Monday, April 21, 2008

Recruits and 2008-2009 Big Ten questions

Good to see Coach Crean nab a couple of guards for next year, 5-10 Daniel Moore & 6-2 Juco Devon Dumes. Moore had a scholarship offer from Boston University, which isn't a top-tier basketball school, but he still turned it down to walk on at IU. And Dumes already played a year in the MAC, averaging 8 points per game as a freshman. These aren't impact guys, but right now it's good to see IU getting any guards to fill out the backcourt. I still think next season's most likely candidate to pull a Coverdale is combo forward Brandon McGee, but it's really up to Brandon to put the work in. The opportunity will be there, whether Jamarcus Ellis & Armon Bassett return or not.
I think if we don't hear news about Ellis & Bassett returning by the time grades come out this spring, then they're back in. If they flunk themselves out, Crean's decision is easy.

The top Five questions for next seasons, as I see it now:

1. Kosta Koufos: Pro or No?

Will the conference's top big man go pro or come back for another run at the NCAA tourney? Ohio State's 2008-2009 season may hang in the balance.

2. Ekpe Udoh: Stay or go?
I've heard rumors that Udoh might transfer. And while it probably wouldn't sabotage Michigan's long-term rebuilding, it would probably put the kibosh on their post-season hopes next season.

3. Illinois: Head case central station or sudden talent infusion?
Will the addition of malcontent Alex Legion and return of Jamar Smith give the Illini a desperately needed offensive boost or will they combine with Chester "Cheap Shot" Frazier to lead a locker-room meltdown?

4. Who rises to #5 in the conference?
Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin probably have the top three locked up, and Ohio State (with Koufos) seems like a good bet for fourth, but who comes in fifth is a complete mystery to me. Minnesota may be the best bet, but can the vaunted recruiting class replace the contributions of departed seniors Coleman, Tollackson, and McKenzie?

5. Bassett & Ellis' eligibility?
Honestly, if Bassett and Ellis are reinstated probably wouldn't mean the Hoosiers are a NCAA tourney-worthy team. But without them, there's basically no shot at getting there. Whether it's worth it to Crean remains to be seen. I don't want to say these kids can't redeem themselves, but either way, they probably shouldn't play next season.


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