Who would you build a Big Ten men's basketball team around?
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There are a lot of top-notch players in the Big Ten. There’s Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, Iowa’s Peter Jok, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, Indiana’s James Blackmon, Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Nebraska’s Tai Webster, among others.
If you could pick one Big Ten player to build a team around, who would you select? I posed that question to some media members who cover the Big Ten.
Marcus Fuller, Minneapolis Star Tribune: I would probably pick Wisconsin sophomore Ethan Happ. He’s one of the most polished post players in college basketball with his array of back-to-the basket moves. And he’s the best defensive player in the Big Ten. If Happ ever developed a consistent outside shot, he would probably be close to unstoppable.
Jeremy Werner, IlliniInquirer.com/ESPN Radio 93.5: Caleb Swanigan, Purdue. I usually side with the point guards (Maryland’s Melo Trimble or Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig) and I love Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, but Swanigan is so dominant in the post yet still dangerous from the perimeter.
Jon McNamara, BadgerBlitz.com: I’ll go with Caleb Swanigan, who is probably the top post player in the conference. The Purdue standout is third in the conference in scoring at 18.2 points per game and first in rebounds with 12.6 a contest. He can also hit his free throws – shooting at a 77.5 percent clip – during crunch time. If I’m starting a roster with a Big Ten, I’m not passing on a near double-double lock each time he steps on the floor.
Steve Greenberg, Chicago Sun-Times/BleacherReport.com: Sadly, this isn’t one of those times when it’s hard to give an answer because there are so many great options to choose from. Ideally for me, the cornerstone player can dribble through any defense, create shots for himself and others, live at the foul line, score in the clutch and, of course, defend. Does that guy exist in the Big Ten? I thought Melo Trimble would get there at an all-American level, but he hasn’t. Tai Webster? Bronson Koenig? Good players, but no on both. Peter Jok can score all night, but he isn’t winning — at all. Miles Bridges? Not yet. The only answer here is, I suppose, Caleb Swanigan. A year ago, I thought he took incredibly bad shots. Now, he’s by far Purdue’s best player. Build around a power forward? In college basketball?
Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald: Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan. 20 and 10 pretty good baseline to build from.