Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, May 6, 2015
The Big Ten is expected to be loaded from top to bottom in basketball next season.
ESPN Insider Josh Gasaway recently updated his rankings of the top 25 players in college basketball for 2015-16, and the list features four Big Ten stars.
Indiana's Yogi Ferrell leads the way, coming in at No. 8 on Gasaway's list.
"As a junior Ferrell posted career highs across the board (at the line and from both sides of the arc) in terms of shooting accuracy, and he did so while happily ceding a portion of his shots to James Blackmon," Gasaway said. "That combination of effectiveness and team awareness bodes well for Indiana's 2015-16 season."
Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes is the next Big Ten prospect on the list at No. 12 overall.
"Before he became a news conference sensation, Hayes was noteworthy to basketball observers as a guy who conjured up 3-point range seemingly from out of nowhere," Gasaway said. "As a freshman he recorded zero 3-point attempts in 663 minutes. As a sophomore Hayes shot 40 percent on 101 attempts. That plus lockdown defense and 55 percent shooting on his 2s leads me to expect that Bo Ryan's junior will be one of the nation's most valuable players next season, even away from the microphones."
Also appearing on the list is Maryland guard Melo Trimble, at No. 15, and Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, who comes in at No. 22 overall.
LSU incoming freshman Ben Simmons tops Gasaway's list, followed by Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga and Fred VanVleet of Wichita State.
Other Big Ten possibilities: James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana), Caris LeVert (Michigan), Diamond Stone (Maryland), Eron Harris (Michigan State), Malcolm Hill (Illinois), A.J. Hammons (Purdue).