Which Midshipmen will be the next Big Ten player to leave?
Posted On July 30, 2021
In an era when the Big Ten has made big moves on offense and defense, and a slew of newcomers have joined the league, it’s hard to know which players will be on the hot seat this season.
But a look at who’s on the bubble and where the rest of the league will be as well as who will remain in the fold might give you a clue.
The first two Mids, including the two seniors who left, were seniors: Michigan Wolverines center Michael Gbinije and Michigan Wolverines guard Aaron Craft.
Both are 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds, and both played a major role in the Wolverines’ success last season.
But they’ll be seniors for the first time in five years.
Michigan, which finished 10th nationally in scoring offense, was also one of the nation’s most efficient teams.
That should change this season, though, as the Wolverine offense is expected to be more explosive.
Michigan’s senior center, Nick Bosa, is entering the final year of his contract.
The 6-3, 265-pounder has averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his last three seasons.
Wisconsin Badgers guard T.J. Warren is a projected first-round pick, but he’s been out since last season with an injury and the Badgers won just six games last season after finishing fifth in the Big 12.
T.J., who averaged 19.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.3 bpg, and 1 with the Big 10’s Wisconsin Bucks, also played a significant role in Wisconsin’s success in 2015-16.
Wisconsin was second nationally in assists per game (18.4) and finished third in scoring defense (115.2 points allowed per 100 possessions).
If Warren and Bosa remain in Madison, the Badger offense will look different.
The Badgers have two guards in Joel Berry and Xavier Henry, two guards on the roster in Andrew Jones and Aaron Craft, and three guards on their roster in Jonathan Holmes, Austin Brown, and DeAndre Kane.
All of them are projected to be first-rounder picks.
In the Big East, Michigan State Spartans guard Kaleb Tarczewski will have a chance to prove himself as a starter for the Spartans.
Tarcsewski averaged 14.9 points, 4.8 assists and 1,037.6 total minutes per game in his career at Michigan State, but the Spartans were one of just five teams to average fewer than 100 points per game on the season.
Michigan State is projected to have a top-10 defense and a top 10 offense in 2020-21.
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Trey Burke will have his opportunity to play for the Big Blue next season.
The 5-10 guard averaged 9.2 ppg and 1 assist in his two seasons at Ohio State.
He had a career-high of 26 points against Minnesota on Feb. 13, but also committed two turnovers in the game.
For the first-time since 2009-10, Ohio State will have two players projected as first- round picks: Rookie guard Isaiah Hicks, who is a senior, and 6-6 forward Kaleb Tolbert, who also has a year left on his contract with the Buckeyes.
Hicks is projected as a second-rounder, and Tolbert is projected at the No. 2 spot.
The Buckeyes finished in the top 10 in scoring in each of the last two seasons, so there is no reason to think they won’t be able to finish above .500 this season without Hicks.
After Ohio State, there are five players projected to go in the first round, three of whom have not played college basketball in the last five seasons: Michigan State transfer Kyle Wiltjer, Michigan guard Jordan Clarkson, and Florida guard Jahlil Okafor.
Wiltjer was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in his junior season, and he’ll be looking for his first big-time start with the Spartans this season after playing only 22 games for the Wolverins last season due to injury.
Clarkson was a preseason All-America in his sophomore year, and the 6-7 guard averaged 13 points and six rebounds in 21 games as a freshman.
Okafon, who played for Michigan State from 2010-13, will be looking to make his mark as a sophomore.
The forward averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds in 17 games as an freshman last season, while shooting 53.5 percent from the field.