Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst, December 9, 2015

In this week's "Three Takes," I offer some insight on Maryland guard Rasheed Sulaimon, the Big Ten's number of impact transfers and Michigan's familiar struggles.

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Rasheed Sulaimon's instant impact

Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon has had a great relationship with Rasheed Sulaimon and his family for years. If it wasn?t for the power of the Duke brand, the McDonald?s All-American would?ve probably committed to Turgeon and Texas A&M in high school. Sulaimon ended up at Duke and Turgeon took over Maryland?s successful transition into the Big Ten. As fate would have it, instead of battling against each other in one of the former ACC?s most heated rivalries, Turgeon and Sulaimon are enjoying success together for the sixth-ranked Terrapins. Sulaimon is a skilled defender and has no fear guarding an opponent?s best guard. He has shown the ability to knock down the open shot, and is not hesitant to take big shots late in games. The senior guard is shooting 53 percent and averaging 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals, and along with star point guard Melo Trimble has Maryland in a position to play deep into March.


Transfers, transfers, and more transfers!

With all of the transfers in today's game, coaches dare not lose the phone numbers of players they formally recruited. Transfers can be an early Christmas gift for Coaches searching for that final missing piece. Once again, the latest crop of veteran transfers is making a huge impact in the Big Ten and altering the balance of power.

Let?s take a look at my starting five:

G: Johnny Hill, Purdue. The undefeated Boilermakers are clicking on all cylinders, and Hill (6.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.3 apg) has done an admirable job of helping to replace Jon Octeus, who, by the way, was a transfer himself.
G: Andrew White III, Nebraska. The Huskers desperately needed scoring and White has provided the punch, averaging 16.3 ppg. Do to his consistency, Lincoln should be a much more difficult place for opponents to play this winter.
G: Rasheed Sulaimon, Maryland. Plays hard at both ends and is used to big game pressure.
F: Duncan Robinson, Michigan. The former DIII forward is averaging 11.9 points while shooting a blistering 58.8 percent from downtown.
F/C: Robert Carter Jr., Maryland. Even with Maryland?s depth inside, Carter has been the biggest force for the Terps inside, shooting 63 percent (!) and averaging an all-around 13 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.4 blocks

Sixth man: Mike Thorne Jr., Illinois. If not for Thorne?s injury, he would be in this starting five. In only seven games, Thorne has put up monster numbers (13.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and is critical to Illinois' chances of returning to the tournament.


About Michigan's struggles

As good as Duncan Robinson?s shooting has been for Michigan, the Wolverines have not been able to correct their rebounding and interior defense problems from a year ago. Like Indiana, Michigan is painfully realizing that a lineup full of good athletes is not near enough to compete against rugged, ranked teams on a nightly basis. The Big Ten is full of rugged, ranked teams this season. Have you seen Purdue play at all? By far the most depressing stats I saw from Big Ten action this week came from Michigan?s 24-point loss at No. 19 ranked SMU. The Wolverines were outscored 42-16 in the paint and crushed 45-20 on the boards. At this rate, the Big Ten?s leading rebounder, Purdue freshman Caleb Swanigan, might pull down 20 rebounds against the Maize and Blue when they battle January 7. Let?s just say box-out drills will be high on Coach John Beilein?s practice itinerary the next few practices.