NATIONAL SIGNING DAY 2017: Big 10

Illinois sits atop of the Big 10 class rankings enterring the early signing period thanks to the talents of top-30 big man Jeremiah Tilmon.

BIG 10

1: Illinois

26. Jeremiah Tilmon, C

123. Trent Frazier, PG

Da’Monte Williams, CG

Javon Pickett, SG

2: Michigan State

25. Jaren Jackson Jr, PF

105. Xavier Tillman, C

3: Maryland

50. Darry Morsell, CG

70. Bruno Fernando, C

4: Iowa

86. Luka Garza, C

115. Jack Nunge, PF

Connor McCaffery, SG

5: Wisconsin

87. Nathan Reuvers, PF

122. Brad Davison, SG

Kobe King, CG

6: Michigan

Jordan Poole, SG

Eli Brooks, PG

Isaiah Livers, F

7: Indiana

104. Justin Smith, SF

Al Durham, SG

Clifton Moore, PF

8: Minnesota

69. Isaiah Washington, PG

Jamir Harris, SG

9: Ohio State

Kaleb Wesson, C

Braxton Beverly, PG

10: Purdue

Matt Haarms, C

Aaron Wheeler, SF

11: Nebraska

Nana Akenten, SF

Aguek Arop, SF

12: Northwestern

Anthony Gaines, SF

13: Rutgers

Geo Baker, CG

14: Penn State

 

HoopSeen125 players coming to Big 10: 12

Total signees/commitments: 30

Best scorer: Isaiah Washington – Minnesota

Best rebounder: Luka Garza – Iowa

Best defender: Anthony Gaines – Northwestern

Biggest impact: Isaiah Washington – Minnesota

Best shooter: Jamir Harris – Minnesota

Best passer: Eli Brooks – Minnesota

Biggest sleeper: Clifton Moore – Indiana

Top PG: Isaiah Washington – Minnesota

Top SG: Darryl Morsell – Maryland

Top SF: Justin Smith – Indiana

Top PF: Jaren Jackson Jr. – Michigan State

Top C: Jeremiah Tilmon – Illinois

The Big 10 is a conference that has had great success on the recruiting trail and throughout the college basketball regular season, but once the days of March come to an end, it is hard to believe that the league has yet to celebrate a national championship since 2000. Could this be the year for things to change? Its members hope so but it all comes back to the lure that each program has on the recruiting front.

In any given year, it seems that Michigan State, Ohio State, and Maryland are going to sit with some of the top recruiting classes within the Big 10. However, some others have stepped up to the plate this fall as Illinois jumped the gun a bit and landed the best talent that calls the state home.

There should be a minor asterisk here where word escaped late last night that Jeremiah Tilmon, the headliner of the class for Illinois, would not sign early on. Whether he does suit up for the Illini or not is still in question, but at the time being, the near 7-footer has remained committed to the Big 10 bunch. To go along with him is top-125 guard Trent Frazier, and in-state recruits Da’Monte Williams and Javon Pickett, as the Illini sit with the best class within the Big 10. Nationally, it is a top-10 class and while there has been talk about head coach John Groce being on the hot seat entering the season, the additions of this talented group and with a healthier squad this winter in tow, it should then enable for an excellent turnaround in Champaign.

The top ranked prospect to commit to a Big 10 affiliate, Jaren Jackson, has his Michigan State program nipping on the heels of the Illini. He is joined by travel teammate and fellow top-125 recruit Xavier Tillman in creating a strong nucleus of frontcourt talent that would have been more than welcomed this year in East Lansing due to the recent injuries suffered by the Spartans frontline.

Finishing out the top-three of the Big 10 class rankings is Maryland, a program that doesn’t find itself within the geographical footprint of the rest of the conference, but has continued to mine their locale appropriately while also leaving the DMV region for further talent. Recently, the Terps picked up the commitment of top in-state recruit Darryl Morsell, someone that is more than likely to surprise during his collegiate playing days due to the improvement path that he has continued to remain on. He will be joined by top-75 big man Bruno Fernando, an interior enforcer that was a one-time SMU commit before heading for a year of prep this fall.

The next four classes in descending order are all a bit bunched up, yet all four bring great versatility and hit the marks with each of the program’s needs.

Iowa welcomes in Luka Garza and Jack Nunge, two, top-125 big man commits that could become the next Jarrod Uthoff-Adam Woodberry type of combination that Hawkeye faithful enjoyed in past years. Fran McCaffery’s son, Connor, tops the class off and brings an advanced skillset and solid IQ off of the ball.

Wisconsin has sat tight for a bit now thanks to enjoying three quick commitments earlier in the year. The biggest being Nathan Reuvers, an ideal type of space 4-man that can shoot the ball from deep but also takes use of the mismatch that he presents down low in scoring on the block. Brad Davison and Kobe King, two capable combo guard types with good toughness, are added into the backcourt.

Michigan, just like Wisconsin, has settled down a bit after quickly gaining ground on its contemporaries in recent months on the trail after securing two guard and one big man commitment of their own. Jordan Poole is a smooth, slippery off-guard that can playmake when asked upon. Eli Brooks will be the one relied upon in facilitating the Wolverines’ half-court offense as he will have Isaiah Livers, a combo forward that can play various spots on both ends of the floor, at his disposal.

Sitting seventh overall but with a high upside class is Indiana. Justin Smith, a 6-foot-5 small forward that hails from the same high school that Villanova star guard Jalen Brunson once suited up at it, is the highest rated commit as he will be joined on the perimeter by the talents of Al Durham. However, the X-factor of the entire class is Clifton Moore, an evolving power forward with great size, length, and ball skills that could become the next breakout project produced from Tom Crean’s program.

Sitting eighth is Minnesota, a program in need of further talent infiltration but in the 2017 class, the Gophers got it right with Isaiah Washington and Jamir Harris. Each can really score the basketball and bring some east coast toughness to the Big 10 program.

Ohio State follows behind Pitino’s bunch as Thad Matta’s crew is very excited about what Kaleb Wesson can become down in the post. Purdue landed two under the radar talents, one being Aaron Wheeler, a high-upside small forward that, if he can develop appropriately, out-produce the prior rankings of him. Nebraska follows the Boilermakers up with two unknown talents but both being guys that can develop nicely within the Huskers program and become solid pieces that could enable for Tim Miles’ program to get back on more solid ground.

Northwestern and Rutgers round things out when it comes to programs that hold a commitment at the time being. Chris Collins’ crew in Chicago landed another excellent wing addition with Anthony Gaines as he is someone that can play multiple spots on the floor and if he can develop his jumper more, become a valuable threat as a 3-and-D piece.

Penn State is the only program left out of the commitment party at the time being, though their focus has been on the 2018 class after putting together such a large group that have now entered the program as freshmen this fall.

In all, there are a total of 30 commitments to Big 10 members. Of the 30, there are 12 that can be found within the 2017 HoopSeen Top-125 Rankings. Jaren Jackson is the highest rated recruit headed to the league next fall while the likes of Illinois, MSU, Maryland, Iowa, and Wisconsin, the top five within the conference’s rankings, boast at least two, top-125 commitments, which could equates to, what the Big 10 might hope, a national championship within the coming years.

Managing Editor

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