Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 22, 2014

Tough blow for Indiana hoops coach Tom Crean, as assistant Kenny Johnson is leaving the staff to join Louisville. Johnson was one of the Hoosiers? top aides. He made a big impact in just two scant years.

How vital was Johnson? He played key roles in helping Indiana land Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson and Noah Vonleh, as Johnson had key ties out East. Johnson was also important in landing Robert Johnson in IU?s latest haul and in recommitting James Blackmon. Replacing Kenny Johnson is a BIG hire for Crean. BIG.


Spring football is over at Ohio State. And, from most indications, things went well. Oh, some concerns linger-namely, the offensive line. And is the pass defense really better? What is your confidence in the Buckeyes?

Mine? Oh, I think they?ll be just fine-so fine that they?ll win the Big Ten East.


It seems like the hype surrounding incoming Michigan freshman corner Jabrill Peppers has been building for a decade. The coaches can?t wait until he arrives. No doubt, Peppers should see the field early. I just hope he can live up to the hype. Still, playing a ton could be difficult, as the Wolverines already have some nice corners in Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor, Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis.

It seems like Michigan has been looking for an elite passer, well, forever, right? Frank Clark showed some flashes last season. He says he?s primed to take the proverbial next step in 2014.

Clark had his best season in 2013 by collecting 43 tackles with 12 stops for loss but only 4.5 sacks. And none of those sacks came in the final six games. It was progress, but not the great leap he anticipated.


Looks like Michigan State is the market for instant help via the transfer route. Hey, it may be needed with Gary Harris off two years early to the NBA. If you recall, the Spartans landed a transfer in 2011-12 in Valparaiso?s Brandon Wood, who helped MSU win the Big Ten that season.


Looking for a rising star this spring for Michigan State? Look no further than DE Demetrius Cooper.

"He's a high-flying guy, he gets off the ball faster than anyone would expect, times it perfectly," fellow end Shilique Calhoun recently told the media. "He has great hand placement, that's the biggest thing, the hand placement and getting off the ball. You can't teach that."


It goes without saying that Wisconsin?s run to the Final Four has raised its recruiting profile.

And, as pointed out in this story, the timing of Wisconsin?s run to the Final Four couldn?t have been much better because Bo Ryan will hit the road for recruiting this offseason with plenty of available scholarships in tow. Check this out: The Badgers will have to replace four seniors following the 2014-15 season: Josh Gasser, Frank Kaminsky, Traevon Jackson and Duje Dukan.

While on the subject of the Badgers, fans already are getting stoked for next season. Why not? Did you see the aforementioned names I just typed of the players coming back? The Badgers are gonna be loaded. Let the hype begin.

"Everyone's got to get better," Frank Kaminsky said after the team?s recent banquet. "Next year we're not going to be taking by surprise. I think everyone knows that.

"The way I approach it is that I didn't play a single minute last year. So, that is the way everyone's got to view it."


Raise your hand if you?ve been teased by the potential of Iowa big man Adam Woodbury. That?s what I thought, Me, too. Well, it looks like he?s eying a bigger role. He?s ready. At least I hope for the Hawkeyes? sake that he is, especially with Roy Devyn Marble gone.

The NBA playoffs are in full swing. Alas, there isn?t much of a Big Ten presence.


My take: I like Nebraska, too. But, a top-10 team?

My take: He is part of a very good corps of linebackers.

My take: A big hire for Tom Crean.

My take: Is this really a surprise?

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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