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June 13, 2011

Best of the Big Ten newcomers

MORE: Team Rankings | Conf. | No. 1 SEC | No. 2 Big East | No. 3 ACC | No. 4 Big 12 | No. 5 Pac-12

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Ohio State (10)
2. Illinois (11)
3. Michigan State (19)
4. Indiana (26)
5. Michigan
6. Minnesota
7. Wisconsin
8. Nebraska
9. Iowa
10. Purdue
11. Penn State
12. Northwestern
Best by category
Best perimeter scorer: Tracy Abrams, Illinois
Best low post scorer: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Best passer: Tracy Abrams, Illinois
Best shooter: Travis Trice, Michigan State
Best rebounder: Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Best shot blocker: Amir Williams, Ohio State
Best defender: Dwaun Anderson, Michigan State
Most versatile: Sam Thompson, Ohio State
Best in the clutch: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Best pro prospect: Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Best speed: Shannon Scott, Ohio State
Best motor: Joe Coleman, Minnesota
Impact player: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Biggest sleeper: Jarrod Uthoff, Wisconsin
Best at each position (top overall player in bold)
PG Shannon Scott, Ohio State
SG Dwaun Anderson, Michigan State
SF Branden Dawson, Michigan State
PF Cody Zeller, Indiana
C Amir Williams, Ohio State
Inside the Numbers
4 - Teams ranked in the top 30 nationally
18 - Rivals150 prospects coming to the Big Ten
2 - Five-star prospects coming to the Big Ten
10 - Four-star prospects coming to the Big Ten
6 - Three-star ranked prospects coming to the Big Ten
9 - States represented by Rivals150 Big Ten recruits
4 - Rivals150 recruits from Ill. and Mich. coming to the Big Ten, most of any state
At No. 10 nationally, Ohio State leads the way for the Big Ten's four nationally ranked recruiting classes. The Buckeyes feature four four-star prospects, including LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott and Amir Williams.

Bruce Weber and his staff at Illinois continue to do a fine job of protecting the home turf by landing a class in which four players - Tracy Abrams, Mycheal Henry, Mike Shaw and Nnanna Egwu - are from the state and ranked as four-star prospects.

In East Lansing, Tom Izzo has landed a five-star prospect in Branden Dawson and has his team in the national rankings. Indiana is the other nationally ranked team from the Big Ten and has the highest ranked prospect entering the conference with in-state native Cody Zeller.

Michigan landed a four-star prospect, and Minnesota signed two ranked three-star prospect.

Best recruiting battle

The race for Branden Dawson was easily the most hard-fought recruiting battle within the conference. For the longest time it looked as if Purdue would emerge as the victor thanks to proximity and an early start in recruiting him. Marquette came in from the Big East to muddy things up a bit before Tom Izzo and Michigan State sold Dawson on their tradition.

While it wasn't an inter-conference recruiting battle, the single most important recruiting victory was scored by Indiana when they secured Cody Zeller over a stiff challenge from North Carolina and Butler.

Where's the beef?

Outside of Zeller, who should arrive at Indiana as a polished low-post scorer, there doesn't appear to be many college-ready big men headed to the Big Ten. Illinois signee Mike Shaw is probably the next closest to being ready but he fancies himself more of a perimeter guy than a low post scorer. Ohio State's Amir Williams and Illinois' Nnanna Egwu are both shot-blockers who can run the floor, but they each need to add muscle and are still raw on the offensive side

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