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Top 50 SG Tyler Herro de-commits from Wisconsin

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Last September, Wisconsin landed a pledge from a highly regarded 2018 prospect as shooting guard Tyler Herro announced that he would remain in state and play for Greg Gard. Tuesday evening Herro, considered to be a Top 50 prospect by many of the major recruiting services, announced that he has decided to reopen his recruitment.

“After a lot of conversations with my family and prayer I have decided to reopen my recruitment and explore all of my options,” Herro said in a statement released via Twitter. “The past year since I committed I have grown not only as a basketball player, but as a person. My drive to become the best on all levels has been the fuel that drove this decision.”

With Herro’s change of heart, Wisconsin is now without a verbal commitment in the Class of 2018. The 6-foot-4 Milwaukee native picked Wisconsin over Arizona, Florida, Indiana, DePaul and Marquette, and given his talent Herro’s recruitment should not take long to pick up following his decision to open things back up.

The Badgers added three scholarship freshmen to the program this summer, with two being perimeter players in Brad Davison and Kobe King. Wisconsin currently does not have a senior in its perimeter rotation, which helps from a numbers standpoint when it comes to 2018. But to lose a recruit of Herro’s caliber, and an in-state prospect at that, is a major hit for the Wisconsin program to absorb.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.

Big Ten reveals conference schedule with early-December games

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We knew it was coming, but seeing it in black-and-white is still plenty jarring.
The Big Ten is going to play conference games in early December.

The league announced its full conference schedule Wednesday, unveiling 14 first-week-of-December games ahead of nearly a month-long hiatus before Big Ten play picks up again in January.

It’s a move that was forced after the Big Ten decided it needed to expand its east coast presence after its expansion to Rutgers and Maryland, and will be playing its conference tournament on the eastern seaboard for the second-consecutive year, this time at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The problem with MSG is that the Big East hosts its annual conference tournament there, meaning the B1G will have to play its tournament a week early, March 1-4. That means a week less of January, February and March for the conference to play its 18 league games. Thus the early December start. NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster broke down the situation in even more detail – and bite – last spring here.

Every team in the league will play both a home and a road game during that league’s first week, a soft opening if you will. Whether teams like the change or not will likely come down to circumstance  – what players they have injured or suspended, what players their opponents have injured or suspended and any other host of issues, but it’s hard to believe with all things being equal, Big Ten coaches will like this move. They’re playing extremely meaningful league games less than three weeks into the season with other conferences getting nearly 2 months of preparation before facing their toughest slate of games.

The B1G, though, will have more favorable and interesting games – even if they’re programmed against college football championship games (including their own) – that week than any other conference can boast, which likely means some nice TV ratings. Given why this change is being made, that’s probably the priority anyway.

Maryland lands four-star Class of 2017 big man

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Maryland picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2017 over the weekend as four-star big man Bruno Fernando made a pledge to the Terps.

The 6-foot-10 Fernando was at one time an SMU commit, but he opted for a postgrad year and re-opened his recruitment before deciding on Maryland. Regarded as the No. 112 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Fernando should add to a solid stable of big men that the Terps have had the last few years.

Coming off of a class where they picked up four, four-star prospects, Maryland is off to a very good start in the Class of 2017 with Fernando. With Damonte Dodd being a senior and Michal Cekovsky starting his junior year, Maryland can develop Fernando as a rotation player the next few years before he needs to play bigger minutes.

Wisconsin snags four-star 2018 guard Tyler Herro

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Greg Gard landed perhaps his most important recruiting victory on Monday afternoon as in-state Class of 2018 guard Tyler Herro pledged to the Badgers.

A consensus four-star prospect who is ranked No. 66 in the latest Rivals Class of 2018 national rankings, Herro is a talented 6-foot-4 guard who can put up points and handle the ball a bit.

Herro’s commitment is Wisconsin’s first in the Class of 2018 and its an important one because Gard and the Badgers were able to keep a potential national recruit home. Arizona had recently offered Herro and others were likely to join and for Gard to keep him here is very big for his recruiting future.

The Badgers did a nice job in the Class of 2017, as they’ve landed some skilled shooters, including four-star guard Brad Davison and four-star forward Nathan Reuvers. Now they’ve also started well in the next class and not many college programs have commitments from four-star top-100 prospects.

Looking Forward: Here’s what the Big Ten has in store for the 2016-17 season

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The NBA Draft’s Early Entry Deadline has come and gone. Just about every elite recruit has decided where they will be playing their college ball next season. The coaching carousel, which ended up spinning a bit faster than initially expected, has come to a close for all of the major programs. 

In other words, by now, we have a pretty good feel for what college basketball is going to look like during the 2016-17 season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what has happened — and what will happen — in the Big 12 over the next six months. 

KEY OFFSEASON STORYLINES

  1. What does Caleb Swanigan end up doing?: Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan has one of the most fascinating NBA Draft cases of any freshman. The power forward is currently testing the waters without an agent, but his guardian, Roosevelt Barnes, is an agent with experience on handling things like this. That will help Swanigan make an informed and interesting choice. If he’s back, Purdue still has an interior of Swanigan and 7-footer Isaac Haas and would be the best front court in the Big Ten.
  2. Are things back to normal at Wisconsin?: Last offseason was an odd one for Wisconsin as former head coach Bo Ryan kept his job (for a bit) after back-to-back Final Fours and the team was rebuilding. New head coach Greg Gard took over mid-season and now the program belongs to him going forward as he helped the Badgers make the Sweet 16. This offseason, Wisconsin gets some stability as Gard gets to recruit for the future and has a potentially good team returning. If Nigel Hayes returns from the NBA Draft, the Badgers get most of their pieces back.
  3. Maryland waits on Melo: Next season at Maryland will already look different as the team loses Diamond Stone and Robert Carter to the draft along with seniors Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon. But if sophomore guard Melo Trimble stays in the NBA Draft, the Terps will looks like a completely unique starting lineup. If Melo does come back, he’s a frontrunner for Big Ten Player of the Year and Maryland has a shot to remain a solid team.
  4. What does Indiana look like after Yogi Ferrell’s departure?: The last four seasons, senior point guard Yogi Ferrell was a key part of what Indiana did on offense. He was the engine that made them go. Now that he’s gone the Hoosiers will be a unique team, as Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson are the beat guys guaranteed back. If Troy Williams returns from the NBA Draft and James Blackmon Jr. (who’s also going through the Draft process) is healthy, Indiana will again find themselves in Big Ten contention.

NOTABLE NEWCOMERS

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State: Tom Izzo reloaded in East Lansing with a tremendous recruiting class headlined by the 6-foot-7 Bridges. Returning home to Michigan, Bridges is powerful enough to unleash ferocious in-game windmills or skilled enough to score on the perimeter.
  • L.G. Gill, Maryland: The Duquesne graduate transfer gives the Terps another body in the front court as he put up 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season. The 6-foot-7 Gill can also knock down some three-pointers.
  • Tony Carr, Penn State: The headliner of a top 25 recruiting class, the 6-foot-4 Carr has great size for a point guard and he’s the type of player who could make an immediate impact on the perimeter for the Nittany Lions.
  • Spike Albrecht, Purdue: Can you really call an inner-conference transfer a newcomer? Well, either way, if Albrecht can provide steady point guard minutes and some much-needed perimeter shooting for Purdue, then it’s a great addition.

SURPRISING DEPARTURES

  • Deyonta Davis, Michigan State: Now that the Spartans are battling for No. 1 rankings and Final Four appearances, you have expect one-and-done players to happen and after a solid freshman season, Davis has a chance to be a top-15 pick.
  • Robert Carter, Maryland: Not much of a surprise that the junior big man opted to go pro, but rather, that he signed an agent before he had to. But based on his opening day at the NBA Draft Combine — in which he went for 22 points and scored in multiple ways in a scrimmage — Carter looks like he might have made the correct decision.

COACHING CHANGES

Steve Pikiell, Rutgers: The former Stony Brook head man led the Seawolves to the NCAA tournament this past March as he now gets a shot in the Big Ten. Rutgers is one of the tougher high-major jobs in the country, but Pikiell built a successful program at Stony Brook that included a potential draft pick in forward Jameel Warney.

WAY-TOO-EARLY ALL-CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

Melo Trimble (Maryland): Player of the Year
Thomas Bryant (Indiana)
Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin)
Malcolm Hill (Illinois)
Miles Bridges (Michigan State)

WAY-TOO-EARLY POWER RANKINGS, IN TWEETS

  1. Michigan State: The Spartans lose Denzel, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, but their loaded freshman class and grad transfer Ben Carter (UNLV) will help immediately.
  2. Wisconsin: With the return of Nigel Hayes, the Badgers would return all five starters from a Sweet 16 team. Ethan Happ could be a star in the Big Ten.
  3. Indiana: Hoosiers could have as much talent as anyone in the league if everyone returns, but defense will still be a key for them. Development of O.G. Anunoby should be fun.
  4. Purdue: The Boilers should get some help from freshman Carsen Edwards, but this team still needs consistent shooting around big man Isaac Haas.
  5. Maryland: If Melo Trimble is gone, this ranking is too high. But if he returns? The Terps have a chance for a surprise Big Ten run.
  6. Michigan: Snakebitten by injuries the past few seasons, the Wolverines have a chance to compete in the Big Ten if Derrick Walton can stay healthy.
  7. Iowa: It’ll be a younger roster for the Hawkeyes as they try to replace Jarrod Uthoff. Nicholas Baer and Dom Uhl were promising while Fran McCaffery has a solid freshman class.
  8. Ohio State: Roster turnover dominated the offseason news for Ohio State, but they have the makings of a dangerous and talented team if they put it all together.
  9. Northwestern: Is this the year Northwestern finally gets over the hump and makes the tournament? The Wildcats need their young front court to come through.
  10. Penn State: A top-25 recruiting class coupled with a returning lineup of some talented pieces means excitement for basketball in Happy Valley.
  11. Illinois: If this team can ever stay healthy, they have a chance to work into the Big Ten’s top half. Malcolm Hill could have a huge year.
  12. Minnesota: Offseason turmoil aside, the Golden Gophers brought in some talented new pieces. In-state recruit Amir Coffey should play and graduate transfer Akeem Springs could start.
  13. Nebraska: Shavon Shields is gone and now Tim Miles has to find some new pieces to rely on.
  14. Rutgers: Steve Pikiell takes over and he’s hoping for the return of point guard Corey Sanders to build around.