How Hawkeyes Stack Up in B1G Basketball for ’18-19

June 5, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Now that we know Iowa’s roster for this coming season with Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss returning, we can size it up against other Big Ten programs. The Hawkeyes return their top nine scorers from a year ago.

They’re hoping chemistry, continuity, and maturity means a turnaround from a 14-19 campaign that saw them go 4-14 in the conference. They’ll be one of the more experienced teams in the league.

Cook led the squad in scoring (15.3 PPG), rebounding (6.8 RPG) and shooting percentage (56.6 percent) last year. He experienced the NBA Draft process this spring before deciding last week to come back to school.

Fellow two-year starter Jordan Bohannon, the team’s point guard, scored 13.5 a game in ’17-18 and paced Iowa in assists (5.4), ranking second in the Big Ten. He was sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6) and was second in three-pointers made per game, schooting 43.0 percent from behind the arc.

Regular starters Isaiah Moss (11.1 PPG, 49 threes) and Luka Garza (12.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG) also return as do part-time starters Nicholas Baer and Jack Nunge. Incoming freshman Joe Wieskamp is the No. 41 overall recruit in the ’18 class according to Rivals.

Iowa will need to be much better on defense after allowing a Big Ten worst 78.7 points per game in ’17-18. It was 11th in free throw shooting (69.5 percent) and 12th in turnover margin (-2.3), two more areas needing improvement.

Here’s a capsulized look at the rest of the Big Ten:

ILLINOIS

Key Returnees: Trent Frazier, SO, G (12.5 PPG, 3.1 APG, 61 threes); Kipper Nichols, JR, F (10.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG).
Key Losses: Leron Black (15.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG); Michael Finke (9.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG).
Top Newcomers: Ayo Dosunmu, G, Chicago; Tevian Jones, F, CA; Andres Feliz, PG, JUCO; Giorgi Bezhanishvili, F, NJ.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Black surprisingly left his name in the draft, leaving the Illini without last year’s top scorer and rebounder. Finke jetted as a grad transfer. Frazier was among the league’s top freshmen and second-year coach Brad Underwood signed the country’s No. 17 recruiting class per Rivals. Dosunmu is a five-star who will make an early impact. There’s plenty of talent on this roster but a lot of inexperience.

INDIANA

Key Returnees: Juwan Morgan, SR, F (16.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG); De’Ron Davis, JR, F (9.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG); Devonte Green (7.6 PPG).
Key Losses: Robert Johnson (14.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 66 threes).
Top Newcomers: Romeo Langford, G, IN; Jake Forrester, F, PA; Robert Phinisee, G, IN; Damezi Anderson, F, IN; Jerome Hunter, F, OH, Evan Fitzner, F, grad transfer (St. Mary’s).
EARLY OUTLOOK: Like Iowa with Cook, the Hoosers received good news when Morgan pulled out of the NBA Draft for another college season. Davis played well in 15 games before a season-ending achilles injury. Green improved as time went on. Indiana signed the top recruiting class in the Big Ten led by the five-star, Langford. The other four guys are four stars. Like the Illini, the Hoosiers will be young but dangerous. Fitzner addresses a need for three-point shooting as a 6-10 stretch four that shot 41.5 percent from beyond the arc last year.

MARYLAND

Key Returnees: Anthony Cowan Jr., JR, G (15.8 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.4 RPG); Bruno Fernando, SO, F (10.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG); Darryl Morsell, SO, G (8.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG).
Key Losses: Kevin Huerter (14.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG); Justin Jackson (9.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG).
Top Newcomers: Jalen Smith, F, MD; Serrel Smith, G, FL; Eric Ayala, G, FL; Aaron Wiggins, G, NC.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Fernando’s decision of coming back to school was a big one for Maryland. He and Cowan will form a nice 1-2 punch. The Terps added five-star Jalen Smith in what Rivals ranked as the No. 12 recruiting class. Serrel Smith, Ayala and Wiggins are four-stars. It’s another young team with a lot of talent. Having an experienced and productive point guard like Cowan should help the process.

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MICHIGAN

Key Returnees: Charles Matthews, SR, G (13.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG); Zavier Simpson, JR, G (7.3 PPG, 3.7 APG); Jordan Poole, SO, G (6.0 PPG).
Key Losses: Mo Wagner (14.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG); Muhammed Abdur-Rahkman (12.9 PPG); Duncan Robinson (9.2 PPG).
Top Newcomers: Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Ontario; Colin Castleton, C, FL;
Brandon Johns, F, MI; David Dejulius, G, Detroit.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Matthews returning for his senior season is a big deal for a Wolverine team that reached the national title game. Simpson is a solid point guard and Poole looks ready for a bigger role. Michigan signed the No. 10 recruiting class nationally according to Rivals. Brazdeikis is a five-star, while Castleton, Johns and Dejulius are four-stars.

MCIHIGAN STATE

Key Returnees: Cassius Winston, JR, G (12.6 PPG, 6.9 APG); Nick Ward (12.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG); Joshua Langford (11.7 PPG).
Key Losses: Miles Bridges (17.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG); Jaren Jackson (10.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG).
Top Newcomers: Aaron Henry, F, Indianapolis; Marcus Bingham, F, MI; Gabe Brown, F, MI; Foster Loyer, G, MI; Thomas Kithier, F, MI.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Losing Bridges and Jackson hurts but Ward withdrawing from the draft was a boost. Winston led the league in assists and should take on a bigger role as will Langford. The Spartans signed Rivals’ No 13 class with all five members being four-star recruits.

MINNESOTA

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Key Returnees: Jordan Murphy, SR, F (16.8 PPG, 11.3 RPG); Amir Coffey, JR, F (14.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG); Dupree McBrayer (9.4 PPG); Isaiah Washington (8.7 PPG).
Key Losses: Nate Mason (16.7 PPG, 4.2 APG).
Top Newcomers: Daniel Oturu, C, MN; Brock Stull, G, grad transfer (Wisconsin-Milwaukee).
EARLY OUTLOOK: Richard Pitino’s team joined Iowa as one of the most disappointing in the Big Ten last season. Coffey being sidelined with an injury hurt and his return will help. Murphy is one of the best post players in the league. McBrayer and Washington improved as the season went on. Rivals ranked the Gophers’ class 50th. Oturu is a four-star. Stull averaged 13.4 points, 4.8 points and 3.1 assists last season for UWM, and knocked down 136 three-pointers.

NEBRASKA

Key Returnees: James Palmer Jr., SR, G (17.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG); Isaac Copeland, SR, F (12.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG); Glynn Watson Jr., SR, G (10.5 PPG, 3.2 APG); Isaiah Roby (8.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG).
Key Losses: Evan Taylor (6.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG).
Top Newcomers: Amir Harris, G, MD; Karrington Davis, F, FL.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Palmer and Copeland tested the NBA Draft process before coming back to Lincoln. The Huskers boast one of the more experienced teams after being a bubble squad last season. Watson is a solid point guard on both ends and Roby is one of the league’s more underrated players. The recruiting class was ranked 70th by Rivals but Harris and Davis show some nice potential.

NORTHWESTERN

Key Returnees: Vic Law, SR, F (12.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG); Dererk Pardon (11.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG).
Key Losses: Scottie Lindsey (15.2 PPG); Bryant McIntosh (11.8 PPG).
Top Newcomers: Miller Kopp, F, Houston; Pete Nance, F, OH; Ryan Taylor, G, grad transfer (Evansville).
EARLY OUTLOOK: Add the Wildcats to the list of teams that disappointed last season. Now, Chris Collins will experience life after Lindsey and McIntosh, who led the program to its first-ever NCAA Tournament two years ago. Law and Pardon form a strong front court. Rivals ranked the Northwestern recruiting class at No. 29 led by four-stars Kopp and Nance, son of former NBA all-star Larry Nance. Landing Taylor was big for Collins. He led Evansville in scoring and chose the Wildcats over Miami, Indiana and Oregon.

OHIO STATE

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Key Returnees: C.J. Jackson, SR, G (12.6 PPG, 3.9 APG); Kaleb Wesson, SO, F (10.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG).
Key Losses: Keita Bates-Diop (19.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG); Jae’Sean Tate (12.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG); Kam Williams (9.0 PPG).
Top Newcomers: Luther Muhammad, G, NJ; Jaedon LeDee, F, TX; Keyshawn Woods, G, grad transfer (Wake Forest).
EARLY OUTLOOK: Bates-Diop captured Big Ten Player of the Year honors and Tate also gave the Buckeyes a lot in a bounce-back year under first-year coach Chris Holtmann. Jackson and Wesson mean the cupboard isn’t bare, but OSU will need others to step forward. It has the No. 28 recruiting class per Rivals with four-stars in Muhammad and LeDee, who had offers from Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona, among others. Woods was a nice pickup for the Buckeyes. He shot 42.5 percent on threes last year and averaged 11.9 points.

PENN STATE

Key Returnees: Lamar Stevens, JR, F (15.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG); Mike Watkins, JR, F (12.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG); Josh Reaves (10.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG).
Key Losses: Tony Carr (19.6 PPG, 5.0 APG, 4.9 RPG); Shep Garner (11.4 PPG, 3.1 threes per game).
Top Newcomers: Rasir Bolton, G, VA.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Carr’s exit was a tough one to take. The Lions would have been among the league favorites if he returned. Stevens, Watkins and Reaves provide coach Pat Chambers with a solid nucleus, however. PSU’s recruiting class was ranked 63rd by Rivals but Bolton is one many are excited about. He could take over point guard duties left open by Carr. He also held offers from Cincinnati, Clemson, Ole Miss, St. Joseph’s and Virginia Tech, among others.

PURDUE

Key Returnees: Carsen Edwards, JR, G (18.5 PPG); Matt Haarms, SO, C (4.8 RPG, 3.2 RPG).
Key Losses: Isaac Haas (14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG); Vincent Edwards (14.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG); Dakota Mathias (12.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.9 APG).
Top Newcomers: Eric Hunter, G, Indianapolis; Trevion Williams, C, Detroit; Evan Boudreaux, F, grad transfer (Dartmouth).
EARLY OUTLOOK: Nobody’s roster took a bigger hit than that of the Boilermakers. Haas, Mathias and Vincent Edwards were part of a lot of wins. Carsen Edwards tested the NBA Draft process but came back, giving Purdue one of the preseason favorites for conference player of the year. Haarms gets his chance to man the middle with Haas gone. While Purdue’s class was ranked No. 53 by rivals, it features two four-stars in Hunter and Williams. Hunter held an Ohio State offer and Williams had one from Michigan State. Boudreaux was one of the Ivy’s best players and should help right away.

RUTGERS

Key Returnees: Geo Baker, SO, G (10.8 PPG); Eugene Omoruyi, JR, F (7.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG).
Key Losses: Corey Sanders (15.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.1 APG); Deshawn Freeman (11.1 PPG, 7.3 RPG).
Top Newcomers: Montez Mathis, G, MD; Shaq Carter, F, FL.
EARLY OUTLOOK: The outlook would have been much better had Sanders returned for his senior season. He and Baker comprised a dynamic backcourt on both ends of the floor. Feeeman’s presence also will be missed. Baker was one of the better freshman in the league. The Knights incoming class is ranked No. 45 by Rivals, led by four-star Mathis, who had offers from UConn, West Virginia, NC State, Providence, Texas A&M and others. Carter reported offers from Auburn, Iowa State, Purdue, Texas Tech, Wichita State and Xavier.

WISCONSIN

Key Returnees: Ethan Happ, SR, F (17.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.7 APG); Brad Davison, SO, G (12.1 PPG); D’Mitrik Trice, SO, G (9.4 PPG).
Key Losses: None.
Top Newcomers: Tai Strickland, G, FL.
EARLY OUTLOOK: Like others listed above, Happ tested the NBA Draft process before choosing one more year in Madison. He led the Badgers in scoring, rebounding and assists a year ago. Davison posted a solid freshman season despite a lingering shoulder injury. Trice returns from injury for a team that improved more than any other in the league during last season. Rivals Wisconsin’s class 70th nationally. It’s headlined by Strickland, a strong two-way point guard.

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