November 21, 2006

Big Ten cleans up in early signing period

Some things stayed the same, some things returned back to normal and some things changed with a snap of a finger in the Big Ten. After the dust settled, the league checked in as the conference that landed the most talent in the early signing period for the class of 2007.

1. Big Ten
1. Ohio State
2. Purdue
3. Indiana
4. Michigan State
5. Michigan
6. Wisconsin
7. Illinois
8. Iowa
9. Penn State
10. Minnesota
11. Northwestern
Ohio State remains as one of the top recruiting programs in the country, while Purdue is proving that it can harvest the fertile grounds in the Midwest for top-flight hoops talent.

Thad Matta and his staff stayed close to home and reeled in another top-10 class. Three of the five signees are from Ohio, including five-star big man Kosta Koufos. The Buckeyes scored a late signature from North Carolina wing Eric Wallace, a former Virginia commitment who is now at Hargrave Military Academy. Adding Wallace pushed OSU over the edge and slid the Buckeyes ahead of Purdue in the rankings.

Just like that, Purdue looks like a team that should compete down the road for a Big Ten championship. Locking up talented AAU teammates E'twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel and Scott Martin is a good start. Adding in-state big man Jajuan Johnson was important, too. Matt Painter started on this class long ago, and his patience and persistence paid off with a top-10 class in the country.

Best of the Big Ten
Best perimeter scorer: Eric Gordon, Indiana
Best low post scorer: Kosta Koufos, Ohio State
Best passer Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Best shooter: Eric Gordon, Indiana
Best rebounder: Eli Holman, Indiana
Best shot-blocker: Eli Holman, Indiana
Best defender: E'twaun Moore, Purdue
Most versatile: Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Best in the clutch: Eric Gordon, Indiana
Best basketball IQ: Corperryale Harris, Michigan
Best pro prospect: Eric Gordon, Indiana
Best interview: Kosta Koufos, Ohio State
Best speed: Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Best hands: Scott Martin, Purdue
Best motor: Eric Gordon, Indiana
Best strength: Jarryd Cole, Iowa
Best leaper: Durrell Summers, Michigan State
Impact player: Eric Gordon, Indiana
Biggest sleeper: Jarryd Cole, Iowa
Sleeper class: Wisconsin
While the Boilermakers locked up the Indiana state border, new Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson shook the recruiting world by signing in-state prospect Eric Gordon after his verbal commitment to Illinois.

Michigan State has a backcourt foundation for the future coming to East Lansing. The trio of Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Chris Allen is as talented a guard group as there is in the class of 2007.

Michigan matched the Spartans with a backcourt of the future with in-state prospects Alex Legion, Corperryale Harris and Kelvin Grady. The in-state rivalry will be a great one to watch evolve at the next level.

Jerry Meyer's thoughts: Once again, Ohio State lands a class that it could put on the court as a five-man unit with Turner as the point guard.... Purdue has a class with a winning chemistry... Michigan State's three backcourt players fit Izzo's up-tempo attack... Indiana's class has a nice mix with a superstar and solid frontcourt players... Harris and Legion make a quality backcourt combo for Michigan.

Justin Young's thoughts: If the conference lacked any firepower in the rivalry department, this recruiting group may have closed the gap…All of the players, with the exception of Michigan State's Chris Allen, are from the Big Ten region and all of the schools recruited the same players. …Sixteen future Big Ten players - the most of any conference - were ranked in the top 100 nationally by

Biggest story of the recruiting period: The Eric Gordon saga would take this superlative across all conference lines. The rivalry between Illinois and Indiana only grows stronger.

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