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Men's Basketball

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Catch up on Friday's Big Ten headlines

Nice piece by Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com on how the Big Ten is excelling at developing NBA players. It’s also nice that most are guys who stayed at least two years. Lesmerises says it’s those guys in the middle – good enough to go early but not sprinting out the door from day one – who have elevated the play in the Big Ten. Last year, the Big Ten had its best draft in years, with five league players selected, four of them in the first round. None of were seniors. But none were freshmen, either, Lesmerises. This year, the

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

B1G hoops coaches rarely leave for head coaching jobs

The speculation machine is in overdrive with chatter that Minnesota coach Richard Pitino is a target to fill the recently opened Tennessee job. Nebraska’s Tim Miles also has been mentioned. Bottom line: Neither is likely to leave their current posts. As Amelia Rayno from the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said on the Dan Barreiro show on KFAN that Pitino is not interested in the job. In fact, history shows that Big Ten coaches rarely leave to take coaching jobs at other schools. They either are fired, retire or resign. Over the past 35-plus years, only

A.J. Hammons to return to Purdue for junior season

It’s official: A.J. Hammons will return to Purdue for his junior season. Let the celebration along State Street begin. “I’ve decided to stay and continue my education here at Purdue, and there are a lot of goals I still want to accomplish with my teammates on the court,” Hammons said in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to get back to the postseason and compete for a Big Ten title. I feel like we owe our fans some better basketball. Purdue is a special place with a lot of great people and I’m excited to continue my education here

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

Branden Dawson will return to Spartans for senior season

Michigan State forward Branden Dawson will put the NBA on hold and return for his senior season. The 6-6 Dawson made the announcement official on Tuesday afternoon. [ MORE: Big Ten roster updates: Who’s on the move? ] “I was always pretty sure that I wanted to return for my senior season, but Coach Izzo said he would do what he does for all his players and gather some information,” Dawson said. “As he started making calls, my mom came up and we met with Coach. The three of us decided that as far as my basketball career, both present

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

Michigan State's Gary Harris to enter NBA draft

Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris will turn pro, the school announced Monday afternoon. This surprises no one, as Harris is projected by most to be a lottery selection. In fact, some felt Harris could have gone pro after his freshman season, when he averaged 12.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists. [ MORE: Who’s on the move? See Big Ten NBA draft entrants, transfers ] The 6-4 Harris is a sweet shooter who excels in the open court. He can shoot, pass, work off the dribble and defend. Bottom line: Harris is the complete player and was the preseason pick

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