Aligning the Big Ten stars

Aligning the Big Ten stars

Every college basketball coach loves to have five-star high school recruits.

So does its fan base.

Gives credence to recruiting reputations of coaches and reasons to boast about reeling in big-time talent.

Every roster, though, isn't just littered with such prospects.

There aren't enough to go around.

Here's a breakdown of what each Big Ten roster looks like and the number of stars assigned to each player when they finished their prep basketball careers, according to Rivals.com:

1. Ohio State (3.0 star average)
Starters

Aaron Craft (3 stars, Class of 2010)
LaQuinton Ross (4 stars, Class of 2011)
Shannon Scott (4 stars, Class of 2011)
Lenzelle Smith Jr. (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Amir Williams (4 stars, Class of 2011)

Reserves
Amedeo Della Valle (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Andrew Goldstein (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Jake Lorbach (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Marc Loving (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Trey McDonald (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Sam Thompson (4 stars, Class of 2011)
Kam Williams (4 stars, Class of 2013)

Comment: No five-stars dot the Buckeyes' roster — wait until the Class of 2014 suits up with the likes of Keita Bates-Diop and D'Angelo Russell — but a healthy cluster of three- and four-star talents give Ohio State top billing.

2. Michigan State (2.81 average)
Starters

Keith Appling (4 stars, Class of 2010)
Matt Costello (4 stars, Class of 2012)
Branden Dawson (5 stars, Class of 2011)
Gary Harris (5 stars, Class of 2012)
Denzel Valentine (4 stars, Class of 2012)

Reserves
Trevor Bohnhoff (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Russell Byrd (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Dan Chapman (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Alvin Ellis (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Alex Gauna (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Kenny Kaminski (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Adreian Payne (5 stars, Class of 2010)
Gavin Schilling (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Travis Trice (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Keenan Wetzel (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Colby Wollenman (0 stars, Class of 2011)

Comment: When Adreian Payne is healthy, no other Big Ten team starting lineup matches the number of five-stars that Tom Izzo has. That has to make the Spartans coach happy. At least a little.

3. Michigan (2.8 average)
Starters

Caris LeVert (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Jordan Morgan (3 stars, Class of 2009)
Glenn Robinson III (5 stars, Class of 2012)
Nik Stauskas (4 stars, Class of 2012)

Derrick Walton Jr. (4 stars, Class of 2013)


Reserves
Spike Albrecht (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Brad Anlauf (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Max Bielfeldt (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Andrew Dakich (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Mark Donnal (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Jon Horford (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Zak Irvin (5 stars, Class of 2013)
Sean Lonergan (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Cole McConnell (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Mitch McGary (4 stars, Class of 2012)

Comment: The next superstar at Michigan is one Tom Crean most certainly would like to have. Or Matt Painter. Zak Irvin won Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 2013. Would love to see him and Nik Stauskas in a game of HORSE.

4. Indiana (2.58 average)
Starters

Yogi Ferrell (5 stars, Class of 2012)
Jeremy Hollowell (4 stars, Class of 2012)
Will Sheehey (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Noah Vonleh (5 stars, Class of 2013)
Troy Williams (4 stars, Class of 2013)

Reserves
Andrew Calomeris (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Devin Davis (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Austin Etherington (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Joe Fagan (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Evan Gordon (3 stars, Class of 2009)
Collin Hartman (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Jeff Howard (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Peter Jurkin (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Jonny Marlin (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Hanner Mosquera-Perea (4 stars, Class of 2012)
Stanford Robinson (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Taylor Wayer (0 stars, Class of 2010)

Comment: While point guard Yogi Ferrell is likely a four-year player, the other five-star talent in the Hoosiers' starting lineup could find himself as a lottery pick in June. Noah Vonleh is that impressive at times.

5. Iowa (2.53 average)
Starters

Melsahn Basabe (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Mike Gesell (4 stars, Class of 2012)
Roy Devyn Marble (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Aaron White (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Adam Woodbury (4 stars, Class of 2012)

Reserves
Anthony Clemmons (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Kyle Denning (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Peter Jok (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Zach McCabe (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Kyle Meyer (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Josh Oglesby (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Gabriel Olaseni (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Darius Stokes (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Okey Ukah (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Jarrod Uthoff (3 stars, Class of 2011)

Comment: A steady cast of three-star players didn't exactly play like that at Ohio State. If the Hawkeyes can keep up the solid start, and spring a few more surprises, that could put a smile on Fran McCaffery's face. Maybe.

6. Illinois (2.5 star average)
Starters

Tracy Abrams (4 stars, Class of 2011)
Joseph Bertrand (3 stars, Class of 2009)
Jon Ekey (0 stars, Class of 2009)
Nnanna Egwu (4 stars, Class of 2011)
Rayvonte Rice (0 stars, Class of 2010)

Reserves
Austin Colbert (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Aaron Cosby (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Malcolm Hill (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Mike LaTulip (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Maverick Morgan (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Kendrick Nunn (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Darius Paul (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Ahmad Starks (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Jaylon Tate (3 stars, Class of 2013)

Comment: How well Rayvonte Rice has played this season and how much his production means to John Groce's team goes to show again that recruiting rankings aren't everything. Given the brunt of criticism Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu have received this year makes one forget, at times, they were four-star talents coming into the program.

7. Wisconsin (2.38 average)
Starters

Ben Brust (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Sam Dekker (5 stars, Class of 2012)
Josh Gasser (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Traevon Jackson (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Frank Kaminsky (3 stars, Class of 2011)

Reserves

Evan Anderson (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Zach Bohannon (2 stars, Class of 2009)
Vitto Brown (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Riley Dearring (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Duje Dukan (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Nigel Hayes (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Jordan Hill (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Bronson Koenig (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Aaron Moesch (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Zak Showalter (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Jordan Smith (0 stars, Class of 2011)

Comment: Sam Dekker makes the Badgers stay out of the bottom third of the Big Ten when it comes to this particular category. And having the versatile forward is certainly a key reason why Wisconsin is still undefeated.

8. Purdue (2.27 average)
Starters

Rapheal Davis (4 stars, Class of 2012)
A.J. Hammons (4 stars, Class of 2012)
Ronnie Johnson (4 stars, Class of 2012)
Terone Johnson (4 stars, Class of 2010)
Basil Smotherman (4 stars, Class of 2013)

Reserves
Neal Beshears (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Anfernee Brown (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Travis Carroll (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Sterling Carter (0 stars, Class of 2009)
Jon McKeeman (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Errick Peck (0 stars, Class of 2009)
Bryson Scott (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Jay Simpson (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Kendall Stephens (4 stars, Class of 2013)
Stephen Toyra (0 stars, Class of 2012)

Comment: Kendall Stephens and Bryson Scott are two key freshmen who should see their roles increase later on at Purdue. But look at the lack of depth after Purdue's starting five, and it's easy to see why the Boilermakers are most likely an NCAA tournament bubble team.

9. Penn State (2.0 average)
Starters

Tim Frazier (3 stars, Class of 2009)
Donovon Jack (0 stars, Class of 2012)
D.J. Newbill (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Geno Thorpe (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Ross Travis (3 stars, Class of 2013)

Reserves
Payton Banks (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Zach Cooper (0 stars, Class of 2009)
Jordan Dickerson (0 stars, Class of 2012)
John Johnson (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Kevin Montminy (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Julian Moore (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Allen Roberts (3 stars, Class of 2009)
Brandon Taylor (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Alan Wisniewski (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Graham Woodward (3 stars, Class of 2013)

Comment: This seems right. Patrick Chambers faces an uphill battle, like most Penn State basketball coaches have, in turning the Nittany Lions into a competitive threat to the rest of the Big Ten.

10. Northwestern (1.6 average)
Starters

JerShon Cobb (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Drew Crawford (3 stars, Class of 2009)
Sanjay Lumpkin (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Alex Olah (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Dave Sobolewski (3 stars, Class of 2011)

Reserves
Kale Abrahamson (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Nikola Cerina (0 stars, Class of 2009)
Tre Demps (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Aaron Liberman (0 stars, Class of 2012)
James Montgomery III (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Nathan Taphorn (3 stars, Class of 2013)

Comment: Having Chris Collins on the sidelines should raise Northwestern's profile among recruits. It's already paying off, with four-star talent Vic Law from Chicago St. Rita headlining Northwestern's Class of 2014.

11. Minnesota (1.5 average)
Starters

Elliott Eliason (3 stars, Class of 2010)
Andre Hollins (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Austin Hollins (3 stars, Class of 2010)
DeAndre Mathieu (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Oto Osenieks (0 stars, Class of 2010)

Reserves
Maverick Ahanmisi (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Jasen Baranowski (0 stars, Class of 2013)
Charles Buggs (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Wally Ellenson (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Joey King (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Daquein McNeil (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Kendall Shell (0 stars, Class of 2011)
Malik Smith (0 stars, Class of 2009)
Maurice Walker (3 stars, Class of 2010)

Comment: Players like DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith were undervalued out of high school, developed late, made strides either at other schools or junior colleges and then have blossomed once arriving at Minnesota.

12. Nebraska (1.44 average)
Starters

Ray Gallegos (2 stars, Class of 2009)
Terran Petteway (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Walter Pitchford (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Shavon Shields (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Tai Webster (0 stars, Class of 2013)

Reserves
Deverell Biggs (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Nick Fuller (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Nathan Hawkins (3 stars, Class of 2013)
Kyle Kurkowski (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Trevor Menke (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Benny Parker (3 stars, Class of 2012)
Mike Peltz (0 stars, Class of 2010)
David Rivers (3 stars, Class of 2011)
Leslee Smith (0 stars, Class of 2010)
Sergej Vucetic (0 stars, Class of 2012)
Tim Wagner (0 stars, Class of 2013)

Comment: Tai Webster is a four-star recruit according to some services, so that proves Tim Miles can go out and recruit. Of course, winning would certainly solve a lot of problems for a program with the shiniest facility in the conference.

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