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Big Ten Conference Preview

November 13, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Ten Conference Preview

by Alan Rubenstein

The best thing about freshman is that they become sophomores is what the late Al McGuire used to say. The national spotlight will shine brightly on the Big Ten this winter if that is true.

Three of the media’s five all conference players and four of the coaches six will suit up for the second trip around the Big Ten as the temperatures dip. Illinois sophomore guard Dee Brown was selected by the media as the player of the year, the coaches anointed Wisconsin junior Devin Harris. Look for Indiana sophomore Bracey Wright to emerge with the award if he stays healthy.

The 2003-04 Big Ten season appears to be a three pronged race. Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin will be the main contenders for the Big Ten Title. Northwestern and Penn State are expected to bring up the rear, while the other six schools will form the pack.

First Team
G Dee Brown So. Illinois
G Daniel Horton So. Michigan
G Bracey Wright So. Indiana
F Bernard Robinson, Jr. Sr. Michigan
C Paul Davis So. Michigan State

Second Team
G Devin Harris Jr. Wisconsin
G Chris Hill So. Michigan State
G Kenneth Lowe Sr. Purdue
F Alan Anderson Sr. Michigan State
C Jared Reiner Sr. Iowa

Third Team
G Tony Stockman Jr. Ohio State
G Jitim Young Sr. Northwestern
F Kelvin Torbert Jr. Michigan State
F Michael Bauer Sr. Minnesota
F Roger Powell Jr. Illinois

Player of the Year
C Paul Davis

Co-Freshman of the Year
Brian Butch C Wisconsin
Kris Humphries C Minnesota

Newcomer of the Year
Tony Stockman G Ohio State

Best NBA Prospect
Bracey Wright

Sixth Man of the Year
G Luther Head Illinois

Coach of the Year
Steve Alford Iowa

1. Michigan State

2003 Record: 19-12, 10-6

Returning Starters (3):
G Chris Hill, 6-3, So. (14.2 ppg, 3.7 apg, 40.5% 3-Pt FG)
F Alan Anderson, 6-6, So. (9.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 84.2% FT)
G Kelvin Torbert, 6-4, So. (9.5 ppg)

Starters Lost (2):
F Aloysius Anagonye, 6-8, Sr. (7.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 62% FG)
F Adam Ballinger, 6-9, Sr. (6.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3 apg)

Probable New Starters:
C Paul Davis, 6-11, Fr. (7.5 ppg, 4.7 apg)
G Maurice Ager 6-4 Fr. (6.7 PPG, 39.7 3PT%, 77.5 FT%)

Others Lost:
F Erazem Lorbek, 6-10, Fr. (5.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg) Declared for NBA Draft

Michigan State enters the 2003-04 season looking to build on the success of last season’s run to the Elite Eight. After being knocked out in the first round of the 2002 tournament, the Spartans once again stamped their presence in the national spotlight during the ides of March.

A young but talented roster will have the Izzones ready for a visit from Duke and match-ups against Kentucky at Ford Field in Detroit in the Basketbowl and Oklahoma at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The game at Ford Field is expected to have 75,000 in attendance. That would break the world record for a basketball game established by the Harlem Globetrotters on August 21, 1951 in Berlin, Germany.

Expectations are high in East Lansing with over 70 percent of the rebounding and 67 percent of the scoring returning. 6’10 sophomore center Paul Davis appears ready to bust out. Davis led the U.S. junior national team in scoring (17.7) and rebounding (8.7) on their way to a 7-1 record and a fifth place finish at the World Championships in Thelasoniki, Greece in July.

Tom Izzo has added a great recruiting class to help fortify one of the nation’s most talented teams. Shannon Brown, a high school teammate of Illinois’ Dee Brown (no relation); will provide a deft shooting touch with a great ability to play above the rim. Brown averaged 27.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.0 steals as a senior.

Brown will add to an already strong backcourt. Chris Hill came on towards the end of last season, and will likely be the point guard. Hill is an outstanding shooter who scorched Syracuse for 34 points in a late season loss last year. Ager has outstanding ability and like Brown, plays above the rim. He joined Davis on the junior National Team and contributed 6.6 PPG. Fans are still waiting for Kelvin Torbert to live up to his press clippings. He might have the most natural ability, but injuries have limited his first two seasons. Torbert is an outstanding defender who might be ready for a breakout season.

Alan Anderson is an extremely versatile player who has played everything but center for Izzo. After playing the point most of last season, look for Anderson to man power forward this year. Ranked number three nationally, the Spartans are expected to make their fourth Final Four in six years. If the incoming talent blends with the gifted returnees than state should be in the top five all year.

2. Illinois

2003 Record:24-6, 13-5.

Starter Lost (1):
F Brian Cook, 6-10, Sr. (20.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 50.3% FG, 80.6% FT);

Others Lost:
Sean Harrington, 6-3, Sr. (7.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.26 apg 43.3% 3-Pt FG);

Starters Returning (4):
F Roger Powell, 6-6, So. (8.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 60.5% FG, 42.1% 3-Pt FG)
C James Augustine, 6-10, Fr. (7.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 59.8% FG, 41.7% 3-Pt FG)
G Deron Williams, 6-3, Fr. (6.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G Dee Brown, 6-0, Fr. (12.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.7 apg).

Probable New Starter:
G Luther Head, 6-3, So. (7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 42.6% 3-Pt FG) or
Aaron Spears 6’9 So

Other Key Returnees:
C Nick Smith, 7-2, So. (5.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 85.7% FT, 45.5% 3-Pt FG).

Illinois enters the season with a new coach and the prospect of replacing the conference player of the year for the second time in three seasons. Bruce Weber returns to the Big Ten via six years at Southern Illinois. Weber’s learning curve in the Big Ten should be minimal after spending 18 years as an assistant to Gene Keady at Purdue.

Weber will have the Big Ten’s most versatile roster at his disposal. Replacing conference player of the year Brian Cook will be his most daunting challenge. The Illinois frontline has both depth and size. Led by sophomore center James Augustine and junior forward Roger Powell, the Illini will have the Big Ten’s best frontline. Cook took 20 PPG and 7.6 RPG with him to the Lakers. Powell is the most likely to take Cook’s rains as the team leader. The 6’6 junior can play both forward spots and led the Big Ten in field goal percentage. The third spot upfront is likely to come from the triumvirate of 7’2 junior Nick Smith, 6’10 Tulsa transfer junior Jack Ingram and 6’9 redshirt freshman Aaron Spears, They each bring different aspects to allow Weber to go with different looks. Smith provides the Illini with size no one in the Big Ten can match. Smith not only gives Illinois an intimidating presence defensively he also shot 45.5 percent from three point range. Spears is a load inside who should supply good interior defense and rebounding. Ingram is a player the Illini coaching staff is very high on.

Any talk about Illinois’ backcourt begins with Dee Brown. In a guard dominated league, the 6’0 sophomore finished the 2003 season second in scoring and first in assists for the Big Ten runner-up. He is the only player returning to Champaign who averaged double figures in 2003. Nicknamed the human fast break, Brown resembles the flash in the open court. Inheriting the point guard position as soon as he arrived on campus, Brown provided better leadership than his predecessor Frank Williams.

Deron Williams entered as an unheralded recruit from the Colony, Texas. After playing in former teammate Bracey Wright’s shadow in high school, he played in Brown’s last year. While Brown provides the flash and highlights, Williams gives the Illini a steadying influence and consistency. Freshman Richard McBride should step into the shooters role vacated by Sean Harrington. After off season pelvic surgery, Luther Head will be ready to resume his role as sixth man.

Illinois biggest question mark entering the 2003-04 season is who is going to replace Cook’s scoring, rebounding and leadership. In basketball utopia, Cook and Harrington’s points will be distributed evenly. When the Illini need a score at the end of a game look for the ball in Brown’s hands. A though non-conference schedule awaits Weber in his first season in Champaign. If the Illini can navigate that successfully they should gain confidence to carry them into the conference season.

3. Wisconsin

2003 Record: 22-7, 12-4.

Starters Lost (1):
G Kirk Penney, 6-5, Sr. (16.4 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 45.1% FG, 37.6% 3-Pt. FG)

Starters Returning (4):
G/F Alando Tucker, 6-5, Fr. (12.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 53.2% FG)
G Devin Harris, 6-3, So. (12.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3 apg, 46.8% FG, 40.2% 3-Pt FG)
G Freddie Owens, 6-2, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 82.8% FT)
F Mike Wilkinson, 6-8, So. (9.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 83.1% FT)

Probable New Starter:
Brian Butch 7-0 Fr.

The preseason for Wisconsin has been one nightmare after another. Injuries to numerous Badgers are wrecking havoc with how Bo Ryan’s team will take shape. Sophomore star forward Alando Tucker broke his foot in October and will miss eight to ten weeks. Depending on the way Ryan would have gone with his lineup, sophomore guard Boo Wade was a possibility to replace Tucker. Wade is the latest Badger casualty and will miss three to four weeks with an injured left knee. Both players suffered the injuries during practice scrimmages.

The losses of Tucker and Wade will cause Ryan to do plenty of lineup shuffling early in the season. The Badgers should have more depth than last season, particularly upfront. Tucker was expected to play small forward this year after finishing 2003 at power forward. McDonald’s all-American Brian Butch will supply the Badgers with an inside presence they lacked last season. Butch’s addition allows Mike Wilkinson to slide over to his more natural position of power forward.

Tucker’s replacement will depend on what Ryan wants to do and who is healthy. It appeared the Badgers were heading towards a three guard lineup before Wade’s injury. Wisconsin has excellent size and experience returning in their backcourt. With Wade, a small lineup would have put the five best Badgers on the court. In Wade’s absence, it appears that Ryan will utilize a more traditional lineup.

With their depth seemingly depleted by the day, 6’11 senior center Dave Mader and sophomore Forward Andreas Helmigk will have an opportunity to earn greater playing time. Helmigk has also been struggling with a knee injury. Mader and Helmigk are both coming off injury plagued seasons. Junior college transfer Zach Morley should also push for playing time this winter.

Without Tucker, junior Mike Wilkinson contributions become even more important. The 6’8 235 junior played last season as an undersized center. Wilkinson led the team in rebounding and pitched in 10.3 PPG to tie for fourth in scoring. Butch is the most important recruit Wisconsin has ever had. He was a two time state player of the year in high school and Wisconsin beat out Arizona and North Carolina among others to gain his services.

The Badgers strength resides in their backcourt. Harris was as steady as any point guard nationally last season. He finished second on the team in scoring, tied for the lead in assists and also pulled down 4.6 RPG. Harris’ running mate is clutch senior Freddie Owens. Owens nailed a trey with one second remaining against Tulsa to send the Badgers to the sweet 16. He will be given a much bigger role in the offense this season. The departure of Kirk Penney puts Owens in the spot light as the team leader and key offensive performer. Wade’s contributions were expected to rise this season. As the backup point guard in 2003, Wade gave the Badgers solid defense and an excellent ballhander. He will also be expected to score more this year. Freshman Kammron Taylor from Minneapolis is a player the Wisconsin coaching staff is high on. He might be the one who takes Penney’s spot when the Badgers need to dial long distance.

How well Tucker recovers from his injury will have an immense impact on the Badger’s season. With Tucker, Wisconsin will be a major player in the Big Ten championship race. Without Tucker at full health, there is a good chance the Badgers will fall back into the pack. When asked about the preseason rankings, Ryan responded “I think what is says is that they feel there is enough experience to make a run”

The key to Wisconsin’s season will be how they survive the spate of injuries they have had. Tucker’s injury is the key. Will his backups improve their games with the increased playing time, or will Wisconsin be overmatched inside until Tucker’s return?

4. Michigan

2003 Record: 17-13, 10-6

Starters Lost (1):
LaVell Blanchard 6-7 Sr. G (16.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 42.2 3pt% 81.4 FT%)

Starters Returning (4):
G Daniel Horton 6-3 Fr. (15.2 PPG, 4.5 APG, 76.4 FT%)
G Bernard Robinson Jr., 6-6 Jr. (11.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.4 APG)
G Lester Abram 6-6 Fr. (10.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 40.7 3PT%, 85.6 FT%)
C/F Graham Brown 6-9 Fr. (5.8 PPG, 4.6 APG, 60.6 FG%)

Probable New Starter:
F Chris Hunter 6-11 Fr. (5.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG)

Michigan enters the 2003-04 season seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The Wolverines played last year knowing their season would end without a post season birth. The NCAA reduced the Wolverines two year postseason ban to one citing the school’s cooperation in the Ed Martin-Chris Webber case as cause for the reduction.

Any success Michigan has in 2003-04 starts with its perimeter. Big Ten freshman of the year Daniel Horton and senior Bernard Robinson jr. will lead the revival of Michigan basketball. Horton’s outstanding freshman season included ranking second on the team is scoring and first in steals and assists. Horton will have to improve his shooting (37.2 percent from the floor) and is likely to take on a greater role defensively this year. While Horton was the one receiving all the praise, Lester Abram was an unsung hero as the team’s point guard. He shot the ball very well, but needs to drastically improve his ball handling and decision making skills. A 38-49 assist to turnover ratio is unacceptable for a point guard.

Robinson is the prototypical small forward. Lavell Blanchard departure pushes Robinson into a leadership role on and off the court. He can do many things, but has a tendency to look for the spectacular play instead of guaranteeing a sure basket. Tommy Amaker is looking for Robinson to be a team leader this season. “I expect everything from him, and I’m not going to back off of that”.

Michigan will have one of the most balanced games in the conference. Robinson can play inside and outside. Junior transfer J.C. Mathis gives the Wolverines more toughness inside, he could be one of the surprise players in the Big Ten. Joining him in the post will be sophomore Graham Brown. Freshman Dion Harris is the first Mr. Basketball from Michigan to enroll in Ann Arbor since 1995 and Brent Petway is an athletic forward from Georgia.

5. Indiana

2003 Record: 20-12, 8-9.

Starters Lost (2):
F Jeff Newton, 6-9, Sr. (14.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg)
G Tom Coverdale, 6-2, Sr. (11.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.4 apg, 81% FT)

Starters Returning (3):
G Bracey Wright, 6-3, Fr. (17.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
G Marshall Strickland, 6-2, Fr. (6.5 ppg)
C George Leach, 6-11, Jr. (6.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 54.5 FG).

Others Lost:
G Kyle Hornsby, 6-5, Sr. (7.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg)

Key Returnee:
G/F A.J. Moye, 6-3, Jr. (5.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 52.4% FG)

Led by Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Bracey Wright, look for Mike Davis to push for more easy baskets for Indiana this year. Only back problems prevented Wright from earning the conference freshman of the year in 2003. Spectacular at times, Wright has the rare ability to take over a game. Running mate Marshall Strickland improved significantly over the second half of last season. An outstanding three point shooter, Strickland’s consistency will be important to take pressure off of Wright. A.J. Moye will be the third guard in Davis’s three guard lineup.

Donald Perry will be the first guard off the bench. Perry is an outstanding defensive player who can really push the tempo. Davis has indicated he wants a more up tempo system this season. The Hoosiers can only benefit by playing a high octane offense with a perimeter oriented team.

Indiana enters the season a productive Big Man away from challenging for the Big Ten title. George Leach returns for his senior season as the only proven big man in Bloomington. The departures of Kyle Hornsby and Jeff Newton will require Leach put up consistent numbers every night. Freshmen Pat Ewing and Jessan Gray-Ashley and returning letterman Mike Roberts and Sean Kline will battle for a spot on the frontline alongside Leach.

6. Ohio State

2003 Record: 17-15, 7-9

Starters Lost (3):
G Brent Darby 6-1 Sr. (18,3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.4 APG, 34.0 3PT%, 81.0 FT%)
G Sean Connolly 6-5 Sr. (11.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 40.7 3PT%)
F Zach Williams 6-7 Jr. (9.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG), Transferred

Returning Starters (2):
C Velimir Radinovic 7-0 Jr. (9.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 51.4 FG%)
F Matt Sylvester 6-7 Fr. (5.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG)

Probable New Starters:
G Tony Stockman 6-1 Jr. (Redshirted after transferring from Clemson)
F Terence Dials 6-9 So. (7.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
F Shun Jenkins 6-6 Jr. (5.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG)

Ohio State is the Big Ten’s most intriguing team. The loss of Brent Darby, Sean Connolly and Zach Williams would leave a gaping hole on most teams. Transfers Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger and incoming freshman Ivan Harris should ease the burden of the key losses.

Stockman figures to open the season at point guard and Sullinger at the two. Jim O’Brien has high expectations for both and an infusion of new blood should give their teammates a new attitude after a disappointing season a year ago.

Brandon Fuss-Cheatham had an injury plagued 2003. He will see significant time at point guard and could be the starter if O’Brien decides to use a smaller lineup.

The Buckeyes have the quality and depth to use a jumbo frontline. Velimir Radinovic should be ready to assume a leadership role and become a primary option on offense in his senior year. Rad improved in nearly every offensive category during the Big Ten season. Terrance Dials was averaging 7.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG when he was shelved last season with a back injury. Shun Jenkins is a candidate a both forward spots and will see time regardless if he is starting or coming off the bench. Matt Sylvester is a lanky player who will get some run at small forward. If O’Brien does go with the jumbo lineup, the 6’8 250 Harris might be the small forward. Harris has soft hands and an excellent touch around the basket.

Ohio State enters the season with some unknowns and players coming off injuries. If the newcomers are as good as advertised, the Buckeyes will pull many surprises and might find themselves in the upper half of the Big Ten Standings.

7. Purdue

Starters Returning (4):
G Kenneth Lowe, 6-3, Jr. (11.8 ppg, 89.4% FT)
F Chris Booker, 6-10, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
G Brandon McKnight, 6-2, So. (5.3 ppg)
C Ivan Kartelo, 6-11, Jr. (3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 66.7% FG)

Probable New Starte:
G David Teague, 6-5, Fr. (5.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg)

Starters Lost (1):
G Willie Deane, 6-1, Sr. (18.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 79.1% FT)

Others lost:
G Darmetreis Kilgore, 6-5, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg);

Key Returnee:
F Brett Buscher, 6-8, Jr. (6 ppg)

Most Big Ten schools are counting on toddlers on this season. Purdue will have the unique advantage of having six seniors on their roster in 2003-04.

Kenneth Lowe should pick up the slack left by Willie Deane’s departure. Deane was one of the Big Ten’s leading scorers the past few seasons, pacing the conference in 2002. Lowe leads a deep and talented backcourt. Brandon Mc Knight will captain the Keady attack. He was one of the Big Ten’s steadiest point guards a year ago, with a 69-39 assists to turnover ratio. Sophomores David Teague and Melvin Buckley will contend for the third guard/small forward spot. Teague is an outstanding three point shooter, while Buckley will give opponents match-up problems at 6’7.

Chris Booker and Brett Buscher have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in their tenure at Purdue. As seniors, this will be their team and time to lead the Boilermakers. Buscher assumed the hard nosed, blue collar role when Brian Cardinal departed a few years ago. He is also the most athletic and strongest member of Purdue frontline. With increased minutes and a bigger role, Buscher is going to be counted on to provide more points this year. He shot 52 percent last season, so there is no reason to think Buscher won’t raise his scoring average. Chris Booker was an honorable mention all Big Ten performer in 2003. He complements Buscher well, and Keady will need increased offensive production from him as well. Ivan Kartelo will look to stay injury free and the Boiler coaching staff is very high on sophomore Matt Kiefer. Matt Carroll and freshman Ije Nwankwo hope to work their way into the rotation.

After missing three games late in the season in 2003, Kenneth Lowe had shoulder surgery in the off-season. His health will be a main concern this winter. If he stays healthy and the Boilers receive consistent scoring from the post, they will have a major say in the Big Ten standings.

After four straight losing seasons in the Big Ten, Steve Alford is counting on his depth and experience to finally break the upper division in the conference. Iowa’s strength lies in its balance.

8. Iowa

2003 Record: 16-13, 7-9

Starters Lost (1):
Chauncey Leslie 6-0 Sr. G (15.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 49.2 FG%, 78.1 FT%)

Starters Returning (4):
G Jeff Horner 6-3 Fr (8.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 76.7 FT%)
F Glen Worley 6-7 Jr. (10.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 39.0 3 PT%)
C Jared Reiner 6-11 Jr. (9.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 54.1 FG%, 74.4 FT%)
F Greg Brunner 6-7 Fr. (7.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 52.6 FG%)

Probable New Starter (1):
G Pierre Pierce 6-4 So. (Disciplinary Redshirt in 2003)

Other Key Returnees:
G Brody Boyd 5-11 Jr. (9.7 PPG, 73.9 FT%)
C Sean Sonderleiter 6-9 Jr. (8.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 51.7 FG%)

The loss of All Big Ten guard Chauncey Leslie will be made up by the return of Pierre Pierce. Pierce returns after serving a one year suspension as a result of am assault on a female athlete. After running the point in 2002, Pierce will play shooting guard this winter. Pierce’s running mate will be sophomore point guard Jeff Horner. Horner set a Hawkeye freshman record with 140 assists a year ago. Brody Boyd will give Iowa a deadly three point shooter off the bench.

Alford will be able to call on one of the deepest and most experience frontlines in the BigTen. Senior center Jared Reiner appears ready for a breakout season after leading the Big Ten in rebounding last winter. Glen Worley has shown flashes of brilliance, he dropped 29 point on Michigan State in win over the Spartans last season. Sean Sonderleiter is a steady performer who gives Alford versatility by playing center or power forward. Greg Brunner brings excellent athleticism off the bench and can play all three positions up front.

With as a deep a roster as anyone in the Big Ten, Alford has higher expectations of his team than the pre-season prognosticators. In a year of extreme parity, the Hawkeyes will have the opportunity to prove their naysayers wrong.

9. Minnesota

2003 Record 18-14, 8-8

Starters Lost (3):
F Rick Rickert 6-11 So. Declared for NBA Draft (15.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 35.3 3PT%)
G Kevin Burleson 6-3 Sr. (6.7PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.8 APG)
F Jerry Holman 6-10 Sr. (9.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG 59.2 FG%)

Returning Starters (2):
G Maurice Hargrow 6-4 So. (13.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 38.9 3PT%)
F Michael Bauer 6’8 Jr. (11.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.3 APG, 37.4 3PT%)

The Rick Rickert era prematurely ended below expectations. The 6’10 sophomore was drafted by the cross town Timberwolves, but will play in Europe this season. To replace him, Minnesota was fortunate to get 6’10 freshman center Kris Humphries. Humphries from suburban Chaska, MN was released from his letter of intent with Duke. Humphries addition means that Dan Monson does not have to worry about who will replace Rickert. Monson is very high on Humphries and excited about what he can do for the Gopher program. “Kris Humphries is a very physical player who will be ready to contribute immediately”. Michael Bauer is as well rounded as any player in the Big Ten. The 6’8 senior hit 71 three point field goals in 2003 and was the Gophers third leading rebounder and scorer.

After being an inside dominated team for a few years, the Gophers will have more balance in 2003-04. Maurice Hargrow is expected to step up his game after being one of the Big Ten’s most improved players a year ago. If Hargow can make a similar jump this season, he will contend for some Big Ten postseason honors. Gopher fans are highly anticipating the return of Adam Boone. A native Minnesotan, Boone spent his first two years matriculating at North Carolina. He is potentially the best point guard during the Monson era. Boone is an excellent three point shooter who had an outstanding assist-turnover ratio as a Tar Heel. Asked about what Boone will mean to this year’s team, Monson replied “Adam Boone gives us a true point guard this season”.

The fifth Gopher starter will depend if Monson wants to go with a traditional or three guard attack. Ben Johnson who returns for a fifth season is the most likely to emerge. Johnson had an injury and illness plagued 2003, but showed promise early in his career at Northwestern. Stan Gaines, Aaron Robinson and Jeff Hagen give the Gophers balance and experience off the bench. Rickert entered Minnesota with much fanfare, but failed to lead them to the NCAA tournament. After three consecutives NIT appearances, Gopher fans are getting restless. If Humphries and Boone can live up to their hype and Johnson and Bauer are able to overcome their injuries, the Gophers might be able to sneak up on the Big Ten.

10. Northwestern

2003 Record:12-17, 3-13

Starters Lost (3):
C Aaron Jennings, 6-10 Sr. (11.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 49.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT%)
G Winston Blake 6-5 Sr. (7.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG)
G/F Jason Burke 6-8 Sr. (6.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.7 APG 74.7 FT %)

Starters Returning (2):
G Jitim Young 6-2 Jr. (13.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 48.6 FG %)
G T.J. Parker 6-3 Fr. (11.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.7 APG)

Probable New Starters (3) Mohamed Hachad 6-5 Fr G (4.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG) Vedran Vukusic 6-8 So. (2003 Redshirt) Davor Duvancic 6-8 So. (2.8 PPG 1.8 RPG 49.1 FG% 72.4 FT%)

Northwestern’s biggest challenge in 2003-04 will be to find scoring in the post. Aaron Jennings did an admirable job in 2003, but his replacements are unproven. Davor Duvancic showed potential in a breakout game when he dropped 20 points on Illinois in the Wildcats loss in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Vedran Vukusic shot 47 percent from three point range in 2002 and would have finished second in the Big Ten with enough attempts. The 6-8 junior has a nice inside-outside game and if he stays healthy will be a big contributor. 6’10 Ivan Tolic and 6’8 240 pound freshman Vince Scott should back them up and receive plenty of playing time.

Like most of their Big Ten opponents, NU’s strength will be their perimeter game. Jitim Young returns for his senior season ranked among the Wildcats’ leaders in most offensive categories. Young has played out of position most of his career, but should be able to play outside more this year with the additions of Vukusic, Tolic and Scott.

He gives the Wildcats one of the best all around players in the Big Ten. A four position player at only 6’2, Young’s most natural position is off guard. In Carmody’s Princeton offense he’ll likely step in at small forward.

Next to Dee Brown, T.J. Parker might be the fastest end to end player in the Big Ten. Parker is a great shooter and a pest on defense. He led the Wildcats in assists, three point field goals made and was second in steals. Joining Young and Parker is Mohammed Hachad who turned things on in the second half of last season. Hachad is a multi faceted player, who rebounds well for a guard and gives the Wildcats versatility. Evan Seacat should see time off the bench as a designated shooter.

11. Penn State

2003 Record: 7-21, 2-14

Starters Lost:
G Sharif Chambliss 6-1 Jr. (14.7 PPG, 90.1 FT%, Transferred to Wisconsin)
G Brandon Watkins 6-1 Sr. (13.7 PPG, 3.7 APG, 7.4 FT%)

Returning Starters (3):
C Jan Jagla 7-0 So. (9.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG)
G De Forrest Riley 6-6 Fr. (7.9 PPG, 40 3PT%, 90 FT%)
C/F Robert Summers 6-11 Fr. (3.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 50.6 FG%)

Probable New Starters:
F Aaron Johnson 6’9 Fr. (8.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG 70.1 FT%)
G Marlon Smith 6-0 Fr.

Ed DeChellis faces a major rebuilding effort in Happy Valley. Only a few seasons removed from a Sweet 16 appearance, the Nittany Lions will need a significant upgrade in talent over the next few seasons to compete in the Big Ten.

Aaron Johnson, who led the Big Ten in rebounding in conference games, is out until at least December after having surgery for a detached retina. In Johnson’s absence, Jan Jagla will have to pick up his game. A skilled big game, Jagla seems uncomfortable in the paint and needs to rebound better. DeForrest Riley had an excellent freshman year and will be looked upon to be one of Penn State’s go to guys.

Freshman John Kelly will bring some added muscle off the bench. Jason Mc Dougald should be out of the doghouse with a new coaching staff, Robert Summers is Penn State’s most versatile big man and spirited senior Ndu Egekeze will provide leadership as backups.

After losing Brandon Watkins to graduation and Sharif Chambliss as transfer to Wisconsin, De Chellis has to rebuild the Nittany Lion backcourt. DeChellis is high on freshmen Ben Luber and Marlon Smith. Sophomore Brandon Cameron was the backup point guard last season. All three are only 6’0, giving the Lions some match-up problems in the backcourt.

DeChellis is in for a long rebuilding process. It will start with the backcourt. The tandem of Smith and Luber gives them a nice start. Penn State’s inexperience will be a major factor this year. With only one significant senior on the roster, Penn State will able to mold this cast together. With the Lions in a rebuilding mode though, it will give the young players a chance to learn and grow in the Big Ten. Their lack of size in the backcourt and athleticism up front also means that Penn State will be able to play the up tempo game that DeChellis prefers .

     

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College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

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Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

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Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

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Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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