The boom of the transfer portal has changed everything in college basketball. The one-time transfer rule where you can switch schools and play right away has flipped things around even more. Oh, and then a free year for those impacted by COVID and the introduction of name, image and likeness deals where athletes can cash in on their brand has sent everything into a full-out tizzy.
Roster construction has never been more fluid. Coaches are open about the fact that change is going to happen. Players are going to leave and sometimes it makes perfect sense as talented prospects chase the best opportunity to better their stock. Other times, player mobility will leave coaches, assistants scratching their heads and force fans to check the roster repeatedly just so they remember who’s on the team again.
In a way, it is like free agency, as teams find the best potential fit on the waiver wire to fill out their rotations.
The Big Ten is no different. Fred Hoiberg has heavily leaned on the transfer portal to fill out his Nebraska roster. Mike Woodson completely revamped his Indiana backcourt ahead of a big first year. Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Ohio State and Illinois took some big swings in the transfer portal. Oh, and Michigan had the No. 2 recruiting class in the Class of 2021 while Illinois, Nebraska and Michigan State also put together top-25 recruiting classes.
So the talent in the Big Ten is at an all-time high with All-American talents like EJ Liddell, Kofi Cockburn, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Trevion Williams and Hunter Dickinson opting to return for another season and so many fresh faces entering the league…