiting period. However, Michigan does not lose a single player, and will have one more year of experience for the young team. Wagner will add depth in Michigan's front court, and help to create an inside game for a team that relied on the three-point shot a lot last season. Look for Michigan to be more experienced and be a tough match up, when they can make their three-point shots, in the 2015-2016 season.
How Does Maryland's Class Stack Up?
A big factor in determining class rankings is not just how talented the players are coming in, but how many quality players a program is adding. That is why Ohio State, despite not having a single five-star prospect, has a class ranked in the top 10. Maryland didn't need to add much in the 2015 class. The addition of Stone and Brantley fills the two big needs Maryland had entering next season; improved front court play and a back up point guard. While Maryland loses Dez Wells, they're still returning most of its key players in Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley, Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky. Add newly eligible transfer Robert Carter to that group, as well as Ivan Bender, you can understand why Maryland has only added two players so far. and the recruits of the class and this is a great team. It's important to analyze what a team loses, and what a team gains, when it comes to recruiting classes impacting the subsequent season. The Terps will gain a gifted Center, and a talented Point Guard to an already talented roster.