Who's Who: Getting to Know the Big Ten's Best Returning Basketball Players
Illinois: Rayvonte Rice
Rayvonte Rice came in after transferring from Drake and started all 35 games for the Fighting Illini last year, averaging 15.9 points per game to go along with 6 rebounds. The 6'4" shooting guard scored double figures in 31 of the team's 35 games, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, and will be the team's focal point on offense next season.
Indiana: Yogi Ferrell
Isiah Thomas and Yogi Ferrell: the only two players in Indiana Basketball history to record 120 or more assists in each of their first two seasons. The rising junior also made 88 triples, second most in a single season in school history behind Steve Alford. The point guard will look to continue to have his name mentioned with some of the program's legends next year while running the Hoosiers offense.
Iowa: Aaron White
Last year, Aaron White became the first Hawkeye ever to tally 1,300 points, 650 rebounds, 100 steals, and 100 assists by the end of their junior year. The Third Team All-Big Ten selection at forward averaged 12.3 points per game and grabbed 6.6 boards, while shooting an impressive 58 percent from the floor.
Maryland: Dez Wells
After seeing key players leave the program for other schools since the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, Dez Wells will have to carry the load for Maryland in their first Big Ten season. The junior scored a shade under 15 points per game, made almost half of his shots (48 percent), and really improved at the charity stripe (81 percent). As a senior, he'll need to do even more.
Michigan: Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert started every game for the maize and blue last year and dropped in 12.9 points per contest at guard. Playing 34 minutes a game, the sophomore shot 40 percent from deep and 43 percent overall. Measuring 6'6" and weighing 185 pounds, the lanky wing has the potential to be one of the conference's top players next season.
Michigan State: Denzel Valentine
Having graduated three of their top four scorers, Michigan State will need versatile forward Denzel Valentine to come up big in his junior campaign. Capable of playing inside or outside with the ability to shoot, dribble, and distribute, Valentine was the only Big Ten player to rank in the top 15 last year for assists and rebounds.
Minnesota: Andre Hollins
Andre Hollins is the top returning player for a Minnesota squad that won the NIT last year. An All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, the quick point guard averaged 13.6 points and shot 84 percent from the free throw line. The NIT championship was certainly an accomplishment, but can he help the Gophers get back into the NCAA Tournament next March?
Nebraska: Terran Petteway
After transferring from Texas Tech and sitting out a season, Petteway had a monster year for Nebraska, leading the Cornhuskers to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. A unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection, Petteway paced the conference in scoring, pouring in 18.1 points a game. He'll look to defend his scoring title next season as a junior.
Northwestern: JerShon Cobb
As a junior, JerShon Cobb did a little bit of everything for the Nortwestern Wildcats last year, scoring 12.5 points, pulling down 5 boards, and dishing out 2.5 assists. The Wildcats, however, have never reached an NCAA tournament, the only team in a power conference not to do so. Cobb will need some help from his teammates if he wants the drought to end during his senior year.
Ohio State: Sam Thompson
Better known by Ohio State fans as "Slam," Thompson is an explosive athlete that strikes fear into the hearts of Big Ten big men everywhere; challenging him at the rim is risky and may end in a poster. He scored 8 points a game last year but has a good stroke from deep, and is expected to turn the flashes of brilliance he showed last year into a more complete season.
Penn State: DJ Newbill
DJ Newbill was Penn State's top player last year and it wasn't really close. The junior point guard was the conference's second leading scorer and played 35 minutes a game. Like all big time players, Newbill played best when the lights were brightest: he averaged 24 points in PSU's first season sweep of bitter rival Ohio State since 1997-98.
Purdue: AJ Hammons
A member of the All-Big Ten Freshman Team two years ago, Hammons' sophomore year saw him average 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks, which led the conference. His rim protection earned him a spot on the conference's All Defensive Team, and he's returning for his junior year after flirting with entering the NBA Draft.
Rutgers: Myles Mack
Like Maryland, Rutgers will also be a new participant in the Big Ten. And like Dez Wells, Myles Mack will have to be the team's star. A feisty point guard, Mack averaged 15 points, 4 dimes, and shot 89 percent from the free throw line. Former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan will look for more stellar play from Mack in his final collegiate season.
Wisconsin: Frank Kaminsky
A matchup nightmare, Kaminsky is a 7 footer who possesses a deadly stroke from beyond the arc. He led the Badgers in scoring (13.9 points per game) and rebounds (6.3 rebounds per game) last year, which earned him a place on the All-Big Ten First Team. He could have left Wisconsin for the NBA, but elected to stay in school and wreak more havoc on Big Ten schools for another year.
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