I had a college professor that made a pretty elaborate presentation that he described as a walkabout. He went on to describe the Australian history in great detail (Google it if you are bored). I have no idea what the presentation was about, but 28-ish years later I still remember his fascination with the term “walkabout”. The abridged definition? – A walking tour. So, let’s go, Mate!
As we amble through the Big Ten I’ll hit on some of the latest news as well as some randomness.
Some great news here if you are a Hawk fan. It seems like Kofi Cockburn will not terrorize our squad next year. He will be taking his massive self to The League. I was interested to see our guy Josh Ogundele square off against him next year. Josh came in last year and bodied Kofi up on one defensive stop. Fran took him out right after this, but I was impressed. I expect Josh O to surprise people this year. Also, incoming recruit Brandin Podziemski was named the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year. Illinois lost a lot from its 16-4 Big Tourney Championship team, but they recruit ($) well, so you know they will always be in that top echelon.
Indiana will be a very interesting squad next year. New coach Mike Woodson has a wealth of NBA experience, but not so much in the college game. From the outside it appears that Woodson is doing the right things. He brought in a 5-star recruit in Tamar Bates, he kept two commitments, he got a few quality players to transfer in, and most importantly he was able to keep Trayce Jackson-Davis among others.
An added bonus for the new coaching staff is that the Hoosiers are playing in a two-day exhibition in the Bahamas in August. I expect the Hoosiers to be in contention next year coming off their (7-12) B1G record from last year.
Mark Turgeon’s (I’m a fan of him btw) staff underwent some change. Assistant coach Bino Ranson went to DePaul and Bruce Shingler came on from South Carolina. The big question for the Terps revolves around Aaron Wiggins. The 6’6” guard averaged 14.5/5.8/2.5 last year. Wiggins was invited to attend the G-League Elite Camp. Wiggins also has workouts scheduled with four NBA teams.
It’s a broken record, but a big factor in the Big Ten next year will hinge on whether Hunter Dickinson decides to jump to the NBA. Dickinson averaged 14.1/7.4/1.4 blocks a game last year. Having Juwan Howard as a coach for one more year will probably help keep him in Ann Arbor. Also of note, the Wolverines have the number one recruiting class in the country coming in, headlined by Florida Gatorade Player of the Year Caleb Houston. Must be nice.
Wow, Sparty just keeps on coming. Emoni Bates, the number one ranked recruit in the country, decided he’s going to go another route on his way to pro basketball. No worries. Michigan State still has two Gatorade Players of the Year coming in. Michigan POY Pierre Brooks II and Max Christie (Illinois) have decided to join Tom Izzo’s squad. It’s crazy to think that MSU finished 8th in the B1G last year with a record of 9-11. Also, Izzo’s meltdown with his player at halftime of their tourney game was and may continue to be a “thing.” Pretty important year for Ol’ Tommy.
The Gophers could be really, really bad. They also could be decent. They will sell more programs than at any time in the history of their program. New coach Ben Johnson literally has re-built the roster. They have added some nice players; getting everyone on the same page will be the thing for the basketball version of the Boat Rowers. The state of Minnesota puts out incredible high school basketball players. Johnson is known as a great recruiter. If he can get kids to stay home, the Gophs will be a top 4 team in the B1G for years to come. That makes me a little sick.
Who cares? It’s Nebby. And Fred Hoiberg. Next.
Chris Collins got the Wildcats to the Big Dance in 2017. It’s nice the world has re-aligned and NW is back to where they belong at (6-13) in the Big Ten last year. Miller Kopp jumped ship to Indiana. Elyjah Williams is coming in from Fairleigh Dickinson.
(the) – lower case Ohio State University has a few players who may stay in the NBA draft. Both E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington Jr. received invites to the G-League Elite Camp. Liddell was a first-team All-B1G player and Washington was a third-teamer. Liddell averaged 16.2/6.7/1.8 this past year. Washington averaged 16.4/3.4/2.9. If these two players return the Buckeyes will be formidable. If they stay in the draft OSU will still remain in the upper half of the Big Ten as they just replace talent with talent every year.
Penn State will look much like Minnesota in that they have a new roster and a new coach. Micah Shrewsberry has his work cut out for him with a new roster. The Nittany Lions did get 6’9” transfer Greg Lee in from Western Michigan. He averaged 13.0/7.2 last year. Penn State also has Jalen Pickett coming in from Fran’s old stomping grounds – Siena. Picket averaged 12.9/6.3/4.8 last year.
Matt Painter can flat out coach. Purdue is coming off a (13-6) year in the B1G where they had a young squad. Painter’s young fellas Jaden Ivey, Caleb Furst, and Trey Kaufman-Renn were all invited to tryout for Team USA’s FIBA U-19 World Cup. Ivey scored 11.1 points / game last year and Furst and Kaufman-Renn are big-time recruits. Furst was the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year. Purdue is going to be scary-good.
Like many teams this year, Rutgers’ roster is in a state of flux. The Scarlet Knights have lost Jacob Young, Myles Johnson, and others to transfer. Also, Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. have entered their names into the NBA draft. The world of college basketball is a wild, wild thing.
Good news for opposing B1G crowds post-Covid. You get one more year to despise Brad Davison in person. The most hated player in the country returns for his 15th year of grabbing, tripping, flopping, and basically, being a turd.
The Badgers have dropped off some since hall-of-fame coach Bo Ryan retired. Let’s keep them there.
Our Iowa Hawkeyes
So with our squad where do things stand? It seems to be a forgone conclusion that Joe Wieskamp is not returning. As far as I can tell, Wieskamp has not received an invitation to the G-League Elite Camp. This may be telling as far as how NBA teams see him this year. He’s an excellent player, and I think he can play in The League, but I think he would be best-served to come back for one more year and be The Guy with the ball in his hands.
JBo. Ugg. He and Davison for Bucky will be the least-liked players in the B1G next year. JBo has been a great Hawk. I hope his head is in it this year, he attempts to play defense, he doesn’t take minutes away from Perk and Ulis, and that he cements his legendary status with the Cyclones and their recently-clad black-clothed fans.
The Murrays. These two keep growing and improving. By the time they graduate I expect them to be 7’9” and 350 pounds with terrific skill and hustle. Good things ahead for them.
Josh O – He is putting in WORK! I fully expect him to turn heads next year (at least offensively). See below, however.
Please, Fran. It’s not too late (OK, it is) defense is important. We’ve seen the only-offense movie. Put guys out there that are willing and able to defend and let’s see where that goes. I struggle with people who talk about boring basketball. Winning is the first, second, and third most important thing. Winning is fun. Go Hawks!