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Dienhart: Here are my final Big Ten hoops grades

The dust has settled on another basketball season. And, it was a good one for the Big Ten, as three schools advanced to the Elite Eight (Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State) and one made it to the Final Four (Wisconsin). Another won the NIT (Minnesota). Let’s punctuate the season by handing out final grades. Illinois, 20-15, 7-11/T8th. The Fighting Illini had a roller coaster season. In earlier January after a home win vs. Penn State, Illinois was 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. Alas, the wheels came off during an eight-game losing skid. Illinois would go on to lose

2014 Big Ten draft class vs. other conferences

The deadline to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft is less than a week away, and the Big Ten draft class is beginning to take its final shape. Baring any surprises, Michigan’s Mitch McGary is the only player in the conference who has yet to announce whether he will stay in school or bolt early for the NBA. Big names like Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris and Noah Vonleh highlight this year’s Big Ten Draft class, but how do they compare to other conference’s top draft hopefuls? Here is a breakdown of the top five NBA Draft prospects from the Big

Fourteen B1G products on 2014 NBA playoff rosters

Fourteen former Big Ten stars are listed on 2014 NBA playoff rosters. Ohio State paces the conference with four players: Mike Conley, Kosta Koufos, Greg Oden and Evan Turner. In all, six Big Ten schools are represented. The team with the most Big Ten products? That would be Memphis, which features the aforementioned Conley and Koufos and Jon Leuer and Zach Randolph. ILLINOIS Meyers Leonard, Portland Trailblazers Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets INDIANA D.J. White, Charlotte Bobcats Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats MICHIGAN Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers MICHIGAN STATE Alan Anderson, Brooklyn Nets Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors Zach Randolph, Memphis

Magnificent 7: An early look at 2014-15 MVP race

The Big Ten has suffered some big attrition when it comes to players leaving early for the NBA Draft as Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III all declared. Michigan’s Mitch McGary still is weighing his options. If he bolts, it will leave another gap to fill. On top of that, stars like Roy Devyn Marble of Iowa, Adreian Payne of Michigan State and Tim Frazier of Penn State are departing seniors. Who’s left? Who will be the front-runners for Big Ten Player of the Year in 2014-15,

Role playing: One ultimate Big Ten hoops roster

Here’s a question to ponder: What does every great college basketball team have in common? We know every one has a superstar. This year’s national champion UConn had Shabazz Napier, last year’s champion Louisville team had Russ Smith, and the 2012 Kentucky team had Anthony Davis, and so on. Every great college basketball team also has players who fill specific roles. For example, in addition to superstar Nik Stauskas, this year’s Michigan Big Ten title team had a shooting specialist in Zak Irvin, a bench spark in Spike Albrecht and a team leader in senior Jordan Morgan. This got me

If B1G basketball players formed a football team ...

Here’s a question that college basketball fans have probably asked themselves at one point or another: How good would that guy be if he played football? The which-basketball-players-would-be-great-at-football topic always makes for a great conversation point, but rather than pointlessly flirting with the idea, let’s go ahead and actually put it into action. With both the college football and basketball seasons now in the books, I went ahead and put together a 22-man football lineup made up of all Big Ten hoops players from the 2013-14 season. Did I miss someone? If so, tweet me @BTNSean. OFFENSE Quarterback: Josh Gasser,

Stay or go: What should Mitch McGary do?

No Big Ten player has a tougher decision to make about his future plans than Michigan’s Mitch McGary. A season ago, fresh off his breakout NCAA tourney performance, McGary was a hot name in the NBA draft. He elected to return to school, of course, and went on to play eight games before undergoing season-ending back surgery. Almost 22 and having not played since 2013, McGary is in a difficult position. Does he enter the draft and try to prove he’s healthy in pre-draft workouts, or does he come back to Michigan to enjoy college life and attempt to improve

Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas declare for NBA draft

Michigan sophomores Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III both declared for the NBA draft at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Fellow sophomore Mitch McGary is still weighing his future plans. Stauskas leaving is no shock. He’s generally projected to be a first-round pick, just outside the lottery. But Robinson’s planned hop to the pros is a mild surprise, as he had an up-and-down campaign. [ MORE: Who’s on the move? See B1G NBA draft entrants, transfers ] Stauskas took his game to another level in 2013-14, adding an effective dribble-drive game to his unmatched razor-sharp shooting skills en route to averaging 17.5

Which undeclared B1G player is most NBA-ready?

It’s already mid-April, which means that the NBA draft is quickly approaching. Several Big Ten players have yet to officially announce their future plans. That list includes the likes of Branden Dawson (Michigan State), A.J. Hammons (Purdue), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Mitch McGary (Michigan), Glenn Robinson III (Michigan) and Nik Stauskas (Michigan). That’s a talented list of players, which brought me to the following query: Which of these undeclared Big Ten players is the most NBA-ready right now? I posed the question to eight top-notch writers who cover Big Ten hoops closely. Here is what I got. * Michigan State’s

Nik Stauskas to announce NBA draft decision Tuesday

Michigan sophomore guard Nik Stauskas will announce his decision to return to school or enter the NBA Draft in a press conference on Tuesday. [ MORE: Michigan State’s Gary Harris to enter NBA Draft ] Stauskas released the following tweet early Monday evening. And for those who have been asking, I will be holding a press conference tomorrow at school where I will announce my decision. — Nik Stauskas (@NStauskas11) April 14, 2014 Michigan’s athletic department sent out a release shortly after, stating that a press conference will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday at the Crisler Center