Credit: Penn State Athletics

Big Ten Preview: Draft Prospects

Highlighting the top draft prospects from the Big Ten Conference

It is a new year in college basketball and that means a new slate for returning players and hype for many freshman just starting out. Last years draft class was viewed as top heavy with a drastic drop off after the top three prospects, but this season it is not so cut and dry. There is always somewhat of a drop off after the first few picks depending on who you ask, but there is a not a solidified number one pick heading into the season like there was with RJ Barrett in 2018-2019. Obviously that notion proved to be false with the emergence of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant who ended up going ahead of Barrett in the draft. With that said, NBA teams already know who is on their radar and we will be highlighting those players in each conference as we are about to see meaningful college basketball games very soon.

Indiana

Trayce Jackson-Davis

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’9″ 245

Position: Power Forward

Coming from an NBA pedigree with a father who played in the league, Jackson-Davis has a lot of potential with his size and versatility. At 6’9″ and 245 pounds he can score on the inside and he can also handle the ball on the fast break after pulling down a rebound. His outside shot needs some work but he is athletic enough to make an impact as he works on his stroke. Jackson-Davis should be an immediate impact player for Indiana this season so his production could lead to his stock rising into a one and done situation.

Al Durham

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’2″

Position: Point Guard

Durham had to deal with Romeo Langford handling the ball on offense in many occasions, but with Langford off of the professional level he will have a chance to show off his lead guard skills more often. He improved after seeing his role increased from his freshman to sophomore year and he shot the ball well as a sophomore. As one of the better returning players for the Hoosiers he has an opportunity to increase his impact on the floor even more this year and take another step towards improving his stock.

Michigan

Jon Teske

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 7’1″ 265

Position: Center

Teske has not put up big numbers in his three seasons at Michigan but you cannot teach size and he has plenty of it at 7’1″ and 265 pounds. His offensive game is a bit awkward at times although he can be effective scoring inside off of put backs and with his back to the basket to a lesser degree. Mobility and endurance are the two biggest weaknesses, areas he has improved but he is no where near what scouts would want to see. With a new coach it will be interesting to see how he is used going forward and if he has a solid year there will be teams that take a look at Teske.

Franz Wagner

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’9″ 205

Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Wagner is the younger brother of Wizards forward Moritz Wagner, and much like his brother he also brings a high level of talent to the table. He can really shoot the ball and his range is at the top tier of the recruiting class, with an ability to create shots off of the dribble. His strength needs to improve but he will primarily be defending on the wing so he can make an impact as he works on getting his strength up. Wagner played last year against some tough competition in limited minutes for a professional team although he showed his potential against much older opponents. Wagner is currently sidelined with a fractured wrist but he is expected to return this season.

Michigan State

Cassius Winston

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’1″ 185

Position: Point Guard

Winston enters the year as one of the favorite’s for National Player of the Year. He was a dominant scorer in his junior season taking over many games with his ability to knock down shots from the outside and get to the rim. His 18.8 points per game on 39.8% shooting on three point attempts are impressive numbers playing in a power conference. Draft stock wise he largely remains where he would of been had he chose to enter the 2019 draft, with most projecting his ceiling as a second round pick. Regardless of what position he ends up going in the draft, Winston will be one of the biggest names in college basketball this year.

Josh Langford

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5″ 200

Position: Shooting Guard

After going down to an injury last season there was a belief that Langford could return and possibly play his way into a draft selection this season. He has since re-injured his foot and is expected to be out until at least January and it is unclear whether he will able to return at all. It is a big hit to the preseason number one team because he brings the ability to score the ball at a high level on the perimeter. Should he come back and be the player he was before, his shooting has been efficient and he has the size to be able to finish around the basket after beating a defender off of the dribble.

Malik Hall

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’7″ 215

Position: Small Forward

Hall was not the most highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, but he has the size and skill that many NBA teams look for in a wing. Although his shot can improve he does have the ability to knock down three point shots to go with athleticism that allows him to finish at the rim. He will not be the fastest player on the floor however he is craft in getting by defenders and using angles especially on the fast break. Hall is just an overall solid player that has the potential to make an impact on both ends of the floor.

Ohio State

D.J. Carton

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’2″ 190

Position: Point Guard

Carton is an elite athlete who throws down dunks with force in addition to speed and quickness that made him a nightmare assignment to defend on the high school level. He can create a shot or simply beat a defender off of the dribble and finish at the rim, and he should be able to make plays with the ball in his hands immediately in college. How well he shoots the ball will be the biggest story line going forward and if he does that he could see his stock rise to the point he thinks of leaving after one year.

Alonzo Gaffney

Gaffney is another elite athlete in the 2019 recruiting class for Ohio State. At 6’9″ with guard skills on the wing he can force a ton of mismatches with the ball in his hands, and his shot from the outside is solid but improving. As a ball handler there are not many high schools players that can do what he did at 6’9″ so he brings a unique blend of skill with size. He is most effective using his vertical leap to score around the basket and he will need to add strength to help him do that on the college level.

Kaleb Wesson

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’9″ 270

Position: Power Forward

Wesson thought about entering staying in the 2019 draft but after receiving feedback he elected to return for another year at Ohio State. He is a throwback player in the sense that he can score well posting up down low with a variety of crafty moves in his arsenal. Conditioning and weight have been two problems for him in college, but reports are that he is in the best shape of his career to start this season. Because he is not a great athlete he will need to continue to improve his three point shooting which became a bigger part of his game last year.

Penn State

Lamar Stevens

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’8″ 225

Position: Small Forward

Stevens brings a lot to the table offensively with a 6’8″ frame and guard skills on the perimeter. He creates a shot as well as anyone at the position in college, but his efficiency went down as a junior so he will need to show he can consistently knock down a shot after he creates one. He is one of the better athletes in the Big Ten with highlight dunks often, and his speed/quickness given his size are solid. If he can continue to score at a high level but improve on how efficient he is within those shots then he should hear his name called on draft night.

Rutgers

Geo Baker

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’4″ 185

Position: Point Guard/Shooting Guard

Baker came onto the scene his freshman season due to his ability to score the ball and he saw his overall game improve in his sophomore year. He can create a shot at will off of the dribble, or slide over and be effective in a catch and shoot situation. He was in more of a lead guard role as a sophomore and he put up better numbers as a passer. His shot has been streaky at times but it is continuing to improve and his efficiency needs to go up unless he wants to be labeled as a player that can create a shot but not knock it down consistently enough.

Maryland

Anthony Cowan Jr.

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’0″ 180

Position: Point Guard

Cowan has been one of the go to scorers for the Terps over the last two seasons, despite being undersized. He made what was most likely the smart decision to come back for his senior season leading the team to have some large expectations to start the year. His shot creation is high level, to go with quickness and speed in the open court that are tough to defend. Shot selection and consistency can be an issue so scouts will be looking for improvement in those areas. His point guard skills have continued to evolve, with his ability to defend being the biggest question mark in his game, especially against much larger players.

Jalen Smith

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’10” 225

Position: Power Forward

Smith returning to Maryland was a surprise after some thought he could of been taken in the first round of the 2019 draft, however that was never a guarantee so he decided to try and lock down a first round selection. He has good size and athleticism that allow him to finish inside, while he continues to add weight to his long frame. His play on the defensive side of the floor was impressive and he should be even better this season. Although he has a willingness to take outside shots and solid mechanics, they simply did not fall consistently enough so he needs to be a more efficient shooter if he wants his stock to get into the lottery range.

Aaron Wiggins

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’6″ 200

Position: Shooting Guard

It is a bit of a mystery as to why Wiggins did not play more minutes in his freshman season, but when he did he showed why he has a chance at becoming a first round pick in 2020. He has the athleticism to finish at the rim to go with an impressive shooting ability from behind the arc. His numbers were efficient and productive in the 23.5 minutes per game he played last season, and with more production and continued improvement on the wing as a defender there will be many teams high on the sophomore.

Illinois

Kofi Cockburn

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 7’0″ 290

Position: Center

Cockburn played at Oak Hill Academy which has helped produced some of the best NBA players in recent memory. His size at 7’0″ and pushing close to 300 pounds is a weight load that not many players can handle around the basket. He can bully his way into an easy bucket but he also has a decent vertical leap to finish at the rim. Mobility is an area that will need improvement and he will most likely slim down in college which should help in that area. Shot blocking was a strength for him in high school and he should be able to impact the game on the defensive side of the floor. He also has shown some ability to knock down a jump shot and if he is able to do that at Illinois there will be a lot to like in his game.

Ayo Dosunmu

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’5″ 185

Position: Point Guard

Dosunmu came in last season without much hype and caught the attention of scouts after an impressive freshman year. He has size at 6’5″ playing point guard to go with a strong vertical leap and elite end to end speed with the ball in his hands. This combination made him most lethal in fast break situations and making a move towards the basket in the half court. When he created or pulled up for a jump shot he did fairly well as a shooter last season, but that is an area he is continuing to get better at. Scouts will be looking this year for Dosunmu to show more as a passer and that is a skill that he has shown to some degree.

Giorgi Bezhanishvili

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’9″ 235

Position: Power Forward

Bezhanishvili had a freshman year that was better than expected in which he averaged 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per game last season. He does most of his work inside and with not being a great athlete he will need to improve his shot going forward. He does not possess the speed and quickness that teams are looking for so his overall skill set will need to be focused on moving his game out to the three point line and being consistent in that regard.

Trent Frazier

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’2″ 175

Position: Point Guard/Shooting Guard

Frazier has been one of the most consistent scoring threats for the Illini the past two seasons. He is undersized in the sense that he played off of the ball in many situations but he can score effectively as the lead guard or at the shooting guard position. His efficiency was solid last year from behind the arc however he needs to be more effective when driving to the basket and finishing. He is likely to finish his career out at Illinois however if he continues to improve and add production as a scorer NBA teams will take notice.

Iowa

Jordan Bohannon

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’1″ 185

Position: Point Guard

Bohannon is a gunslinger who can create and knock down shots with deep ranges and no conscious. He does not have ideal athleticism or size but neither did Kyle Guy and he was drafted in 2019 due to his ability to score from the outside. His passing has been good at times if he wants to have a chance at playing professionally he will need to show more as a facilitator in his last college season.

Joe Wieskamp

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’6″ 210

Position: Shooting Guard

Wieskamp was one of the biggest surprises in college basketball last season after starting every game of the year in what was a productive freshman year. He averaged 11.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game while always playing solid defense impacting the game on both ends. His bread and butter is the ability to shoot three point shots at a high level and with his size at 6’6″ he is definitely on the radar of scouts.

Minnesota

Isaiah Ihnen

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’9″ 210

Position: Small Forward/Power Forward

Ihnen is a versatile player that has put up production inside as well as stepping out and knocking down a jumper. He has good length and athleticism being able to finish at the rim and block shots. With his ball handling skills he can get by defenders going to the basket, but he will need to add strength to be more effective in that way going forward. He has a high ceiling and will most likely take time but he can become a very effective player for Minnesota. He is currently sidelined with a wrist injury, but it does not appear to be serious.

Daniel Oturu

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’10” 240

Position: Power Forward/Center

Oturu is a mobile big man that runs the floor well with the potential to become a dominant rim protector. He had a solid freshman year and he played well in the NCAA tournament making a big impact in multiple games. He will have to show a little more on both ends of the floor before he starts getting serious looks from the professional level, but the tools are there to take the next step towards that goal.

Northwestern

Robbie Beran

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’9″ 207

Position: Small Forward/Power Forward

Beran is a skilled big that can shoot the ball at a high level and run the floor well for his size. His ball handling is better than many of his comparable peers, and his pull up jump shot is very impressive. Athletically he is a fluid and his vertical leap is enough to finish at the rim. The best bet is that he will be a multiple year player at Northewestern, but he should make an early impact and college and have scouts attention.

Purdue

Matt Haarms

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 7’3″ 250

Position: Center

Haarms has not put up huge numbers but he is on this list due to his size and mobility. He moves well up and down the court and last season he showed an improvement shooting the ball while taking the occasional three point shot going 7 for 25 (28%). If he can continue to make plays on the inside and rebound well while also showing more improvement in his shot then he could be a player that sees his stock rise in a big way. On the defensive side of the floor he has a chance to block a lot of shots this season, and anytime he is in the game he effects it inside of the paint.

Brandon Newman

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6’5″ 190

Position: Shooting Guard

Newman was not ranked inside of the top 50 of the 2019 class by the major recruiting services but he has a chance to play better than those rankings. He is a solid shooter who can find open space to be ready for a pass, and he played very well against some tough competition on the AAU circuit averaging 18.3 points per game in the EYBL. He has the physical tools to grow into a dominant defensive player on the wing which would boost his stock going forward.

Wisconsin

Nate Reuvers

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’11” 240

Position: Center

Reuvers is a big man that is the fastest up and down the court however he is skilled and score inside as well as with a jump shot. He shot the ball 32 of 84 (38.1%) on three point attempts as a sophomore, impressive given his size. His shot blocking was solid and despite not the being the most athletic player he is able to use his length to protect the rim. If he continues to improve and show more of his outside shooting to go with his abilities around the basket then scouts are going to be paying close attention to Reuvers this season.

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