Commentary

Buckeyes on top once again

Originally Published: November 18, 2010
By John Stovall | ESPN Recruiting

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of the Big Ten's 2011 recruiting classes after the early signing period.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes are first in the Big Ten for the second straight season. Though not as good as last year's group, this is still a more than solid class. C Amir Williams (Birmingham, Mich./Detroit Country Day School) has as much upside as almost any big in the 2011 class. He is long, athletic and has some solid scoring skills. If he plays to his potential he could conceivably replace Jared Sullinger and give the Buckeyes solid production. SF LaQuinton Ross (Jackson, Miss./Life Center Academy) is the best offensive player in the Buckeyes' class. He is a smooth wing who can score in a variety of ways. Sam Thompson (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) can play small forward or shooting guard and is a very athletic player and streaky shooter. Shannon Scott (Alpharetta Ga./Milton) is a super smooth point guard who can score, create and lead. PF/C Trey McDonald (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek) is a solid role player who has been improving consistently over the past couple of years. He could be very good by the time he arrives in Columbus. The Buckeyes could lose five players off of this season's team, so this class could play a prominent role for coach Thad Matta immediately.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois has brought in another solid collection of athletes, who will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time. PF Mike Shaw (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle Institute) is a multidimensional player, a solid rebounder and someone who can step out and shoot to 17 feet. SF/SG Mycheal Henry (Chicago, Ill./Orr Academy) is a skilled athlete who needs only to be consistent with his effort in order to reach stardom. Tracy Abrams (Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel) is a natural scorer who should be able to convert to the point guard position because he is strong and always in attack mode. Nnanna Egwu (Chicago, Ill./St. Ignatius Prep) is a long, athletic center who is a great shot-blocker now, but raw offensively. Overall, this is another solid class for coach Bruce Weber that is good now and has a great upside.

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Michigan State Spartans

This collection of perimeter talent, highlighted by SF Branden Dawson (Gary, Ind./Lew Wallace), will add solid depth. Dawson, a slightly smaller version of Raymar Morgan, is a tough matchup defensively with his inside/outside game. He may be the best inch-for-inch rebounder in the 2011 class. SG Dwaun Anderson (Suttons Bay, Mich./Suttons Bay) is an athletic lefty wing who can play well above the rim. He has also developed a pretty solid jump shot to go along with all of his athleticism and could be a lefty version of current Spartan Durrell Summers. PG Travis Trice (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne) is an excellent shooter who has improved his overall game over the past year, while combo guard Brandan Kearney (Detroit, Mich./Southeastern) can pass it or shoot it and if he becomes consistent, he could be the best of this bunch. This group should help keep MSU near the top of the Big Ten.

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Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers added only two players to their roster, but one of them will be an immediate impact player. PF/C Cody Zeller (Washington, Ind./Washington) is one of the 15 best prospects in the 2011 class. The athletic, versatile post player is at his best in the high post where he can face and shoot to 17 feet. Don't be surprised if he is on the floor to start his first collegiate game. Austin Etherington (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) is a smart, tough and versatile wing player. He is a solid shooter with range to 20 feet and should be a solid contributor for coach Tom Crean over the course of his career.

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Michigan Wolverines

Coach John Beilein brought in two of the better scorers in the nation. Point guard Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) is tough, a solid defender and can run the point, or shift to shooting guard. He is terrific at hitting pull-up jumpers after one or two rhythm dribbles or off the catch with a smooth and confident stroke. Burke, 6-1, can also knock down open 3s without hesitation. Combo guard Carlton Brundidge (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) routinely scored over 40 points a game on the summer circuit. Brundidge, 6-feet, is a strong, big-bodied slasher and can put the ball in the basket. These two bring the ability to create their own shots and score to the Wolverines.

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Wisconsin Badgers

Coach Bo Ryan has brought in another typical Wisconsin class -- tough, strong and with solid basketball IQs. The Badgers recruit kids to fit their system and this group does just that. PF Jarrod Uthoff (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Jefferson) is a tough, skilled power forward with solid athletic ability and needs only to continue getting stronger (never a problem at Wisconsin). Center Frank Kaminsky is the prototypical Badgers big man: big, strong and can shoot to 17 feet. PG George Marshall (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Prep) is a solid scoring point guard who has solid range to 20 feet. Combo guard Traevon Jackson (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South) is a strong slashing guard who can do a little of everything and is a solid defender, which should make Ryan happy from day one.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers

Coach Tubby Smith and his staff have brought in a couple of recruits with solid upsides. Combo wing Joe Coleman (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) is a very bouncy player who can be a monster in transition and has really improved his perimeter game in the past couple of years. He is also a good rebounder for his position and should be able to contribute as a freshman. SG Andre Hollins (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) is a scorer who can create his own shot and has good range to 20 feet. His toughness makes him a Tubby Smith kind of player. These guys should be able to help Minnesota win immediately.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State brings in a solid class, but unfortunately none of its members is Talor Battle. Nonetheless, this group is solid and will definitely help. Combo forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn./Chaska) is an athletic player who can help inside or on the perimeter. He plays hard and needs only to become a more consistent shooter to complete his offensive package. PG Trey Lewis (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights) is a very good shooter with range to 22 feet and should contribute as a freshman. Centers Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) and Pat Ackerman (Rutland, Mass./Worcester Academy) are both developmental post players. Alexis is a low-post player who likes to hang out in the paint, while Ackerman is more of a high-post player who is a solid shooter to 17 feet. Coach Ed DeChellis has accrued a nice collection of talent that he should be able to mold into a solid unit.

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Purdue Boilermakers

Coach Matt Painter follows last year's four-man class with a smaller class of two athletic power forwards. PF Donnie Hale (New Albany, Ind./Bridgton Academy) was a part of last year's class, but decided to attend prep school for another year of seasoning. The athletic lefty is a solid low-post player who has improved his perimeter game to be able to operate out to 15 feet. PF Jacob Lawson (Greensboro, N.C./Oak Ridge Military Academy) is a very bouncy low-post player who runs well and is awesome in transition. He is a little raw offensively but is long and athletic. Both will add toughness and inside athleticism immediately.

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Northwestern Wildcats

Coach Bill Carmody has brought in another solid, underrated group. PG Tre Demps (San Antonio, Texas/Ronald Reagan) is a solid player with a great basketball IQ and range to 17 feet who makes winning plays and should be able to do the same thing for the Wildcats. PF Mike Turner (Chicago, Ill./Chicago University) is a long, athletic and skilled forward with a very large upside. He will need to add strength but he has some talent. PG David Sobolewski (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy) is a tough, solid, scoring point guard who can create some for himself and others. This group should be able to help Northwestern continue its rise in the Big Ten.

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Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa and new coach Fran McCaffery should lose only one player from this season's squad. The Hawkeyes need an injection of talent and this crew should help with that. PF Aaron White (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville) is a multiskilled player who can play inside and outside. He is skilled on the perimeter but has the height to play in the paint. He is a solid athlete with a solid handle and is a good shooter to 20 feet. SG Josh Oglesby (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington) is a solid shooter, good passer with great size and basketball IQ. He needs to get stronger, but should be able to contribute as a freshman.

John Stovall, a recruiting coordinator, has worked as director of scouting for Prep Spotlight Scouting Service and magazine for 15 years.