Big Ten links: Scroll through Thursday's best headlines

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Scroll through Thursday's best headlines

Count Jay Bilas among those who thinks Jarrod Uthoff can help an NBA team. He projects as a second-round pick … at best. I love the guy. He is so versatile. But, I wonder about strength and toughness.

“He’s versatile and he’s got a 6-11 wing span and he can shoot it; he’s got mid-range ability,” Bilas said of Uthoff on a pre-draft teleconference. “He’s actually proved to be a really good shot-blocker on the perimeter. You wonder, though, is that going to translate on the defensive end once he gets into the NBA?

“He can knock down shots, space the floor and I think he can hang on the defensive end. … As long as he gets with the right team, I think he can be a help to somebody.”

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On the subject of the NBA draft, SI’s Seth Davis got some brutally honest player evaluations from an NBA scout. Several Big Ten players were put under the microscope, including MSU’s Deyonta Davis and Denzel Valentine, IU’s Yogi Ferrell, Purdue’s A.J. Hammons, Maryland’s Robert Carter and Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff, among others.

The assessment of Hammons is spot on: “Very good shot blocker, but he’s inconsistent. An enigma. He didn’t dominate consistently until he was older. Well, you’re 24 beating up on 18-year-olds. You better dominate. I’m not a huge fan of his work ethic and some of the stuff that went on at Purdue. I don’t think he loves to play. Talented dude, but I don’t know if the light will ever go on for him. I’m concerned what will happen once he gets NBA money.”

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More draft goodies: Brian Neubert of GoldandBlack.com wonders if traditional big men are being marginalized in the NBA.

The trend does seem to lean toward a quicker game these days, packing the court with smaller, faster players and getting up and down the court. You can thank the Golden State Warriors.

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Yes, LeBron deserves the credit for the Cavs’ title. But how about coach Tyronn Lue? The former Husker—who also won a ring as a player–did a good job keeping the team together. Tom Shatel of Omaha.com thinks Nebraska should raise Lue’s jersey to the rafters. And, I agree.

Let’s get this done.

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It seems no hoop team has been hit by injury as much as Illinois in recent years. Scott Richey looks at the “Healin’ Illini.”

Tracy Abrams, left Achilles
Mike Thorne, Jr., right meniscus
Leron Black, right meniscus
Te’Jon Lucas, right foot

I am fascinated to see how Illinois does in 2016-17, which shapes up as a huge season for John Groce.

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Next season, Penn State will play Maryland and Ohio State just one time in hoops. And David Jones of Pennlive.com isn’t happy about it. Hey, it’s just how the unbalanced scheduling cookie crumbles. You can find similar beefs with just about every other team’s schedule.

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On that note, InsideNU.com analyzed the Wildcats’ 2016-17 hoop schedule. This is good news. The slate is the fifth-easiest in terms of average opponent in KenPom rankings. More reason to think that next season may be when NU finally punches its Big Dance ticket.

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Hey, it’s summer time. The time for stories like this: Rutgers’ All-Millennium Team. It starts with the best Rutgers offensive players since 2000. Thank you, Dan Duggan of NJ.com.

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How about this: Jim Harbaugh and his wifey are expecting another child, according to a report. You know if they sell khaki diapers, Jim Ballgame will buy them. I hope the kid likes going to satellite camps in the summer. No time for that Disney cruise.

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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