Big Ten Basketball: 5 Impact Freshmen for 2015-16


Apr 1, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All Americans forward forward Ivan Rabb (23), center Caleb Swanigan (50), guard Malik Newman (14), forward Brandon X. Ingram (13) white jersey, forward Cheick Diallo (13) black jersey, forward Jaylen Brown (1) and center Stephen Zimmerman Jr. (33) who are all still undecided on their choice of college pose for a group photo before the start of the McDonalds High School All American Games at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Each and every season, a new crop of young talent enters the college ranks, looking to make a name for themselves. This year is no different. As a power conference, the Big Ten consistently lands some of the country’s top high school basketball players.

Last year’s crop included the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Melo Trimble and James Blackmon Jr. Russell is now in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. The other two are likely to follow suit. This year’s group of freshmen has the potential to be just as special as the previous one.

Here are the new faces to watch out for Big Ten basketball this season.

F/C Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

Swanigan, a McDonald’s All-American, is one of the top big men in this year’s recruiting class. Purdue landed themselves a big-time player, as he turned down powerhouse schools to join the Boilermakers. Swanigan is the type of player who can beat you both inside and out. He’s already opened some eyes, recording a double-double in Purdue’s exhibition opener. Swanigan joins a solid frontcourt, which also features A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas. If he can live up to the hype, the Boilermakers may have a chance to contend for a Big Ten title.

C Thomas Bryant, Indiana

Bryant is another one of the elite bigs in the Class of 2015. When looking at this kid’s frame, there’s no wonder so many schools were knocking at his door. He’s 6-foot-10, 220 pounds and has an insane wingspan. That wingspan gives him plenty of range, allowing for him to be a potential defensive stalwart for the Hoosiers. If he continues to develop his offensive game, Bryant could be a true force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten this year. He is the likely starter and will play plenty of meaningful minutes on a team with high expectations.

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C Diamond Stone, Maryland

Clearly, it is the year of the big man in the Big Ten, in terms of impact freshmen. Swanigan and Bryant are both big-time players, but Stone may make the biggest impact early on. Whether he begins the season as the starter or not, Stone will be the starter at some point this season. He had a huge exhibition debut and will only continue to get better as the season progresses. Stone will be one-third of arguably the most complete starting frontcourt in all of college basketball this season.

G Ja’Quan Lyle, Ohio State

The Buckeyes have one of the nation’s premier recruiting classes this year and Lyle appears to be the cream of the crop. He possesses all of the tools that coaches look for in a great point guard. Lyle has the vision, instincts and scoring ability to be a legitimate combo guard at the next level. Now, he has some really big shoes to fill, as it will be no easy task to replace Mr. Russell. However, with a talented supporting cast, Lyle may not need to shoulder as much of a burden as Russell did.

Next: Terps' Frosh Diamond Stone is the Real Deal

F Deyonta Davis, Michigan State

Davis is another big man who could have a significant impact on his team’s success this season. One major thing he has working in his favor is his superior athleticism. This, alone, will allow Davis to be a factor on both ends of the floor. He is an elite shot blocker and should be able to help the Spartans out on defense right away. Davis will still need to fill out his frame and bulk up a bit, but that should come with hours of strength and conditioning. Tom Izzo will need him to grow up fast.